Formal education


Education that is institutionalised, intentional and planned through public organizations and recognised private bodies and – in their totality – constitute the formal education system of a country. Formal education programmes are thus recognised as such by the relevant national education authorities or equivalent authorities, e.g. any other institution in cooperation with the national or sub-national education authorities. Formal education consists mostly of initial education. Vocational education, special needs education and some parts of adult education are often recognised as being part of the formal education system.

UIS. International Standard Classification of Education, ISCED 2011. Montreal: UIS, 2012. 

example of use

Most empirical studies on the education-productivity relationship areconcerned with formal education. Yet education is not limited to theinstruction provided in schools, which means that part of the phenomenonis being ignored (IIEP and FAO,2003: 58)

IIEP and FAO. Education for rural development: towards new policy responses. Paris: UNESCO-IIEP, 2003.

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