ASSIGNMENT No. 2
Q.1 Do you consider non-formal approach effective in order to meet the shortage of trained teachers? Discuss.
Community education offers a structured, effective way to respond to the challenge to improve public education because it expands the school’s traditional role and creates a mutually interdependent relationship among home, school, and community. Community education has three basic components–lifelong learning opportunities, community involvement in schools, and efficient use of resources–and is based on a set of ten broad principles:
- Lifelong learning. Education is a birth-to-death process, and everyone in the community shares in the responsibility of educating all members of the community. Formal and informal learning opportunities should be available to residents of all ages in a wide variety of community settings.
- Self-determination. Community residents have a right and a responsibility to be involved in assessing community needs and identifying community resources that can be used to address those needs.
- Self-help. People are best served by their leaders when their capacity to help themselves is acknowledged and developed. When people assume responsibility for their own well-being, they achieve some degree of independence.
- Leadership development. Training local leaders in problem solving, decision-making, and group-process skills is essential to community improvement efforts.
- Institutional responsiveness. Because public institutions exist to serve the public, they are obligated to develop programs and services that address constantly changing public needs and interests.
- Integrated delivery of services. Organizations and agencies that operate for the public good can best use their limited resources, meet their own goals, and serve the public by collaborating with organizations and agencies with similar goals and purposes.
- Localization. Community services, programs, and volunteer opportunities close to people’s homes have the greatest potential for high levels of public participation.
- Maximum use of resources. The physical, financial, and human resources of every community should be fully available and rationally interconnected if the diverse needs and interests of the community are to be met.
- Inclusiveness. Community programs, activities, and services should involve the broadest possible cross-section of community residents without segregation by age, income, sex, race, ethnicity, religion, or other characteristics.
- Access to public information. Public information should be shared across agency and organization lines because an effective community not only has “the facts,” but it also knows what those facts mean in the lives of the diverse people who make up the community.
A Comprehensive Plan
The current lack of confidence in public education has been more pervasive and prolonged than the crisis in confidence that followed the launch of Sputnik in 1957 by the Soviet Union. Community education has become the approach of choice of many educators who are determined to improve the public confidence in schools and to build partnerships in support of public education.
Community education is a way of looking at public education as a total community enterprise. A community education program is a comprehensive and coordinated plan for providing educational, recreational, social, and cultural services for all people in the community. The following strategies provide a framework for developing such a program. The strategies have overlapping characteristics and functions, but taken together, they outline a comprehensive action plan.
Strategy 1. Encourage increased use of community resources and volunteers to augment the basic educational program. Every community has human, physical, and financial resources that can be used to enrich and expand traditional education programs. Community resources and volunteers have been used to expand curricular options, conduct field and study trips, offer various kinds of tutoring, sponsor student-based enterprises, and support experiential learning.
Strategy 2. Develop educational partnerships between schools and public and private service providers, business and industry, and civic and social service organizations. Complex, often interrelated, social and economic problems create a broad array of service needs in many communities, and meeting them effectively is likely to require more resources than any single agency or organization can provide. The development of partnerships for cooperative use of available resources will help prevent unnecessary duplication in the delivery of such services as child care, after-school programs, drug education and treatment, literacy and remedial programs, internships and work-study programs, and career awareness activities.
Strategy 3. Use public education facilities as community service centers for meeting the educational, social, health, cultural, and recreational needs of all ages and sectors of the community. Since community attitudes and support affect the schools’ ability to carry out their mission to educate all children, educators must consider the needs and concerns of nonparents in the community. This strategy encourages keeping school buildings open on a planned, organized basis at hours beyond the regular school day. It takes advantage of the strong support community centers generally receive, as well as the economic benefits to the community of more efficient use of public facilities.
Strategy 4. Develop an environment that fosters lifelong learning. This strategy acknowledges learning as a lifelong process. It recognizes that learning takes place, both inside and outside the school setting, without formal instruction. It encourages the development of education programs to meet learning needs that change over a lifetime, including the need for new skills and knowledge. Lifelong learning programs and activities may include early childhood education, extended-day and enrichment programs for school-age children, adult education, vocational training and retraining programs, leisure activities, and intergenerational programs.
Strategy 5. Establish a process for involving the community in educational planning and decisionmaking. The total community has a stake in the mission of educating community members. Individual community members, therefore, have a right and a responsibility to participate in determining community needs, setting priorities, and allocating resources. The cyclical process of planning, evaluating, and changing takes advantage of a basic fact of human behavior: Those who participate in planning and decision-making develop feelings of ownership. Encouraging the broadest possible involvement capitalizes on another fact: The greater the number and diversity of people involved, the greater the likelihood that diverse needs will be met. Involvement opportunities should range from participation in ongoing advisory councils to membership on ad hoc task forces and committees.
