ADULT EDUCATION AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT
Prof. B. S. Vasudeva Rao∗
“If I learn carpentry from an illiterate carpenter only I
know, how to do work, but if I learn from a literate
carpenter, my thoughts will be stimulated”
There is no future for any human being in an illiterate environment.
National Integration and Development is only possible with literate persons. The
welfare schemes, developmental programmes and people’s participation on
public issues are only effective in a literate environment. Illiterate people are
easily exploited by middlemen, sacrosanct and vested groups. But unfortunately
the Government, political parties and even educated persons have not shown
interest to educate the uneducated. The Government of India is implementing
literacy programmes to eradicate illiteracy along with formal education since
Independence in the country, even that we can find Twenty Six percentage of
illiterate people to-day.
The word 'development’ has many connotations. In developing countries
like India, it translates to a blatant exploitation of natural resources in keeping
with an industrialized model of development that is both biased and
unsustainable. Benefits from the implementation of such policies flow invariably
to industrial and urban sectors, neglecting the rural population. Most of this
development has neglected the rural sector- it has been at the cost of the rural
people. Two of the sectors that have caused the most harm to the environment
are the agricultural and industrial (especially energy) sectors. In both cases, the
basic fallout has been the very disturbing phenomenon of native rural people
losing access to common property resources, which they survive on. The rural
population depends directly on natural resources. An infringement on access to
these resources is a violation of their fundamental right to life. The social,
cultural, educational and economic impact on their lives is drastic and mostly
Principal Investigator, U.G.C- Major Research Project, Dept. of Education, Andhra University, Visakhapatnam – 530 003. E-mail:
bandaru.vasu @ gmail.com, drbsvasudevarao @ yhoo.co.in- mobile no’09440720949
** Source material – Resource person’s work-shop, S.K.University, Anantpur, 28-29, oct.2011.
Universal literacy is recognized to be an important factor in contributing to
social and economic development. The linkages between literacy on one hand
and other aspects of social and economic development are quite strong: Literacy
facilitates, better and more effective communication of new technology in
agriculture; and extension agencies could work better in a climate of literate
environment. Illiterate peasants rarely succeed in transforming co-operative and
Panchayat institutions to their benefit. In an illiterate environment, these
institutions are either controlled by bureaucrats or by exploitative landlords and
usurers. The linkages between adoption of family planning and literacy are
known to be even stronger. Adoption rates are higher among literate females as
compared to illiterate females. Knowledge on nutrition, childcare, importance of
children education and health could be communicated better to literates as
compared to illiterate people. Such strong linkages between literacy and other
aspects of social development result in higher benefits to investments in literacy
programme. It is a fact that universal literacy should be valued as an end in it.
Yet, this is an area in which achievements have lagged behind expectations and
literacy has progressed slowly and the numbers of illiterates have been on the
rise. Rates of illiteracy continue to be high among scheduled castes, scheduled
tribes and females.
“Education means an all-round drawing out of the best
in child and him to live a suitable in men, in body and mind,
and in spirit, thus lifting life fit to face challenges”
_____________Mahatma Gandhi, M. K.
Education is process of creation, perpetuation, transmission and
enrichment of cultural values, and development. According to G.S.Pure, “adult
education teaches people the culture of their society and enable them to live
accordingly to it ways. It is a process of ‘directed’ learning-directed primarily
towards the individuals’ personality in consonance with the ways of the society. It
aims out bringing about more effective participation in the desirable values, in
this way the adult education is a great socialising agency”. (Sagar Reddy, 2007)
Literacy has both direct and indirect impact on successful implementation
of rural development programmes. Moreover people’s participation in each and
every stage of implementation of welfare programmes in a literate environment
yields positive results. Further, the programmes either literacy or welfare must be
designed with a people-centred development approach. Hence, in this paper, the
need of peoples’ centred development, value of education, concept and
other areas of Rural Development, behavioural patterns of stakeholders,
Government planning efforts to coordinate Literacy Campaigns and Rural
Development Programmes and also other areas were discussed.
Concept of People-Centred Development
People-centred development is defined by the UNDP as “development of
the people, by the people and for the people”. What ever is the precise
definition, the implications are always that people should be involved in their own
development. In effect, according to COX, David (1998), people-centred
development can be said to rest on five pillars of foundation viz.,
1. Awareness Rising: People need to be aware of the realities of
their situation and their environment as necessary pre-requisite
condition for their complete participation in their development.
