Introduction to Adult education

8 August 2016

Introduction The term ‘Adult’ is understood from the term itself. But there is difference of opinion among people regarding the starting age and ending of adult life. The Sargent Report states that anyone between age group 10-35 is an adult. Monganial Saxena Committee put it between 12 to 45 years. But the government of India in 1977 launched a massive campaign to eradicate illiteracy among adults within a stipulated time of 6 years. To carry out the gigantic work, the National Adult Education Programme (NAEP) was started.

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It chalked out plans and programmes to educate the adults of the age group 15-35. These period is the most meaningful stage in one’s life when one can contribute maximum for the development of the nation. According to Liveright and Haygood “Adult education is the process whereby persons who no longer (or did not) attend school on a regular and full time basis undertake sequential and organised activities within a conscious intention of bringing about changes in information, knowledge, understanding or skills, appreciation and attitudes or for the purpose of identifying and solving personal or community problems”.The term adult education denotes the entire body of organised educational processes, whatever content, level and method whether formal or otherwise, whether they prolong or replace initial education in schools, colleges and universities as well as in apprenticeship, whereby persons regarded as adults by the society to which they belong develop their abilities, enrich their knowledge, improve their technical or professional qualifications and bring about changes in their attitude or behaviour in the two fold perspective of full personal development and participation in balance and independent social, economic and cultural development. ” Adult education is a type of delayed instruction which an adult should have received during his early years. Adult education is broader in scope.

It includes acquisition of not only mere skills and social education but also vocational education, health education, citizenship training, recreational education and cultural education. It is the education to fit an illiterate adult to function as an intelligent member in society and to assume adult responsibilities with profit to himself and to the nation at large. In present period the concept of adult education has been extended and many other terms have free play in educational hemisphere. These are lifelong education or permanent education adopted by the UNESCO. It is much wider in scope and content than the adult education. Again other terms like ‘out-of school education’, ‘Non-formal education’, ‘Further education,’ ‘Distance education’, ‘open learning’, ‘De-schooling’, etc. have come to the scene.

Lifelong education is the education acquired in entire life. Informal education is deliberate systematic and planned instruction out- side the formal sphere of schools. Non-formal education includes adult education, social education, distance education, functional literacy, etc. Adult education may be defined as the application of the process of education that is aimed at adults. But two terms come to our mind- ‘adult education’ and education of adults’ Let us make the two concepts clear before we go ahead with our discussion on adult education. India, after post-Independence inherited a system of education which was characterizes by large scale inter and intra-regional imbalances.

The system educated a selected few, leaving a wide gap between the educated and the illiterate. The country’s literacy rate in 1947 was only 14 % and female literacy rate was very low at 8 %. Only one child out of three had an opportunity for enrolment in primary schools. Educational equality was aggravated by economic in-equality, gender disparity and rigid social stratification (division). Eradication of illiteracy has been one of the major national concerns of the Government of India since Independence. The need for a literate population and universal education for all children in the age group of 6-14 was recognized as a crucial input for nation building and was given due consideration as well as in the successive five-year plans.

A number of significant programmes have been taken up since independence to eradicate illiteracy among adults. National Adult Education Programme- the first nation-wide attempt at eradication of illiteracy was made through the National Adult Education Programme launched on October 2, 1978. It was a massive programme which aimed at educating 100 million non-literate adults in the age group of 15-35 years within a time frame of five years. The objectives of the National Adult Education Programme were not merely to impart illiteracy in the conventional sense, but also to provide learners with functional awareness, which were conceived as three integral components of the skills of reading, writing and arithmetic.

Functionally implied the ability to utilize and apply the skill acquired with a view to promote efficiency of the neo-literate. The social awareness component aimed at knowing, understanding and taking action on issues that affect the individual, community and society. Concept of Adult Education The concept of adult Education embraces different dimensions and as such, it is very difficult to arrive at an all-inclusive definition. Basically, it comprises of two terms i. e. ‘Adult’ and ‘Education’. The recent adult education programmes in India considered people in the age group of 15-35 years. The importance of this age group is well recognized in Indian educational planning.

