Non-Formal, Civic and Entrepreneurial Education

Team Building Malaysia @ Cherating Lagoona Villa Resort

Non-Formal, Civic and Entrepreneurial Education

Team Building Malaysia @ Cherating Lagoona Villa Resort

Non-Formal, Civic and Entrepreneurial Education

1.1 What Is Non-Formal Education?

Non-formal education refers to various forms of formative (character shaping) and informative (providing knowledge about life skills) influences on individuals of all ages. It primarily takes place through practical work outside traditional classroom settings (with desks, chairs, etc.) and formal educational programs.

Non-formal education removes the teaching function from the educational process, leaving room for the learning function, yielding good results only when it is based on, correlated with, and coordinated with formal education. The experience gained in practical activities can only be acquired with a theoretical foundation accumulated during formal education.

Non-formal education includes extracurricular, optional, or elective activities, differing from formal education in the content and forms of lesson delivery. The differences are based on oppositions such as dynamic/static, specific/generic, short-term/long-term, output/input, practical/academic.

These educational actions are flexible and cater to various interests of those involved, being organized by schools, youth organizations, parent organizations, enterprises, training or educational commercial companies, etc. They are coordinated by specialised educators, who in the case of non-formal education have roles as moderators or coordinators.

Unlike formal education, non-formal education allows the development of a person’s natural abilities by involving them in the development process of a project chosen from any field of activity. It provides a set of necessary and useful social experiences and satisfies the natural tendency of many young people to engage in practical activities, feel active, and provoke changes in their social environment, offering the opportunity to align knowledge with innate skills. However, this requires personal initiatives and an awareness that education is a continuous process that must be carefully, honestly, and courageously controlled!

Non-formal education develops functional competencies: organizational skills, self-management skills, time management skills, critical thinking, decision-making, processing and contextual use of information, problem-solving ability.

It represents the premise of lifelong learning in 21st-century society, a learning and competence acquisition society.

An interesting aspect is that this form of education has come to address individuals who no longer have access to formal education, namely: the poor, withdrawn, illiterate, disabled, and so on.

1.2 What is civic education?

Civic education is the process of shaping a good citizen by imparting knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for their effective and efficient participation in civic life (social, political, etc.). Generally, education for democratic citizenship aims to develop a better society by promoting basic ideas or values such as equality, dignity, solidarity, participation, freedom, justice, responsibility, peace, and others. The goal is to impart knowledge and instill attitudes that enable individuals to perceive and understand how society should function, and then actively contribute to improving existing deficiencies. Furthermore, civic education can also be interpreted as acquiring a minimum of knowledge about proper behavior among people (in other words, a minimum of politeness and common sense); today we observe that a large majority of individuals behave in public in a manner that lacks refinement.

The knowledge and ability of individuals to participate in civic and public life are not transmitted genetically, which is why it is necessary for the smooth functioning of society for each generation to learn in an organized manner the characteristics of communal life, the rights and especially the duties of any citizen/human being, as well as the ideals of democracy, and then to rationally (preferably reflexively!) link this information to the attitude of civic responsibility.

Schools should teach students to participate in community life, to care about the world they live in, beyond the narrow circle of family and friends. Its role is to prepare responsible citizens who analyze controversial issues, influence public policies, and express their opinions clearly and dignifiedly.

1.3. What is entrepreneurship?

Entrepreneurship is a mindset accompanied by a competence to turn ideas into actions. This mindset is useful for achieving success in any aspect of life or profession, making it a vital skill for every individual – and for society as a whole.

However, typically, the notion of entrepreneurship refers to the economic field, business sector, specifically to the establishment, management, and development of an enterprise (small or large), i.e., an independent productive activity. An entrepreneur is an owner – not an employee or worker in a company, etc. The concept (and activity) of entrepreneurship partially overlaps with that of management.

Entrepreneurial competence includes various technical knowledge from numerous fields: economics, accounting, law, psychology, public relations, leadership, marketing, etc. For optimal performance, this competence requires a series of personal qualities and a certain mindset – which are often practically more important than technical knowledge.

People who have not reached competence in the entrepreneurship field but at least have knowledge in the domain are capable of earning higher personal incomes than those who lack such knowledge or skills. However, more importantly for society is the capacity of entrepreneurs to create jobs and innovation (technological, commercial, etc.), thus fostering progress and economic development.

