Read this essay to learn about the adult education. After reading this essay you will learn about:- 1. Importance of Adult Education 2. The Education Commission (1964-66) and Adult Education 3. Need of Adult Education Programme 4. Conditions Necessary for the Success of Literacy Programmes or Adult Education Programmes 5. Causes of Slow Progress.

Essay Contents:

  1. Essay on the Importance of Adult Education
  2. Essay on the Education Commission (1964-66) and Adult Education
  3. Essay on the Need of Adult Education Programme
  4. Essay on the Conditions Necessary for Success of Literacy Programmes or Adult Education Programmes
  5. Essay on the Causes of Slow Progress of Adult Education

1. Essay on the Importance of Adult Education:

“Adult Education” is one of the most important and formidable issues in Indian education. The most urgent national need of our country to-day is the education of the adults who form the bulk of the population. More than 60 percent of our fellow countrymen still live in the darkness of ignorance and illiteracy.

In 1947, literacy in India was about 14 percent. In 1971 the per­centage of literacy in India was 29 percent (Census Report). According to 1981 Census it is 36 percent. That means 64 percent people in India are illiterate. This is the highest percentage of illiteracy in a country in the world. Half of the total illiterate population of the world lives in India. According to the census of 1981 the population of India is 75 crores.

If the education of children is important for the future welfare of the state, education of adults is very necessary for the very existence of democra­cy. There is no doubt that adult education is directly linked with the eco­nomic, social, cultural and political regeneration of a country.

The leading nations of the world have the highest percentages of literacy. In those coun­tries national income is highest per capita. “Without adult education and adult literacy, it is not possible to have that range and speed of economic and social development that makes it worthwhile in terms of values and welfare”. (Prof. V.K.R.V. Rao).

The circumstances of modern life are such that the illiterate is condemned to live on inferior existence. He cannot se­cure an honourable place in the society. He has little prospect of a reasona­ble income to live a decent living. He ceases to be an important member of the family. He cannot take part intelligently either in the community or in the Government. Again, illiterate women-hood negates and frustrates all ef­forts at educating children.

An adult is the chief unit of society, and the advancement of a family depends on him. Educated adults are in a better position to educate their children according to the new developments in education.

An adult falls within the age-group of 14-45. But for all practical pur­poses importance is given to the age-group 15-35. The term “adult education” is defined in different ways in different countries. Adult education also re­fers to some other connotations such as adult literacy, functional literacy, so­cial education etc.

“Functional literary” means ability or that level of liter­acy which enables a person to function as a literate in his social and professional life.

Literacy means functional literacy. It again means mastery on Rs. 3 and on the tools of learning and ability to acquire knowledge and in­formation independently. Functional literacy again means ability to dis­charge multifarious civic duties and responsibilities in an efficient manner.

i) Acquisition of functional literacy;

ii) Acquisition of vocational, technical and professional competency,

iii) Social and personal development of the individual.

Bryson Writes:

“Adult Education includes all activities with an educa­tional purpose, carried on by people, in the ordinary business equipment”.

Ernest Barker says:

“Adult Education is given on a part-time basis and, therefore, given concurrently with work and the earning of a living”.

From political stand point adult franchise is a paradox or meaningless without adult education. That is why Gladstone had raised the slogan “Edu­cate your Masters”. Without educated voters “democracy becomes mobocracy” says J.B. Harold Laski. Socialism cannot be successful with illiterate masses, said Lenin.

Like casteism, communalism, provincialism, increasing growth of population, poverty, mass illiteracy stands as a stumbling block in the path of social, economic and political progress of India.

Effective imple­mentation of literacy programme on a national scale is a must. Highest pri­ority should be attached to it. The task is no doubt difficult and formidable. All out effort should be given by all concerned to make the programme a re­ality.

Adult education is imparted in two ways:

(i) Adult literacy and

(ii) Continuing education.

1) Adult education is education for those adults who never had any schooling before,

2) Continuing education is education for those adults who have had some schooling or education before.

Whereas in adult education, more stress is given on personal enrichment, in social education, social and civic efficiency, and community development are emphasised.

The term “Adult Education” or “Social Education” was replaced by “Adult Literacy” in the Fifth Plan. The Plan suggested that adult literacy programmes should be organised effectively in connection with development programmes in agricultural sector and other developmental programmes in rural and urban areas.

