ADULT EDUCATION FOR INDIA B. CHATTERJI Mass education is the scaffolding...
ADULT EDUCATION FOR INDIA
Mass education is the scaffolding on which real domocracy exists. India has a very low percentage
of literacy in the world and yet no satisfactory attempts are being made to make her millions of adults
educated. The writer, in the following article gives a comprehensive scheme of adult education to make every
countryman an intelligent and independent citizen.
Mr. Chatterji (Tata Institute '45) has been recently appointed to the post of Social Research
W o r k e r in the Dhranghadra State, Kathiawar.
Adult Education Movement in India
is yet in its swaddling clothes. Even
today it remains predominantly a mass
literacy movement Before the British rule,
India, it is said, had a high percentage of
literacy maintained by indigenous systems
of educational institutions, like Maths,
Pathashalas, Madarsas, Maktabs, Ashrams,
etc. Though the education thus imparted
was not of a high standard yet it fulfilled
Compulsory primary education has
the fundamental needs of education. It a direct bearing on the literacy of any
is quite possible that Adult Education nation and from this point of view it is
worthwhile noting that G. K. Gokhale
was carried on through religious discourses, moved a bill for compulsory primary
reading of holy scriptures and roaming education in the Central Assembly in
ascetics who inculcated at least some type 1910-11 which was unfortunately defeated.
of moral education. With the advent By this time people were already thinking
of British rule in India, these indigenous on these lines and we find the existence
systems died out and lost their significance of the first night school in Rajahmundry
and appeal due to the introduction of in 1907. This may be an isolated case
English education. Literacy figures have but it is likely that many such institutions
were in existence, though no records
a sorry tale to tell, about the neglect are available. The real phase of the move-
of the rulers regarding general education. ment started after the World War I
From the table below it will be seen 1914-18, when the Y.M.C.A., and
that between a period of fifty years 1881 Poet Tagore showed active interest. By
to 1931 , literacy figures increased only 1921 the upsurge of national consciousness
by 4 . 5 % and in the next ten years 1931-41, and national struggle stimulated the move-
it increased by 4 . 1 % . This phenomenal ment. Many students left schools and
rise during the last decade can safely be colleges due to political reasons and
naturally the need for National Educational
attributed to the growing consciousness Institutions was felt and Vidyapiths
of Indian people in social, political, and up. Among the provinces, the Punjab took
educational fields, as also to the effects of the lead by launching a campaign against
popular (Congress) ministries in various illiteracy in 1922-23. The Servants of India
Society made an isolated beginning in
86 B. CHATTERJI
1916 and took it more energetically from up under the Chairmanship of Dr. Syed
1923 onwards. In 1926 the Bhagini Samaj Mahmud to consider the question of
of Bombay undertook education of adult combating illiteracy. It made valuable
women and the very next year they resorted recommendations on the following points :-
to visual aid for the purpose. In 1929
1. The sphere of adult education
and 1931 one Mr. Subba Rao started
in the general field of education.
two schools for training rural workers in
2. Adult education and other forms
South India. The decade that followed
of continuative education (e.g.
is very significant from the Adult Education
of vocational character).
point of view, because the biggest jump
3. Attendance of pupils.
in literacy figures took place during this
4. The problem of utilizing and
period. But it is not possible to trace
developing existing agencies.
here the provincial achievements in this
5. New ways of attacking the
Among the efforts in the direction
6. Leadership training.
of Adult Education on an All India scale,
7. Methods and technique.
the first and foremost is the establishment
8. Library and adult education.
of The Indian Adult Education Society
9. Women and adult education.
in Delhi in 1937. At the first instance,
10. Taking help of voluntary
its field of activity was only limited to
Delhi, later this Society convened an All
11. Organization of Adult Educa-
India Conference of persons interested
in Adult Education in 1938. The main
12. Establishment of Information
objects of the Society as expressed at its
Bureau in every Province.
second conference were to spread know-
On the basis of these recommenda-
ledge among peoples of India on all subjects tions the Sargent Report on Education
relating to their welfare and culture, was published. The sixth chapter of the
to initiate adult education activities Report deals with Adult Education. Though
wherever necessary ; to serve as a central the Scheme realizes the new role of Adult
bureau of information and to co-operate Education, viz-,
to give reality to the ideal
with bodies carrying on adult education of democracy, yet it lays greater stress
on achievement of literacy, because it
Membership was classified under two argues a child must be able to walk before
heads—institutional and individual. The it can run.
Committee also set up a literacy standard.
