All development programmes envisage the acceleration of economic technological and social change through a planned effort. It is evident all such efforts concentrate on the adult population of the community. This segment of the community forms the core of manpower for carrying out the transformational activities both mentally and physically.
Any opposition by this group of people often results in failure of the programme. To prevent any such risk developmental schemes are launched with a motivational campaign and educational activities. No doubt a lot of spade work is accomplished by the political leadership of the area, but true inclination of the adult group proves more helpful in taking off the planned effort.
Motivational and educational programmes are built around the needs of this group. Generally, in developing countries where poverty surrounds the whole convas, better future prospects appear to be more attractive for the unemployed youth anxious to become an earning hand and thus respected member of the community.
Nature of Adult Education Programmes
Adult education programmes were first introduced in the United States of America with the name of Adult Basic Education. Major objective of the activity was the eradication of illiteracy among the adult population of the country. In the 1930’s the movement spread in the British Colonies with the same name and objective.
But later on when socio-economic variations expanded between the rural and urban sectors of the economy, political leadership wanted to bridge the gap and equalize the social conditions, many programmes with the name of Community Development or Rural Development were started.
As these programmes were a kind of conscious effort for the acceleration of economic, technological and social change, therefore, the curricula which previously was limited to only reading, writing and numeracy was a expanded to include a lot of functional education necessary for a healthy living in any social system. Necessary and relevant to the local needs technical skills were also added.
As a big chunk of these developmental programmes are related to education and training activities, therefore, adult education became an integral part of the programmes where ever launched.
Literacy and Illiteracy
Accordingly, illiteracy is inability to read and write in any language. Although with small variations this definition is accepted worldwide with the increasing volume of knowledge and expanded demands of society from the individual, knowledge of simple Arithmetic has also been included in the definition of literacy.
Nature of the Problem
Governments especially those emerging out of the wrecks of the colonial regions have seldom been conscious of the rights of common man in a society. Least attention was paid to such ameliorative activities as health, education, sanitation, water supply etc.
In the Middle East, South Asia, South East Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Pacific Region, generally speaking, health, education and sanitation remained a neglected field. Due to large scale illiteracy public opinion remained dormant upto 1960’s.
It is only with the advent of electronic media that people at large came to know of their rights and struggled for those basic facilities. Upto this time, it is only in a few countries with better G.N.P. where elementary education is almost compulsory. Still there are many developing countries and LCD’s as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, India, Bhutan, Bangladesh etc., which are behind this target. They lack resources both financial and manpower for reaching this goal.
Enrollment ratios at the primary level are much below the desired target of 100 percent. That is why a big chunk of population predominantly from the rural areas never attends a school and remains ignorant.
A large majority of this group is, of course, from the women folk, who, as the social tradition is, has to rear up the new generation. Therefore, a lot of work has to be done for the realization of the fact that education of a woman is more important than that of the man.