What is the difference between "education program" and "educational program"?

For example, if the government of a country has a plan to give children from poor families a classical music education for free, do you call it "education program" or "educational program"?

  • 5
    A curriculum to train teachers would be an education program. A show about science might be an educational program. Your example would be educational.
    – fixer1234
    Feb 26, 2017 at 10:46
  • 2
    This question might help: What is the order in the adjective forms? -music/musical instrument vs. -biology/biology class Basically, an educational program is a program that is educational; an education program is a program of or for education. I disagree with fixer1234 that your example should be educational, though; I think it would be a music education program.
    – stangdon
    Feb 26, 2017 at 13:22
  • I think in this context, either could be used. The difference is insignificant IMHO: a program of/for the purpose of education, versus a program that is educational. These essentially mean the same thing.
    – Billy Kerr
    Sep 14, 2023 at 11:42

2 Answers 2


Something is "educational" if it teaches--it could be on any topic. An "education program" would be something specifically regarding education.

Your example is an education program since it is about the logistics of funding education. Sure, it is also arguably educational, but that word would better apply to the materials produced or delivered by the program.


I agree with Standon's comment.

I think that educational refers more to the content or value of the program, while education as an adjective/noun adjunct refers more to the purpose.

So, if talking about the purpose, which is to educate children about music, then they are developing an education program (which they hope will be educational).

see: https://ell.stackexchange.com/questions/32095/educational-data-vs-education-data#:~:text=Education%2C%20in%20this%20usage%2C%20is,Its%20meaning%20is%20more%20versatile.

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