Strategy 6. Provide a responsive, community based system for collective action by all educational and community agencies to address community issues. Many community problems are so complex that resolving them requires cooperative use of a broad range of resources. Seeking the involvement of non-school agencies can help schools address such social, health, and economic issues as substance abuse, housing, child abuse, mental illness, violence, crime, vandalism, teen pregnancy, and various kinds of discrimination.
Strategy 7. Develop a system that facilitates home-school-community communication. Research shows that schools that involve all their publics and keep them well informed have community support, and that those that fail to reach beyond the parents of current students do not. Effective home-school-community communication goes beyond news releases, speeches, newsletters, and open houses; it includes use of the media, home visitations by teachers and administrators, school displays throughout the community, and special community outreach programs conducted both in the schools and at other sites in the community.
Q.2 what are the leading tasks in the planning of non-formal education?
Non-formal education refers to education that occurs outside the formal school system. Non-formal education is often used interchangeably with terms such as community education, adult education, lifelong education and second-chance education. It refers to a wide range of educational initiatives in the community, ranging from home-based learning to government schemes and community initiatives. It includes accredited courses run by well-established institutions as well as locally based operations with little funding.
As non-formal education is diverse, this element has many aspects in common with other elements, particularly Lifelong learning. For the purposes of these guidelines, this element focuses on non-formal education for children and young people outside the regular school system. However, CBR personnel need to be aware that non-formal education reinforces marginalization and stigmatization, so if possible it should not be offered as the only educational option for children with disabilities. Inclusion in a regular school should be prioritized as every child’s right.
While non-formal education is often considered a second-best option to formal education, it should be noted that it can provide higher-quality education than that available in formal schools. Non-formal education can be preparatory, supplementary or an excellent alternative (where necessary) to formal schooling for all children.
- People with disabilities participate in non-formal education programmes and learn literacy, numeracy and other skills which contribute to better living conditions.
- Non-formal education programmes include people with disabilities and consider their needs during programme planning.
- People with disabilities, family members, disabled people’s organizations and parents’ associations are involved in decision-making and implementing non-formal education programmes.
- Home-based learning is available either as a supplement to formal schooling, or in preparation for formal schooling, or as an alternative to formal schooling.
- Social cohesion is strengthened as students with disabilities and non-disabled students interact together and develop friendships.
(a) Suitability to the age and mental level of the children
- What is to be given to the children in the form of learning experiences at a particular age and grade level should suit their age and mental development
- The capacity for understanding, how children grow with age. The content of the study in any subject should be formed to suit their mental ability.
(b) According to the specific interests of students
- Children will be able to learn better in fields where they have special tastes and inclination of the mind.
- It is also found that at different stages of age groups, children have different interest patterns.
- Interests of children also change according to circumstances and situations.
- Therefore learning experiences should be designed to suit the interests and tastes of the age group of students.
(c) The curriculum should be environmentally centered
The content of the learning experiences for children should be linked with the needs of the environment in which they live. For example, children from rural areas can understand and grasp easily the information which is directly concerned with their experiences in their own rural environment. The same thing applies to children in a various environments like urban areas, hilly areas, etc.
(d) The principle of the comprehensive curriculum
The curriculum must have the necessary details. List of topics to be covered does not solve the purpose. Both teachers and students should know clearly what is expected of them, what is the beginning and what is the end of the topic for the particular class. Material, aids, activities, life situations etc. should be listed in the curriculum.
(e) Principle of co-relation
The curriculum should be such that all the subjects are correlated with each other. While designing the curriculum, it must be kept in mind that the subject matter of various subjects has some relation to each other so that they help the child eventually.
(f) The principle of practical work
Children are very active by nature. They like new things and can learn more by doing or by activity method. Therefore curriculum should be designed in such a way that it provides maximum opportunity to the child for practical work with the help of concrete things.
(g) Principle of flexibility
Instead of being rigid curriculum should show the sign of flexibility. The organization of the curriculum should be on the basis of individual differences as every child is different from the other. Apart from these conditions of society go on changing, therefore, the curriculum must be flexible enough to address the needs as aspirations of the society.
(h) Principle of forward-looking
This principle asks for the inclusion of those topics, content and learning experiences that may prove helpful to the students in leading their future life in a proper way.