2. Social Mobilisation: People need to form into groups and local
organisations as a necessary condition for utilising benefit on all the
available local resources and for insisting on their right to
participate in their own economic development.
3. Participation: Development will reflect the realities and needs of
people only when the development process is an exclusively
4. Self-reliance: If the people are to have maximum control over their
own development, it is important that development rest, as much as
possible, on the resources available within the local community; to
maximize self-reliance is to maximize the people-centred nature of
5. Sustainability: If development has to continue to provide for
people’s need it must be sustainable.
Success or failure of any programme will depend on people’s participation
on developmental activities and empower them to self sustenance. Literacy leads
to sustainable empowerment of people. In illiteracy environment, there is a
meagre scope for development. Hence, human development is the main stress
for providing quality of life to people; the basic prerequisites for this are literacy,
people participation, obtaining complete benefits out of welfare programmes, and
the role of information and communication.
Literacy/Education, health and social well-being are the crucial factors of
human productivity, while social safety networks offer vital support mechanisms
to cope with crises. The role of rural governance in providing these services
remains important, particularly to rural communities that are both physically and
economically isolated. Lack of informal and formal education restricts the
capacity of rural people to take advantage of alternative employment
opportunities. The incidence of chronic ill-health due to poor accessibility and
affordability to health care and its effect on reduced rural labour productivity has
been grossly under estimated.
Secondly, education facilitates social and occupational mobility among the
members of a society. Educational achievements, to a large extent, determine
the nature and type of job opportunities that become available to rural people.
Functional literacy programmes and rural entrepreneur-ship programmes bear
out the significance of the utility of specific target oriented education.
In an era of globalization and economic reforms, being observed in the
country, the phenomenon of social and economic development has been
undergoing through a process resulting in new paradigms of development. Social
Scientists, being sensitized towards the new developments, have been closely
observing the development initiatives in the changed social, economical and
physical atmosphere. As a result, several of new conceptual and strategy
oriented aspects are emerging. In order to ensure sustainable development,
especially in rural areas, where incidence of poverty is on higher side, what
assume greater importance in formulating the development programmes are
conceptual clarity as well as sound strategy.
The social demand for education is completely on the rise. People are
striving for the higher level than their own level of socio-economic strata. Parents
want their children to have a higher degree of education than they themselves
had. In present scenario, the media has a big role in influencing the parents to
make them aware of the new situations of the society. So the pressure of
education is on at all levels and in all its forms. There is another important
dimension to the problem of education of illiterate adults.
The basic need of Rural Education in India:
The education system evolved for this country had an excellent vision of
ensuring the whole nation literate, when it was launched back in 1936, though
the purpose was of different kind. The pious downward filtration theory did not
work in this country and hence left the majority of the population illiterate. Nearly
seventy percent of the rural population is illiterate and the percentage is steadily
increasing. Moreover, the dropout rate is very high comparatively to the urban
sector. The present system of education created an artificial, yet psychologically
a very potent gap among the people of India.
The system of education is not geared to the objectives of socio-economic
development both in respect of its contents, in structure and in methods of
teaching. The system of education is thus, torn between two horns of the
dilemma of quality and quantity with an added rider of the financial constraint.
Added to this, the system of education in our country has many diverse and
numerable problems to face, in addition to the financial problems, which are of
cultural in nature. The issue of rural education is totally forgotten and as a result,
nothing has been done to develop a philosophy of rural education upon which a
superstructure of a whole system suitable to our country could be built.
The Concept of Development in India:
The development of rural areas in India is a multi-dimensional problem,
which has been so far viewed by the policy makers and academicians mainly
from the economic aspect only. In India rural development is not only an
economic problem but also more a social-psychological-cultural problem. Michael
P. Todaro views rural development most the suitable, in Indian Context, in the
1. Improvement in the level of living standard including employment,
formal education, eradication of illiteracy, health, nutrition, housing
and a variety of other connected social services.
2. Decreasing in equality, in distribution of rural incomes and in the
Rural- Urban imbalances in incomes and economic opportunities
3. To sustain the capacity of rural sector.
It seems, in Indian context rural development is a more sociological
problem rather than an economic problem. With the process of economic
development and growing awareness, the social system in the country is
becoming more complicated and resulting in unequal economic conditions. The
caste system continues to be a strong moral phenomenon of social structure in
India, which undoubtedly is an influential system in marriage, education basis of
communal participation, a social control agency, and a political instrument
affecting the rural development process adversely. So the policies of rural
development may so designed to crack down the prevalent social structure in the
country. In this process besides formal educational programmes, the Govt. of
India planned to improve literacy among illiterate to catch the welfare activities
designed for the poor. The adult education programmes advocated for them and
changing strategies are presented.