2. Essay on the Education Commission (1964-66) and Adult Education:

Adult education found a rightful place in the Report of the Education Commission. The Commission accepted the new concept of “life-long educa­tion”.

It wrote, “Education does not end with schooling but it is a life-long process. The adult to-day has need of an understanding of the rapidly changing world and the growing complexities of society. Even those who have had the most sophisticated education must continue to learn, the alter­native is obsolescence”.

The Commission thus greatly emphasized the im­portance and need for adult education. “One of the major planks in the strategy of a society which is determined to achieve economic development so­cial transformation and effective social security should be to educate its citi­zens to participate in its developmental programme willingly, intelligently and effectively”, “No nation can leave its security only to the police and army, to a large extent national security depends upon the ed­ucation of citizens, their knowledge of affairs, their character and sense of discipline and their ability to participate effectively in security measures” .

“The function of adult education in a democracy is to provide every adult citizen with an opportunity for education of the type which he wishes and which he should have for his personal enrichment, professional advancement and effective participation in social and political life”. In In­dia “64 percent of the people are unable to read an write and, naturally, liq­uidation of illiteracy becomes a matter of immediate national concern”. The scope of adult education is wide, as wide as life itself.

The effectiveness of the programme of adult education depends upon a competent administrative machinery.

Adults in India need to be educated to:

i) Make democracy successful;

ii) Ensure economic progress and prosperity;

iii) Check population growth;

iv) Prepare intelligent, disciplined and able citizen to participate ef­fectively in security measures;

v) Make them intellectually alert;

vi) Develop their aesthetic sense;

vii) Set the cultural tone of the community;

viii) Enable adults to use their leisure profitably;

ix) Promote national integration and solidarity;

x) Earn a decent living;

xi) Raise professional and vocational competency;

xii) enrich and develop personal qualities;

xiii) Ensure personal and community hygiene.

In the opinion of the Commission, an effective programme of adult edu­cation in the Indian context should envisage the following:

i) Liquidation of illiteracy,

ii) Continuing education (Follow-up measures),

iii) Correspondence courses,

iv) Libraries,

v) Role of Universities in adult education,

vi) Organisation and administration of adult education,

The task is tremendous. All out efforts by all agencies – Central Govern­ment, State Government, Private Organisations and individuals – are re­quired and, if they take active interest nothing is impossible to achieve.

3. Essay on the Need of Adult Education Programme:

The uneducated is not a free citizen in reality. Illiteracy as a mass phe­nomenon blocks

(a) economic and social progress,

(b) affects economic produc­tivity,

(c) population control,

(d) national integration,

(e) proper working of democratic set up,

(f) national security,

(g) cultural attainment,

(h) proper use of leisure time,

(i) improvement in health and sanitation,

(j) adjustment with immediate environment and rapidly changing world,

(k) to earn a de­cent living and

(l) change of traditional conservative attitude.

“A programme of adult education and adult literacy should, therefore, take a front place in any programme for economic and social development. An exclusive emphasis should be laid on the development of a programme of free and compulsory education for all children till they reach the age of 14 years. The constitutional Directive (Art. 45) in this regard should be imple­mented in right earnest and effectively. The programme of free and compulsory education should continue with redoubled vigour. A massive and direct attack on mass illiteracy is necessary at the present moment. A nationwide coherent and sustained campaign despite lack of resources should continue vigorously in view of the urgency of the problem. It should involve the Cen­tral Government, the State Government, all local Governments, all Govern­mental agencies, all voluntary agencies and private organisations and indus­tries all educational institutions ranging from the universities to primary schools and, above all, all educated men and women in the country”.

The National Policy on Education, 1968, also laid emphasis on Adult Literacy programmes to:

i) Promote proper working of democratic institutions,

ii) Accelerate economic production,

iii) Quicken the tempo of national development in all directions,

iv) Make functionally literate of all employees in large commercial and industrial undertakings, both private and public,

v) Involve all teachers and students in literacy campaign under the N.S.S.

vi) Educate and train young farmers for self employment.

The 28th All-India Adult Education Conference, 1975 greatly empha­sised non-formal approach in adult education, improvement of skills and productivity of urban workers, continuing education at all levels and more budgetary allocation.

The Government of India has given a very high priority to adult education. A national adult education programme (NAEP) was launched on 2 Oc­tober 1978 to cover 65 million (650 lakhs) illiterate persons, in the age- group 15-35. About seven lakhs adult education centres have been set up through-out the country. 