1.4 Qualities Required for an Entrepreneur

The personal qualities required for an entrepreneur fall into two categories:

  1. Biological qualities (related to the entirety of being: body-mind-soul; cultivated through team-building education):
    1. Good health condition – energetic attitude, capacity for effort;
    2. Self-confidence, autonomy, independence;
    3. Perseverance;
    4. Ability (desire and will) for commitment, fighting for an idea, determination to succeed;
    5. Acceptance of risk, ambiguity, and uncertainty; mastery over the fear of failure;
    6. Flexibility;
    7. Creativity;
    8. Ability to see things in perspective;
    9. Initiative-taking ability (refusal to be led by events or others);
    10. Intelligence;
    11. Leadership ability.
  2. Professional competencies (related only to the mind – taught in theoretical special courses):
    1. Managerial (see also #4.7): ability to perform tasks and solve problems; based on knowledge of planning, leadership and decision-making, good communication, negotiation, willingness to take on responsibilities;
    2. Social: ability to have good relationships and collaborate with others, to establish multi-functional relationships (networking), to take on new roles in society or organization, to respect professional ethics;
    3. Regarding personal performance: self-confidence; motivation to achieve something and do it better; critical, independent, systemic thinking ability; willingness and skill to learn independently;
    4. Entrepreneurial: initiative-taking ability, proactive attitude, creativity, acceptance of risks associated with putting ideas into practice, keeping calm when the future is uncertain, ability to motivate the group and inspire collaborators, ability to create opportunities or recognize/identify them when they arise.

The main requirements of employers for candidates for managerial positions were (2008): seriousness/character (common sense); capabilities of: work and effort/analyzing information/vision/learning new knowledge.

NOTE: The appearance of some biological qualities in the “competencies” category proves (if it was needed) the importance of the body’s contribution to professional activity.

1.5  What motivates a person to start a business?

non-formal education
Credit: Anita Rahman
non-formal education

Financial gain is not the only or primary incentive that drives an individual to become an entrepreneur.

There are various motives that can act individually or collectively on a person:

  • Need for independence – the refusal to take orders from others, the desire to be one’s own boss;
  • Desire for power – to assert oneself over others;
  • Search for meaning in life, the need to achieve something remarkable – to show others what valuable they are;
  • Satisfaction of personal pleasure, without worrying about the opinions of others;
  • Need to belong to a group – which they create themselves and where they would have a leading role;
  • Pleasure in giving to others, without fear of being copied (copying, as well as criticism, are gifts/incentives; those who do not share do not progress);
  • Imitation of inspiring examples from the surroundings/circle of acquaintances/family (75% of entrepreneurs come from entrepreneurial families).

1.6. What is entrepreneurial education?

non-formal education

A small number of people are born with entrepreneurial talents (qualities), but the majority, the general population, do not possess these qualities from birth. However, they can be developed to a considerable extent in any interested, motivated individual through appropriate schooling.

Entrepreneurial education is a form of learning that focuses on developing the respective competence and associated mindset.

Entrepreneurial education has two directions of action:

  1. Theoretical education, where the transfer of knowledge from teachers to students is done through traditional methods, lectures, etc. This mode of learning is used for specialized knowledge: economics, technical, psychological, management, etc.
  2. Practical, experiential education (based on practical activity, i.e., learning by doing, working). This activity takes place in two directions:
    1. Practical applications simulate setting up a small business (activities similar to video games, computer-based);
    2. Special physical education (called Team-building), to develop the personal qualities required of an entrepreneur, involving both the minds and bodies of students.
non-formal education
non-formal education

Due to the clear advantages for society, every country has an interest in increasing the number of entrepreneurs among its population. Entrepreneurial spirit is an essential condition for economic growth and development. Unfortunately, in the current situation, the percentage of people willing to work independently is 67% in the USA, only 45% in the European Union, and just 25.08 percent in Malaysia (2019).

Driven by the dynamics of the global economy to increase social dynamism to remain at the forefront of living standards, The Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) has launched the MOHE Guide to Entrepreneurship Integrated Education (EIE) Entrepreneurship Action Plan 2021 – 2025. This plan aims to create a holistic entrepreneurial ecosystem to inspire young graduates to pursue entrepreneurship upon completing their education.

1.7. Personal Development

non-formal education
non-formal education

General Aspects

In connection with entrepreneurial education, the concept of Personal Development must also be highlighted.

The first meaning of this idea refers to activities based on personal effort, individually, which enhance self-awareness and awareness of one’s own identity, develop talents and potential capabilities, for the improvement of personality and quality of life, as well as the realization of dreams and aspirations.

