Non-formal education constitutes learning opportunities for the vast majority of children, youth and adults in developing countries who are not reached by the formal education system. Non-formal Education may take place both within and outside educational institutions, and may cater to persons of all ages. Depending on country contexts, it may cover educational programmes to impart adult literacy, basic education for out-of-school children, life-skills, work-skills, and general culture. Non-formal education programmes do not necessarily follow the 'ladder' system, may have varying durations, and may or may not confer certification of the learning achieved.
UNESCO has also initiated a array of projects to promote non-formal education based on the needs of specific types of countries and regions. Selected projects include:
*Basic Trades for Small Island Nations: This initiative targets the improvement of the qualifications of semi literate workers in conconstruction sector across the South Pacific Countries.
*Hope and solidarity through ballgames: This project aims to reach underprivileged and excluded children and to ensure their reinsertion in society, through athletic, cultural and playful activities.
UNESCO has also published a series of handbooks and multimedia materials in order to reach out non-formal educators and provide them with guidance to alternative approaches, tools and an overview of good practices. This was namely the purpose of the following support materials:*Emerging and re-emerging learning communities:Old wisdoms and new initiatives from around the world
The Dakar Framework for Action
The UNESCO Exchange platform on Non-formal Education
The UNESCO portal on Education For All