The National Adult Education Programme, 1978

The National Adult Education Programme

Dr. Prasenjit Deb, Professor, Department of Adult, Continuing Education & Extension, University of Kalyani, West Bengal, India, Pin-741235

 

In India the overall position of literacy is disturbing, as the total number of illiterates has continued to increase, particularly among women and tribal people. The first nation-wide attempt at eradication of illiteracy was made through the National Adult Education Programme launched on October 2, 1978. It was a massive programme which aimed at educating 100 million non- literate adults in the age group of 15-35 years within a time frame of five years.

The National Adult Education Programme aims to extend educational facilities to all illiterates between the ages of 15-35 within about five years. The Programme emphasizes three things: (1) literacy and numeracy; (2) functional development, i.e., the role of an individual as a producer or worker, as a member of the family, and as a citizen; (3) social awareness, including an awareness of the impediments to development, of laws and government policies, and of the need for the poor and illiterate to organize themselves for group action towards development. A brief study is made of Programme organization and implementation, and training for teaching staff.

The incidence of illiteracy and social disability being much higher among women and persons belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, ‘a priority is to be given to them in organisation of programmes.

In emphasising correlation between working, living and learning, NAEP has borrowed heavily from Gandhiji’s basic educational (Nai Taleem). In its methods, NAEP incorporates the essential features of non-formal education, particularly in emphasizing relevance to the environment and learners needs; flexibility regarding duration, time, location, instructional arrangements etc.; and diversification in curriculum, and teaching and learning materials. In conformity with the ancient Indian aim of Vidya (sa vidya ya vimuktaye), which finds is echo in many a recent thinker, education is viewed as a means of man’s liberation.

Modus Operandi

The Programme was intended to be implemented in the form of compact projects. The word project in the context of NAEP was used to describe that field level administrative unit responsible for organization of the programme in a compact adjacent area with more or less similar environmental background and learning needs. The project was headed by a Project Officer and there was a Supervisor for each 20-30 adult education centres.

Actual adult education activities would be organized through a number of centres in each project. In setting up adult education centres, priority is to be given to the needs of women and of persons belonging to the Scheduled Castes.

A centre is to be organized by an instructor who is paid an honorarium of Rs. 50 per month. The instructor of the centre is assisted in his work by all the field level government functionaries as well as other knowledgeable persons. The period during which the learners would participate in the adult education centre would be between 300 to 350 hours, or 9-10 months.

Post-literacy and follow-up activities form an essential and integrated part of the programme. These centres would provide library and reading, room, facilities, training courses for functional development, as ‘well as group action and group organization activities.

IMPLEMENTATION AGENCIES

The various categories of persons, who could be assigned instructional responsibility, would include the following:

  1. School teacher.
  2. Students,
  3. Unemployed village youth.
  4. Ex-servicemen & other retired personnel.
  5. Field-level Govt. and other functionaries and
  6. Voluntary social workers.

ADMINISTRATION, RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT AND FINANCE

At the national level cooperation and coordination has to be organized among the various Ministries of Central Government and between government and non-government agencies. There is also need to periodically appraise the progress of implementation of NAEP and to advise government on various matters. For this purpose the National Board of Adult Education under the Chairmanship of the Union Education Minister has been set up. In each State there has to be a State Board of Adult Education, to function as the agency of coordination and advice. Under the overall guidance of the State Board, there has to be a State Adult Education Officer with necessary supporting administrative and professional staff. The responsibility at the district level rests mainly with the District Collector, who is assisted by a District Adult Education Officer, and advised by the District Adult Education Committee.

The administrative system is supported by structures for resource development. Resource development includes publication of teaching and learning materials, training, evaluation and guidance regarding post-literacy and follow up work.

Training

Training has been given a place of special importance in NAEP. One of the first preparatory steps taken was to prepare guidelines for training of various adult education functionaries. No training programme for them is to be for a period less than 21 days, to be followed by recurrent training.

All training programmes and teaching and learning materials are to be pre-tested as well as subjected to impact studies. Evaluation is also being built into the project system so that the instructors, supervisors and project officers can identify the deficiencies of the programme and promptly introduce corrective measures.

Cost estimates in connection with the implementation of NAEP have been worked out carefully. The effective target under NAEP being 10 crores during 1979-84 the requirement of funds can be worked out as follows:

10 crores x Rs. 80.00                                       …        Rs. 800 crores

Add 10% (administrative evaluation costs)        …        Rs. 80 crores

Total Rs. 880 crores

Add 20% (follow-up cost)                                …        Rs. 176 crores

Grand Total Rs. 1056 crores

However, the provision made in the Medium Term Plan 1978-83 is Rs. 200 crores, as against the requirement of Rs. 686 crores for this period (the balance out of Rs. 1056 crores relates to the first year of the next Plan period).

RESULT / EVALUATION

National Adult Education Programme has played a very important role in increasing literacy in our country. Adult & continuing education has increased literacy to a higher percent. Special attention was given to the weaker section of the society including women & other backward classes by organizing programmers according to their time conveniences & suitability of work place. But if we do cost-output analysis, the result of NAEP is not so encouraging, Government is spending a huge amount of money on this programme but most of NGO’s are running adult education centers on papers only.

NUMBER OF CENTRES OPENED DURING 1984-85

TABLE—1

TYPE NUMBER OF CENTRES OPENED
RURAL URBAN TOTAL
FOR MEN 60 60
FOR WOMEN 36 36
FOR BOTH MEN & WOMEN 04 04
TOTAL 100 100

 

NUMBERS OF CENTRES COMPLETED DURING 1984-85

TABLE—2

TYPE NUMBER OF CENTRES OPENED
RURAL URBAN TOTAL
FOR MEN 57 57
FOR WOMEN 33 33
FOR BOTH MEN & WOMEN 04 04
TOTAL 94 94

 

From Table 3, it will be seen that in the year 1984-85 there was an enrolment of nearly 1,860 men out of which 1770 men completed the programme successfully. In case of women, the total enrolment was 1140, out of which 1050 completed the programme successfully. This, therefore clearly shows the good achievement so far as the statistics are concerned.

ENROLMENT & ACHIEVEMENT

TABLE—3

AREA ENROLMENT

MALE FEMALE TOTAL
ACHIEVEMENT

MALE FEMALE TOTAL
RURAL       1860 1140 3000 1770 1050 2820
URBAN
TOTAL 1860 1140 3000 1770 1050 2820

 

 

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