Not so long time ago, the knowledge and skills acquired at school were enough to get a job and retain it through the whole professional life. Nowadays, skills obtained through the formal education are not enough to follow the economic, technological and industrial growth, which calls for constant adjustment to all the changes in all aspects of life. Such adaptation requires continuous acquisition of new competences. Non-formal education is therefore part of the answer for today?s educational challenges.
- means learning through practice and experience, according to the following rule: ?Tell me, and I will forget; Show me, and I will remember; Let me practice, and I will understand?;
- is based on non-traditional relation between a teacher and a student. In non-formal education they cooperate as partners, where the teacher is a facilitator. He or she can help, assist and influence learning processes during classes, but he or she does not impose ideas or solutions. The participant is in the centre of his own learning process and the facilitator only supports this process.
- is based on voluntary participation;
- is held in an organized way;
- takes place outside school/college, in free time;
- emphasis is put on creativity and self-expression, individual and group involvement;
- creates favourable conditions for self-fullfilment and self-development of participants of educational activities;
- includes the participant?s responsibility for their own learning process.
The notion of non-formal education is well-known among educators, trainers and youth workers, whose work is based on the rule: ?reflective learning through practice, from practice and for practice?. The methods of non-formal education are particularly often implemented in the third sector (by non-government organizations). Operating on the basis of voluntarism and spontaneity, non-government organizations are not limited by formal teaching programs, outdated regulations or institutional barriers. Therefore, they can much more easily use experimental techniques and search for new unconventional solutions. In consequence, the participants? needs are taken into consideration and the scope of potential innovations is much broader.