Adult Education

The films are neither going to be another dry historical film nor the account of achievements-with full of hard-hitting technical jargons. Instead of that, it is going to be a narrative documentary of social and cultural perspective and also giving emphasize to education and vocational training, because of leniency. Most interestingly we will be brief commentary and year marks. History will be there, but not as a subjective character.

Literacy for women

Women make the most effective providers of healthcare, be it grandmothers mother, nurses non-formal teacher and mangers of the local environments. As a wife and mother, she is the most influential member in determining the stability of her family and the development of her children’s personality. Hence, the women’s development is a pre requisite for all the round development of the society. In a package of developmental inputs available to community, education should form an effective means to improve the physical quality of life of the masses.

The lowest female literacy recorded was in Bihar , but the widest gender gap was in Rajasthan. One of the troubling aspects of the literacy data was how an industrially advanced state like Gujarat made below average progress with literacy growing only at 8.7% compared to the national average of 13.75%. Literacy growth in other relatively more industrialized states such as Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Punjab was also below the national average at around 10-11%. West Bengal also delivered a below average progress report. In Kerala, progress was a dismal 1-% for the decade.

On the other hand, industrially neglected states like Kashmir and UP reported slightly higher than average improvements. In Kashmir , the forces of Islamic fundamentalism have had an adverse effect, particularly on womens literacy.

Progress of Women’s Literacy in India : Challenges for 21st Century.

The development of a nation cannot only be assured through the technological and materialistic advances, but through the quality of life of the people live. Current framework of National Development recognizes women a unique power unit and a potential resource and has played crucial role in social reforms economic development and also in the political process.

On the other handy infant mortality rate, birth rate and total fertility rate are negatively correlated, The lower the educational level of the mother, the more number of children born to her, the greater are the risks of reproductive mortality/ morbidity. Hence, progress in literacy is being considered as a component of progress in development.

Female literacy in India

It is seen that the absolute number of female illiterates increased from 185*3 million in 1961 to 271.1 in 1991 and also the female population increased from 212. million in 1961 to 402.8 million In 1991.

Differentials prevail in literacy rates in rural and urban areas with the rural female population having lower rates than the urban female population. It is seen that literacy rate varied between 2504 percent for rural female and 54.5 percent for urban females in 1991. Nearly half of the total illiterates in India are rural females.

Literacy differential by sex

The literacy rate of females in comparison with male literacy rate for all the four census years and also for all the states has lower literacy rates. Of the 20 major states, 9 states have literacy rates for males and females that are higher than the national average for male and female in 1961. 11 states in 1971. 12 states in 1981 and 14 states in 1991.

Enrollment girls in schools

Girl’s enrolment in school has increased greatly consistently at all levels. At the primary stage, girls have increased nine-fold from 5,4 million in 1950-51 to 46.4 million in 1993-94. At the upper primary stage over thirty fold from 0.5 million in 1950-51 to 13,7 million in 1993-94 at the higher secondary level it increased from 0.2 mill to 8.1 million over the same period. A substantial increase in school enrolment at the higher level indicates improvement in girls education which is very significant for their all round development of status.


Since Independence , determined efforts have been made towards the achievement of the Universal Literacy in India . Over the years there has been a very impressive increase in the number and spread of Institutions as well as enrolment of girls. But, the lowest amount of literacy of women is found in the Hindi-belt states of Rajesthan, Bihar , Madhyapreadesh and Uttar Pradesh. These states account for the majority of illiterate women in India .

Residual illiteracy

The Census 2001 provisional reports indicate that India has made significant progress in the field of literacy during the decade since the previous census in 1991. The literacy rate in 2001 has been recorded at 65.38% as against 52.21% in 1991. The 13.17 percentage points increase in the literacy rate during the period is the highest increase in any decade. Also for the first time there is a decline in the absolute number of non-literates during the past 10 years. The total number of non-literate has come down from 320 million in 1991 to 296 million in 2001. During 1991-2000, the population in 7+ age group increased by 171.6 millions while 203.6 million additional persons became literate during that period. Out of 858 million people above the age of 7 years, 562 million are now literates. Three-fourths of our male population and more than half of the female population are literate. This indeed is an encouraging indicator for us to speed up our march towards the goal of achieving a sustainable threshold literacy rate of 75% by 2007.

