Non-formal education is the process of learning outside the formal education institutions, mainly for the college dropouts. The main emphasis in such programs is on ‘’employability’’ and the ability of the individual to cope successfully with the demands of his environment. In other words, emphasise is laid on education not because the society wants to get a person educated but regarding its usefulness to the individual and the needs of the community. In developing countries, in particular, it is important that employment generation and employment activity rate are fairly equal. It is important for communities and government to alter their concept of education so that the school dropouts who seeks education outside the formal system are not looked down upon nor treated with any form of patronage.
Identifying the cause
In order to provide the most relevant and optimally most productive educational programs for this category of the population, one must know who most dropouts are likely to be and why they dropout. It is also essential to know some of the factors responsible for the phenomenon. A number of factors contribute to the school dropout problems. For example, there is a problem of poor quality teaching. Many teachers who cannot motivate their pupils may be responsible for normal, average and the above average students dropping out.
A significant factor which must be considered at every stage in planning and providing programs of non-formal education for school dropout is that the source of the problem may largely be traceable to defects in the educational system itself. Under an effective, integrated system of education, it should be possible for us to fulfil the goals and objectives of the education without pushing students out and without creating a dichotomy between formal education ’’insiders’’ and permanent dropout
Objectives and goals
Broad aims are suggested for non-formal education for school dropouts. Programmers should provide remedial education to achieve basic literacy and numeracy. Program builders should develop the right attitude and values. They must aim at making the dropouts a productive member of the community. He or she should be able to live a fulfilling life as an efficient and happy member of the family, society and country. As much as possible, all of these should be attainable within the dropout community so that he or she does not need to roam in order to be able to live. Programmers must, to a large extent be geared towards solving the growing problems of unemployment and under the employment of school leavers and dropouts by the product of such training and employing opportunities.
FORM of education
As education must be relevant to the needs of the individual and the needs of his community. The way that non-formal education for school dropouts should take will differ from community to community depending on the state of development and the quantity, quality and type of infrastructural facilities such as school buildings, roads, transportation, telephone, electricity, water, libraries and various educational equipment. A critical consideration must be the quality of the total available workforce.
Continuing education centres
We need to establish continuing education centres to cater for upgrading and updating knowledge and skills and for changing attitudes. The centres should preferably be comprehensive so that they can handle pre-vocational, vocational, commercial and technical studies in addition to purely general basic education programs.
We must endeavour to use non-formal education strategies and programs to prevent the occurrence and reduce the rate of school dropouts. The school system should be comprehensive immediately after the primary level, and counselling and guidance by trained and competent personnel should be available in each such school.