By Prof. M.R.Gupta
One of the major functions of a society is to achieve economic growth, social transformation and social security. For this the aim should be to educate its citizens to participate in its programmes willingly and efficiently. In our country, the common masses have missed schooling, in which the education given is irrelevant to their development. The farmer who tills the soil or who tills a machine must understand the nature of the soil and the machine in order to be able to adopt new practices and improve upon them. National security depends upon the education of citizens and cannot be left to the police alone or to the Army.
The function of education in a democracy is to provide every adult with an opportunity for education of the type which he wishes and which encourages professional advancement and effective participation in social life.
Scope of adult education and education for all.
In India about 40 per cent of the people are unable to read and write. So liquidation of illiteracy is a matter of national concern. Adult education should concentrate on the following:
- Liquidation of illiteracy
- Compulsory education upto primary level in all places, including the tribal belt, backward states.
- Continuing education
- Organisation and administration of adult education
- Starting of singleteacher schools in tribal areas and remote places
The society condemns the illiterate to live an inferior quality of life. He has little prospects of a reasonable income. Illiteracy blocks economic and social progress, affects productivity, population control, improvement of health and sanitation.
In our National Policy, declaration has been made to provide free and compulsory education to all children till the age of fourteen years. After 55 years of Independence, the programme has not been implemented. In the first stage, we should provide five years? education to every child. Moreover, the system of primary education continues to be ineffective and wasteful and many children do not attain functional literacy and return to illiteracy. It is time when we should continue with our efforts and attack on mass illiteracy.
Some of the programmes, which had been started in many states, were diluted a few years later. Many of these efforts were uncoordinated with government departments, voluntary agencies, educational institutes, with individuals working more in isolation. They were started without awakening public interest or stimulating the desire to learn.
Illiterate people tend to resist change and stick to traditional forms of life. New ideas and new practices cannot be effectively communicated to illiterates who are untrained to receive them, whether it is family planning and improve-ment of sanitary standards or programmes of social security, which require change of attitude and habits in life.
The essential condition for success in our literacy programme is that it should be well planned, well ahead of time. Organisation of massive programmes and preparation of material, training of personnel cannot be launched in all parts of the country at the same time. It is possible to proceed systematically from area to area in each state according to opportunities available and gradually cover the entire state and the country. It is also possible to achieve full literacy in different areas at different times, depending upon the stage of educational development of the area, public cooperation and efficiency of the programme.