People keep on learning something from birth till death. He/she gets new experiences every moment, and keeps on growing. Due to which his/her day to day behavior is affected. This learning and teaching of him/her takes place in various contexts of society, such as home, friend groups, letter-magazines, television etc. and at different times, such as daily routine, festivities etc. This type of learning is a broad and elaborate form of education. But when a child learns in formal classes by studying a certain syllabus during a certain interval and passing several examinations, it is called formal education. This is the narrow or limited meaning of education. It is also called schooling in other words. In both along with the development of additional other type of resources, the methods of education have also changed. Now, some children in spite of going to formal classes attain the education of formal course through correspondence, radio and other means of communication. In this type of education, along with the formal curriculum examinations also take place. But there is no formal attendance in classes and there are no formal teaching methods. But still it is a form of schooling, because in this, knowledge is acquired in specific context and in special circumstances for the achievement of specific goals.
Here, if we talk about the characteristics of schooling or school education, then it is the form of education which is obtained from institutions like school. This educational system is made up of different types of rules; its nature is formal, which a society attains in certain period of time through its efforts, like well-designed courses, teaching methods, examinations and in institutes like schools. There is more certainty in it, because it takes place at a fixed place, during a certain time period, it has a definite curriculum, there are certain teachers for it, as well as the selection of material is fixed and all of them have a definite purpose and all of these are collected together to achieve a certain goal.
If we try to understand minutely the interrelationship between education and schooling, then we can see in this context, that the main objective of education is the all-round development of the student or learner, so that they develop good qualities and they can prepare to live a purposeful life. Schools play an important role in achieving this objective of education. But all these goals of education cannot be fully achieved only through school education or schooling, other means also have a special role, i.e., we get education from different places, different contexts and different people. Therefore, the means of education vary from agency to agency. All the different means of education play their role in different ways, like if the schools directly educate the children then the means of mass communication like radio, television or family and society educate the child both overtly and covertly. On the one hand, where the school helps in the intellectual development, the responsibility of developing physical strength and good habits comes more at home. Thus we can understand that schooling is a means of getting education.
It is also necessary to understand here that education is not limited to context of school only; the dimensions of education extend beyond this. It is free from the shackles of formal education. In a broad sense education is obtained naturally in a very natural way, it does not require the restriction of formalities of time, curriculum, examination, teaching methods, place, student, teacher etc. of a formal institution like school. All this is independent of formalities. In fact, the experiences from birth till the end of life is its curriculum, the things from which we are taking experience are its teachers, one who get these experience is the student, the way and the time one gets these experiences is the institute, is the time and the teaching method. The knowledge that is received consciously or unconsciously through various modes like radio, television, drama, festival, library, or by seeing and listening inadvertently to the society is also education. It is a continuous process and its area is very wide.
Without it, formal education or schooling is also incomplete, i.e., these two are complementary to each other, because when the child comes to school to take formal education, he also brings his experiences with him. In the education system, these earlier experiences of the child are used for teaching. In other words, it can be said that formal education cannot begin without informal education in other words without using our experiences. This education received from the surrounding contexts affects the formal education of the student, sometimes as a facilitator or sometimes as a barrier. When informal education is used as a complement to school education, it reinforces school education as an adjunct. On the other hand, if informal education is not given place in school institutions, then it becomes a hindrance in the learning of the student. If these points are considered in depth, then one thing seems clear that the experiences of the child formed during informal education determines the purpose of formal education, its curriculum, its teaching methods etc. Therefore, when we say that education should be child- centered, it is expected that the habits build and experiences gained (by the learner) through informal education should also be given place in the of formal education.
Not only informal education affects formal education or schooling, but formal education also plays an important role in defining various contexts of informal education. The education received in school helps human to achieve his/her life goals. At the same time it also promotes critical thinking in human beings, so that they can see and understand their day-to-day experiences critically and successfully perform their role in establishing an egalitarian society.