Changing Concept of Adult Education in India
Approaches Cycles Key Concepts Main Programme
Social education (1952),
Workers Education (1957)
Farmers Functional Literacy
programme (1966), Rural
Programme (1966), Non-
Formal Education (1974) and
Adult Education for Women
National Adult Education
Programme (1978), Mass
Programme for Functional
Literacy (1985), National
Literacy Campaigns (1990)
(1992), Continuing Education
Source: An Encyclopedia of Indian Adult Education 1999.
In each of the four cycles, different adult educational programmes were
developed and implemented in different parts of India under various
nomenclatures viz. Social Education, Farmers Functional Literacy Programme, Workers
Education (Shramik Vldyapeeth/ Jana Sikshana Samsthan), National Adult Education
Programme, Programme of Functional Literacy and Total Literacy Campaign and so on.
Though a number of official and non-official agencies were associated with planning
and implementation of these programmes, the source of funding was mainly from the
Government of India, which formulated the policy and designed the programme
package. Notwithstanding the changes in nomenclature, operational modalities,
expansion of programmes over the years and shifts in the approach, the main trust of
adult education continues to be on basic literacy (Shah, S.Y., 1999).
National Literacy Mission (NLM):
As part of national effort to usher in latest developments in science and
technology, the late Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi initiated five Technology
Missions, to bring rapid developments and create a new ethos, and the National
Literacy Mission was one of them. The aim of the mission was to educate 80
million illiterates in the age group of 15-35 years with a target of 30 million by
1990 and another 50 million by 1995 (revised later) by creating mass movements
and through voluntary effort. The NLM planned three pronged effort to eradicate
illiteracy as 1) Total Literacy Campaign 2) Post Literacy Programme 3)
Continuing Education Programme. Broad objectives of the National Literacy
Mission (1988) were to enable the adult illiterates to:
* Achieve self-reliance in literacy and numeracy;
* Become aware of the causes of their deprivation and moving towards
amelioration of their condition through organisation and participation in the
process of development;
* Acquire skills to improve the economic status and general well-being; and
* Imbibe the values of National Integration, Conservation of the
Environment, Women's Equality, and observance of Small Family norm.
On 5th, September 2009 a new programme was launched by the
Government of India and named as Saakshar Bharat. The basic unit at village
level is called Loka Siksha Kendra (LSK) with only 10 illiterates to be educated
and main emphasis is given to female illiterates. The Kendra will act as a
window for information, not only for imparting literacy but also to provide the
target group all kind of help to develop their socio-economic and vocational
aspects. It is known as a human development centre.
Concept of Rural Development:
Mahatma Gandhi, Father of the Nation and the visionary architect of
India’s Rural Development Programmes, in his own words said - “Just as the
whole universe is contained in the Self, so is India contained in the
villages”…. The villages epitomize the soul of India. With more than seventy
percent of the Indian population living in rural areas, rural India reflects the very
essence of Indian culture and tradition. No wonder then that a holistic
development of India as a Nation rests on a sustained and holistic development
of rural India
In fact, the term "Rural Development" is a subset of the broader term
"Development". Development is a subjective and value-based term; this is as
difficult to arrive at a consensus as to its meaning. At the best, development in
the context of society could be conceptualized as a set of desirable societal
objectives that a country seeks to achieve. Rural development connotes overall
development of rural areas with a view to improve the quality of life of rural
people. It is a comprehensive and multi-dimensional concept and encompasses
the development of agriculture and allied activities, village and cottage industries
and crafts, socio-economic infrastructure, community services and facilities, and,
above all, the human resources (Development) in rural areas in general.
As a phenomenon, rural development is the end result of interactions
among various physical, technological, economic, socio-cultural, and institutional
factors. As a strategy, it is designed to improve the economic and social well
being of a specific group of people in the rural poor. As a discipline, it is multi-
disciplinary in nature, representing an intersection of agricultural, social,
behavioural, engineering, and management sciences.
Prof. Robert Chambers, who pioneered participatory approaches in rural
development with emphasis on Participatory Rural Appraisal techniques,
summarised the concept of rural development as “Rural development is a
strategy to enable a specific group of people, to gain for themselves and their
children more of what they want and need. It involves helping the poorest among
those who seek a livelihood in the rural areas to demand and control more of the
benefits of rural development. The group includes small-scale farmers, tenants,
and the landless."