(i) The principle of consultation with teachers
- Teachers play a key role in the implementation of the school curriculum of any grade or stage.
- It is therefore quite essential to seek the proper involvement of the teachers in the construction and development of the school curriculum.
(j) The principle of the joint venture
It is necessarily a joint venture where various experts are involved like educational psychologists, educational technologists, curriculum specialists, evaluation specialists, teachers, subject matter experts etc.
Curriculum is the means to realize the outcomes of the educational objectives of the school. Implementation of the curriculum is equally important as curriculum construction. While developing curriculum experts should also keep its implementation in mind. They should be aware of the conditions of the schools and possible availability of time and resources available.
Q.3 Do you consider that problems of administrative struggles for adult education are equally applicable for non-formal education?
- The Assembly recognises that investment in education and welfare is an effective measure for the promotion of active citizenship and the prevention of social exclusion.
- The Assembly acknowledges that formal educational systems alone cannot respond to rapid and constant technological, social and economic change in society, thus they should be reinforced by non-formal educational practices.
- Non-formal education is an integral part of a lifelong learning concept that ensures that young people and adults acquire and maintain the skills, abilities and dispositions needed to adapt to a continuously changing environment. It can be acquired on the personal initiative of each individual through different learning activities taking place outside the formal educational system. An important part of non-formal education is carried out by non-governmental organisations involved in community and youth work.
- The Assembly recalls the Final Declaration of the 5thConference of European Ministers responsible for Youth in which European countries were encouraged to promote equality of opportunity by recognising the training and skills acquired through non-formal education and by finding various ways of endorsing the experience and qualifications acquired in this way. It welcomes the setting-up of a “working group on non-formal education” in the Council of Europe.
- The Assembly encourages all those who will shape educational policies to acknowledge that non-formal education is an essential part of the educational process and to recognise the contribution that can be made by non-governmental organisations involved in non-formal education.
- The Assembly also encourages the application of the new information technologies to non-formal education and stresses the need to ensure an easy access to them at national and international levels.
- The Assembly therefore recommends that the Committee of Ministers call on Governments and the appropriate authorities of member states :
- to recognise non-formal education as a de facto partner in the lifelong learning process and elaborate effective evaluation systems of it (this could be done by the certification of non-formal educational activities so that they also can be mentioned in curricula vitae as professional experience and as internationally recognised skills and qualifications). A quality label could be given to educational activities of recognised organisations providing non-formal educational;
- to make non-formal education accessible for all, through measures such as flexible working conditions (for workers who would not otherwise be able to attend, unpaid leave facilities, etc.), measures for people in remote areas (travel grants), measures for socially disadvantaged persons (poor people, marginalised youngsters, the handicapped, minorities);
iii. to provide or improve training and re-training for trainers and teachers in non-formal education;
- to support financially non-formal education activities (grants, tax reductions for non-governmental organisations involved in non-formal education activities, or for each participant at training courses, free use of official buildings or training centres, etc) and the production and distribution of non-formal education manuals and training materials. To create a library/lending service of non-formal education materials;
- and in parallel with the above measures, encourage more people to take advantage of non-formal education;
- to monitor the implementation of the above measures.
- The Assembly further recommends that the Committee of Ministers promote non-formal education in the work programme of the Council of Europe and in particular in the youth sector and consequently:
- study whether any legislative restrictions exist in the different member states which might hinder the development of non-formal education, and assist in the elimination of these restrictions;
- compare non-formal education activities in the different member states and publish a catalogue of “good practice”;
iii. develop programmes of non-formal education that promote equal opportunities in co-operation with the social partners concerned and the non-governmental organisations working on these questions;
- co-ordinate its work in the field of non-formal education with that of OECD, Unesco and the European Union.
- Explanatory memorandum by Mr Dumitrescu
- What is non-formal education?
Education, as a lifelong process which enables the continuous development of a person’s capabilities as an individual and as a member of society, can take three different forms:
formal education– the structured educational system usually provided or supported by the state, chronologically graded and running from primary to tertiary institutions;
informal education – learning that goes on in daily life and can be received from daily experience, such as from family, friends, peer groups, the media and other influences in a person’s environment;
and non-formal education- educational activity which is not structured and takes place outside the formal system.
The main difference between informal and non-formal education is the fact that the first is non-voluntary and mostly passive whereas the latter results from an individual voluntary action and is mostly active.