The national Adult Education Programme launched in 1978 included men and women in the age group of 15-35 years desirous of seeking education for the following reasons: i) To enable them to be aware of the causes of their deprivation and move towards betterment of their condition through organization ii) Acquire skills to improve the economic status and general well-being and iii) To imbibe the values of National Integration, conservation of the environment, women’s equality, observance of small family norm etc. In its broadest sense, Adult Education signifies any form of learning, undertaken by or provided to mature men and women. Important definitions of Adult Education Aser, Delson: All kinds of education for adults-in school and out of school, formal and informal, full time and part-time, for persons who no longer attend schools as well as for those who never attended a school and so on.

” Barton Morgan: “Adult education offers some who were not privileged a last chance to learn. Some feel a need for training in basic skills of learning so they enrol for work in reading, writing and arithmetic. ” Edward C. Lindeman: “Adult education more accurately defined begins where vocational education leaves off. ” E. H. Hutchinson: “Adult education is the organised provision of learning situations to enable mature men and women to enlarge and interpret their own living experience. ” Encyclopaedia Britannica: “Adult education is any kind of education for people who are old enough to work, to vote, fight and marry and who have completed the cycle of continuous education (if any) commenced in childhood.

They may want to make up for limited schooling (or for no schooling); to pass examination, to learn the basic skills of trade or profession or to master new working processes. They may find education without a label by sharing in common pursuits with like-minded people. ” Encyclopaedia of Educational Research: “In this largest sense, the education of an adult (like that of a child) may be said to be the result of all of his experiences, since any act can, theoretically at least, have an influence on the reinforcement or change of his ability to know, to do, or to feel. While recognising this largest application of the term, most writers limit their investigation to those activities of men and women who are guided and shaped for an appreciable period of time by the desire to learn or to teach. ” G.

Friedman: “Adult education is a process which is part of cultural development, primarily the establishment of a means of communication between the cultural systems of transmitters (inventors, research workers, creative minds) and the cultural system of the receivers i. e. , group for whom adult education is intended. ” Gene R. Hawes and Lynne Salop Hawes: “Education for men and women of all ages provided by schools, learning centres, or other agencies, which enables them to improve their general knowledge by either continuing their education or resuming incomplete education of previous years. Adult education is usually more flexible in structure than traditional, mandatory education. Adult education offerings include courses both for credit towards higher education degrees and for non-degree-credit learning.

Liveright and Haygood: “Adult education is the process whereby persons who no longer (or did not) attend school on a regular and full time basis undertake sequential and organised activities within a conscious intention of bringing about changes in information, knowledge understanding or skills, appreciation and attitudes, or for the purpose of identifying and solving personal or community problems. ” On the analysis of above definitions, Adult Education can be perceived as: 1. A programme of education meant for those who failed to make use of the regular education services 2. A programme for providing information to adults and for effecting suitable changes in their attitudes 3. A programme to enable adults to identify their personal and community problems 4.

A programme to enable the adults to adjust themselves to the changing role and responsibility throughout life 5. A programme to help adult to acquire functional literacy, vocational, technical and professional competency Adult Education in India Nation can only succeed when the general public understand the principles of democracy and its usefulness. This is possible only when the people are literate. So after the achievement independence our leaders planned to promote education of the adults who were entitled to vote. We cannot prescribe any limit in adult education. We have to help the adults to acquire useful knowledge in professional, political, economic and social spheres. This is philosophy of adult education stands for.