The second meaning of the concept of Personal Development refers to the organized activity of enterprises to enhance their workforce, which is one of the main productive factors. This activity consists of a set of methods, techniques, study programs, and progress assessment systems. It represents an external influence on the individual/employee, unlike the first meaning – which refers to personal, individual initiative and effort.

non-formal education
non-formal education

In the first version – of personal development – self-improvement activity, personal development includes personal efforts to:

  1. Become the person you want to be; harmonizing social position with self-evaluated identity;
  2. Increase awareness or define priorities, values, chosen lifestyle or ethics;
  3. Establish a strategy to achieve dreams, aspirations, career priorities, and lifestyle;
  4. Develop professional potential and talents; develop individual skills; workplace learning;
  5. Improve quality of life in areas such as health, well-being, culture, family, friends, and community;
  6. Acquire techniques or methods to expand life and world perception, ensure control over one’s own life, achieve wisdom.

In the second version – the personal development activity of others can be the task of a teacher, or mentor, or a manager in the enterprise – who must develop the human and productive potential of subordinates, or a professional trainer, external employee – who delivers training, assessment, or instruction services.

Lately, active individuals have become increasingly aware of the importance of their competence for success in the job market. Therefore, they make great efforts to increase or diversify their skills, following various forms of education consistently into advanced ages.

Alongside these individual efforts for personal development, a veritable industry of adult education schools has emerged, with two distinct markets – depending on the partners involved in the action:

  1. Group “enterprise suppliers with individual clients” – meaning a service provider for personal development (Ltd., etc.) – and its individual clients, and
  2. Group “enterprise suppliers with enterprise clients” – meaning a service provider for personal development (Ltd., etc.) – and its collective clients or legal entity institutions (enterprises).

non-formal education

In the first case, service providers (Ltd., freelancers, etc.) enter into contracts with individuals and deliver services such as motivational books, distance learning programs, individual (personal delivery) or group (group delivery) workshops for counseling in managing their own lives, as well as coaching techniques, which include among others yoga, martial arts, meditation, and fitness programs.

In the second case, service providers (Ltd., educational institutions, etc.) enter into contracts with organizations (enterprises, schools, public administrations, etc.) and deliver services such as professional training programs, employee development programs, various means of development, self-assessment, feedback, coaching, and mentoring to large groups of employees, students, officials, etc. The number of clients for such services has rapidly increased worldwide, leading to the growth of these service providers.

The profitability of the field has attracted specialized consultancy firms in personal development and firms specialized in recruitment, organization, and human resource utilization strategy, which have all become service providers for personal development. There are also numerous small firms and even authorized individuals conducting independent activities, offering consultancy, training, and staff training services.

In the conditions of sharp competition in the labor market and in the economic market, the issue of personal development has expanded into the field of education. Thus, Malaysian universities aim not only to qualify students in strictly professional fields but also to develop their personal skills. The objectives of this concern are:

  1. Developing life and professional skills;
  2. Establishing and accepting personal identity;
  3. Developing mature interpersonal relationships;
  4. Setting life goals;
  5. Achieving autonomy and interdependence;
  6. Developing character integrity;
  7. Managing emotions;
  8. Acquiring personal protection knowledge (physical and mental self-defense).
non-formal education

Regardless of the direction in which personal development takes place – economic, political, biological, or organizational – a system of progress evaluation is necessary. This includes, among other benchmarks: intermediate and final objectives to be achieved, strategies or plans for achieving objectives, rules for measuring and evaluating progress, as well as a feedback system to support the progress of those involved. Evaluation is carried out with tests (psychological).

1.7.1   Personal Development for Entrepreneurs and Managers

Personal development within a company has two facets: the benefits to the employee and the benefits to the enterprise.

non-formal education
non-formal education

For employees, personal development leads to improved satisfaction, motivation, and loyalty. Employees influence the enterprise to establish programs for balancing the “work-life balance”, reducing stress, improving staff health, and providing psychological counseling. To achieve these goals, the enterprise uses (and subsidizes) the same methods that individuals use for intelligent leisure activities: sports, yoga, martial arts, training courses, and more.

For the enterprise, personal development programs represent an investment in human capital aimed at increasing productivity, enhancing creativity, and improving quality. Such programs aim to develop careers, increase personal efficiency, teamwork, and skill development. They are not considered as costs, but rather as investments for the company’s strategic development. Employee access to these programs is selective, based on the value and future potential of the employee.