Non-formal education covers two rather different realities: on the one hand education activities taking part outside the formal education system (for example a lecture on social rights organised by a trade union) and on the other the experience acquired while exerting responsibilities in a voluntary organisation (for example being a member of the board of an environment protection NGO).
A more operational definition by OECD is that “the formal system refers to all those aspects of education within the sphere of responsibilities and influence of the Minister of Education, together with private schools, universities and other institutions which prepare students for officially recognised qualifications. The non-formal sector comprises learning activities taking place outside this formal system, such as those carried out within companies, by professional associations, or independently by self-motivated adult learners”. This definition is formally correct, but does not take into account the experience acquired in citizens’ groups or voluntary organisations.
According to the more practical definition of the European Youth Forum, non-formal education corresponds to a collection of teaching tools and learning schemes that are seen as creative and innovative alternatives to traditional and classical teaching systems. Via personal interaction and flexibility in problem solving, people can discuss matters of relevance to their lives as citizens in society and integrate their knowledge. Different sorts of people take part in this process but the majority is to be found in non-governmental organisations involved in youth and community work.
A Council of Europe “working group on non-formal education” has elaborated its own definition of non-formal education as a “planned programme of personal and social education designed to improve a range of skills and competencies, outside but supplementary to the formal educational curriculum. Participation is voluntary and the programmes are carried out by trained leaders in the voluntary and/or State sectors, and should be systematically monitored and evaluated, the experience might also be certificated. It is generally related to the employability and lifelong learning requirements of the individual person.”
Non-formal education is a way of helping societies to be more democratic and to respect human rights. It is a necessary supplement to formal education.
Through involvement in non-formal education, citizens may get a chance to experiment and take on responsibilities. They are able to develop their curiosity and enthusiasm, to learn to work together and to practise democratic decision-making and negotiation, which is an important step towards active democratic citizenship. Moreover non-formal education develops personal, social and professional skills through experimenting in a relatively safe environment.
Through different activities of non-formal education people can obtain experience that can be compared with traditional formal work experience and should be recognised as such. These activities involve democratic decision making and negotiating, participation, personal development and help them to obtain such qualities as commitment, involvement, responsibility, solidarity, democratic awareness, motivation, initiative, emancipation and empowerment, creativity, respect, tolerance, intercultural awareness, criticism, intellectual independence and self-confidence.
- Types of non-formal education and those involved
Different forms of non-formal education contribute to democracy teaching in different ways. This can be illustrated by some examples from European countries.
Community work, which is particularly widespread in Scotland, fosters people’s commitment to their neighbours and encourages participation in, and development of local, democratic forms of organisation. This may involve dialogue with local policy-makers setting-up programmes aimed at improving the quality of life in the local area editing community newsletters, developing local opportunities for continuous learning and employment.
Youth work generally focuses on making young people more active in society and committed to furthering their well being.
Social work could also be linked to non-formal education. Informal education in Germany, alongside social workers help young people in residential homes to develop ways dealing with complex situations; foster more fruitful relationships between parents and children; bring together groups of careers, etc.
Animation is a specific form of non-formal education found in France and Italy. It uses theatre and acting as a means of self-expression with community groups, children and people with special learning needs. It provides active participation of people and teaches them to manage the communities in which they live. Animation helps to build environments and relationships in which people can grow and care for each other.
Youth organisations have always been considered as the main experts in non-formal education and they have reached a high level of achievement in this field.
In youth and community organisations young people have the opportunity to discover, analyse and understand values and their implications and to build over time a personal set of values to guide their lives. They run work camps and meetings, recruit volunteers, raise funds, administer bank accounts, recruit and manage personnel, give counselling and psychological peer support, organise sport activities and cultural festivals, intervene in their communities and lobby institutions for social change.
All these activities of NGOs enable people to acquire leadership skills and provide them with important practical experience in the process of democracy, decision making and responsible democratic leadership.
- Activities of non-formal education.
Non-formal education activities vary depending on the context of national and local traditions.
The best way to illustrate different activities of non-formal education is to give examples from specific national contexts.
Q.4 how should out of school education be planned and who should be responsible? Discuss.
When we think of education, we usually associate it with the formal education of children, adolescents, and young people. Although they are the primary beneficiaries of education under international human rights law, adults are also recognised rights-holders. The right to education is, like all other human rights, universal and applies to everyone, irrespective of age.
