What is Formal education?
Informal education does not follow any structured or organized form of learning. Informal education was inadequate to cater to the growing needs of future generations. It gave birth to formal education. Formal education aimed at transmitting the knowledge, skills, attitudes, beliefs, values, information etc. that is preserved and assumed to be desirable by the society at large.
Formal education is organized, structured and coordinated by state or central authority keeping in mind the focus of broad societal aims. Hence, state ensures that formal education is able to carry, out this responsibility through schools, colleges, institutions, workshops and seminars etc.
According to Coombs, Processor and Ahmed, Formal Education: The hierarchically structured, chronologically graded education system, running from primary school through the university and including in addition to general academic studies, a variety of specialized programs and institutions for full time technical and professional training. It is clear from the definition given above that formal education is vertically as well as horizontally structured.
Vertical structure is that education starts from primary to secondary, then college and so on. Horizontal structure is that education runs through general academic studies, technical, vocational and professional studies.
Aspects of Formal Education:
Goals: Formal education system has explicit goals. They are derived from broad societal goals. The broad goals are attained in the long-run, but these are broken into short-run goals as well. Short-term objectives are formulated and attained in the educational process.
Timing: Formal education system has got a rigid time schedule. A fixed time schedule is followed as per the instructions of the managing authority.
Content/Curricular Experiences: Curriculum of a course is determined by state or administrative authority. Time duration of the course is also fixed.
Entry Requirements: There are specific entry requirements to be cleared to be eligible to get admission in any specific course. To exemplify, one can not get admission in post-graduation unless he/she completes Graduation.
Delivery System: Interaction between educator and learner takes place in an isolated environment which is controlled, formal and rigid. The degree of control in the delivery system depends upon the attitude of the teacher and the institution.
Operational Control: There is a hierarchical operational control in administrative academic structure. In a formal set up a number of persons act in a hierarchical manner to make the system work efficiently.
Achievements of Learning Objectives: There are systematic procedures that are followed to check whether the learner has achieved his learning objectives or not. Both formative as well as summative assessment tools are utilized to check the achievement of the learner.