The Scheme envisages compulsory
As regards proper adult education it primary education of all children between
recommended some 13 types of activities. the ages of 6 and 14 years. But it embraces
Proposals were made to set up a central all persons between the ages of 10 and 40
bureau of research, experimentation, and years in its fold as it will be wasteful,
information. It also proposed a separate when the whole Scheme comes into
p r o g a m m e for women.
operation, to admit children. The plan
Another effort on an all India basis hopes to make India 100% literate in
was by the Adult Education Committee 25 years out of which 5 years will be
of the Central Advisory Board of devoted to experiment, research and plann-
Education in 1938. This Board was set ing. Adult Education proper will take
ADULT EDUCATION FOR INDIA 87
its rightful place only after the seventeenth the English movement was a defence
year; till that time only 1 0 % of the finances against Social Revolution apprehended to
will be utilized for this purpose. The result from the Industrial Revolution,
whole Scheme will cost about 60 crores of while the American movement sprang
rupees spread over a peroid of 25 years.
up to give every youth opportunity to
be a potential President of the United
Though technically the Adult Educa-
tion Movement started after the World
War I, the real beginning was made only
No doubt, the time when the Indian
after 1938 as a corollary of political and Adult Education Association was formed
social consciousness of the people. At was psychologically ripe for the Movement.
this time Provincial Autonomy had come It was the time when political and social
into force and in many provinces, an consciousness was surging. But once out
honest effort was made, towards Adult of the shell the Movement failed to tune
Education. In India, unfortunately, the its steps with the need of the time. It
real aim of Adult Education, namely, a deliberately moved away from political
continuous growth of the human persona-
associations and tried to shape it on the
lity leading to a better and useful life model of Adult Schools Union of Great
and resulting in an all round adjustment Britain—a totally undesirable model ; for
of the individual to his society and to the counter-revolutionary ideals might have
his work, has been lost in the woods of succeeded in England in the initial days
literacy. Today the word Adult Education of the Industrial Revolution by giving
is synonymous with ' Adult Literacy.' The spiritual dope to the people, but to expect
one organization which is free from this the same to flourish in India of 1938—
confusion is the Bombay Presidency Adult days of great political consciousness—
is amazing !
The Indian States, with few exceptions
The problem of education and literacy
like Travancore, Cochin and Baroda, are is intimately associated with the babel
very much behind the rest of India in of tongues that India is. According to
literacy. So it is necessary that a central Dr. S. K. Chatterji, there are in all 544
organization tackling the problem through-
dialects in India, but fortunately for us,
out the country should be formed. But there are 15 major languages with literature
considering the attempts made on an and which are used as media of instruction.
all India basis we find that the Indian Therefore, the problem has to be tackled
Adult Education Association established on the basis of these fifteen linguistic
in 1938, has miserably failed to arouse regions. This will conduce to cultural
public support and sympathy for its integration leading to social and political
cause. It has also failed to cater to the solidarity. Since more than one of the
needs of the adults effectively. Adult languages are used in more than one
Education Movements abroad were province or state, a central orgainzation,
products of the predominating social forces independent of provincial or state juris-
in the country which reflected the senti-
diction and boundaries, must be created.
ments of the people. Thus the Russian The central organization will divide the
Movement was a weapon against Tsarists ; country into five major zones with one or
Danish folk schools were started to be more language regions under its aegis.
spiritual fortifications against Germans ; The division will be as follows :
88 B. CHATTERJI
(a) North Zone : Consisting of Balo-
Among other important functions will
chi, Pushto and be, leadership training, supervision, research
Punjabi linguistic and experimentation, publication of
materials for adult education, carrying on
(b) Central ,, : Consisting of Hin-
propoganda and lastly maintaining an
dustani and Nepali efficient information bureau, and also
maintaining vital statistics to check up
(c) East ,, : Consisting of Oriya, the progress of the movement from time
Bengali and Assa-
to time. This body should be controlled
mese lingual dis-
by an executive of 15 persons who must
constitute a " B r a i n T r u s t " representing
(d) South ,, : Consisting of
various fields of arts and sciences. And
Telugu, Kannada, there should be an Executive Director
Tamil and Malaya-
who will be responsible for the day to
day administration of the organization.
