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Adult Education in India

Updated on 05 February 2021
7 min read 224 views
Updated on 05 February 2021

Adult education, different from child education, is a practice in which adults engage in a systematic education system the same as children do. Education has no time bars, everyone can gain new knowledge, skills, or values whenever they want to. Also according to the constitution of India, there is no age limit to upgrade the knowledge, skills, and aptitude.

The primary objective of adult education is to ensure individuals can increase their knowledge. Adults develop an interest in education when they want to meet their needs or achieve the desired goals. The national literacy mission also targets to boost education among adults as it is a major instrument that led to the overall socio-economic growth of the country.

Through education, adults gain knowledge and skill which not only alleviate poverty but also alleviate problems like ignorance, inequality, exploitation, etc., they will be aware of the laws and rights granted to them in the democratic society which helps in nation-building. However, adult education is different from child education in many ways which we will be discussing below-


Characteristics of Adult Education

1. Adults have already gained knowledge and life experiences that can be added to the learning experience. They are voluntary and self-motivated, unlike children.

2. Motivation to learn in adults is internal unlike the student who goes through external pressure of attaining school education

3. Purpose of adult education in colleges is related to personal growth or to challenge the existing social structure.


Importance of Adult Education

Generally, Indians see education from a very narrow mindset that is they generally think it is meant for children and when they encounter this new concept of adult education they get baffled and start questioning why this new concept? and Why it is important?

We will give some of the reasons below while explaining the importance of adult education.

It is essential to learn a new skill- The main motive behind adult education is to allow workers to develop their skills or develop new ones. Adult education is best especially for retired workers as they need support or training for the new role.

Adult Education makes Adults more open-minded- New education introduces adults to the latest trends and makes adults more open-minded. They start accepting new differences in society.

Makes them Economically Stable- Education helps them to become economically independent even after their retirement because they will be well- versed with the new set of skills which will help them to gain a new role after their retirement.

Makes them more Aware- The more awareness in the society the more the society will prosper. With the help of adult education, people will get more aware of the new laws, changes in political structure, society, rights, etc. which may not be taught to them earlier.

We must promote Education for all as that will help our country literate and will add to the overall literacy level.

Literacy Programs in India

To improve the overall literacy rate in India, the government has not only granted the right to education regardless of age in the constitution but has introduced many literacy programs in recent years to boost the overall literacy rate.

National Adult Education Program- The NAE program was launched on October 2, 1978, to provide education and promote literacy among illiterate people, particularly in the age group of 15-35 years of age. This program is a joint effort of the national government, state government, union territories, universities, and schools. The main focus was on the marginalized illiterate group that is women's, scheduled caste, scheduled tribes, and other weaker sections.

Characteristics of NAE program-

1. Imparting literacy skills to the targeted illiterate section of the society, their functional development and

2. Spreading awareness among them regarding the laws and policies of the government.


Education for all (EFA)- EFA is a global movement led by UNESCO(United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization). The main aim is to meet the learning needs of youth, children, and adults by 2015. Education for all was a worldwide program by UNESCO to provide education not only to children but also to adults.

Saakshar Bharat Mission- Launched in 2009, Saakshar Bharat's mission aims to promote adult learning and to reach out to those adults who did not get the chance to pursue formal education or want to learn a new skill. The mission shows many positive results as it boosts the literacy rate by approximately 9%.


Adult literacy in India is much more important than any other country because the literacy rate in India is very low which is the root cause of widespread poverty. This makes it important for the government to introduce such programs to raise the literacy rate. Even NGOs are introducing many schemes like a scheme for computer education to give vocational training to an illiterate section of society.


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