Illiteracy of the general mass is one of the major ills from which our world suffers in common with other backward countries. The necessity of giving some education to one and all cannot be disputed. It has been recognized as the birth right of every individual in a tree sate. Mass ignorance defeats all attempts at progress and darkness the future of the nation. Nothing ran he pleaded as an excuse for keeping race in a gloomy state of semi-blindness, helplessly groping in the catacomb of ignorance, superstition and fear. The sooner illiteracy is removed the better it will be for the individual and the community at large.
The schools we have at present are for children whose age ranges from 6 to 16. The syllabuses and the curriculum followed in these institutes are cast into a certain pattern and designed to prepare boys and girls for higher academic education in different lines. These schools can be of no practical use for mass, the vast majority of who are grown up men and women. Therefore, a new set of schools have to be introduced for giving education to these people. These may be called schools for adults.
We have to keep within view certain fat is regarding these education centers. Our population being very large, the number of these schools will have to be proportionately considerable at least one in each locality of three or four villages. The adult education centers cannot aspire to have grand school buildings and that is needless too, schools will aim at imparting some elementary enlightenment along with a little better knowledge of the vocation the learners pursue. The subject-matters and also the method of teaching in adult schools will differ greatly from those of ordinary schools. As most adults are busy earning their bread in the daytime, it will be convenient to them to attend schools if classes are taken at night.
Mass literacy should never be confined to the three R’s. It must also aim at making the learners useful and capable of applying the new acquisition to the earning of their bread. Efforts should, therefore, be made to teach them some trade and to that end every adult education centre should be so planned and equipped as to be able to impart a large variety of vocational trainings. Thousands of our illiterate people are unemployed because they have neither any land to cultivate nor any finished knowledge of the arts and crafts. It such people can be taught various handicrafts, such as weaving, carpentry, pottery, smithery, caning as also trained in the handling of small machinery, their unemployment problem will be considerably solved. Over and above, mass education centers should take special care to impart knowledge of scientific agriculture, of health and sanitation and also give the learners some sort of civic training so as to make them fit for good citizenship.
The arrangement of imparting instruction shall be as usual, like other schools. There will be salaried teachers and students shall attend a regular course of training given tree of cost. To make the programme of mass literacy successful, it is, therefore, essential to keep in view the question of removing the current appalling poverty of the masses.