Knowledge in the 21st century is a significant link in the development of society. However, the question arises as to how much formal education manages to keep up with the changes that are taking place in society. Hence, the need to introduce an unconventional form of education is imposed, as an opportunity to overcome the gap that arises with the speed of change and the inertia of formal education.

The ability to perceive, analyse, approach, and solve the most complex tasks requires competencies acquired through education, which allows higher education to be the main driving force of quality changes in society. The theory presented in this way requires improving the overall quality of higher education, which will contribute to improving the competencies of students for creative professional work and active participation in a democratic society. All this will have a positive impact on society as a whole, encouraging socio-economic growth and development. Thus, the goals defined in our country should and must be by the goals defined by the EU.

 Therefore, the educational process should be better adapted to the acquisition of the necessary competencies for students. To achieve this goal, essential changes are needed in the system of the higher education process, its organization, and the resources available to higher education institutions. Further development of quality assurance mechanisms is necessary to ensure system efficiency and optimal use of existing and new resources.

 In this sense, it is necessary to encourage studies that are necessary for the education of personnel with occupations that are insufficiently represented in the existing system, and which are directly expected to increase employability and have a positive impact on the economy and society. In this context, the role of non-formal education as an option in the development and retraining of quality staff from different profiles should be highlighted.

 Since education is a dynamic process, which produces and provides individual knowledge and skills, which are significant and contribute to social growth and development, we can say that in modern society we distinguish 3 basic forms of education for career development:

  1.  Formal education
  2. Non-formal education and
  3. Informal education.

The influence of formal education on the career development of students

 Formal education is defined as an institutional form of education and the same implies a process that takes place within a clearly defined formal educational system, legally, with the final result, being the acquisition of certain knowledge and skills. This term covers all forms of education, from primary to higher education, including secondary vocational schools and gymnasiums, founded by the state or a specific institution authorized by the state, and which fulfil certain regulations in the field of education, therefore formal education is often called "certified education".

 The objectives of formal education or learning are clearly defined, they are periodically reviewed and lead to the acquisition of a diploma, which enables further education and/or admission to a particular job. This type of education is targeted and conscious, and some of its types are legally compulsory (eg primary and secondary education). In this case, lecturers must meet formal criteria, which are regulated by laws and other regulations in the field of education


Non-formal education and career development

 Non-formal education is a type of educational process that includes non-institutional educational activities that acquire certain knowledge and skills, and participation in such activities is voluntary.

Starting from the specifics of formal learning, in the opposite conclusion, it could be concluded that informal is any education that takes place outside the formal. However, there are some differences. Non-formal education is usually characterized as education independent of formal educational institutions. During non-formal education, the acquisition of knowledge and various skills happens very consciously, while achieving a specific learning goal. Therefore, non-formal education/learning can be said to take place in less formal institutions, establishments, organizations, or groups.

The framework conditions, the structure, and the pace of learning, as well as the form of teaching, can vary significantly and are usually adapted to the needs of the target group. In this way, it is possible to establish clear, living, and experiential contexts of education. Certificates (diplomas, certificates, certificates) are awarded independently of the formal education system.

Non-formal education offers a multitude of educational programs, which can be divided into two broad categories and these programs are intended for a wide variety of target groups:

  1. Educational programs (for acquiring different knowledge and skills)
  2. Programs related to education (learning attitudes and positive life values).

 The target group in non-formal education has no age limit (of course, it must be within real possibilities, related to the program itself). For some people, it may even be the only possible and only available education because, for various reasons, the door to formal, institutional education is closed to them. It can also be of great help to people who have acquired formal education, but it is not enough for them, so in that case, we define it as "learning and training adults for work, life, social activities that are not directly subject to standardization and strict verification procedures”.

On the other hand, the acquired formal education of a certain person can in some cases be of great practical use, but often formal education is completed after studies (undergraduate and postgraduate). And if a person follows the concept of continuous learning throughout his life, then, in addition to gaining practical and life experience, opportunities for informal education can be of great importance, even when a person is in his 30s, 40s, 50s. and later years. This means it's never too late to improve.

Informal education

 Informal education implies various forms of acquiring knowledge and skills that include self-initiated or spontaneous forms of education, i.e. spontaneous forms of transfer of knowledge, attitudes, and skills. Informal education takes place in situations that are not usually perceived as learning situations. When a person experiences a new experience, sees, hears, or does something new, and then thinks about the situation, then from such an experience he inadvertently gains new knowledge and has a learned experience.

 Informal education can consist of observing certain situations, testing, reading, using the media, practicing, visiting professional fairs, exchanging experiences with other people, etc.

 For these reasons, informal education is described as highly individual. It differs from non-formal because in most cases it does not represent conscious/intentional learning and is described as unsystematic learning in everyday life.

 Informal education takes place in everyday situations, which are usually not perceived as learning situations. It develops from the experience that a person acquires, that is, from solving certain problems, and therefore it is not intentional, and only after thinking does the learning process itself take place.

 Such education is a form of individual learning and is related to the individual. Informal learning, from the student's point of view, is learning without a clear intention and takes place in everyday life and different contexts, in the family, at work, in free time, and in the community. There are results, but these results are rarely recorded, have never been certified, and are not directly visible to the student.


Career Development Through  Non-formal Education
  • Author / Originator: Mr. Goce Markoski, PhD - Euroguidance Ambassador - Republic of North Macedonia
  • Country of origin North Macedonia
  • Main focus Career Development
  • Modality Remote, Presential
  • Context Schools, Higher Education, Adult education, Employment (PES), Youth Work, Community
  • Type Publication
  • Target group Career Guidance Practitioners, Policy-Makers, Parents
  • This practice developed through Erasmus+ No