The community’s interest, or more narrowly, the employer’s interest (the enterprise), in personal development (i.e., improving performance and personal income) of employed individuals may seem illogical, given the general perception that increasing employee salaries equals decreasing the company’s profit or the owner’s wealth, etc. In reality, the current economic situation is much changed from the traditional one that generated the aforementioned opinion.

Any entrepreneur or manager of a company aiming to be competitive in the international market knows that the success of a business depends more on the human capital it possesses, the quality of its employees, than on the size of its financial capital or advantageous access to material resources, etc.

As the global market has developed and become global, the orientations and responsibilities within enterprises have also changed, so that the responsibility for personal development has shifted from the enterprise to the employee. The renowned management expert Peter Drucker wrote in 1999:

“In today’s times, if you are capable and ambitious, you can reach the highest positions, regardless of where you started your career. But the possibility of advancement is closely linked to responsibility. Today’s companies no longer manage employees’ careers; modern workers, who create and process knowledge, must also be their own bosses. Each person is responsible for how they manage their career, what they do and do not do, whether they continue to do what they have been doing until now or change, how they ensure their participation in the productive process (avoiding unemployment) throughout their active life, which can last about 50 years.”

Today, there is no longer economic isolation, and high-performing individuals (necessary for business success) have a high level of education and are aware of the value of their work. A good manager or entrepreneur has an economic interest in having each subordinate rise from the role of humble servant (a characteristic situation of old production systems) to the level of collaborator, i.e., a responsible and creative employee who contributes to the progress and profit of the enterprise. Therefore, the boss/employer can no longer treat employees like feudal lords, in a despotic manner, but rather must become a kind of friend or elder relative, more skilled. Otherwise, they will remain without valuable manpower!

It should be noted, however, that in the new market conditions, both parties – on the one hand, entrepreneurs or managers, and on the other, employees – have both rights and duties. Both partners have individual and mutual responsibilities. Any modern enterprise must recognize that the personal development of its employees creates economic value: the company’s performance no longer depends on the wisdom or “genius” of a few all-powerful bosses, but on the initiative, creativity, and abilities of all employees.

On the other hand, employees must also acknowledge that their work includes personal development, including continuous learning. Employees who cannot meet the requirements, cannot withstand stress, do not participate constructively and creatively in the smooth running of the enterprise, but only consume ideas without creating anything themselves, who wait for the “boss” to tell them what to do, will soon become unemployed. Such employees either change their mindset and adapt to the new requirements – which are no longer those of the boss, but those of the world – or they will only find poorly paid jobs, for unskilled workers, servants, etc.

In this way, personal development has evolved from centralized management, led by the enterprise, to become a decentralized concern, whose responsibility, leadership, and implementation rest with each employee. The objectives, access routes, lifestyle, and career priorities must be continually adapted and rebalanced throughout one’s active life.

The first scientist to highlight the need for personal development in the workplace was Abraham Maslow (1908-1970). He established the “pyramid of personal needs”, with self-fulfillment at the top, defined as: “… the individual’s desire to become what he truly is, all that he is capable of becoming”. Maslow believed that only a small number of people were capable of self-fulfillment (about 1% of a population!). Therefore, the world misunderstood that “personal development” referred only to a minority at the top of the hierarchical pyramid, while for the rest of the workforce, job security and good working conditions were sufficient. In reality, self-development is possible for everyone and is a task for all individuals.

1.7.2 The Situation in Malaysia & Team Building with Lagoona Cherating

In our country, HRD Corp under the Ministry of Human Resources has taken the helm as Malaysia’s central agency for human capital development (personal growth and skills).

Former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has highlighted its crucial role in post-pandemic recovery through upskilling and reskilling initiatives. Overseeing UpskillMalaysia, HRD Corp has trained hundreds of thousands, addressing economic needs. Collaborations with institutions like the Malaysian Prisons Department highlight its commitment to diverse skill development. Plans include extending support to marginalized groups such as seniors, single mothers, and persons with disabilities.

Under the pressure of multinational corporations and ASEAN bodies, the number of private companies providing services for the personal development of employees in enterprises has also grown significantly.

Thus, we at Cherating Lagoon Villa Resort-Team Building strive to be one of Malaysia’s most innovative team building providers.

Our goal is to develop a scientific and practical framework for the new educational field.

It’s our highest ambition that Cherating Lagoon Villa Resort-Team Building will continue to actively engage in raising awareness among students about the issue of personal development, using experiential team-building and entrepreneurship as practical tools.

We Play to Learn to Live.

non-formal education