The predominantly rural nature of India emphasizes the need to bring
about a sustainable development of the rural areas and its people, if India is to
attain any level of significant global eminence. However, despite best efforts,
rural India has not kept pace with its urban counterpart. The reasons for this are
many and include, besides others, historical as well as geographical
marginalization. Recognizing the importance of correcting these developmental
imbalances and the need to accord due priority to development in rural areas,
efforts were on, ever since Independence, to address the problems of rural
development in a systematic way.
Approaches to Rural Development:
For the development of the rural population, the government has made
several efforts. These efforts and strategies can be summarised as.
•The Multi-purpose Approach,
•The Minimum Package Approach,
•The Target Group Approach and
•The Area Development Approach and
•People’s Participation Approach
Basic objectives of Rural Development:
India, ever since achieving independent existence, more than six decades
ago, has given varying degrees of attention and priority to rural development.
Moreover, the motivations and objectives of public policies have varied over time
due to a complex combination of political, economic and social factors as well as
opportunities for development provided by foreign assistance and global
economic trends. The objectives of rural development followed and implemented
by the various Governments have also been influenced by the overall plans for
development and the performance of the economy in its global setting during this
period. In particular, the international economic environment, especially for
foreign assistance, has conditioned them. Although rural development has been
a priority area for external donors, its importance has increased in the second
half of the last 60 years as concerns about food security, the population
explosion, environment and climatic changes, as well as poverty, equality and
social justice have come to be increasingly perceived as being in the purview of
global, rather than national policy agendas. Rural development stood at the
cross-cutting path of these concerns. However, the multiplicity of the objectives
which rural development was expected to achieve often deviated from the central
focus and often contributed to its failure though the results achieved were yet
emphatic and significant.
•To increase the availability and widen the distribution of basic pre-
requisites like food, clothes, shelter, health care and security.
•To raise standards of living, including, in addition to higher purchasing
power, the provision of more jobs, better education, and greater attention
to cultural and humanistic values.
•To expand the range of economic and social choice to individuals by
freeing them from servitude and dependence.
Indicators of Rural Development:
Uphoff and Esman identify seven dimensions of rural development, in their
study of eighteen country cases aimed at establishing relationships between
local organisations / community based organizations and rural development.
•Agricultural productivity measured in terms of average cereal yields per
hectare and per capita total agricultural production.
area as per cent of cultivated area, and adoption of high yielding varieties of
cereals - rice and wheat.
•Rural welfare measured in terms of levels of nutrition, health, education and
eradication of Illiteracy.
•Security measured in terms of protection from natural disaster, protection
against violence, and access to justice.
•Distribution measured in terms of the ratio of income accruing to the top 20
per cent of household's vis-à-vis that accruing to the bottom 20 per cent.
•Rate of population growth and level of employment; and
•Political - administrative participation measured in terms of electoral
participation. Control of bureaucracy influence on rural development policy
and allocation of public services and resources.
Policies and Programmes of Rural Development:
Policy is a comprehensive term and it connotes as mentioned earlier a set
of intended acts. It subsumes programmes. Programme is narrower in scope
than policy and is more specific with regard to what is to be done, how by whom,
and where. A policy has to be translated into a number of programmes. Before it
can be implemented project is highly specific and detailed in terms of its
objectives location and duration. Funds, and executing agency and lends
itself to planning, financing, and implementation as a unit. A programme may
consist of several projects.
In the context of rural development, policy and planning, ‘change’` may be
considered to be an instrument, which can be used to promote development. In
India, the introduction of technological changes in the mid sixties (new high
yielding varieties of crops, fertilizers, improved farm machinery, and pesticides)
led to the so called Green Revolution in agriculture. Technological innovations
(modern milk processing, feed processing plants, artificial insemination etc.) and
organizational innovations (‘Amul’ pattern dairy cooperatives) introduced in the
early seventies contributed significantly to the modernization and development of
dairying. Agricultural development in Taiwan and in the People's Republic of
China is largely a result of institutional reforms (land reforms) and technological
advances. In other words, the development of peoples follows from economic
development only if the latter is achieved on the basis of the equality and human
dignity of all those involved.
