AN EXPLORATION OF POTENTIAL SOCIO-ECONOMIC BENEFITS OF NON-FORMAL EDUCATION – A CASE STUDY OF PUNJAB-PAKISTAN
Non-Formal Education (NFE) is a need-based education system, which is extended to an unorganized group of people through informal and short-term course curricula. Education does not only upgrade the living standard of people, but it also enables them to become a better citizen. In addition to be a human right, education today is a prerequisite for development and also an effective mean for taking knowledge-based decisions and improving as well as strengthens developmental capacities of individuals, communities, institutions, and countries. It supplements the UN Sustainable Development Goal # 4 that reads, “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”. Being the sixth populous and poorly managed country, Pakistan lacks will and resources to provide formal education to it growing population. The very obvious and prompt response to this growing demand is to expand the system of education or to find out the alternate of non-formal systems; the NFE fits here. The overall goal of this research is to find out the role of NFE in social development of Punjab, Pakistan with yardstick of its requirements to enhance it. The specific objectives are to evaluate if i) the non-formal education system adopted in Punjab is able to high up literacy needed for social development, ii) the curricula followed by the non-formal education system in Punjab meets the required needs of literacy for children, adolescents, and adults meet the needs of learners to bring change in their social life in form of getting life skills & technical education, and iii) changes are needed to ensure targets of meeting the goal of 100% Literacy rate till 2030 mentioned in SGDs and signed by Pakistan. The study objectives will be achieved through quantitative and qualitative methods by measuring the basic variables like acceptance/approval of non-formal education by public and their responses to education through questionnaire and describing the social development in the community who have adopted non-formal education as a key to change their life. The anticipated outcomes of this study include i) a scientific assessment of the existing curricula of the formal and non-formal education systems followed in Punjab, ii) a list of gaps between the formal and non-formal education systems other than the scheme of studies, and iii) as set of recommendations for uplifting literacy rate of Punjab through non-formal education system.