A very high priority has been given to Adult Education in the sixth plan proposals. The total allocation proposed is Rs 200 crores or 10 percent of the total educational outlay. It was only 1.4 percent in the Fifth Plan (18 Crores).

Different participating agencies, employer groups and project au­thorities are also expected to finance adult education programme. The plan outlays for agriculture and rural development, includes provisions for Farm­ers’ Functional Literacy Programmes.

The Plan also includes the following existing programmes for their improvement and expansion:

1. Adult Education Centre,

2. Shramik Vidyapeeths,

3. Adult Education Departments in Universities.

4. National Service Scheme.

5. Assistance to voluntary and social organisations such as Libraries, Clubs etc.

1) The plan laid special emphasis for the age-group 15-35 and on the education of 650 lakhs adults within the Plan period and the said age- group. The main target was to include the most exploited and weak sections of the society.

2) The main objective of the programme is to increase the awareness of illiterate people about themselves and about the social reality about then-. The programme also includes citizenship training, health education, family planning, vocational efficiency, physical education, science and technology in day-to-day life and cultural activities.

3) Efforts will be made to motivate the adults through the application of dynamic methods of teaching suitable for adults.

4) For successful implementation of the programme, full utilisation will be made of voluntary agencies, young persons interested in social service, or­ganisations interested in adult education, retired teachers, existing teachers and students.

5) A National Board of Adult Education has been established at the centre to guide the programme. Suitable agencies will be set up at the State, district, block and local community levels. Most of the states have separate machineries to guide the programme (State Board of Adult Education or Di­rectorate of Adult Education).

4. Essay on the Conditions Necessary for the Success of Literacy Programmes or Adult Education Programmes:

1) No adult literacy drive should be launched without prior planning and, adequate and careful preparation. Every literacy programme should be carefully planned and necessary preparations should be carefully planned and necessary preparations should be made well ahead in time. Organization of programmes, preparation of materials, training of personnel require time.

2) To liquidate illiteracy it is better to arrest the ever increasing number of illiterates.

a) Universalization of elementary education for the age-group 6-11 is an imperative need in this regard.

b) Provision of part-time education for children in the age-group 11-14 who either missed schooling or dropped prematurely through condensed courses.

c) Provision of part-time general and vocational education to young adults of the age-group 15-30 through part-time or Sandwich courses.

3) To combat illiteracy successfully a two-fold strategy should be adopted:

(a) The selective approach,

(b) Mass approach. Urban areas have a much higher literacy than the rural areas. There is also a wide var­iance in literacy among men and women in different parts of the coun­try and among different social groups. Motivation for education also varies from area to area, from industrialized area to non- industrialized area.

a) The Selective approach:

The Selective approach is specially suited to groups which can be easily identified, controlled and motivated for intensive literacy work. It is more fruitful and advantageous than the mass approach.

4) All big farms, commercial, industrial and contracting concerns should be made responsible for making their non-literate employees functionally literate. Literacy must be functional for all practical purposes.

i) The big industrial plants in the public sector should take the lead immediately in this regard.

ii) All economic and social development plans (industrial agricultural commercial, health) should include a plan for the education of their employees.

b) The mass approach:

A massive move to combat illiteracy goes beyond the capacity of the administrative and educational systems.

i) It rests upon the political and social leadership of the country. The success of this approach depends to a large extent on the sincere ef­forts made by the political and social leaders of the country. All po­litical and social leaders and Government Departments (Labour, In­dustry, Agriculture, Co-operative) should be involved to mobilise public support.

ii) Adult education by nature is a voluntary activity. The basic driving force is the individual motivation of the adult.

iii) Literacy programmes should be meaningful and related to the local needs and conditions and immediate needs of adults.

iv) The students in the secondary, higher secondary, vocational schools and those in the under-graduate classes of the Universities and Col­leges should be required to teach adults as a part of the compulsory national service. Adult literacy should be part of their normal duty. Every educational institution should be required to run literacy classes regularly. Social service for 10 days for school students and 20 days for college and university students should be compulsory.

v) All teachers and educated men and women should be mobilized to combat illiteracy.

vi) Literacy programmes should be carefully planned with due regard to local conditions and requirements, and needs of the learners.