A glance at the history of rural development scenario in India, the policy
aspects revolved around the contemporary issues prevailing in the country as
well as ways and means to cope up with them. It may be mentioned that the
entire process of rural development in the last half of the century revolved around
six important aspects as mentioned below:
•Enhancing the role of Technology Agriculture Productivity
•Suitable environment for the uplift of the rural community
•Basic facilities and the management of the commonness
•Bridging rural the rural-urban gap
•Link between Literacy and Development
While majority of Indian population living in rural areas and agriculture
being their mainstay, it is quite natural that the policy issues revolve around
agriculture and allied fields. Since the population pressure was increasing and
land being a limited resource, wide emphasis was laid on increasing the
productivity of the land. On the other hand, the average land-holding being small,
the productivity was quite less compared to other countries. The low productivity,
despite several policy measures, in turn contributed to consistently increasing
poverty. Hence, the rural development policies were focused more on poverty
alleviation. Given the social and physical environment prevailing in rural areas,
the other major policy interventions emanated through the issues of generating
appropriate social environment, rural institutions, facilitating technology.
The rural nature of India emphasizes the need to bring about a
sustainable development of the rural areas and its people, if India is to attain any
level of global eminence. However, despite best efforts, rural India has not kept
pace with its urban counterpart because of low literacy rate. Recognizing the
importance of correcting these developmental imbalances and the need to
accord due priority to development in rural areas, Government implemented
various literacy programmes to eradicate illiteracy particularly in Rural areas,
efforts were on, ever since Independence, to address the problems of rural
development in a systematic way.
The most important landmark in the history of Indian Rural Development
efforts was the setting up of an organization called Community Development
Projects Administration in March, 1952. The main thrust of the organization was
to administer community development programmes at grass root level. The
Social Education Programme was also started in the same year to educate the
people, so that people can avail the benefits from Community Development
Programme and to participate effectively in Panchayati functioning and
administration. The planned approach adopted through Five Year Plans India
has witnessed systematic policies and programme in this regard.
With reference to Rural Development programme, the initial emphasis was
on community rather than the rural areas as such. This led to emergence of
Community Development programmes and Community Block concept in the
beginning. Later on, the emphasis of rural development programmes was shifted
to integrated approach, popularly known as Integrated Rural Development
Programme (IRDP) wherein an integrated approach with a rural family as a base
unit, was taken up to translate the policy issues into programmes. Income
generation programmes too gained prominence during this phase. During this
period the Farmer’s Functional Literacy Programme, Rural Functional Literacy
Programme, Non-Formal Education for school drop-outs, Adult Education for
Women and other literacy programmes were started to impart literacy skills, so
that the target group can participate in the developmental initiative of the
Government without exploitation of middlemen and vested groups. Later in 1978,
the National Adult Education Programme was started with the objectives
promoting Literacy, Functionality and Awareness to the illiterate population. Then
the National Literacy Mission was launched in 1988 in three stages as Total
Literacy Campaigns, Post-Literacy Programme and Continuing Education
Programme. All the adult education programmes were designed to strengthen
the masses in Literacy and Social Awareness so that they can utilise the
Government Welfare Programmes independently and benefits may be reach
Since 1990, social and human development has emerged as a key
element of rural development. Hence, along with income generation, capacity
development, social security and safety of vulnerable groups are also
emphasized. On institutional part, area specific problems and potentials required
decentralized framework with a participatory mode. Institutional strengthening,
and empowerment and participation of the rural people continue to remain
formidable challenges towards achieving equitable and sustained rural
development into the overall national development policies.
In the recent past, creation of a proper environment in rural areas was the
main focus of rural development programmes. This led to the programmes like
SHG promotion, Self Employment programmes, Area development programmes
(Watershed, Desert Development Programme and so on). Currently, in addition
to creating appropriate social and physical environment in rural areas, the rural
development programmes are dominated by employment assurance
programmes ultimately leading to i.e. Mahatma Gandhi National Rural
Employment Guarantee Programme (MGNREGP).
Despite several models of decentralization practiced in the country,
effective policy with local capacity building is yet to emerge. A concerted public
policy action through both macro level support and micro intervention is required
to tackle numerous structural and institutional barriers impeding rural
development. This involves the crucially important task of mainstreaming rural
development and poverty alleviation efforts. His is only possible in literary
environment. Hence, the linkage between adult education and rural development
is essential for any developmental activity.