Under him will be departmental heads
(e) West „ : Consisting of
for each of
the departments like,
information, propaganda, etc.
thi, Sindhi and
—The main func-
Rajasthani lingual tion of these organizations will be to
co-ordinate the various agencies available
This will facilitate education of people in the respective zones and harness them
in their own mother tongue and uniform according to the policy laid down by the
attack on illiteracy and help research and central office. They will also have almost all
the functions of the central organization,
These zones will then be sub-divided only that their feild of activity will be
in to suitable district zones, and here an limited to their respective zones. These
attempt must be made to synchronize the will be devided into districts and local units.
boundary of these districts to the boundary
The district units will exercise control
of administrative district. These district over local units and be responsible to the
units will be sub-divided further into zonal organization in executing the policy
various local territories which will directly of the central organization, and the local
execute the programme of the central units will be directly responsible for the
execution of various schemes and
Functions of Various Organizations :
The four main tasks of planning,
Agencies for Adult Education.
co-ordination, control and execution will agencies for the purposes of Adult Educa-
be done by the central, zonal, district tion can be divided into three major heads.
and local organizations. The main
functions of the central organization will
(2) Local Self Government.
be to effectively plan Adult Education for
the whole of India. It must also prepare a
comprehensive plan of action laying down
—There are so many
initial methods, techniques and pro-
departments in the Government that have
direct contact with the people and these
ADULT EDUCATION FOR INDIA 89
contacts can be utilized for furtherance
of the cause; chief among them are :
Department of Industries.
: Literacy is the basic
content of education. But Literacy by
itself can never be education. It is at best
the capacity to decipher words and
figures and to write them with some
Local Self Government.
—Corporations, dexterity ; but education is the capacity
Municipalities, District Boards, Local to comprehend life situations, using past
Boards, Gram-Panchayats can also carry on
experience crystallized into knowledge.
the work of Adult Education through From this point of view the Indian villager
their various agencies.
too is educated though in his own way.
Agencies.—These are such The knowledge he has acquired, however,
agencies as are not directly concerned is traditional, tracing its origin to antiquity.
with Government or local bodies and The world has changed and is chan-
among them may be included :
ging. It has made stupendous material
progress, revolutionized the means of
production and distribution of communi-
cation and contact. The question of
isolation is out of the question. With
Social Service Agencies.
the impact of this new culture and contact
the village isolation is shattered, new
situations, new challenges, face the
masses which hitherto were unknown
to them. Their traditional life fails to
save them from resulting maladjustments.
Thus a vicious circle around a maladjust-
ment is spun and the backbone of the
community is broken.
It is here that re-education of people
is needed. Psychologists hold that man
Types of Adult Education.
—As we is not born human but is made so through
have already seen, if adult education is social interaction. If a person is made
to be a real programme for adult life it he can be remade. Thorndike has also
should cover the following types of Adult proved that adult learning is in no way
inferior to child learning.
Now it must be remembered that
it is difficult to reach crores of people
Education for Citizenship.
through the word of mouth. Moreover,
expression of ideas, ideals and thoughts
can only be concretized through literacy
Vocational Guidance and Ad-
which facilitates efficient dissemination of
90 B. CHATTERJI
It is essential that literacy primers
should be based on adult interest rather
than on antiquated " K i n g Lessons."
Dr. Labauch's method has proved useful
and till some other alterations are found
suitable, it should be utilized to the full. Each of these groups will have sociological
The Bihar Mass Literacy Committees problems of its own and no rough and
have produced material with a right ready method can either be devised or
outlook and are bound to prove useful course of study laid down. Much will
for others to follow.
depend on interests, aptitude, likes and
Regarding the methods of Campaign dislikes. All this is important to make
for Literacy the following points must any programme interesting.
be remembered :
(c) Education for Citizenship :
A survey of illiterates and their of any polity, and especially of Democracy
subsequent classification, based according depends on the civic sense of its com-
to sex, age, profession, residence, etc., ponents. This is based on a healthy
should precede the enrolment and training balance of rights and duties. The trouble
of teachers and volunteers. Next will come arises when people exercise their rights
intense propaganda, through literacy day without fulfilling obligations that they
celebrations, exhibitions, films, slides, talks,
owe to society. Another type of crisis
posters, etc. After enrolment of students crops up when people are too ignorant
allotment of classes to teachers should be to realize their duties and rights and
made, and then work may begin. vested interests exploit. Franchise is a
Wherever possible a course of study and dangerous weapon in the hands of an
proficiency tests should be devised, time ignorant people who are unable to decide
limit fixed and " Each One, Teach One " whether persons and policies are in their
slogan should be promoted for the purpose interest and welfare. Through Adult
of intensive drive.
Education we have to develop a body
(b) Post Literacy
: Creation of literacy
of citizens '' alert to the facts of Govern-
without a follow up programme is futile. ment, vigilant in the scrutiny of the
The main task at this stage is to conduct of Government, able by reason of
supply, enough and more, interesting training and knowledge to decide on
reading material to the newly made persons and policies."
literates and thus prevent their relapse
The modern concept of citizenship
into illiteracy on the one hand and teach is composed of two elements—a sense
them something useful on the other.
of liberty and a membership in a political
An elementary education in a simple unit. In times of crisis conflict arises
way on subjects, like arithmetics, geogra-
between individual liberty and loyalty.
phy, history, civics and economics, should It is in this clash of the self with the group
be given. Village libraries, public libraries that the one allegiance that is more firmly
and reading 100ms form an integral part established in emotion triumphs, and
of this stage of adult education.
reason is thrown to the winds.
