Formal education enables one to acquire knowledge, skills, values, beliefs and habits from one person or a group of people to enable him or her to be more efficient at work and to live profitably in society. However some degree of knowledge, skills, beliefs and habits can also be acquired through informal education from the society one lives in. Informal education is imparted through storytelling, conversation, self discovery, coaching and sharing of experience. For example most local craftsmen and traditional dancers acquire their skills and knowledge through observation, coaching and self discovery. I learnt how to make banana wine through observation, self discovery and coaching until I became an expert in making local banana wine. The challenge with informal education, it is not formalised at all. It requires a lot of courage, determination and acting on the stage for one to acquire the tools to use in life. The following quote demonstrates it.
Creating your own history
People tend to succeed with only informal education because it allows them to create their own history. They are able to make their own discovery. For sure every one likes creating history. I was so much excited the first time I rode a bicycle on my own and I bragged all over the village for a number days. This was despite the fact I had fallen down so many times and body was full of wounds and bruises. I am sure Thomas Edison went through 10,000 steps to invent a light bulb in order to make personal history. The early explorers risked their lives for the same reason.
Self discovery requires a lot of determination in order to achieve what you want. At one time I wanted to learn how to swim and since we did not have the modern swimming pools I headed to the nearby river. I can assure you I tried floating for many days until I succeeded, despite the fact I swallowed dirty water on a number of times. At one stage I thought I had swallowed a frog. I tried to vomit it but in vain. This did not deter me from continuing with my experiment of self discovery. This requires a lot of determination. Under formal education you learn swimming under safe conditions.
Experience and success
Under informal education you either make your own history or you observe or you are told a story or you are coached by graduates of the ‘university of hard knocks’. The experience, advice and coaching you get from the graduates of the ‘university of hard knocks’ is battle tested. I guess you gain more experience as you fail many times in the process of making your own history. You would have found all ways which do not work by the time you get it right.
John Muhaise Bikalemesa
Director: Big Drum Advisory Services Limited