In India, the very concept of development block or a certain geographical
jurisdiction specifically earmarked for administering development programmes in
rural areas is a novel features than in other countries. Such administrative unit or
block is the crucial institution in implementing the development programmes. The
rural development personnel administer the various development programmes
through this institution is the common feature across the country. Similarly,
another novel feature of the rural development policies and programmes in the
Indian context is the institution of District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) to
look after the planning, financial allocations, implementation and supervision of
rural development activities at the district level. Thus, the implementation of rural
development programmes is effectively organized at district and sub-district level.
These institutions were backed by provincial and federal level institutions to
provide necessary support, effective backdrop in designing policies and
programmes and ensuring flow of funds to achieve the requisite targets.
Rural Development in India: Major Interventions
The policies and strategies adopted in rural development sector were
translated into several of important programmes like Community Development
Programmes, Integrated Rural Development Programme etc. Keeping in tune
with the change in policies and strategies, the specific rural development
programmes too changed from time to time leaving varying degrees of success
and failure. The following is the brief summary of major events in rural
development programmes that were implemented in India.
Rural Development Programmes in India - A Chronological History
The following is the brief chronological history of major events of
programmes under rural development sector.
1952 Community Development programme launched (October).
1958 Three-tier structure of local self-governing bodies Panchayat Raj)
1969 Rural Electrification Corporation set up.
1970-71 Drought Prone Areas Programme started (December).
1971 A Joint Consultative Council on Community Development and
Panchayat Raj constituted (December).
1971-72 Crash Scheme for Rural Employment introduced.
1972-73 Pilot Intensive Rural Employment Project (PIREP) launched.
Accelerated Rural Water Supply Programme started.
1977 Food for Work Programme started (April).
1977-78 Desert Development Programme started (April).
1978-79 Integrated Rural Development Programme launched.
1984 NREP and RLEGP merged into one single rural employment
programme to be known as Jawahar Rozgar Yojana (April).
1985-86 Indira Awaas Yojana started.
1988-89 Million Wells Scheme started.
1992 The Parliament passed the Constitutional 73rd Amendment Act to
grant constitutional status to the Panchayat Raj institutions
1993 Employment Assurance Scheme implemented (October).
1995 National Social Assistance Programrenme (NSAP) launched
(August).Jawahar Gram Samridhi Yojana launched (April).
Swarnjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana launched (April).
Innovative Stream for Rural Housing and Habitat Development
Scheme launched (April).
2004 Right to Information Act
2005 Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme
Key Issues of Rural Development:
Having elaborated policy thinking and establishing institutions to
implementing rural development programmes, still several issues or lacunae
remained in the context of rural development efforts in India. A few key issues in
rural development relate to judicious use and management of the resource base
on which the rural people depend for their livelihood. This is to ensure that while
present economic activities draw dividends from the natural resource base, they
do not draw down on the natural capital (i.e. the ecosystem goods and services)
so that future generations will continue to depend on. Rural governance has a
vital role to ensure this.
The rural poor will remain poor unless they are able to produce surplus
and sell it under the most favourable market conditions, or to divert their surplus
labour to economic activities that are not primary resource based. Good rural
governance should be able to provide services such as timely market information
for producers to benefit from market fluctuations, as well as open up
opportunities for a broad based rural economy to diversify livelihood strategies.
Education, health and social well-being are crucial to human productivity,
while social safety nets are vital support mechanisms to cope with crises. The
role of rural governance in providing these services remains important,
particularly to rural communities that are both physically and economically
isolated. Lack of informal and formal education restricts the capacity of rural
people to take advantage of alternative job opportunities. The incidence of
chronic ill-health due to poor accessibility and affordability to health services and
its effect on reducing rural labour productivity has been grossly under-estimated.
In other words, it is even more important that rural governance goes
beyond mundane public administration of civil services, and should be a
seamless extension of planning and management of the entire rural space.
However, in the realm of rural development, there has always been close
nexus among the executive (in specific Rural Development Functionaries), the
targeted population (in specific poor and deserved communities in rural areas) as
well as the mechanism/strategy of implementation of the programme concerned.
In other words, the external and internal (including personal and psychological)
issues do play vital role among the rural development functionaries while
understanding and implementing the programmes concerned. Among the
targeted population, it was also of importance that capacity of individuals or
group concerned matters most in vying the options available for development as
well as accessing the appropriate programmes and getting benefit there of. It is
not the mere right minded RD functionaries or enlightened targeted population
that matters but also the way the programmes are being implemented and
strategies adopted etc. This is also same in the case of Literacy Programme.
