ICTs can be used to make information and learning opportunities available outside the formal schooling system. This essay examines current practices as a way to make real ambitions to live in a "knowledge society."
This essay on the use of ICTs in non-formal education (NFE) provides a perspective on how ICTs are increasingly being used in the community in general to make available information and learning to a larger target group outside of the formal school system. This paper attempts to understand the penetration of ICT in delivery of NFE. It outlines the various modes of delivery of NFE using ICT tools and enablers, projects across countries that have achieved success more effectively through usage of ICT, the innovations in the same, and the emerging trends. In the process, this paper highlights the advantages accrued by the use of ICT in NFE, the critical success factors for such projects and impediments, and barriers faced in the implementation of ICT-enabled NFE. Quite often in the developing countries of South Asia, it is seen that when there is a wider dissemination of technology in the community by way of delivery of government services through the Internet, or by recourse to other e-government services, there is a greater demand for and adoption of technology in education in the formal system too. The widespread use of ICTs at this level for lifelong and continuous learning as well as community empowerment is a significant trend in making into a reality the 21st century ambition of living in truly “knowledge societies.”