(1) To make the illiterate persons literate.
(2) To develop consciousness in adults, towards their rights as citizens.
We shall discuss onwards the general policy and programmes of adult education during the post-independence era in the country. For obvious reasons we do not intend to burden the readers with statistical data in the connection (for which any standard book on History of Indian Education may be profitably consulted). Our scope herein is very limited.
As indicated above, adult’s education is also termed as social education. Emphasis is given on the Education of illiterate persons and to make them aware of their rights, responsibilities and duties towards society and the country. Therefore, stress is laid on the following subjects in particular:
(1) Knowledge of the rights and duties as a citizen and the working of a democracy.
(2) Acquiring knowledge of the history and geography of the country as well as of the various cultures of the past and the present.
(3) A knowledge of individual and collective hygiene and basic principles of health care.
(4) Provision of such education which may help an adult to raise his financial status.
(5) Knowledge of the principles of co-existence (the entire world is a family) and world ethics besides tolerance and accommodation of other’s views.
(6) Educating the higher emotions and thinking through the constructive approach towards arts, music, literature, and dance.
In order to implement the above programme is 12 items- plan was chalked out and accepted on May 31st, 1948.
(1) The village school will become the centre of education, social work, sports and entertainment for the entire village.
(2) Separate time will be allotted for the education of persons of different age groups.
(3) Some days of the week will be allotted to women and girls.
(4) Film shows, magic lanterns, gramophones, projectors and loudspeakers will be provided to the centre at least once a week.
(5) Radios will be provided to schools and special programmes will be arranged in larger numbers for school-going children and also for adults.
(6) Popular dramas with a social and public bias will be staged. Awards will be given to good performances.
(7) National and folk songs will be arranged.
(8) Handicrafts and training in other industries will be provided keeping in view the local requirements.
(9) Lectures will be organised with the help of health, agriculture and labour department on the subjects of social health and community hygiene, agriculture, cottage industries and co-operation.
(10) For developing political consciousness in the rural population, series of lectures by eminent scholars and statesmen will be arranged. Arrangements for staging film show, from time to time, will be made with the help of Information and Broadcasting Department. In order to make the programme of social education practical help will be taken of the public organisations involved in such constructive works.
(11) Sports meets will be organised from time to time.
(12) Arrangement for timely exhibitions and fairs will also be made.
In order to implement the above scheme a conference of States’ Education Ministers was called in February 1949 and it was decided that 50 per cent of the adults in the age group of 12 years to 50 years should be made educated within three years. Work could not proceed according to the decisions taken at the conference.
The reason being the financial difficulties faced by the States. The Central Government in order to remove the financial handicap gave the provinces help amounting to rupees one lakh during the year 1949-50. In a few States some progress was made.
The Government of India constituted a committee under the chairmanship of Sri M.L- Saxena for drawing up a programme for educating in the next five years (1951-1955) people in the age group of 12 to 40 years. It was decided that the expenses incurred implementing the decisions of this committee would be met J” a ratio of 50:50 by the State Governments and the Central Government.
Whatever progress was achieved under this scheme in the sphere of social education is discussed below.
In 1951, that is, during the first year, adult education centres were opened at Delhi and nearby areas. In the villages of Delhi province 60 centres were established, and for running them in accordance with the adult education system as many as 62 teachers were trained.
In Madras State (now Tamil Nadu) the State Government established six rural colleges under the Citizen Education Scheme in 1949-50 and 100 citizenship schools were set up undei] the adult education expansion programme. Training centres were opened for the training of teachers in Tamil, Telegu, Kannari and Malayalam languages.
This scheme made good progress in the labour colonies of Bombay. Nearly 80 densely populated rural areas were selected for the experiment of social education. The Bombay city itself made good progress in the field of adult education.
Adult education expansion officers were appointed in the rural and urban areas on area basis and every officer was charged with the responsibility of educating 1,000 adults. Labour welfare centres were opened at Ahmedabad, Sholapur, Khandesh and Hubli for the expansion of social education among the labourers.
The government hit upon a special method of popularising adult education and generating enthusiasm for it in Madhya Pradesh and Berar. 451 adult education camps were opened in 1948-49 wherein 41,274 men and 20,924 women were educated in several subjects.
The government in order to create interest in adult education decided to give rupees two to every man and rupees five to every woman who helped implement adult education. The government also gave an allowance of rupees five to teachers in rural areas, besides giving them a pay of Rs. 20 per month. The government in order to further popularise this literacy programme distributed 1,000 radio- sets to rural schools.
The U.P. Government undertook the programme of adult education with great enthusiasm during the First Five Year Plan. A separate department was opened for this particular purpose. Adult education institutions were set up in large numbers in 1948-49 in which 49,392 persons received education.
