Adult education in India: We can break barriers when we don’t put any bars on education

There is no question about the importance of education in improving human well being and in turn social well being. A large percentage of Indian population is under educated or uneducated. Today, it is important to have skill-based education as the work environment is rapidly evolving. When there is any discussion on education, the imagery that ensues is of children and adolescents. There is another group that must be brought into focus. Adult education is amongst the goals of our education schemes. But it does not get the kind of attention it should from the public at large. It is after all them that it affects the most.

Contrary to what we have been taught, education is a lifelong process which helps us grow as a person and achieve our personal goals. It gives one knowledge and dignity to participate in a free society as a valuable member.

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The Akhil Bharatiya Adarsh Chaurasia Mahasabha is an organization which aims to uplift all segments of underprivileged communities including sections from the Chaurasia community. We interacted with the national president of the organization.

Mr. Ramesh Chaurasia is a successful businessman, entrepreneur and social worker who has been working for the upliftment of all sections of the Chaurasia community in different ways. This is what he had to say about one of the most un-discussed facets of education in India.

“The world is changing rapidly everyday and it is nature’s rule that only the ones who can adapt to the rapidly changing environment and trends tend to survive and prosper. Unfortunately, a large section of our society suffers from a lack of education. These people are mostly from the informal sector and include farmers, labourers, and fishermen etc. We live in modern times so it is hard for us to understand that getting a complete education was never as easy as it is today. Millions of adults in India who were in school 25 or 30 years ago were living in a totally different world and many of them had to quit education for several reasons.”

He further added, “Whatever those reasons may be, we know that education can elevate a person’s life. So why can’t we let these people have another chance? I believe that millions of people have a dream of completing their education and all of us should support this cause. Millions of people can be pulled out of poverty if adult education is encouraged. We should encourage adult education because this will enable more people to actively contribute towards society and also enjoy more social, economic and cultural benefits.”

Directorate of Adult Education

In India, the Directorate of Adult education is responsible to maintain and promote adult education programmes. It falls under the department of School education and Literacy, Ministry of Human resource development, Government of India.

The Directorate of Adult education is responsible for providing academic resources and support to the (NLM) National Literacy Mission. They are the ones responsible for drafting guidelines for the development of relevant teaching and learning material. They are also known to organize orientation and training programmes. They are also required to keep a check on the progress of their campaigns and send reports to the National Literacy Mission.

Further discussion was made with one of the senior members of the organization. They have been working in the education sector for more than two decades. Their words were highly insightful.

They said, “Today we enjoy the perks of digital technology, social media and get benefit of the endless possibilities that digital education has offered us. Today we work from our homes in the most comfortable environment. This is how the world has changed in just a few years’ time. I believe that present day adults are not digitally adept because digital education was almost non existent when they were in school. This is because most of the technology that we use today has been developed in the last 10 to 15 years.”

They continued, “When we talk about adult education, we should also concentrate on digital education and skill-based education which is applicable and practical for today. With the right skills, adults can switch their career and pursue something they have always wanted. Digital education can completely help a person change their life by learning a new skill. The possibilities are endless and we should leave no stone unturned to ensure that adult education is made accessible and easy for all.”Mr. Ramesh Chaurasia and his team work actively to ensure that regular awareness camps and seminars are organized so that more adults can be motivated to complete their education and fulfil their dreams.