Hence, for effective implementation of programmes all these three major issues
do overlap among each other and correct understanding of these three factors
results in achieving the desired outcomes.
Contemporary Issues in Rural Development:
In the realm of rural development programmes in India, a new era has
dawned in the recent past with the advent of Parliament Act on Right to
Employment. In the context of rural development scenario prevailing in the
country, since most of the poverty-ridden households are in rural areas and the
small land holding pattern among most of the farmers, they do always look for
wage employment opportunities for ensuring their livelihoods. Hence, wage
employment assumes greater significance. On the other hand, given the
predominance of rain-fed agriculture in rural areas, the wage employment always
depends on availability of water for agriculture purposes. Hence, the
programmes of Water and Soil conservation play quite an important role in
ensuring sustainable livelihoods in rural areas. Finally, though the wage
employment and water and soil conservations take care of ensuring livelihood, it
was the safe drinking water that play vital role in ensuring good health among the
poor. Since health is a prime concern among the poor households which
dominate rural India, the programmes related to Drinking water and Sanitation
too assume significance while presenting the other dimension of development
interventions in rural areas. The contemporary issues before Government and
planners are eradication of illiteracy, social empowerment of people, Government
focus on Rural Transformation and challenges and implications.
In many countries the poorest of the rural poor tend to concentrate on the
marginal lands, where they are most vulnerable and are caught in the poverty
trap. Barring major land reform, which many governments are not inclined to
undertake, there are few exit paths from poverty for these marginalized groups.
One path is through social empowerment, i.e. giving voice to the poor and
enabling their participation and entry into the mainstream of national economic
development. Eventually only the poor can improve their lot through their
individual and collective actions by self-organization. Presently the poor are
faced with powerlessness in the prevailing social structure. They need to build
self-confidence through enhancing their self-image and self-worth. It has been
shown that having knowledge/Literacy is one way of attaining self-esteem.
Rural Transformation: Challenges and Issues
Having discussed on the current issues pertaining to rural development,
given the scenario of globalization and economic reforms experienced in the
country, the rural India is being stressed to undergo several of social and
economic transformations. These transformations have been resulting in large
scale social, physical and economic changes in the rural India. However, the
trends have also been resulting in throwing several of challenges. Given the
nature and topic, a few of the important issues have been presented.
.Rural Transformation: Implication and participation
Rural Transformation implies both the economic betterment of people as
well as greater social transformation. In order to provide people in rural India
better prospects for economic development and ensure their increased
participation in the rural development programmes, decentralization of planning,
better enforcement of land reforms and greater access to credit are envisaged.
Rural Transformation: Government's Focus
To ensure good quality of life in rural areas, the government has identified
five elements of social and economic infrastructure. These are Health,
Education, Drinking Water, Housing and Roads. Keeping in view the needs and
aspirations of the local people, Panchayati Raj Institutions have been involved in
the programme implementation and these institutions constitute the core of
decentralized development of planning and its implementations
The empowerment of rural women is crucial for the development of rural
India. Bringing women into the mainstream of development is a major concern for
the Government of India. Therefore, the programmes for poverty alleviation have
a women’s component to ensure flow of adequate funds to this section. The
Constitutional (73rd) Amendment, Act 1992 provides for reservation of selective
posts for women. The Constitution has placed enormous responsibility on the
Panchayats to formulate and execute various programmes of economic
development and social justice, and a number of Centrally Sponsored Schemes
are being implemented through Panchayats
Over six decades of planned approach and massive financial outflow
could not provide a congenial atmosphere to eradicate poverty in rural areas of
India. However, in the recent past, especially with the advent of strengthened
Panchayati Raj Institutions (local self governance institutions in rural areas) and
the Self Help Group approach have yielded quite a substantial results sparking
off participatory approaches. There has also been quite a concern for natural
resources management and encouraging wage employment. In fact, right to
employment has also been made mandatory in the recent past in India
(MGNREGA). However, effective results of programmes are not a mere
combination of sound strategy and sound implementation process. The other
critical parameters to be considered are responsible roles played by various
instruments like RD functionaries, the targeted population itself, Literacy, the
capacity building of both the stakeholders and so on.
Behavioural patterns of stakeholders:
The people from rural areas feel that they are powerless and also
ignorant of law and welfare measures provided by the Government. Rural people
do not have forum to assist them in securing redressal for their grievances.
Illiteracy is also one of the major hindrances.