And from here the whole adult
The question now is how to impart
education programmes can be classified education for citizenship. It is indeed
into four major heads.
difficult to set down definite devices for
ADULT EDUCATION FOR INDIA 91
such training. In earlier times, tradition, and non-professional leaders; preparing
and later, folk lores and mythology shaped material for parents education ; and
the civic sense of the individual. The research, etc. The subject matter varies
faithful observance of these was based from child care to vocational guidance.
on fear, force and custom. Social control In Russia it is imparted through
in earlier simple society was easy. In health centres, and nursery schools, which
our modern complex society it is difficult. are also responsible for improving the
The tendency today is to avoid conflict home environment in everyway. In
by developing unitary political loyalty Germany it is carried on through Parent
through schools, the press, parties, ideolo-
gies and through crowd psychology. All
For the development of this type
this is broadly based on education. Citi-
of education, India must have an army
zenship then must begin with formal of psychiatric and mental hygiene workers,
education in civics, politics, economics
(e) Health Education
: The dictionary
and local self-government. But what is meaning of health is '' State of being
needed is a conscious effort at socializa-
hale, sound, or whole in body, mind or
tion of the individual, which must be soul ; specially the state of being free
an inseparable part of adult education. from physical disease or pain." This nega-
Through moral education, human values tive definition of being free from disease
and tolerance must be inculcated in the is insufficient. The positive aspect of health
minds of the adults in order to develop would be the promotion of superior level
a new outlook to face challenges and of living conducive to the highest ends of
situations of life effectively. Once his life. Thus it is to live most and serve best.
personality is thus moulded without any
specific training he will prove to be a
Health education should then first
useful member of society.
consist of knowledge of fighting sub-
(d) Parent Education :
Parenthood is health, fighting of communicable and
a special responsibility of adulthood and preventable diseases and other physical
it needs preparation which can be imparted maladjustments. It will thus be, to a large
through Adult Education alone. If pro-
degree, propaganda for health.
perly given it can ensure properly adjusted
Russia has a very comprehensive
personalities in this as well as coming plan of health education. At present
generations. In this century of the child, it is a part of proletarian culture and is
the child must be given a healthy heredity, conducted under the supervision of the
scientific upbringing and wholesome health education departments which work
growth. Parent education is concerned in co-operation with agencies, such as the
with the development of the individual Maternity and Infant Welfare Society,
in all his family and social relations. the Society for Combating Alcoholism,
In America the whole content of parent nursery schools, unions, clubs, mothers
education has shifted from the child organizations, trade unions, etc.
to the whole family since social conditions
(f) Vocational Guidance and Adjust-
do affect the emotional needs of the ment
: Vocation is any pursuit of remu-
nerative occupation. In the present
In America parent education is industrial era thousands of types of voca-
carried on through teaching parents in tion are possible. Efficiency can only be
groups or singly ; training professional promoted and wastage prevented if right
92 B. CHATTERJI
persons with right aptitude are selected art which, in the long run, is bound to
for the right job. If a person with higher lead to the spontaneous enjoyment of
or lower calibre than required by a other forms of artistic expression. Thus
particular job does it, maladjustment is the task of adult educators is to interest
bound to occur. In either case there is their pupils in music, drama, painting,
wastage. Vocational Guidance is therefore etc., and to give them opportunities to
concerned with furnishing counsel to express their emotional urge, or in the
persons who seek to discover their occupa-
alternative, to give an understanding of
tional interests and abilities, and to learn noble expressions.
about problems and opportunities of
(h) University Extension
: This type of
employment. In most countries this is Adult Education is meant for those who
done by the educational system while in do not belong to the University and yet
England through the Ministry of Labour. desire to have university education. In
In India this task will have to be started England and America, this type of educa-
from the scratch. Though giving vocational tional activity grew out of extra-mural
guidance is the function of education curriculum of the universities with a view
departments, in the absence of these to democratize higher education. In
Adult Education will have to take up illiterate India to think of diffusing higher
the work which will be more in the nature education amongst masses may appear
of vocational readjustment rather than comic. Moreover, the usual criticism that
our university education is highly theoreti-
(g) Cultural Education
: Culture means
cal makes it difficult to spread it among
acquaintance with and taste for fine the masses. But once it is planned and
arts, broad knowledge of humanitarian started it may be possible to judge of
aspects of science as distinguished from the value of such education and mass
vocational, technical or professional
reaction may even provide a valuable
skill or knowledge. Cultural education lesson for the reorganization of the system.