The main emphasis has been to make the adult literate only than they can understand the social economic, cultural and political problems and their solutions. For this a well-planned programme has to be thought of and executed. Adult education does not imply only to make adults literate rather to develop total personality of the adult. Much has been done in the area of adult education in many Western Countries. In their comparison, we have done very little in this field. In the Western Countries adult education has been made available, to labourers, women and many service class people. Through adult education this people have not been made only literate, but they have also further developed their professional skills in commerce, industry, technology and science.

They are given free education in evening and part time day classes and university extension classes have been ar- ranged for the benefit of these people. So far we have been able to do a little in this field. A brief survey of the growth of adult education in our country is given below. The Beginning: Adult education was begun in our country with beginning of the current century. But for the first 20 years nothing remarkable could be done. In fact, then the people did not exactly understand the correct meaning and purpose of adult education. In the provinces of Madras, Bombay and Bengal some night schools were started for those who were working in the day in offices and factories and could not able to get education.

In 1909, there were 775 such night schools in Madras, 1028 In Bengal and 167 in Bombay. During the coming years the number of these schools came down. This situation connected till 1920. In 1921, some representatives of the people went to legislative councils and these representatives raised their voice against the prevailing illiteracy and tried to do something for adult education and established some libraries and reading rooms for adults. Up to 1927, adult education work has especially been done in Madras, Bombay, Punjab and Bengal. In 1927, there were 5604 adult schools in Madras, 1930 in Bombay, 3784 in Punjab and 1519 in Bengal, U. P, also did something in this field.

Due to financial stringency in 1927, many adult schools were closed, but certain missionaries continued their efforts in this direction and did commendable work. Bombay alone continued its efforts for adult education and its progress was maintained till 1937. Many social organisations of Bombay promoted the expansion of adult education. In these organisations, Adult education league of Poona, Social League and Bombay City Literacy committee of Bombay are worthy of mention. In 1932-33 there were 143 adult schools in Bombay. The number became 180 in 1937. The number of students in these schools was 5660 in 1932-33 and in 1937 the number reached into 6299.

In Baroda and Travancore adult education” waged and many libraries were opened for adults, but in 1937 efforts for adult education were slackened. According to the Government of India Act of 1935, in 1937 in eight of the provinces of the country Congress ministries were sworn in. The Congress Ministries in all the provinces showed immense interest for adult education and it was promoted unprecedentedly. The popular ministries widened the scope of adult education and it was not limited to literacy alone. Later on adult education was understood as social education and accordingly the programmes were planned. A number of audio-visual materials as Magic shows and Cinemas were used along with suitable books especially pre- pared for the purpose. Adult Education in Independent India

The scope of adult education was widened after independence and it was decided that adult education should be termed as social education, because it was thought that adult literacy should aim at educating, the total personality of the adults. Accordingly, some literature was perjured for education of adults and new methods of teaching were also adopted. After independence adult (social) education was divided into the following three parts: 1. To make the illiterate literate. 2. To encourage writers for writing books for social education. 3. To acquaint the adults with their social rights and duties. Accordingly the following points were specially emphasised in social education: 1.

To impart the knowledge of civic rights and duties in order that the necessary ability may be developed for running a democracy. 2. To give a knowledge of historical and geographical background of the country. 3. To acquaint with the current social traditions and circumstances. 4. To impart knowledge of the things that promotes good health. 5. To develop ability for helping in the economic growth of the country. 6. To foster the feeling of cooperativeness and internationalism 7. To develop aesthetic sense. The following twelve points programme was chalked out for fulfilling the above objectives: 1. To make the village school a centre of education, recreation, sports and social service. 2. To fix up different time for education of different age groups. 3.

To fix certain days in the week for ladies and girls. 4. To utilise audio-visual aids at least once a week. , 5. To provide Radio-sets to schools and to organise special programme for schoolchildren. 6. To stage dramas of educational value in schools and to award prizes to participants. 7. To organise national and folk-song programmes. 8. To give training in handicrafts according to local needs. 9. To impart knowledge about agriculture and health through departmental government officers. 10. To organise lectures of leaders on national problems, to stage cinema shows by the Information Department. 11. To organise group sports and games. 12. To organise exhibitions and fairs.

