here I wish to add a few points on Adult education and the ways to implement
it. Let us see it from today's point of view, in India and
especially in rural India.
Reasons for low literacy:
In India adult education is an important topic and issue. it
has been so for the last six decades after Independence. India the
illiteracy was very high at the time of independence. Most people
were poor, and had to work at early stages of their lives for earning their
food and supporting their families. So they remained
illiterate. Literacy was not considered important for those who could
only see the monetary benefit of work. The education was not enabling a
person to get jobs on the basis of education received. Education
was not imparting the skills to get jobs.
For the last few decades the literacy has been increasing steadily
and now the situation in India is better. But still, there is a (just
one perhaps) generation of adults which is not literate or not
sufficiently literate to be able to be on par with the society.
The disadvantage of adults not being
educated is that they are unable to take care of their family's health,
education, quality of life, living style, discipline, culture, tradition,
hygiene etc. Due to this problem at a large scale at the country
level, India has not progressed as much as desirable. Many illiterate
adults have to depend on agents, or known persons to do financial, legal and other
transactions. In the modern world, they do get cheated too. Also,
blind faith, superstitions prevail a lot in the illiterate communities.
Recent decade has seen a lot of change and the adults
learning enough to be able to read various sign boards, understand some
English, read local languages, and do some basic arithmetic. As
the minimum qualification for many jobs has become minimum literacy level,
there has been a lot of push towards education for children, even in the
poorest people. So there is perhaps only one generation of adults that
need to be educated. There may not be any more adult illiterates after
a decade or so.
The ways of implementing adult education
could be to set up evening classes in the villages, and Sunday classes in the
morning or afternoon or evening. Different timings could suit different
people as they may be doing different sorts of jobs or works.
School children from towns, cities, voluntary
organizations, non-governmental organizations or charity organizations,
corporate initiated organizations can do this service. I believe, It
is being implemented too. The difficulty is the supply of study
materials, accessibility of the locations, to pull people to one center at the
prescribed timings etc.
As most families now have their children going to school, those
children could be told to educate their illiterate elders and neighbours.
This will be good. The postal offices or banks, ration (public
distribution centers) centers, panchayat offices, temples are visited by many
illiterate adults. Those centers could be used to gather them and
organize education classes.
Educating our elders at home by the young children of the
modern times, can also be called adult education. As adults and
elders are people of yesteryears, they may not be able to know some
good points about life, health, food, hygiene, society, world, etc. This
could happen even if they are educated to some extent. Thus the
children could help them to be on par with the latest knowledge by teaching
them. We could often observe that young children do not like and
do not take interest in teaching their elders. So the young must
realize that teaching their own elders is necessary and is their duty too.
I would say that adult education is very important in moving the
society forward. Educating adults takes their children even further along
the line of progress and prosperity.