Adult education is the most important programme of social welfare in India. Over eighty percent of our men and women are illiterate. They have to be made literate as quickly as possible; otherwise democracy in India cannot work. They do not understand even the mechanism of voting. Most of our people just cannot afford education. They have to earn their living every day of their life. They are daily wage earners. They can pick up adult education through night-time classes, organized by the social welfare organizations in many parts of India.
A country cannot make progress if the majority of its people are uneducated. There are more than fifty crores of people who are illiterate in India.
On October 2, 1978, a nationwide National Adult Education Programme (NAEP) was launched on the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. That programme is still being continued by the Indira Government. Adult Education is non-political and non-controversial subject. Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi is even more interested in the propagation of Adult Education than Prime Minister, Shri Morarji Desai who launched the programme in 1978. Adult centers have been opened in 460 districts of India.
Adult Education Scheme combines learning with earning activities of the illiterate people. The timings of teaching are so arranged that these do not conflict with the working hours. The 1978 programme added a cent per cent literacy in five years; but that is a distant drum of a distant dream. It will never be realized. As the population is going up; so is the illiteracy. Consequently, there is more illiterate’s to-day than those were at the time of independence in 1947.
Adult education produces good workers in offices and factories. It helps them to continue their self education. It makes a good citizen of India. Its aim is to bring about general awakening and political consciousness in the country. Adult education is very helpful in the all round development of the country and the nation. It helps to raise the standard of living among the farm and factory workers. It is meant for the poor people and the weaker sections of the society.
The revolutionary Adult Education Programme launched by the Janata Government has come to nothing, because most of the money has been mis-spend and gone into greedy hands. The new Congress-I Government has not yet formulated its Adult Education policy. Let us hope they will take some meaningful steps in this direction soon.
Adult education is strictly an official enterprise. The Government offers necessary help to all social organizations willing to undertake the work of making the illiterate a little literate so that they can read and write.