INTRODUCTION TO ADULT EDUCATION
The term 'Adult' is understood from the term itself. But there is difference of opinion among people regarding the starting age and ending of adult life. The Sargent Report states that anyone between age group 10-35 is an adult. Monganial Saxena Committee put it between 12 to 45 years. But the government of India in 1977 launched a massive campaign to eradicate illiteracy among adults within a stipulated time of 6 years. To carry out the gigantic work, the National Adult Education Programme (NAEP) was started. It chalked out plans and programmes to educate the adults of the age group 15-35.These period is the most meaningful stage in one's life when one can contribute maximum for the development of the nation. According to Liveright and Haygood “Adult education is the process whereby persons who no longer (or did not) attend school on a regular and full time basis undertake sequential and organised activities within a conscious intention of bringing about changes in information, knowledge, understanding or skills, appreciation and attitudes or for the purpose of identifying and solving personal or community problems”. UNESCO (1974) defined the concept as, “The term adult education denotes the entire body of organised educational processes, whatever content, level and method whether formal or otherwise, whether they prolong or replace initial education in schools, colleges and universities as well as in apprenticeship, whereby persons regarded as adults by the society to which they belong develop their abilities, enrich their knowledge, improve their technical or professional qualifications and bring about changes in their attitude or behaviour in the two fold perspective of full personal development and participation in balance and independent social, economic and cultural development.” Adult education is a type of delayed instruction which an adult should have received during his early years. Adult education is broader in scope. It includes acquisition of not only mere skills and social education but also vocational education, health education, citizenship training, recreational education and cultural education. It is the education to fit an illiterate adult to function as an intelligent member in society and to assume adult responsibilities with profit to himself and to the nation at large. In present period the concept of adult education has been extended and many other terms have free play in educational hemisphere. These are lifelong education or permanent education adopted by the UNESCO. It is much wider in scope and content than the adult education. Again other terms like 'out-of school education', 'Non-formal education', 'Further education,' 'Distance education', 'open learning', 'De-schooling', etc. have come to the scene. Lifelong education is the education acquired in entire life. Informal education is deliberate systematic and planned instruction out- side the formal sphere of schools. Non-formal education includes adult education, social education, distance education, functional literacy, etc. Adult education may be defined as the application of the process of education that is aimed at adults. But two terms come to our mind- 'adult education' and education of adults' Let us make the two concepts clear before we go ahead with our discussion on adult education.
India, after post-Independence inherited a system of education which was characterizes by large scale inter and intra-regional imbalances. The system educated a selected few, leaving a wide gap between the educated and the illiterate. The country’s literacy rate in 1947 was only 14 % and female literacy rate was very low at 8 %. Only one child out of three had an opportunity for enrolment in primary schools. Educational equality was aggravated by economic in-equality, gender disparity and rigid social stratification (division). Eradication of illiteracy has been one of the major national...
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