Education

Formal education consists of systematic instruction, teaching and training by teachers. This consists of the application of pedagogy and the development of curricula. In a liberal education tradition, teachers draw on many different disciplines for their lessons, including psychology, philosophy, linguistics, biology, and sociology. Teachers in specialized professions such as astrophysics, law, or zoology may teach only in a narrow area, usually as professors at institutions of higher learning. There is much specialist instruction in fields of trade for those who want specific skills, such as required to be a pilot, for example. Finally, there is an array of educational opportunity in the informal sphere- such as with museums and libraries. Informal education also includes knowledge and skills learned and refined during the course of life, including education that comes from experience in practicing a profession.

The right to education has been described as a fundamental human right: since 1952, Article 2 of the first Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights obliges all signatory parties to guarantee the right to education. At world level, the United Nations’ International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966 guarantees this right under its Article 13.

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Systems of formal education

Education is a broad concept, referring to all the experiences in which students can learn something:

  • Instruction refers to the intentional facilitating of learning toward identified goals, delivered either by an instructor or other forms.
  • Teaching refers to the actions of a real live instructor designed to impart learning to the student.
  • Training refers to learning with a view toward preparing learners with specific knowledge, skills, or abilities that can be applied immediately upon completion.

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