Adult Education

Democracy without education is meaningless. It is education and not freedom that makes a nation great but the situation as prevailing in our country in this respect is not only distressing  but disgraceful. "A state may pass a law, making education compulsory but unless  people accept such laws, no state can enforce them by military or police measures."
"No nation can leave its security to the police and the arm to a larger extent. National security depends upon the education of citizens, their knowledge of affairs, their character and sense of discipline and their ability to participate effectively in security measures" says kothari commission. So "Adult education is thus the foundation on which alone free India can build up a welfare state which will recognize the claim of both individual freedom and social security.
"It is the education of  grown up men and women who are more than 18yrs old. Education for adults mainly those who could not get any formal education in the early days of their lives".
According to Bryson "Adult education includes all activities with an educational purpose, carried on by people, in the ordinary business of life, who use only part of their energy to acquire intellectual equipment".
According to Ernert Baker "Adult education is a course to be taken up concurrently with work and the earning of living". It is to be given on part time basis.

Because of ever changing social condition the scope of education is also widening. Now it is not confined to literacy only but it has become a life long process.
Kothari commission stated "Adult education is to provide every adult citizen with an opportunity for the education of the type which he wishes and which he should have for his personal enrichment, professional advancement and effective participation in social and political life".
The purpose of adult education are,
  • i) Individuals point of view: From individual's point of view the purpose of adult education are,
  • Remedial: Adult education provides education to those adults who could not receive education because of certain reasons. It provides opportunity to such adults to make up their deficiency in this respect.
  • Development of physical health: Adult education aims at educating the adult in the fundamental principles of health for prevention of diseases.
  • Vocational development : Adult education aims at improving vocational efficiency of the individual by providing him training in his respective vocation.
  • Development of social skills: Adult education aims at training the adult for social living to teach them the sense of rights and duties & live in harmony with their colleagues.
  • Self development: Adult education aims at training creative faculties of the adult for their self-development.
  • Recreational aim: Adult education aim at training the adults for the best use of leisure with proper recreation.
ii) Social point of view: From the social point of view the aims of adult education should be as under,
  • Promotion of social cohesion: It means to promote unity in diversity. Adult education aims at creating a common culture where social cohesion can be brought at functional & emotional level. With the help of Adult education, individualism and solitude that exists among different groups can be reduced.
  • Conservation and Improvement of national resources: Adult education aims at conservation & improvement of natural resources by creating new awakening among the adults.
  • Building Co-operative groups: Aims at building co-operative groups for healthy co-ordination and cohesion between individual happiness and social progress.
  • Inculcation of social ideology: Aims of inculcation of social ideology in adults to prepare them to subordinate their private welfare to national welfare. So adult education aims at the improvement of the life of people socially economically and also it conveys the idea for self help.
  • A new hope for the illiterate: Adult education brings a new hope for the illiterate masses who failed to get education during their school years. Though a well-defined programme of adult education, the illiterate adults can hope to take part in the day to day activities of their country.
  • Adult education is needed to wider intellectual horizon of partially illiterate adults.
  • Adult education is needed to broaden the political horizon of the adults ie. value of vote.
  • Adult education is needed to complete India's political awakening.
  • Adult education is needed to set the cultural tone of the community.
  • Adult education is needed to make adult life a happy and joyous living.
  • Adult education is needed to satisfy the recreational needs of rural adults.
  • Adults education is needed to train the adult in co-operative living.
  • A powerful auxillary to compulsory primary education.
  • Continuing education - Education does not end with schooling. It is a life long process.
It has to be organized in sound likes to so that all the adults in the country may get benefit from it.
i) Village level: Youth clubs and nahila mandals are organized for this purpose. In village panchayats, secretary of co-operative society if any, primary school teachers should combine their efforts.
ii) Block level: There should be 2 full time officers at the block level 1 - one man & one women.
iii) District level: Every district should have a district social education officer whose main job would be to supervise the work of all social education officers both male & female.
iv) State level: There should be an officer of the rank of a joint or Deputy director at the state level to look after the administration of all aspects of adult education.
v) Central level: Ministry of education is in-charge of all the programmes of adult education. So all these programmes are directly implemented by it either through central scheme of through the state education department.