in the setting of Adult Education would Owing to the higher cost of university
include aesthetic education through pursuit education it is not possible for all to
of fine arts, like poetry, music, painting, have it through the usual ways of colleges.
sculpture, drama, architecture. This is Education must be democratized and it
necessary because Adult Education aims can be done thus alone.
at life beautiful. Only those who have
To start with, such extension centres
a sense of beauty can create beautiful can be established only in places where
things. Creative urge is present in every there are universities or colleges. It can
person, though in a varying degree, and also be arranged in other places where
it is active in some and dormant in others. the intelligentsia is willing to shoulder
The work of Adult Education is to cultivate the responsibility of leadership and
this tendency. An attempt should be organization.
made to secure mass consciousness of
beauty. Art gives pleasure, and perfect
(i) Worker's Education
: The Royal
craftsmanship evokes satisfaction. A work
Commission on Labour opined that most
of art requires a deep understanding of of the handicaps of the working class in
elements represented and an emotional India are due to overwhelming illiteracy,
urge to create. Through Adult Education and laid special stress on education of
we can instil a sense of appreciation of industrial labour. The worker's education
ADULT EDUCATION FOR INDIA 93
is fundamentally important in the schemes comprehensive programme of workers'
of Adult Education as it attempts to better education.
a social class and not an individual. It
(j) Rural Education :
should therefore give him a better under-
Commission on Agriculture declares that
standing of his environments and his '' illiteracy presents the greatest single
handicaps. It should also prepare him obstacle to rural development". It is
to provide Trade Union leadership. It estimated that about 8 0 % of our popula-
must give him a basic knowledge of tion resides in villages. The social and
political science and economics, so as to economic condition of Indian peasants
equip him with an insight into the problems has been gradually deteriorating for the past
of his class. It must endow him with fifty years. The entire structure of rural
agitational leadership for awakening the India has to be rebuilt or else the economic
masses of workers to safeguard their rights. back-bone of the nation will crash. A
government sustained and maintained on
In earlier times, Adult Education for rural economy could nowhere be so callous
workers implied technical education only. to rural welfare as in India.
Later these new items were introduced
as a result of the awakening amongst the
Conditions in America afford a striking
workers. Labour Colleges flourished in contrast. In America the Agricultural
England but failed in America where the Adjustment Administration, apart from
conflict of labour and capital was not improving agronomic conditions and agri-
pronounced. In India, Prof. Ranga started cultural engineering, has also established
a Socialist School for worker's education. ' 4H ' clubs in almost every village (' 4H '
The courses dealt with in this School stands for Health, Heart, Head and Hands).
appear to be too ambitious to be intelli-
These words summarise the activities of
gently followed by average workers. the club. The main aim of this department
The curriculum of worker's education is to grow ' two blades of grass where one
should include topics and programmes grew before'. The department utilizes all
of current interest, and also cover the the techniques known to Adult Education
entire field of his normal life and activities. for the purpose. Demonstrations have
broken the scepticism of the workers
Recently the Nuffeild College
and tens of thousands of young farmers
published a pamphlet on ' Industry and have learnt scientific agriculture. Through
Education ' in which exclusively technical education they have begun to think in
and mechanical education to workers is national terms rather than local. It has
outlined without covering the human stimulated their thought on many con-
side. This is bound to fail ; for, troversial issues and trained them up for
workers are human being and their leadership within a short span of time.
interests are multifarious and interrelated. In America education is being treated
And as such no system of education as a large co-operative and democratic
which entirely excludes the human topics undertaking.
can succeed for long. Such mechanical
education is sure to further emphasise
Side by side with promoting rural
class distinctions. It is difficult to wipe literacy we must devise a type of rural
out centuries of class hatred except by education on these lines suitable to our
arousing in the workers social conscious-
rural life and conditions. This type of
ness and this can be done through a education will centre round improvement
94 B. CHATTERJI
of agriculture, cattle stock, farm engineer-
bilities, laws of inheritance, social evils
ing, soil erosion, irrigation, etc., dairy like child marriage, polygamy, and purdha
farming and poultry farming, domestic should be discussed. A working know-
economy, family, nutrition, child care, ledge of post offices, railways, tram
clothing, housing, home health and sanita-
services, road rules should also be given.
tion; parent education, study groups on Later on with the co-operation of women's
general affairs, recreational clubs and leader-
organization and other social service
agencies the programme may embrace
such fundamental subjects as domestic
(k) Women's Education
: Women have science, child psychology, mental hygiene,
a unique place in society as guardians sex education, etc.