According to international law, the aims of education include the ‘full development of the human personality and the sense of its dignity’ and to ‘enable all persons to participate effectively in a free society’. These aims (and the other aims of education under international law) cannot be met through education delivered exclusively to children. The right to education, therefore, recognises the importance of education as a lifelong process. The early years are considered foundational for lifelong learning, where each level of education lays the building blocks for further education throughout a person’s life.
Adult education and learning is an integral part of the right to education and lifelong learning, and comprises ‘all forms of education and learning that aim to ensure that all adults participate in their societies and the world of work. It denotes the entire body of learning processes, formal, non-formal and informal, whereby those regarded as adults by the society in which they live, develop and enrich their capabilities for living and working, both in their own interests and those of their communities, organisations and societies’ (UNESCO Recommendation on Adult Learning and Education : Para. 1).
Adults may (re)enter education for a number of reasons, including to:
- replace missed or neglected primary and/or secondary education
- develop basic education skills, such as literacy and numeracy
- develop new vocational skills and expertise to adapt to changing labour market conditions or to change career, or for continued professional development
- continue learning for personal development and leisure
- participate fully in social life and in democratic processes
- As well as the benefits accrued from the above, adult education benefits the individual, by:
- being instrumental in the enjoyment of other human rights, for instance, the rights to work, health, and to take part in cultural life and in the conduct of public affairs
- empowering economically and socially marginalised adults to understand, question and transform, through critical awareness, the sources of their marginalisation, including lifting themselves out of poverty
- building the skills and knowledge necessary to participate in society
- facilitating active citizenship
Further, adult education and learning has wider economic, social, political, and cultural benefits, most notably recognised in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2015) which has numerous targets on adult education, and to which all states have committed.
Yet, despite states’ commitments to adult education, efforts to implement and realise the right to education for adolescents, young people, and adults have been neglected. This failure to fully implement adult education compounds historical marginalisation because those most likely to benefit from adult education are those who did not receive primary and/or secondary education in the first place.
At present, adult education, particularly non-formal education, including literacy programmes, is generally the most underfunded level of education with few countries spending the recommended 3% of their national education budget on adult literacy and education programmes (UNESCO  Reading the Past: Writing the Future). As a consequence, adult education and learning is not generally provided for free, the cost of which must be borne by the individual, which acts as a prohibitive barrier in accessing adult education or is a financial burden on already marginalised adults who have to pay to access an education that was previously denied to them.
A fundamental element of the right to education is that it is accessible to all which is why primary and lower secondary education is generally provided for free by most states. The same principle applies to adult education and learning. However, for adults it is different in that in addition to the state, there are market providers (everything from yoga classes and cooking, to computer programming will be offered by private providers), companies train and develop their staff, community organisations create learning opportunities for their members, and the web offers a range of free (MOOCs) and charged for learning programmes. A key responsibility of states is to establish a legal and regulatory framework that secures access to adult education and learning opportunities, particularly for those from marginalised groups. Further, states have obligations under international human rights law in relation to certain forms of adult education and learning.
This page explores the various forms of adult education and lifelong learning for which the state has specific legal obligations under international human rights law, including: fundamental education, basic education, adult literacy programmes, technical and vocational education and training, and higher education. It also explores the right to education of older persons and adult education as articulated in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Characteristics and importance of non formal education
Non formal education isn’t a replacement to formal education, which is key and fundamental to the growth of the person, however, it can compliment it by covering needs or certain aspects that the regulated institution lack.
UNESCO, for example, emphasises the flexibility of non formal education and how it allows for more personalised learning to be developed for each person. In fact, this would be the most ideal model for them.
How is it flexible? Non formal education is open to any age, origin and personal interest. Moreover, it’s a relatively voluntary type of education, with diverse teaching methods and its end goal isn’t a degree, but rather pure learning.
This idea is key for Jimmy Wales, for example. The founder of Wikipedia is one of this biggest defenders of non formal and informal education. He insists on continuous learning throughout life in a voluntary and experiential way to create better citizens. You can learn more about his views in this video.
Via non formal and informal education, which have a great advantage thanks to modern technology, we can understand the world around us much better. Above all, everything we discover will stay embedded in our brains, because we’ve had our own drive to learn.
That said, the benefits of non formal education can be summarised as follows:
- Helps grow and mature, on a personal level, as well as within society. In many cases, teamwork or coexisting, can play an important role.
- By developing the skills of each individual, you boost their self-esteem.
- The capacity to learn and discover on your own develops a healthy critical attitude of your surroundings, social norms and power mechanisms.
- Boosts job placement opportunities and encourages self-employment.
Now that you have a better understanding of non formal education and its learning possibilities via experience, wouldn’t you agree that it’s pretty important?