The Census 2001 provisional figures also indicate that the efforts of the nation during the past decade to remove the scourge of illiteracy have not gone in vain. The eradication of illiteracy from a vast country like India beset by several social and economic hurdles is not an easy task. Realising this the National Literacy Mission was set up on 5 th May, 1988 to impart a new sense of urgency and seriousness to adult education. After the success of the areas specific, time bound, voluntary based campaign approach first in Kottayam city and then in Ernakulum district in Kerala in 1990, the National Literacy Mission had accepted the literacy campaigns as the dominant strategy for eradication of illiteracy.

Out of 600 districts in the country, 596 districts have already been covered under Total Literacy Campaigns.  The number of continuing education districts is 238

The creditable performance of the National Literacy Mission received international recognition when it was awarded the UNESCO Noma Literacy Prize for 1999. The International Jury while selecting NLM for the prize recognised its initiation of the Total Literacy Campaigns and also its efforts in galvanising activities towards integration, conservation of the environment, promotion of women’s equality, and the preservation of family customs and traditions. The Jury also appreciated the training imparted by NLM, the teaching learning material produced by it and the awareness created by it for the demand for raising both the quality and quantity of primary education.

The Bureau of Adult Education and National Literacy Mission under the Department of Elementary Education and Literacy of the Ministry of Human Resource Development functions as the Secretariat of the National Literacy Mission Authority. The General Council of the NLMA is headed by the Minister of Human Resource Development and the Executive Council is headed by the Secretary (Elementary Education and Literacy). The Directorate of Adult Education provides necessary technical and resource support to the NLMA.

The National Literacy Mission was revitalised with the approval of the Union Government on 30 th September, 1999 . The Mission ‘s goal is to attain total literacy i.e. a sustainable threshold literacy rate of 75% by 2007. The Mission seeks to achieve this by imparting functional literacy to non-literates in the 15-35 age group. To tackle the problem of residual illiteracy, now it has been decided to adopt an integrated approach to Total Literacy Campaigns and Post Literacy Programme. This means the basic literacy campaigns and post literacy programmes will be implemented under one literacy project called ‘Literacy Campaigns an Operation Restoration’ to achieve continuity and efficiency.

In order to promote decentralization, the State Literacy Mission Authorities have been given the authority to sanction continuing education projects to Districts and literacy related projects to voluntary agencies in their States.
The scheme of Jan Shikshan Sansthan or Institute of People ‘s Education, previously known as the Scheme of Shramik Vidyapeeth was initially evolved as a non-formal continuing education programme to respond to the educational and vocational training needs of adults and young people living in urban and industrial areas and for persons who had migrated from rural to urban settings.

The Directorate of Adult Education , a sub-ordinate office of the Department of Elementary Education and Literacy has been entrusted with the task of monitoring and evaluating the various literacy programmes being launched under the aegis of the National Literacy Mission.

The National Literacy Mission is laying great stress on vigorous monitoring and systematic evaluation of adult education programmes launched under its aegis in the country.

Vocational training for neo-literate

National Literacy Mission is a social mission, which aims at improving the living and working condition of the people. On evaluation of the literacy programme, at national level, the need has emerged to strengthen post literacy and continuing education, so that neo-literates are not relapse to the stage of illiteracy again. In the sphere of literacy, the percentage of dropouts increases when literacy programmes are not development oriented. Therefore, now the emphasis is being laid on making National Literacy Mission a peoples programme. Considering the importance and necessity of the programmes for neo-literates, provisions had been made to open institutions like Jan Shikshan Nilayam (JSN) to provide facilities of life long education and vocational training.

To such people who are neo-literates or dropouts special study material on functional literacy and equivalency programmes shall be designed and made available. The subject matter of post literacy and continuing education should be oriented towards meeting the interests and educational needs of the particular group. For this purpose vocational education must form the main subject-matter. Provisions shall be made for mobile library services and reading rooms under post literacy programme. The studies have confirmed the fact that libraries play a significant role in mass literacy programme.

Village libraries can be used for presenting and discussing the success stories of the participants and they can play an important role in creating positive atmosphere for development. Book exhibitions if organised in fairs and social gatherings, can highlight the role of adult education in making the life better by uplifting their socio economic status. Libraries can also become medium of character building. To achieve this goal, special study material relating to various aspects of life, while considering the reading interests of the neo-literates should be made available at district, block and village level and also in urban slum areas. The film shows and slide shows can also be arranged to stress upon the need for continuing education.