of children and as home-makers. Hence,
if women are educated the task of general
Methods of Adult Education.
enlightenment becomes easy. According us now examine all the possible types of
to the census of 1941, only 4% of India's methods that can fruitfully be employed
womanhood is literate. '' The value to for the purposes of Adult Education.
the community of its women's education The methods can be classified into the
lies particularly in its effect upon the following main heads :—
lasting literacy amongst the young", says
the Royal Commission on Agriculture. 1. Written Words :
The Manshardt Committee on Adult
Education appointed by the Government
of Bombay says, "The committee regards
the education of adult women as of more
than ordinary importance, for there is
little hope of attaining literacy on a wide
scale without the co-operation of mothers".
Indian women by sheer force of tradi-
tion feel that education is not a part of 2. Spoken Words :
their job and as such they are indifferent,
if not actually antagonistic, towards it.
This resistance must be broken through
regular propaganda in women's clubs especi-
ally organized for general recreational
(e) Panel Discussions.
purposes and which can be later converted
(f) Study Circles.
for educational purposes. Classes in these
clubs may begin by teaching handicrafts,
knitting, cottage industries, etc., and
gradually the interests of the club members 3. Visual Education :
should be stimulated. Literacy pro-
grammes should follow these activities
and then adult education should be
imparted on such subjects like—health,
cleanliness, general sanitation, child welfare,
(e) Magic Lantern.
nutrition common diseases and their
infection, their prevention, civic responsi-
ADULT EDUCATION FOR INDIA 95
4. Cultural Activities:
can be imparted very usefully through
them. It is worth while considering the pro-
(b) Folk Songs.
position that large newspapers and publish-
ing concerns should finance liberally the
literacy campaigns as it will ultimately
increase their clientele by thousands and
will be a good investment from their
—Printing has revolu-
point of view.
tionized the communication of knowledge
The Correspondence Course
and learning. In pre-printing days earned a place in the educational move-
learning passed from generation to genera-
ment. As a part of Adult Education
tion through the word of mouth. it aims at providing formal or even techni-
Permanency under such conditions was cal education for the adult in this home,
limited. Wisdom could not be con-
at his leisure and under the best teachers
cretised for the use of posterity. To-day of the country. It has no longer remained
through the printed word we can reach a merely commercial proposition. The
millions of people with ease. Again con-
universities in the West have taken to it
tinuity of knowledge can be maintained as a powerful method of diffusing know-
through the printed method. Every year ledge. The University of Chicago offers
thousands of books are published and no less than 450 different subjects for
if by means of control, these books could correspondence courses. In our own
be produced for the explicit purpose country where educational facilities are
of Adult Education, then half the worry so scanty the possibilities of the correspon-
of the adult educator will be over. It dence course should be explored.
is worth while to know what a readable
book should be according to modern
is not merely a collection
conceptions. Mr. Percy W. Bidwell in of books, but it is one of the most potent
his article : '' How to write a readable weapons of Adult Education. Libraries
book", gives the following prescription :
have come to be a living organism con-
stantly growing with the new knowledge
1. Study your reader.
and culture. As a part of Adult Education
2. Select a topic that will interest the libraries in America undertake larger
types of activities
like home-crafts, parent
3. Catch a first class author.
education, by means of mailing a biblio-
4. Join to him a capable editor.
graphy of books or even books at times,
5. Simplify your material, but—
to the newly married persons or to parents
6. Don't forget your flavouring.
of the newly born children.
7. Sprinkle liberally with illu-
Our first need will no doubt be
8. Make your prose march".
to plan for village libraries and not large
public libraries. The Bihar Mass Literacy
Though common place, this advice is Committee was recently maintaining about
bound to prove very useful in the publi-
4,000 libraries at a cost of Rs. 6,973-2-0
cation of any Adult Education material.
only and about 5 lacs of books were
are a very important source
issued. This is evidence of the good
of forming public opinion. Civic
work which well organised libraries can
education and education on current affairs do in our rural communities.
96 B. CHATTERJI
are usually an
are open places where Greeks
appendage to the libraries. The main-
and Romans used to transact business.
tenance of such reading rooms is very Later, it was adopted for the education
cheap and all the same very useful as of the adults or rather for academic
all people are eager to read current affairs. discussions. In forums the members of
the group contribute their several
are used in
experiences towards the expression of
Russia to teach the people to give expres-
a common will or end. Any group
sion to their ideas. Every factory, and discussion can be called a forum and
village should have its own wall newspaper. through these the thoughts of the members
Thus the people get accustomed to make can be stimulated for mutual enlighten-
public their feelings which can always ment.
improve understanding and power of one's
own expression. This idea must be taken ratively speaking, a new method of adult
up by us as a part of our' Adult Education education. In this form of discussion
there are about six leaders and a chairman.