As many as 62 institutions were opened for women alone. The number of education schools were 2,200 in 1951- 52. In July 1952, 3,600 reading-rooms for men, 435 for women, besides 1,518 adult libraries were opened. From 1948 to 1952 about 1, 75,000 books were distributed and 13, 50,000 persons were made literate in U.P.
The programme of adult education was implemented with great enthusiasm after 1947 in the states of Bengal, Hyderabad, Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir. The Government of India established an education centre for blind persons in Dehradun. The government also took steps for the education of deaf, dumb and physically handicapped persons.
The Government of India adopted the U.N.E.S.C.O. system with some modifications and started adult education centres. These adult education centres are functioning vigorously in refugee colonies. The scheme has three main objectives: (1) literacy, (2) citizenship, and (3) development of mind through the help of audio-visual shows.
The adult will be made literate according to the programme given below:—
(a) Ability to write his own name besides the name of his relations, villages, Tehsils (sub-divisions) and districts. To enable them to write simple letters to communicate with others.
(b) Ability to read and understand the contents of simple books and newspapers.
(c) Ability to count upto 100 and write these figures; to do simple addition, subtraction and division, to understand various types of measurements and weights; and to determine the values of coins.
For achieving the objectives of citizenship, and development of the mind, audio-visual aids, drama, sports, music, dance, radio, cinema, celebrations, fans, newspapers etc. are to be organised.
This programme was to be implemented throughout the country by opening camps in every district. To implement the above programme the M.P. Government made a scheme for opening four camps in every Tehsil (sub-division of a district) where volunteers will impart education to adults.
Every such volunteer was required to possess the knowledge upto class VII at least. He was also expected to be above the age of 16 years. A director was there to supervise the work of these volunteers. This camp was to work for five weeks at one place and move to another. Such camps proved to be very successful in M.P.
Having realised the utility of such camps other States in the country, too, have implemented this programme. It is contemplated to rise the duration of these camps to eight or eleven weeks as five weeks’ time is not considered enough for the purpose of educating adults.
The college and university students and teachers throughout the country are also being encouraged to devote some of their time in these camps as volunteer-teachers.
Community development and other expansion programmes are being implemented in every part of the country since 1952. Social education has been given priority in these development programmes.
Under these schemes provision of ample facilities has been made for the all-round development of the necessities of life and arrangements have been made for the development of knowledge, political sense, citizenship, sports and entertainment, hygiene and cleanliness, etc. Experiments have been carried out in these subjects in the pilot-projects.
However, it may be said on the basis of the report of the progress of the various Seven Five Year Plans that these schemes have not so far completely succeeded in their objectives.
The outcome of the social education as included in the First Five Year Plan was organisation of social centres, opening of Janta colleges (colleges for people) organisation of study circles in villages for the expansion of education, introduction of intensive library service, preparation of useful literature for adults and its distribution, etc.
To provide education and facilities for social development to rural people, public cultural-cum-welfare centres were established and these were known as social centres. Their sphere of activity was much wider as’ compared to that of the present education centres.
The common meeting place of the village, local school or the Panchayatghar were given the shape of such centres.
Intensive Libraries for rural people were established at various social centres but where such centres did not exist, the libraries were housed either in the local school or at the meeting room.
They were opened even in the Panchayatghars or in the houses of some respectable person of the village. Books relating to civics, religion, agriculture, industries, cooperation, industrial or commercial practices, health, hygiene and domestic science were kept in the libraries.
For producing trained workers for villages it was proposed to establish Janta Colleges. Workers trained in these colleges were to work in social centres. Public service, co-operation and co-existence were the guiding principles for these workers.
These trained workers in the social centres were considered the local leaders. These Janta Colleges, unlike the other colleges, trained youths of both sexes to act as leaders of the rural workers in the sphere of cultural, social, education and other activities of public welfare.
The Government of India held a seven days’ conference at Mysore in February, 1957 in order to prepare a curriculum for these colleges. The conference made the following recommendations to Government:
1. The Janata Colleges should be patterned on old Ashram type schools where students and teachers may live together. The colleges should possess agricultural land near the premises.
2. The supervision of these colleges should be given to well-organised and well-managed public organisations. Where such non-official bodies do not exist the government itself will take the responsibility of running these colleges.
3. Sufficient grants and help should be extended by the government to run these colleges.
4. Only those in the age group of 15 to 40 years should be admitted to these colleges and separate colleges should exist for men and women.
Literature in Hindi and regional languages were produced for adults. The Central Government has published more than 1,000 books in various languages by the year 1992. Jamia Millia, an institution in Delhi, took the responsibility of producing such literature which may suit children and adults both. In order to encourage the production of this type of literature the Central Government gives awards to deserving writers.
Similarly, awards are also given to persons contributing to people’s literature. A committee consisting of experts in literature has been formed to select the literature for awards.