“No nation can develop without literacy”- this is the watch-word of the new-world. Though someone was not made a literate at school-level, one should be made to gain literacy at-least at a later age.
Adult Education Programme was launched by National Literacy Mission to improve the literacy rate in the country. Adult education is non-formal education given to adult illiterates in which they are taught the skills of reading, writing, counting and simple arithmetic.
The role of adult education in bringing the overall increase in the awareness level of people has been acknowledged in the National Policy of Education.
Keeping in view the changing socio-economic and political scenario in the country and in line with the objectives and priorities set out for the overall development, these programmes are designed.There is enough evidence to show that there is a significant correlation between literacy and various indications of development, i.e. health level, economic prosperity, low infant morality rate, low incidence of violence, and higher utilization of available resources. This shows that higher literacy can accelerate development.
The impact of adult literacy has been felt in rural areas the most. Many students of schools and colleges in nearby towns and cities have been regularly visiting the villages and taking part in the adult education programmes with the help of the school/college authorities and village Panchayats. As an incentive, the villagers are given books, pencils, pens and bag.
This has brought a great change in the villagers who have received such education. Many among them have started reading newspaper daily. This way they have come to know about the major happenings in the country as well as their state. They very enthusiastically share the news they have read, with other villagers while sitting at the chopal. The awareness level of the villagers has increased. This has established a communication channel between them. The foundations of democracy which are based on vigilant people are being strengthened.
A happy and healthy mind is always efficient in work. This also reduces domestic violence. Through education people have been able to discard some social evils. By reading articles and messages in the newspaper, many of them have given up drinking, gambling, etc. They have abandoned orthodox views and started acknowledging the fact that girl child is as important as a son. Such a change in society certainly bodes well for our society and its well-being.
Female education is an important aspect of adult education. Many of the recipients of this programme are women. They have become conscious of their rights and refused to be at the receiving end at home and in society. Many women have formed self-help groups and received micro-finance to start some small enterprise to supplement the income of the family.
There are several constraints in the implementation of the adult education programme. There are not enough volunteers to cover the large illiterate sections. Difficult terrain and inclement weather are other constraints. There is no infrastructure like class-rooms blackboard, notebooks and stationery items in several villages. The villagers are too poor to afford these articles.
The volunteers are given no incentives to take up this cause enthusiastically. Most of the adults are shy and hesitant. They are not willing to come forward to sit in a class- room. Social restrictions for girls and ladies in some areas and communities often thwart the efforts to start this progamme in some areas. Notwithstanding these constraints, the adult literacy progamme has been successfully implemented in various parts of the country. Millions of adults have received this education and learnt how to have a better control over their lives.