Title Image

Non-Formal & Adult Education



Non-formal education is designed not only to eradicate illiteracy, but also to increase efficiency and productivity. It plays a major role in poverty reduction. Since non-formal education is a life long learning, it needs to be dynamic and flexible to respond to learners' needs. This type of education is provided through a number of programmes such as literacy programmes, continuing education, vocational training and alternative education.

Adult education is generally provided to adults who because of one reason or another were not reached by the formal system of education and those who would like to advance their education and skills. It can be provided through a number of programmes including literacy programmes, continuing education and vocational training.

Current Situation

Adult education is provided by both public and private institutions. In 2004, there were 130 literacy centres with an enrolment of 7,708 learners of whom 5,437 or 70.5% of total enrolment were females. Continuing education is provided in 39 centres located mostly in urban areas with a total learner population of 4,414 of whom 2,535 or 57.4% of this population are females. Most of the literacy and continuing education programmes are held in regular schools by teachers who are paid a fixed honorarium.

In addition there are other centres providing training in professional skills such as business and accounting, law, secretarial courses and computer training. Vocational training programmes are provided in 74 centres with an enrolment of 1,520 learners where only 75 (4.9%) are females. Women programmes are geared towards increasing women earning capacity through income generating activities. In 2004, there were 63 centres involving 1181 women in activities such as tailoring, cooking, agriculture, poultry, sea-weed cultivation and petty business. There are also non-formal centres for various skills e.g., tailoring and business. At the same time there a few vocational centres offering training for those with special needs through Civil Society Organisations.


  • Literacy rate has increased from 61% in 1986 (literacy census) to 73.4% in 2002 (Population and Housing Census).
  • Vocational training has provided opportunities for employment and self employment.
  • There is an increased awareness and interest among youths to join vocational educational centres.
  • There are private schools, which are actively engaged in vocational education.
  • Existence of vocational centres for the disabled.


  • Inadequate teaching and learning materials and poor remuneration affecting enrolment levels.
  • Literacy programmes are hampered by lack of officially registered centres, lack of professionally qualified adult educators and by learning time which is not convenient to the learners.
  • Poor motivation because of very weak functional literacy programmes.
  • There is no coordination and supervision of adult education activities.
  • Most of the continuing education classes are located in urban areas.
  • Vocational training centres lack equipments and materials.
  • Women income generating activities lack expertise and market for the finished goods.
  • Adult education programmes have not fully exploited ICT facilities.
  • No public vocational training centres for those with special educational needs.

Policy Statements

  • Adult education shall be diversified and revamped to meet the various and changing needs of learners and society.
  • Adult education shall be promoted, strengthened and regulated in collaboration with other partners.
  • A continuing education programme shall be developed within the context of lifelong learning catering for the needs of different learners wishing to complete education or continue learning.


  • Pursuing various avenues to provide literacy and post-literacy training geared to meet occupational needs of diverse target groups.
  • Instituting a campaign on the importance of life long learning
  • Promoting life long learning.
  • Providing appropriate training and mentoring to key people involved in adult education programmes.
  • Re-examining women income generating activities for quality control.
  • Exploiting the use of ICT to improve adult education programmes.
  • Developing mechanisms for collaboration between various sectors and ministries.
  • Strengthening links and interaction between formal and adult education.