Formal education can be described as what students should learn that has been laid down by the syllabus (Urevbu, 1985). As a result, it can be referred to as the publicly chosen body of knowledge that the government, via the Ministry of Education, by subject matter institutes, or regional education authorities, or whichever body is concerned with offering education, would like students to learn.
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The formal curriculum, also called official curriculum, is the curriculum that is not only written, but also published such as course documentation (McKimm, 2003).
According to the University of Zimbabwe Distance Education (1995), a formal curriculum refers to the entire work that is planned and used by teachers in conjunction with students.
The formal curriculum is intended to fulfill specified objectives of education of recognized groups of students or learners in their changeable settings. In other words, formal curriculum can be said to be chosen written courses or programs that students experience.
According to Urevbu (1985), informal curriculum refers to the curriculum in use. In view of the fact that instructors or teachers may not be able to stick on to the offered formal curriculum, they can include additional features of knowledge that are usually derived from supplementary sources.
As a result, these extra materials are known as ‘informal curriculum’. According to UNESCO (1997), informal (non-formal) curriculum refers to structured and nonstop educational actions that do not characterize formal education, and may take place both inside and outside educational institutions.
A number of examples of the formal curriculum include things like lecturers’ handouts, course guides and the prospectus. On the other hand, activities such as rugby and other games events and clubs, Fresher’s week, treating Asian or female students in a different way, the different ‘ethnic groups and territories’ established in different areas of expertise, are examples of informal curriculum.
A case in point of informal curriculum is a case where a mother teaches her child basic aspects of language and grammar at home, before the child goes into a formal education institution (Eaton, 2011).
Contrasting formal and informal curricula
|Formal Curriculum||Informal Curriculum|
|1||Mostly deals with young children and adolescents||Deals with people of all ages|
|2||Confers certification to the learning achieved||May or may not award certification to the learning achieved|
|3||Takes place within educational institutions||Can take place inside or outside educational institutions|
|4||In general, classrooms have the same teachers and the same students every day.||Generally, the programs are usually drop-in. as a result attendance and leadership are not consistent.|
|5||In most cases, classroom activities go on for a number of days.||In most cases the programs are required to bring to an end each day’s activity since a different group of participants could be in attendance the following day.|
|6||It can be assumed teachers or instructors have undergone a specified level of training in classroom management, educational philosophy, effective teaching strategies, and content.||In contrast, informal curriculum providers have varied levels of experience and knowledge of teaching methods, group management, and expertise in content.|
|7||Teachers and instructors are required to meet certain educational standards. In addition, they must follow a particular curriculum. As a result, it is difficult for them to slot in nontraditional content.||On the contrary, informal programs are more flexible as regards their content.|
|8||It is predictable and can be controlled||One cannot predict or preemptively have power over this kind of curriculum. It is very idiosyncratic and unpredictable.|
Source: Enhancing education, 2002.
Eaton, S.E. (2011). Family Literacy and the New Canadian: Formal, Non-Formal and Informal Learning: The Case of Literacy, Essential Skills and Language Learning in Canada, National Metropolis Conference, Vancouver, B.C.
Enhancing education. (2002). Formal vs. Informal Education. Web.
Marshall, K. (2004). Let’s clarify the way we use the word “curriculum.” Education Week, 24(1), 43.
McKimm, J. (2003). Curriculum design and development. Web.
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UNESCO. (1997). International standard classification of education ISCED 1997. Paris: UNESCO.
University of Zimbabwe. (1995). Curriculum Implementation,Change and Innovation. Harare: Centre for Distance Education, University of Zimbabwe.
Urevbu, A.O. (1985). Curriculum Studies. Ikeja: Longman.