India is a vast country. In spite of our gaining independence more than fifty years ago she continues to be a backward country. The main reason is that over fifty per cent of our men and women are illiterate. It is our biggest problem. The number of schools and colleges and the students in them has increased tremendously but still most of our people remain out of schools and hence illiterate. They do not afford to send their children to school because of poverty and unawareness. The rate of literacy has been increasing very slowly. Lots of our people do not know the value of education. So the need was felt immediately after fifties that a programme be launched, besides the school education, to educate the adults during their working hours at their convenience. The idea was first given by Mahatma Gandhi and started by him personally.
On October 2, 1978, a nation wide National Adult Programme (NA EP) was launched on the Birthday of Mahatma Gandhi on regular basis. A nation-wide programme was started with the help of Union Education Department and the State Education Services. The main thrust was to make aware the illiterate masses of this country the value of Education. If was decided to send the teacher to the home of the learner give them some incentives and explain the value of education. It needed the services of highly dedicated people to implement the programme. The help of radio, T.V. and various village development unions was obtained on large scale. It had a tremendous response. People in large numbers came forward to co-operate but still the results were not satisfactory.
The reasons are many. The country is so big and the problem very intense. The people are not ready to devote time to it which they like to use for some work The workers are not fully dedicated to the work. The Government is not able to provide sufficient money for the implementation of the programme. At places the scheme is on papers only and nothing is being done on the ground. It is very difficult to convince the poorest of the poor to be educated before they earn something. As such the programme has not been a cent percent success.
Still it has shown some good results. Lots of people in villages and cities have taken advantage out of it. Many farmers, workers, women and artisans are capable to read news-papers and keep their accounts. Although it has not been able to gain a popular position among the masses of India but still the results are not disappointing.
Adult Education is a movement rightly needed by this country. If proper attention is given by the Government and Non-Governmental bodies towards it, it can surely show results and help in making India prosperous and worth the name.