Short Speech on the Aims of Adult Education in India

It has been universally recognised that democracy succeeds in a country where people understand its principles. This political wisdom can be attained only through education.

Efforts in the sphere of adult education were started sometime back with the aim of spreading literacy, but learning the alphabets does not constitute education, although it is true that it helps in acquiring education.

As long as the society lives in ignorance and people continue to be illiterate it becomes poorer and weaker because a handful of unscrupulous persons who are cunning and wealthy, wield political powers and exploit others.

For simple adult education, some time should be devoted regularly, but for technical or industrial education sufficient time has to be provided for. Such subjects should be taught to adults who interest them.

The aim of adult education is not fulfilled by merely imparting bookish knowledge nor is it fulfilled by implementing a scheme constituting a programme for learning attractive words and phrases giving expression to noble sentiments.

In fact, the illiterate should be taught the basic principles of education in an attractive manner. This type of adult education has no time limit. The process should continue as long as the individual lives.

In this way, when knowledge develops and interest is created, people will themselves make efforts to understand the atmosphere surrounding them.

In the sphere of adult education the fact that should constantly remain before us is that adult education does not mean simply to enable some adult illiterates to put their signatures on a piece of paper, or by making some people learn the alphabets to solve some short-term problems.

In India, in fact, many social evils are practised and for their eradication short-term adult education programmes will not serve the purpose. Adult education should be such as to meet the requirements of various activities in the field of social welfare.

An evaluation of the efforts made in this field since the last so many decades has shown that our efforts in the past did not bear the expected fruits. The result has been that a large member of adults continued to be illiterate as before.

Adult education-drive motivated by political reasons hardly succeeds. To ensure its success, the adult education movement should aim at developing an adult mentally. It should further aim to make the adult know his responsibilities as a citizen.

Emphasis should be laid on vocational education. So far, good and adequate arrangements in the field of adult education have neither been made by the government nor by the social reformers. Unless the government steps in effectively, the future of adult education will remain in dark.

For producing cultured citizens, enlightened voters, efficient craftsmen and artisans, the state should provide adult education with programmes of cultural, physical, social and vocational training. Only such education will meet the demands of a good adult or social education.