THE NEED OF ADULT EDUCATION
India has been in the grip of illiteracy since the days of British regime. But it is rather shameful on our part that the condition has not improved even after India got freedom in 1947. According to the World Bank record 100 crore illiterate people would enter the 21st century. India’s share would be 50 crore. 79 % of the people in India live in villages. Most of them are illiterate. We have more than 200 universities in the country. There are 180 technical degree colleges including 4 central ones. We have 11 central universities. The number of institutions providing diploma courses is 425. There are 80 professional institutions offering postgraduate and research courses. The total intake of these institutions is 106000. According to the official estimates 29 crore are considered to have bee considered educated-most of them being only literate. They can only write their names and read a little. The remaining is illiterate.30% of the people in India is illiterate adults.
Almost all of these adults are married. More than half of them are women. They suffer a lot in their lives. Most of them are in rural areas. They are exploited by all shades of people. The money lender exploits them economically. The labor contractor shows them jib dreams and reduces them to bonded labor.
Being illiterate these adults have no idea about bearing fewer children. They may have 8 to 12 children. Among the polygamous Muslims the number may just double. As they are themselves poor, they are not able to educate their children. They expect them to earn as soon as they are five. Thus the army of illiterate people goes on growing.
The illiterate adults have no idea of democracy, the country, the social, political and economic growth and charges in the country and the world. According to a Sanskrit saying those who are not educated are like animals- a burden on the world. Their children too remain illiterate and ignorant.
Since 1971 a great importance has been laid on adult education. Different states have spent crores of rupees on different literacy programmes. But in India where does money go only God knows. Most of the students in literacy projects are small boys and girls. They are not adults.
The problem with the adults in that they have to earn their bread too. Thus they can’t be taught according to the fixed government time table. They can be taught in their spare time near their houses. It is difficult to be done by government machinery. Only NGOs can achieve the aim. It has been achieved in Kerala. With the same sincerity it can be achieved at other places.