Poverty and illiteracy are closely linked which go together everywhere in the world. Both poverty and illiteracy are part of the complex system of deprivation and discrimination. Research studies and experiences around the World show that literacy affects human resource development dramatically increasing children participation in primary education reducing infant mortality, accelerating success in child care, immunisation, better health, better hygiene, better nutrition, small family norm, empowerment of women so on and so forth. There is a definite relationship between literacy and development. Literacy strengthens and sustains the process of development. Literacy is both the cause and effect of development. Literacy is one of the most important indicators of the socio-economic and political development of a society.

Poverty & Literacy

In the nations 50 years of planned growth, more than half of the total population in India are still illiterate and continue to live under the poverty line. As per Human Development Report 1997, rural poverty declined from 40% to 33% during 1997 to 1981. By 1994 rural poverty in India was 39% and urban poverty 30%. As for the future, the ninth five year plan (1997-2002) calls for eradicating income poverty by the year 2005. The Planning Commission interprets this goal as reducing income poverty to around 5%. In the same way The National Literacy Mission, is also striving to meet the dead line of `literacy for all’ by the year 2005. Increasing literacy rate, it is hoped, will definitely improve the economic growth of our country.

The rate of literacy has more than doubled between 1961 and 1991; yet half of the population is still illiterate. The school drop out rate is almost 50% and is more in case of females. The life expectancy almost doubled to 61 years between 1961 and 1992. We are still facing the threat of population growth. The growth of population is directly affecting the socio-economic growth of our country. Analising the present situation it goes without saying that, the importance of literacy and awareness for socio-economic development is highly essential.

Literacy & Alleviation of Poverty

Literacy can be used as an instrument for increasing production and efficiency through the promotion of training and vocational skills. This is the only way to inter-link literacy and alleviation of poverty. The Government has initiated several income generating programmes with the goal to improve the standard of living of the people. Many of these schemes area for vocational training to develop and upgrade existing skills. Vocational training like TRYSEM, Jawahar Rozgar Yojana, Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP) etc. The literacy programme combined with other developmental programme should be a life long process, which is other wise known as continuing education for a truly sustainable development. The continuing education emerges as Post Literacy Programmes (PLP). Quality of Life Improvement Programmes (QLIP), Equivalency Programmes (EP) Income Generating Programmes (IGP), Individual Interest Programmes (IIP) and Future oriented programmes.

Literacy & Development

Development refers to qualitative and structural changes in the state of an economy for the betterment of social and economic conditions of the people. This requires, people to acquire new knowledge, information and skills, which provides an impetus for development.

The concept of literacy and development have undergone tremendous transformation. During 1950’s it remained as an integral part of the community development programme. In 1960’s, when a direct correlation emerged between education and economic growth, the emphasis of literacy programme shifted from civic to functional literacy. It was argued that one of the reasons for the failure of many developmental schemes like agriculture production, family planning, co-operatives, Panchayat institutions was the lack of functional literacy among the rural masses. During 1970’s, Functional LIteracy for Adult Women project was implemented with a view to accelerating the participation of adult women in the development efforts of local community and bringing about attitudinal change among them. In 1978 the Janata Government put more emphasis on re-distributive justice and eradication of illiteracy. Through the National Adult Education Programme (NAEP) the Government put equal emphasis on literacy, functionality and social awareness. In 1980’s the emphasis was given on people’s right to literacy as component of development itself. Importance of literacy was reiterated by the National Policy of Education (1986) which envisaged that adult education would be a means for reducing economic, social and gender disparities; and the nation as a whole would assume the responsibility for providing a resource support. Subsequently when promotion of literacy became an important national mission, the National Literacy Mission was launched in 1988 with an objective to impart functional literacy to 80 million illiterates in 15-35 age group by 1995 with the involvement of all sections of the society. Subsequently the concept of functional literacy envisaged under NLM was much broader than the earlier and included the following four aspects.

Poverty, Literacy & Development challenges for 21st Century

“LEARNING THROUGHOUT LIFE” as one of the keys of 21st Century. The Commission has put greater emphasis on LEARNING TO LIVE TOGETHER. : By developing an understanding of others and their history tradition and spiritual values.

In 21st century with the literacy programme utmost care should be taken to reduce poverty through different poverty alleviation schemes and focus on human development priorities – including basic health, basic education, safe drinking water and special attention for socially dis-advantaged groups should be given.

Women education needs to be strengthened to empower them, to play an active role as partner in the development process. Since India is facing population problem the policy should be formulated to impart population education along with literacy during 21st century. The literacy should be integrated with environment issues, economic programme, entrepreneurship development etc. for all-round development for human being. It is suggested to give more emphasis on the followings in the next century.