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Essay on “ Problem of Adult Illiteracy” Complete Essay for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

 Problem of Adult Illiteracy


Adult illiteracy is out of the major problems in our country. it is a real handicap in the economic and social development of a democratic country in a democracy, the success of a government depends on the degree of education the masses have, for it is the masses who elect their representatives who turn the government. If the masses are not educated, enlightened and aware of the happenings in their country, then there is every possibility of their being exploited? Therefore adult literacy is very important to ensure the smooth functioning of democratic institutions

For centuries, Indian masses have been steeped in ignorance, poverty and backwardness. They have no time for educating their young ones who join the work force at a tender age. In a country, where 70% of the population depends on agriculture, rural folks consider children, specially male, as helping hands to add to family income. Parents are not anxious to send them to school. In fact, education is considered an obstacle. A farmer’s son who earns a degree becomes unfit for farming and rural life. He prefers to live in the city, even if it is a life of object poverty, squalor and slums. On the contrary, if he gets some training in his own trade, there is a chance of his doing better in life. Therefore, adult literacy programmes have to be functional in character. They should be linked with the work and the life of the people so that they serve as a tool for rural development. 

Television has proved to be a very effective audiovisual aid in promoting awareness among the uneducated. Programmes on family planning, better farming techniques, child welfare, etc are extremely beneficial and educative. Radio has also been rendering a very useful if service to the illiterate masses by designing programmes for their enlightenment.

Educational institutions have also started correspondence courses and informal courses which do not require any regular attendance. These are a boon to millions of students who had to discontinue their formal education owing to family constraints, lack of motivation or because of residing in remote areas. These have benefited individuals who look upon education as a lifetime activity and may like to refresh their knowledge in an existing discipline or to acquire knowledge in a new area. This concept of distance education is a welcome step towards promoting adult literacy rate. However, correspondence courses should not be confined to preparing students for acquiring university degrees but should also provide education in agriculture, industrial trades and other special courses as would help them to increase production.  Provision should be made for libraries in rural areas and for large scale book production at subsidized rates.

A child s primary education begins at home in the lap of the mother. However, it is sad that in our country female education has not been paid attention it deserves. It has to be realised that woman plays a vital role in creating a congenial environment for her family which is conducive to the all round development of the children female literacy has therefore to be given its due place. The government has realised the importance of this and is trying to take steps to educate women. Gandhiji rightly said that if the mother is-educated, the entire family is educated.

Government has formulated a comprehensive programme known as National Literacy Mission (NLM) in the field of adult education. This programme which was launched in 1988 with the objective of imparting functional literacy to 800 lakh adult illiterates in the age group of 15-35 by 1995 new aims to impart functional literacy to 100 million adult illiterates in the age group of 15-35 by 1997. The campaigns for achieving full literacy are area-Specific, time bound, volunteer-based, cost-effective and outcome oriented. Total Literacy campaigns (TLC) have been launched in 336 districts of the country covering over 81 lakh persons and 134 districts have commenced post literacy campaigns to consolidate the gains of literacy. It is proposed to cover 345 districts by TLC by the end of the Eighth Plan.

Heroic attempts have been made to banish illiteracy, but with no significant results. Slogans like Each one, Teach one were coined, but were difficult to implement without public cooperation. The Education Commission had recommended a programme of compulsory national service to promote adult education. College teachers and students were required to make a sort of compulsory social service by spreading literacy during the summer vacations. Entrants to government services were required to make four to five literate. But compulsions like these cannot yield the same results as voluntary efforts. On the other hand, students who were not interested in making any personal contribution to this scheme started buying bogus certificates from the  village officials.

Spreading literacy among the adults is not an easy task. They lack the drive, motivation and incentives which spur the young to team. In order to sustain their interest and encourage them to enroll for these programmes it is absolutely necessary to give consideration to their interests, timings, etc. Mere teaching of alphabets and arithmetic to the adults is awfully boring. They should be given lectures on what is called socially relevant issues like hygiene, health, general welfare basic reading and writing skills, crafts, etc. Audio-visual aids should be used. They should be shown films on subjects which interest them.  These steps will certainly kindle interest and make their lives happier, richer and healthier. Further for this new class of literates, new types of books will be required. Village library facilities will have to be increased. They should be manned by trained library personnel to help and guide the students.

There is a need to open night schools especially for low income groups in industrial areas. Where workers can resume their education despite being busy. Such steps are bound to produce results. Community television sets should be provided so that workers can get together in the evening and watch the national programmes. These will help them to keep themselves up to date on the happenings in the political, social and economic front in the nation.

If we are serious about removing adult illiteracy from our country them it is high time the government machinery and voluntary agencies gear themselves to launch massive literacy drives all over the country. It is a stupendous task, yet not difficult to achieve. If the country has to carry on its march towards progress then it has to ensure that its ambitious hundred per cent literacy drive meets with success. What other countries have done, India can also achieve. It is a long road, but we must traverse it.


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