—Spoken word may not They sit round a table facing the audience.
be very useful from the point of view The discussion is usually on a topical
of permanence but certainly when it comes or controversial subject. The chairman
to imparting knowledge to contemporaries presents the subject in brief and each
this method is very impressive as the speaker discusses it extempore from
living word has a different appeal to the the various points of view. Then the
general public discusses it in the light
mind than the printed word. Assimila-
of questions developed by the leaders
tion of ideas is much easier and simpler of the panel and announced by the chair-
through the spoken word. There are man. These discussions have an advantage
many techniques in which the spoken over the debates where, due to natural
word is used.
timidity, only a few persons participate.
form one of the ancient
are meant rather for
methods of imparting learning and instruc-
the learned types of students who wish
tion. Here pupils of the same mental to pursue knowledge jointly. One member
calibre and attainments are put together of the group undertakes the study of a
in a room where a teacher teaches through particular subject and reads an informative
lectures and lessons. This method is paper on it and after this a discussion
essentially associated with the rigid follows. Another member reads a paper
discipline, authority, etc., of the class on some other subject and thus co-operative
room ; hence, this method may not learning flourishes !
prove very useful. But so far as literacy
is concerned this is the only method
are wordy battles, where
that can be used with efficiency, only two sides contest a political, social or
the teacher should keep in his mind the some other controversial subject. Such
fact that he is teaching ADULTS. If a method throws a flood of light on the
he does this he is bound to adapt his pros and cons of an issue and presents
teaching to the needs of his adult pupils both sides of the questions before arriving
and thus make his class interested in what at a decision. It also develops under-
he has to say.
standing and gives excellent training in
ADULT EDUCATION FOR INDIA 97
public speaking which is so essential Of the various techniques in this method
in a democratic age.
the following have a place :
which are of recent
Today millions of
origin are not without historical back-
people throughout the country visit motion
ground. Since the dawn of civiliza-
picture houses more for recreation than
tion men interested in the same cause for education. Motion pictures have be-
have formed into councils. Their Indian come a commercial proposition and pro-
replica, is the village or the community ducers refuse to include anything which
council popularly known as panchayats.
they feel will not be popular or paying.
Through these the members of a particular They resist any encroachment on their
community strive to solve the common freedom of business and put forth cheap
problems that face them, and share mutual and sensational films without educative
burdens and responsibilities.
value. Learning is a matter of organiza-
tion of various sense impressions into
should be widely a logical sequence ; and enjoyment of
used in India for educating the adults. visual phantasies far removed from realities
At present we cannot afford to have may create sense impressions which may
teachers with specialized knowledge in disorganise volitional faculties. Therefore,
many subjects in large numbers. Even educational control of films is a matter
to start with, many practical subjects of great social importance. Creative
like parent education and vocational direction of visual education should
psychology are comparatively less known counteract the negative values and stimulate
in our country. In order to disseminate positive ones.
knowledge on such topics the few teachers
that we have will have to undertake visiting
Educational films, specially designed
teachers' work. This is only a tentative to illustrate selected topics in formal
arrangement to last till we have a large education, are now being used by many
supply of teachers in every branch of schools. But this is not enough. Three
principles of control of motion pictures
—It is common should be attended to :
experience that the impressions we have
1. A committee of expert educa-
of things seen
are more lasting than of
tionists and scientists should
The failure of the
plan and supervise each film.
spoken and the written word to compete
2. Films should be planned so as
with the visual form of expression in
to fulfil the purposes of Adult
conveying an experience or an impression
lies in the difficulty of finding vivid expres-
3. True representatives of the
sion of many complex situations through
people should exercise control.
the former methods. '' Visual impres-
sions play a more important part than
Adult Education is, in a sense, self
sensations of any other mode in guiding education where an individual is helped
the interpretation of the external world and to seek facts and draw conclusions for
our orientation therein". Thus a pictorial himself. This can be done by documen-
exhibition on the evolution of machinery, tary, historical, biographical, and informa-
for example, will be better appreciated tional films. Thus the film can serve
than a learned lecture on the same subject. the purpose of a newspaper, a library,
98 B. CHATTERJI
museum and exhibition all at the same moral education was effectively imparted
through melodious Bhajans, Kirtans,
used to be merely com-
If properly marshalled, these activities
mercial propositions some years ago can be chanelled for educational purposes
but today their educational value has been with great advantage. Drama presents
recognized. The beginning was probably many life situations on the stage, skilfully
made by health exhibitions consisting knit into a story ; it is, therefore, not only
of posters, charts, etc. Today every type interesting but of great educational value.