The changing concept of adult education:
To begin with, it was limited to the teaching of literacy that is teaching illiterate adults how to read & write. With the passage of times mearly literacy was considered insufficient. The concept of adult education was enlarged to include the knowledge of certain useful subjects such as hygiene, civics and the problems of every day life. A new concept emerged ie. the concept of 'Social education'.
The term 'Adult education' is back in use once again because the term adult education was better understood by UNESCO and many other countries.

I Reading Materials:
  1. Books and pamphlets
  2. Daily Newspapers: All adults are interested in news, and all over the world the daily news - sheet provides the chief reading matter for adults.
  3. Periodicals : Which are weekly, fortnightly, monthly.
  4. Charts, Graphs and Maps were also used.
II. Audiovisual Materials:
The main A.V. aids used are black board, bulletin board, film, film strips, maps, graphs, charts, Records.

According to Munro, the chief methods of teaching the adults are,
1. Learner - dominated methods: In these methods the learner dominates. He initiates and mostly depends upon himself. These are following 3 subgroups within these methods.
  • Trial & Error Method: Here experience dominates along with drill and practice. The learner concentrates his efforts by repeating an activity a number of fines and thus acquires skill.
  • Individual investigation method: Here the process involves thinking out a thing or learning by insight, supplemented by use of library, use of laboratory, Questionnaire, survey and field trips.
  • Project method: It combines the essentials of first two methods.
2. Teacher - dominated methods:
Here the teacher is more active and dominates the learning process. It includes
a) Lecture Method
b) Counseling
c) Case work - Here the teacher goes into the history of an individuals case and teaches him the way to lead a happy and satisfying life.
d) Demonstration: This is of 2 types.
  • Method demonstration - pupils are shown how to do a thing. Eg: Washing a baby's sore eyes.
  • Result demonstration - adults are shown the start and end of an demonstration. Eg: use of menure lends itself only to the result demonstration.
3. Co-operative methods:
  • Apprenticeship - a student learns through working in close co-operative with his teacher.
  • Group discussion -
  1. Classes of people like teachers, government servants, volunteers, social education workers etc.
  2. Regular educational institution like schools, colleges, universities, libraries, museums, correspondence schools, community centres, agriculture extension groups.
  3. Informal educational device like forums, study circles, discussion groups, listening groups, camps etc.
  4. Recreational educational bodies like theatres.
  5. Institutions whose primary function is not education. Eg: Religious bodies.
Numerous problems in the way of social education act as obstacles & hinders the progress of social education.
1. Non co-operation of adults:
In the rural areas, especially in several backward regions, there is severe orthodoxy among the adults, and they refuse to co-operate with teachers.
Solution  - to solve this problem, the help of Panchayat of Municipal Committee should be taken.
2. Problem of social education workers:
For a successful programme of social education it is necessary to get a honest & devoted teachers with missionary goal. The difficulty is that we do not have such workers.
Solution : the economic status of adult education workers should be considerably raised.
3. Problem of attendance : The attendance of adults in adult education is generally very poor. They do not come regularly.
Solution : To make the programme so interesting and inspiring that adults feel great pleasure in attending.
4. Problem of vocational training:
Teachers working in the field of adult education are hardly competent to teach about vocation of adults.
Solution: The experts should frequently invited to give lectures and practical demonstrations to adults.
5. Problem of Equipment:
The centres for adult education are not property equipped. The books copies & other material not available.
6. Problem of social backwardness:
Differences of caste and creed give rise to numerous problems in this regard. Many people do not like to site by the side of scheduled caste or backward class people.
7. Problems of suitable literature
Adults need easy and interesting literature for self-study after they picked up reading  and writing.
8. Problem of Finance:
Lack of funds available for adults education is a great handicap in the way of its promotion.

Adult education was very helpful for those who could not get their formal education in childhood. But it depends on the interest of people and the help of government to make it interesting and there should be teachers volunteer to teach. By a police education cannot be rendered, if it comes as a motive it is beneficial.

  1. Peers, R. (1987). Adult education a comparative study. Newyork. Humanities publications.
  2. Prasad, R . (1991). Adult education. New Delhi. Ashish publishing House.
  3. Kundu, C. L. (1986). Adult education principles, practice and prospects. New Delhi. Sterling publishers.


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