In southern Africa, nonformal education is adult education (Toweet 1978) and lifelong learning that is essential for the promotion of personal, group, community, and national self-reliance. Throughout the last few hundred years, and more importantly, during the last 40 years, rationalization of nonformal education was carried out in a marginal and loosely organized way by individual racial group communities. These communities used adult education concepts, methods, and strategies to solve their social, economic and political problems. Although non-formal education is not growth-oriented, selective, and competitive, it is humanistic education (Brown 1978) because it is local, instrumental, and expressive in nature (Sagini 2000).
Forty years ago, Madagascar became a multicultural and democratic republic. The government established a new constitution and a variety of ministries, including the ministry of education, which integrated all forms of education throughout the nation. In addition, all forms of development including agriculture, mines, housing and the urban sector, health, and education were integrated with the entire national economic planning strategy. Under the colonial regime, nonformal education was marginalized, racially organized, and largely inconsequential. However, nonformal education, like preschool, elementary, secondary, and higher education, is currently a component of the national education policy that is managed and administered by the coordinating machinery under the Ministry of Education. Within South Africa and perhaps elsewhere in the African continent, nonformal education is education for adults who are nontraditional learners and students who are interested in self-actualization, regardless of when they achieve it. Adult education philosophy has evolved from cultural and nationalistic beliefs concerning "human dignity, equality and respect" (Mbekile 1978). It is an education policy that is used for the elimination of "poverty, disease and ignorance." One of the main goals of nonformal education is to enhance equality by working to eliminate the effects of educational social stratification, lessen the exploitation of the uneducated masses by the elite, and distribute educational services and resources more equitably. Methodologically, approaches to nonformal education are a product of a government's nationalistic goals as a development strategy that focuses on the nation's geographic features, climatic conditions, occupational demography, and cultural and regional differences. These nonformal education measures are directed towards both the urban and rural sectors of society. Notwithstanding the fact that the success of nonformal education will depend on public commitment and psychological and practical participation, the most important challenges to effective nonformal education are a lack of massive financial investment, a lack of enough qualified personnel to implement it, and the view that it is not essential and therefore inconsequential. Madagascar has yet to succeed in implementing a long-distance learning strategy. Though attempts are being made to strengthen it, lack of resources made it difficult to implement.
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