Non-Formal Education in the Philippines

Non-formal Education is one of the means to spread literacy and employable skills to the people and it covers a much larger audience than the formal system. The NFE in Philippines is designed to assist the out-of-school youth and adults who have been deprived of formal education. There may be varying reasons for this.It may include the economic, social and geographical limitations which have hindered the path of literacy and employable skills.

The mission of the NFE program in Philippines is to empower the people with “desirable knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values that will enable him/her to think critically and creatively, act innovatively and humanely in improving the quality of his/her life and that of his/her family, community and country.”

The main objective of NFE in Philippines is to reduce the number of illiterates in the country and provide them with need-based literacy programmes and also develop basic employable skills.Activities like vocational training, adult reading classes, family planning sessions as well as leadership workshops for community leaders.

This branch of education is looked after by the Bureau of Non-Formal Education which has its history dating back to 1829 when civic educational lectures were introduced in the country.Non-formal education was formally started in 1973 and is now an integral part of the developmental activities.There is a 3-pronged approach in this method which focuses on literacy, continuing education and staff development.

The main thrust of NFE is on the acquisition of skills needed for earning livelihood and to survive the competitiveness in the labor market.The horizons of non-formal education are far wider as compared to the formal system.

NFE reaches out to a greater audience irrespective of demographic characteristics, socio-economic conditions and varied general interests. In a few words, this system reaches out to all those people who might otherwise never get a chance to have any sort of education.

The Non-formal Education Program of Philippines lays thrust on the following aspects:
• Literacy Programs for numeracy and functional literacy of each individual
• Development of Livelihood Skills
• Expansion of Certification and Equivalency Programmes

One of the main aims of NFE is to bring about a decrease in the poverty levels among the communities.To attain this goal, the bureau provides leadership and technical assistance in the implementation of literacy programmes, projects, trainings, workshops etc.This process includes the following features:

Female Functional Literacy & Parent Education: This program majorly involves the mother and provides them with essential skills and competencies to perform better in the fields related to child survival, protection and development.

Literacy Project for Cultural Communities: The target group for this program is that section of the society which is unable to attend the formal education system.This may include the cultural communities in general and also the hill tribes in particular.

Development of Literacy Measures: The Bureau of Non-formal Education in Philippines has developed some literacy parameters through a series of seminars and workshops.At the moment there are seven literacy measures which decide the functional literacy of the target group.This is also accompanied by a Manual of Instructions for using the Measures and its scoring.
Development of Resource Material: It also focuses on the development of the curricula for various levels of literacy and also the resource material needed for the same.This includes booklets, posters and the facilitator’s guide.

Actual Implementation on the Field: This is the most important component of the whole project.Efforts are made to implement the literacy and livelihood development programmes in the actual field with the target group in order to eradicate illiteracy and thereby alleviating poverty.

Thus, the Bureau of Non-formal Education in Philippines works on four major action points – family life skills which also includes health, nutrition, childcare, household management, family planning; vocational skills, functional skills and enhancing livelihood skills.

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