Speech on importance of adult education and ways to implement

Speech on importance of adult education and ways to implement

Education is a lifelong process. It does not end with schooling. John Deway has rightly said that life is development and that developing and growing is life. Our country is a sovereign democratic republic and a secular and welfare state striving for establishing an egalitarian society. This is possible, when the life of an individual develops to its fullest extent and when he is able to perform his duties and responsibilities in accordance with his interests, abilities and efficiency. During last 60 years, we have slowly but steadily marched on the road of planned progress. As a result there are some revolutionary changes in the society.

Hence, the adult of today should have the need of an understanding of the rapid changing contemporary world and the grooving complexities of the modem society. Now attempts are being made to establish an aglitarian society which will ensure a good system of education to all the citizens and in which the evils of poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, ignorance and ill-health can be abolished. Recent interest in this system of education have been developed in order to create a learning society and to provide facilities for life-long learning for all. Now it is time to think about Adult Education.


Adult education is the prime importance in eradicating illiteracy. Adult education has different nomenclatures in different countries. It is called fundamental education, workers education, mass education of the people and social education. Adult education is wide in scope. M.K. Gandhi has presented a comprehensive view of adult education. To him adult education meant education for life, through life and throughout life.

In the words of Kothari Commission -1966, “The Function of adult education in a democracy is to provide every adult citizen an opportunity for education of the type he wishes and which he should have for his personal enrichment, professional advancement and effective participation in social and political life.”

From the above definition it can be concluded that:

  1. In adult education, learning, working and living are inseparable.

  2. Adult education includes all those activities that make the life of an individual peaceful.

  3. Adult education includes both formal and informal education.

  4. It enhances the working efficiency of the individual and helps him to progress in life.

  5. The mere attainment of literacy by an adult should not be a goal in itself

  6. Adult education is not co-terminus with schooling but takes place in work and life situations.

  7. It is part-time education.

  8. It is given to adults in the age group of 15-35.

  9. The aim of adult education is to strive for a learning society in which life-long education is the cherished goal.

Adult education is imparted under two aspects:

1. Adult Literacy:

It is the education for those adults who never had any schooling before.

2. Continuing Education:

It is the education for those adults who had some schooling or education before.

Literacy and Further Education in Global and Indian Context:

The term ‘adult education” has different system of names in different countries such as literacy education,Further education, Basic education,Social education, Mass education and Community education etc. It must be seen as a whole, right from the initial stage of literacy work up to work of a university level in an extramural or extension classes.

All these terms used in a wider context mean preparing the adult for an economic, civic and social role. The mere attainment of literacy by an adult should not be a goal in itself. Adult literacy work cannot be seen in isolation and must lead on to continuing adult education.

In our country adult education has been envisaged with its emphasis not only on literacy but on better and complete living.

Therefore, S.N. Mukerjee has rightly said that “adult education consists of three main types:

(i) To provide literacy to illiteracy adults,

(ii) To develop an educational mind in the absence to literary education,

(iii) To acquaint people with the rights and duties pertaining to citizenship”. For establishing democracy in the country the expansion of adult education is of paramount importance.

If we analyze from global context it is revealed that in the present world those nations are economically backward which have a low percentage of literacy. Realizing the importance of mass education most of the progressive countries of the world have concentrated their efforts to wipe out illiteracy. Because a society is determined to achieve economic development, social transformation and effective developmental programmes willingly, intelligently, effectively and efficiently.

The literacy percentage was very low in USSR. But after the Bolshovik Revolution, that country emerged as the first rate world power and her educational system able to attract the attention of the thinkers all over the world. Now Russia has become one of the leading nations of the world pertaining to educational system and literacy.

Today, in the world, adult education is essential for adults. It is the complement to elementary or professional education. It offers further education to those who have already received high level training. It is a means of individual development. Whatever the terms used for the education of adults, we find mainly two important terms essentially meant for adult education programmes.

These are adult literacy and functional literacy. The connotation of adult literacy differs from country to county. It is supposed to be the education of three R’s i.e. Reading, writing and Arithmetic, enabling the individual to discharge household responsibilities.

But functional literacy implies that the person is able to function as a literate in his social and professional life. It deals with the type of knowledge that results in achieving success in various activities. It also raises the standard of living of the adult and enable him to participate effectively in civic life.

Literacy should be functional in character. It should be regarded as a way of preparing man for social, civic and economic role that goes for beyond the limits of rudimentary literacy training, consisting merely in the teaching of reading and writing.

The process of learning to read and write should not only provide an opportunity for acquiring knowledge that can be helpful for improving standard of living but also provide training for work, increasing productivity, a greater participation in civic life and open the way to basic human culture.

Besides Elementary Education, all efforts need to be made for promoting meaningful and effective Adult Education. The world over educational planning has moved away from a sectorial view of primary schooling, non-formal education and adult education to a holistic view. The UNESCO has been advocating the “dual-track” approach designed to promote simultaneously literacy and basic learning for adults and Universalization of Elementary Education for children.

It is a matter of great appreciation that the Government of India has come forward to tackle the task of the project “Education for All” through imparting education to million of adults. The National policy on Education, 1986 took a pledge to the eradication of illiteracy, particularly in the 15-35 age group.