vii) The widest use should be made of the mass media of communication (Radio and T.V.) for awakening and sustaining the people s will to learn. Motivation on the part of the adults is essential. Radio and TV can do a lot in this regard. These should also be utilized to awaken the consciousness of the adults to civic life and to vita pro­grammes of national development. Posters, charts, films, filmstrips, low cost publications and newspapers can play a vital role in edu­cating the adults.

viii) The materials required for adult education programme should be prepared well in advance.

ix) The workers and teachers participating in adult education pro­grammes should have sufficient training in teaching methodology and knowledge of adult psychology,

x) A well-designed follow-up plan is essential part of literacy pro­gramme to continue the education gained by the neo-literates.

xi) The Universities through their extension service departments, N.S.S. departments of education and other department scanned greatly in the improvement of knowledge and skills of the adults. The Universities may start Directorates or Departments of Adult Education.

xii) A well-organized and effectively functioning net work of public libraries is necessary to provide good reading and educative material and entertaining literature (newspaper) to the neo-literates so that literacy achieved may not lapse into illiteracy.

xiii) Literacy campaign among women in rural areas and in urban slums should be vigorous because motivation to learn among women is weak. The women themselves have little leisure to learn. But they form the bulk of the illiterate population of the country.

xiv) The Govt. alone cannot successfully combat mass scale illiteracy All voluntary social agencies, clubs, social organisations should be in­volved Public involvement, support and enthusiasm are vital to the success of literacy programme.

xv) An efficient machinery for administration and supervision is needed. Like the Central Government every State Government, Local Govern­ment, District and Block should develop as independent machinery to run adult education programmes.

xvi) Correspondence courses can prove a useful vehicle of continuing adult education. These can be used for further education or continuing edu­cation of the neo-literates. These are in wide use in Sweeden, Japan, USSR and USA for the working youths.

A number of universities have started these courses in India in recent years. Correspondence education should be of vocational and practical nature. Correspon­dence courses or short courses (Sandwich Courses) can establish a parallel system of education in the country (Distance education).

xvii) Extension lectures, seminars, discussion and debates may be organized on adult education. Experts in the field may be invited to par­ticipate in these lectures and seminars.

xviii) Literacy classes may be opened either in the evening or in the morn­ing in educational institutions, libraries, clubs or other social service organizations.

xix) Provision should be made for adequate finance. No programme should be held up due to lack of resources.

xx) “Open Universities” need to be established, at least one in each dis­trict, throughout the country.

5. Essay on the Causes of Slow Progress of Adult Education:

The programme has not made much headway. We are where we were decades before. Nobody takes real interest in the programme. Everything is done in half-hearted manner.

1) Lack of interest in the scheme from all quarters.

2) Grinding poverty of the agricultural and industrial labour classes.

3) Lack of suitable social and political leadership in the scheme.

4) Lack of adequate resources or finances is a great hurdle.

5) The workers have neither any training in the methodology of teach­ing adults nor are well conversant with adult psychology.

6) Acute paucity of useful literature, text books, audio-visual teaching materials.

7) Rigidity in the curriculum. It is not based on the learner’s needs and needs of the locality.

8) Rigidity in the instructional arrangement regarding duration, loca­tion and time.

9) Lack of motivation on the part of the learners (adults).

10) Follow-up measures are not taken for continuing education.

11) Universalization of elementary education (6-14) has not been im­plemented as envisaged in the constitution.

12) Absence of co-ordination among the different agencies involved in adult education. It is clearly visible in respect of Government and non-Government agencies.

13) Role of the mass media of communication such as Radio and T.V. is negligible in spreading adult education.

14) Role of colleges, Universities, teachers and students is also not en­couraging.

15) N.S.S. is doing little work in adult Education.

16) Adult Education Centres are not properly equipped with libraries, reading rooms and educational materials.

17) Irregular attendance on the part of adults also account for the mea­gre progress.

18) The teachers are not sufficiently competent to teach.

19) Absence of net-work of libraries in the country.

20) Commercial and industrial undertakings are not taking much interest in the programme.

21) There is no scope of part-time education of the adults (agricultural and industrial workers) through correspondence or condensed cours­es (Sandwich Courses).

22) Women in rural areas, in which sector illiteracy is appalling, either has little time to attend literacy classes or are not interested gen­erally in such programmes. Many of them still nourish traditional conservative outlook regarding the need of education among women.