This Quality Assurance (QA) toolkit will be a useful resource for non-formal education and training (NFE) policy makers, programme managers, in-field staff and researchers working through governmental, non-governmental and community-based organisations, development assistance agencies and funding bodies.
NFE is an extremely wide field, encompassing themes with an enormous and ever-increasing need, including adult literacy, basic education for out-of-school children, life skills, work skills, gender equity and community development. Evidence of direct and tangible benefits to individuals, communities and economies must be demonstrated if these programmes are to receive the funding and support that they need.
QA systems applied in educational contexts are generally concerned with inputs — how much money is spent, what staffing, resources and support are provided, what kinds of teaching and learning are involved, and so on. There is an assumption — not always fulfilled — that the higher the standards of the inputs, the higher the quality of the outputs. In this toolkit, we propose a different approach: the evaluation of the programmes’ outcomes, outputs and impacts. We:
- Examine the differences between informal and self-directed learning, NFE and formal education.
- Provide examples of NFE programmes using a variety of face-to-face, distance education and technology-based teaching and learning methods.
- Examine the approaches to QA that are required in NFE.
- Consider the outputs, outcomes and impacts that can be achieved in NFE programmes.
- Propose the adoption of a rigorous but simple-to-use QA framework which is based on outputs, outcomes and impacts.