of education can be imparted through Painting, like music, satisfies the creative
exhibitions, in which people really take urge in man, and gives tone to his thoughts
a lively interest as they powerfully appeal and ideas. This helps in the healthy
growth of personality. Folk songs are
often treasures of ancient cultures, and
Museums too are very important in their revival is full of educational
possibilities. These various activities
Demonstrations have a peculiar should be designed to foster in the adults
advantage over other visual methods. Here a sense of beauty and taste, leading to
people have an opportunity of seeing their refinement and culture.
how a particular method or a thing works
and hence a demonstration carries con-
Radio.—This method of education is
viction with it. Lectures, books, cinemas, one that overlaps with all the preceding
magic lanterns, may fail to convince ones with the exception of visual method.
a peasant of the value of scientific farming, But that too will be covered by Television
but if by actual demonstration its utility when it comes to be widely used for
is shown to him he is sure to accept the educational purposes. Radio is the cheapest
and speediest means of communication
with the masses over a wide area, but it
Similarly, among the other useful has not yet reached that stage in India.
techniques magic lantern and pictorial Educational broadcasts are also still in
education may be included. The point is their infancy. It is used at present only
that though all the visual methods are as an instrument for propaganda and
more or less equally useful the suitability recreation. The present writer had an
of each will depend on the theme to be opportunity of interviewing a number
illustrated and the locality in which it of radio listeners last year and he found
is to be used. So the adult educator that people studiously avoided listening
must be able to discriminate between to educational talks. It is the duty of
methods before finally selecting them the broadcasting authorities not only
for his use.
to make educational talks more interesting
—Though the word but also stimulate a taste for them in
culture has a wider significance in relation their listeners. A great deal of experi-
to Adult Education, we shall take it to ment and research is needed in this
denote aesthetics or fine arts like, drama, direction.
music, painting, folk lore, etc.
—In any enterprize,
All these fields have a great appeal finances are the most important factor.
to the human mind as they are vitally The question becomes still more difficult
related to the emotions. In ancient India when it is a matter of dealing with millions
ADULT EDUCATION FOR INDIA
of people. It is difficult to give a correct to be spread over a period of 25 years,
estimate of the sums of money needed estimates an expenditure of 3 crores per
for the organization of Adult Education ; year for twenty years. The total amount
but a fairly approximate estimate is here to be spent is Rs. 60 crores spread over
twenty years. This works out at Rs. 1/8
spread over a period of 20 years
During the year 1941-42 the whole i.e.
anna per capita
per year !
of British India spent Rs. 30,85,79,543
on education of which Rs. 18,04,512
If a very elaborate machinery for
were from public contributions. The adult education is to be set up, at least
percentage of contributions from various one rupee per capita
per year should be
sources worked out as follows :—
set aside by the Government and another
eight annas per capita
raised by tax, dona-
tion or loan, etc., from the public. Thus,
Municipal and District
sixty crores of rupees will be needed
for the entire country to organize a plan
2 7 . 7 %
of real adult education. This may appear
to be fantastic but considering Rs. 33/-
Thus Government bears less than and odd per capita
of Great Britian our
half of the total expenses. All told estimate is modest. The central committee
we are spending annually about a rupee should receive this sum from various
and of this only seven annas provinces and States and then re-distribute
represent government contribution
. amount after deducting annas 2 per
Provincial expenditure per capita
are as capita
for its maintenance. Similarly, the
zonal committees will keep 4 annas per
for their organization and annas
2 per capita
will be kept by the District
Committees for their upkeep and the
balance of Re. 1/- per capita
spent on Adult Education. No claim
of scientific accuracy is made for this
estimate ; it is given merely to stimulate
thought on ,the financial aspect of the
Contrast with this, Great Britains' expendi-
Whatever the financial costs, we should
ture of Rs. 33/2 per capita
during the not be deterred from forging ahead with
prewar period. Figures of the American and the plan of educating all our adults.
Russian Governments are not available or Adult Education is a bulwalk of democracy.
we would have shown how miserable It will convert a mob into a nation, will
our Governments' contribution to general give creative leadership and intelligent
education is ! And as far as Adult following. It will preserve culture and
Education is concerned, it is doubtful lead to uniform progress in the body
if a pie per capita
is spent !
politic, making its members not only
Mr. John Sargent, who proposes to good citizens, good men and good friends
cover 9 crores of adults in his Scheme but also good fathers and good mothers.