Participation, Learning and Change

Commonwealth Approaches to Non-formal Education

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What is attempted here is a distillation of the collective wisdom of the New Delhi Conference on Non-Formal Education (January 1979) into a readable narrative. Some of the Conference papers are quoted in full: others are used as the basis for a discussion of the major current themes of non-formal education for development. Without the papers and the hard thinking that went into them, no book would have been possible. Without the Conference, their interpretation might well have been different. With the help of both, it is hoped that this book will provide both stimulation and guidance to non-formal educators in the important tasks which lie ahead.




The birth of the non-formal idea coincides with a fundamental review both of development strategies and of the educational policies which support them. Throughout the developing world, but also to a lesser extent in the developed countries, the 1970s have been characterized by a search for educational alternatives. For many educators the search has meant improving formal school systems—more relevant curricula, better pedagogy and more flexible use of teachers or physical resources: such improvements have made and will continue to make an important contribution.


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