More than five decades have passed since most of the Asian countries achieved independence from the British. Still, most countries remain backward because more than fifty percent of the population is illiterate. After independence, there has been a considerable increase in the number of schools and colleges and the number of students who have acquired education in these institutions has also increased tremendously. However, most of our people are still illiterate and they can not afford to send their children to school. There is extreme poverty and also lack of awareness about the importance of education. There is a slow increase in the rate of literacy.
The need to launch a program, to educate the adults of our country, was, therefore, felt immediately after independence. The idea was mooted by the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi, with the help of the Union Education Department and the State Education Services. The program aimed at making the illiterate masses of People aware of the value of education. Teachers were sent to the homes of the learners, incentives were given to the learners who explained the importance of education. The help of highly dedicated persons was sought to implement the program of adult literacy. Also, the help of radio, T.V. and various village development unions was taken on a large scale to make the program a success. People in large numbers came forward to render help to the learners and the learners also cooperated. The results were not satisfactory.
There are many reasons. Most of the illiterate adults are not ready to devote time to education. They want to give this time to the earning of their livelihood. The government is not able to provide sufficient funds for the implementation of the program of Adult education. At someplace, the scheme is only on paper and nothing is being done to launch it in practice. It is very difficult to convince the poorest of the poor that they should acquire some literacy or some fundamentals of education before they start earning their livelihood. Hence, the program has not met with success.
There is, however, no doubt that the Adult Education program has borne some fruit. Many people in cities and villages have taken advantage of it. Many farmers, workers, women, and artisans are now able to read newspapers and keep their personal accounts. Though the program has not been able to gain much popularity among the masses, the result has not been very disappointing. We really need an Adult Education movement. It can certainly achieve massive success if the Government and non-government bodies come forward and extend their whole-hearted support.