To implement the above twelve points programme a conference was organised of Education Ministers of various States in 1949. This conference decided that within three years 50 per cent of the persons within the age group of 12 and 50 years of age would be educated. Due to financial difficulty this objective could not be achieved, although the Central government gave a grant of one lakh rupees for this purpose. The Central government established the Mohan Lal Saxena Committee for educating per- sons within the age group of 12 and 40 years. This Committee recommended that both the Central and State governments should actually share the financial burden involved in adult education. Under this plan some work was done in adult education in some States.

We are hinting at below the progress made by some States: Delhi: A number of adult education centres have been opened up to 1992. 100 centres were opened in the adjoining rural areas for which 900 teachers were trained in the methods of adult education. Tamil Nadu: By 1992, 20 rural colleges and 200 schools have been opened for adult education. Some centres have also been opened for training teachers for teaching Tamil, Telugu, Kannad and Malyalam languages. Maharashtra: In this State there were many labourers in various cities. For experimental work in social education 150 centres of rural areas were chosen. Adult Education officers have been appointed.

Each officer is en- trusted with the responsibility of educating at least 2000 adults per year. In Bombay city also good work in adult education has been done. Labour Welfare Centres have been opened in labour colonies. Madhya Pradesh: Adult Education Camps have been organised in various places in this State. By 1992 in such camps 70,000 men and 50,000 women have been educated at these centres. In order to encourage the expansion of adult education every adult was given an allowance of Rs. 10. 00 and woman adult Rs. 15. 00 and teacher Rs. 40. 00. Radio sets were given to village centres of adult education. Uttar Pradesh: A separate department of adult education has been established in U. P.

This department has opened more than 150 schools for women and a number of schools for educating adult men. By 1992 more than a lakh adults have been educated. In the beginning of the year 1993, there were about 8,000 reading rooms for men and women. Besides, there were more than 2,000 libraries for adults. By 1992, about 27,00,000 adults have been educated and 3,00,000 books have been distributed amongst them. Some work in adult education was also done in Rajasthan, Hyderabad, Jammu-Kashmir and West Bengal after independence. Some work for educating the handicapped and blind was also done and for training the blind a school was opened in Dehradun.

Our Indian government accepted the UNESCO plan for adult education with a little necessary modification. Accordingly, a number of camps were organised in villages for adult education. An attempt was also made to educate lakhs of refugees who fled from Pakistan. Under the camp programme three objectives had to be achieved. These objectives were: 1. To spread literacy, here intention was to enable the adult to write his name and names of his relatives, mohalla, village, tahsil, block, district, State, and country, etc. and to write simple letters. 2 To generate the sense of civic rights and duties by which they can read and understand the related books, newspapers. 3.

To develop thinking power, here intention was to teach to count up to 100 and do simple additions, subtractions, multiplications and divisions- and to measure weight, length and to understand values of coins through recreational programmes. As well as cultural functions, sports, games and exhibitions were to be organised. It was decided that the Adult Education Camps will be established throughout the whole country. A scheme was made in Madhya Pradesh to train volunteers. The volunteers were to be of at least 16 years of age and at least seventh class passed. A director was also to be appointed to supervise the work of these volunteers. A camp was to be run for five weeks.

This scheme of running camps went on very well in Madhya Pradesh In other States also the above scheme was started and in some of them the education of a camp was made of eight weeks. The college and school teachers were encouraged to work in these camps during their leave or leisure period. Philosophical Basis of Adult Education 1. Adult education is an important factor in the growth of an individual. 2. Adult education helps in the country’s socio-economic progress. 3. Education is not same boundary with schooling but takes place in most work and life situations. 4. Learning, working and living are inseparable and each acquires a meaning one when correlated with other. 5. The means by which people are involved in the process of development are at least as

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