At dothegap, we encourage you to incorporate exchanges as a way of conducting non formal education and offer your students or members an enriching experience on many levels.
Q.5 how non-formal education is designed in Indonesia for the benefit of staff?
Indonesian nonformal education comprises the various forms of learning that are not covered under the Fundamental Education Law of 1947. Nonformal education includes the types of learning that occur outside the formal educational system. Though still under the oversight of the Ministry of Education, these forms of learning include supplemental learning quite unlike what is included in the formal system. Examples of nonformal education includes the following: social education, adult education, correspondence courses, and English language training.
“Social education” (or community education) generally refers to a wide range of organized activities beyond the structured school curriculum, aimed especially for adults and young people. Facilities often used for these activities include public halls, libraries, museums, youth houses, children’s centers, women’s education centers, and sports facilities, as described below.
Citizens’ public halls exist in over 90 percent of Indonesian communities and serve as centers for various activities. Besides lending books to members of the community, they provide a venue for lectures, exhibitions, meetings, physical training, and other forms of recreation. Public libraries and museums also serve as centers of learning, both by giving citizens access to their collections and by opening their facilities to community groups. Youth houses and children’s centers give young people an opportunity to participate in activities that involve an overnight stay. Often located in areas with beautiful natural surroundings, these facilities focus on teaching young people skills such as self-discipline, collaboration, and service. Women’s education centers aim to provide an opportunity for women to gain experience in leadership skills and to get together to share experiences and develop networks for support. Most of these centers are nongovernmental organizations or are run by local governments. Finally, there are many facilities throughout the country that encourage physical education of people of all ages. Besides playgrounds, swimming pools, and gymnasiums that are open to public use, many colleges and schools permit their physical education facilities to be used by members of the general public when not scheduled for students.
Adult education can also take the form of courses that are taken outside the classroom through correspondence or through other media such as radio, television, satellite transmission, or the Internet. Traditional correspondence course work was introduced in the 1880s at Waseda University, one of the most prestigious universities in the nation. Generally, two main options are available in correspondence work. First, the courses can be taken for actual course credit that applies to degrees, certificates, or diplomas given by the institution. Second, the curricula offered through correspondence may have no credit attached to it and instead can be taken to gain vocational background, to advance in cultural understanding, or to develop an outside interest or hobby. Courses range widely in content and include topics such as bookkeeping, drafting, calligraphy, childcare, and computer literacy.
One type of correspondence course of special note is the so-called Hoso Daigaku “University of the Air,” a college that is operated by the Broadcast College Special Corporation and that is administered from an office in the city of Chiba. This organization was established in 1983 to provide university-level curricula on television and radio. Generally, students are required to have graduated from high school; however, students who are 18 or older and who have not received a high-school education can participate in the program. The system works in this fashion: a participant gets two credits by listening to 15, 45-minute lectures and then by completing some on-site work at local study centers located throughout the country. The course work falls into three main groups: domestic science, business/social science, and humanities/natural science. Once a student gains enough credit, he or she receives a Bachelor of Arts degree.
Students of all ages participate in the University of the Air, but about half the students are over the age of 40. The University of the Air is just one example, therefore, of the shift in Japan away from a strictly traditional student body receiving traditional professional degrees. Now certificates or nontraditional degrees, such as those gained through the University of the Air, are gaining credibility as mechanisms for seeking new employment or promotions in current positions.
One type of nonformal education that is extremely popular is training in the English language. An entire private industry has developed to teach English to those who feel they need more language preparation than they received in public school. As of the mid-1990s there were more than 400 such schools around the country, usually offering courses of one year or more. Much of the popularity of such courses arises from the fact that English has become the language of business and industry throughout the world, including Japan. Many of the Indonesian people feel that the kind of English training they received in public school was inadequate for their purposes in the workplace, thus requiring nonformal courses later in life. Yet the subject of English language teaching certainly is not without controversy in contemporary Japan. In the year 2000 the prime minister’s office received a report from a prestigious advisory group that suggested much more emphasis on English literacy in Japan’s universities. Entitled “Japan’s Vision for the 21st Century,” the report even noted that it may be time to consider declaring English to be the country’s official second language. Such a change would help provide the impetus for giving young people an adequate working knowledge of English before they enter the workforce, reducing the need for so much extra training after exiting the school system. Although establishing English as an official second language would be a controversial subject in a country that takes such pride in its own linguistic inheritance, there continues to be a strong demand for English training in nonformal education.