Rural people, by virtue of migration or otherwise, come across variety of
people with different kind of mental traits and dispositions, both favourable and
unfavourable and either known to them or strange to them. The gap exists
between rural folk and bureaucrats, the participation and sharing of the
responsibilities between these groups of people keeps them estranged. It hardly
brings them together whether it is indicator programme, National Malaria
programme or eradication of illiteracy and soon.
The bureaucracy is as a whole self-determined, rule ethics and self-
centred hierarchy. At the level of district administration, the socio-economic
status of district administrator is far beyond the approach and comprehension of
a common man in many cases. The administrator though apparently concerned
with the welfare and well-being of the rural masses, is paradoxically
unreachable to him in most cases
I am presenting some of the views expressed by senior IAS officers about
the gap existing between masses and bureaucrats. Sri N.Vital, Chairman
People’s Empowerment Committee said that the common man has no direct
approach to meet the higher authorities. Because of this fact the middlemen
plays an important role which leads, favouritism and corruption. Sri Raghunatha
Rao, Secretary, B.C. Welfare, Govt. of A.P. feels the same and added that to-
day’s circumstances are that common man has no direct approach to meet IAS
personnel. If any one wants to visit the Secretariat, the man has to wait long
hours in hit heat which makes him half-die. All the policy issues are decided,
,according to the will and pleasure of political parties or Leaders, not keeping in
the mind the interest of general public, according to Shri J.Rambabu, Spl.
Secretary, R & B. Sri B. Satyanarayana, Addl. Municipal Commissioner,
Hyderabad Municipal Corporation pointed out, that the existing practice adopted
at present is that before organising Grama Sabhas, the out beneficiaries were
selected. He feels that the concept of empowerment of people is myth. He
suggested that like USA and Saudi Arabia 70 percent of funds to be transferred
to Local bodies and minimise their interference. Sri Vital further expressed the
functioning of authorities is the main problem faced by people to-day. All
expressed that, necessary steps to be taken to curb the activities middleman
Further, Education influences rural Development in three ways. Firstly, it
increases the awareness of rural people about on going activities in society. The
anti- arrack movement by the women folk of our State is a notable illustration of
the impact of adult education programme. Secondly, education facilities social
and occupational mobility among the members of a society. Educational
achievements, to a large extent determine the nature and type of opportunities
that become available to the rural people. Thirdly, education provides an insight
to the rural folk bout intricacies and complexities or bureaucratic administration. It
prepares them to accept and cooperate with the bureaucrats or implementing
Some of the findings of external evaluation of Literacy Campaigns
revealed that women after attending the literacy classes are in a position to meet
the authorities without fear and also in a position to explain and demand their
social needs. Another, benefits they are achieved are. Awareness about Welfare
Programmes. Participate in village development activities, decision-making in
home affairs, political participation, demand of appropriate wages from
employees, savings, formation of SHG’s, child care and children education.
Taken together, education determines the social and political perception of rural
people, their patterns of interaction with Government functionaries and their role
in rural development.
The experiences of development initiatives in rural areas, especially in
the last decade or so, has been indeed metamorphosised the priorities and
pattern of rural development trends. It is not only the strong emergence of
Panchayati Raj Institutions but also the Self Help Groups, Peoples’ Participation
and Partnership etc. are the issues dominating the map of rural development in
the country. Since development is a continuous process and change is
inevitable, it is the conceptual clarity and sound strategy behind the philosophy of
Rural Development that matters the most in ensuring sustainable as well as
equity in development. Given the high incidence of poverty in rural areas, as well
as existence of typical social atmosphere, ensuring sustainable and equity in
development may gain further importance. The task is formidable, and is of
unprecedented magnitude, innumerable challenges and possible failures, but
there is no redoubled vigorous passion and professionalism to realise our
dreams come true in Rural Development. Alternative to this we cannot also
postpone this agenda except pursuing with dogged determination.
The Government has success rate in implementation of family welfare,
pulse-polio programme anti-Malaria campaigns and control age old practices
such as ‘Sati’, Animal Sacrifice and even to some extent in formal education and
so on. When previous experiences were taken into consideration, then only any
programme will yield fruitful results. The failure of implementing agencies to
adopt outcome results of the evaluation studies, research observation and also
lack of political and social will on the part of the people’s representative and
educated persons were responsible even to-day, the presence of Twenty Six
percentage of illiterate people in India.
Adult Education can be considered as an effective tool for transformation
of ideas, values, behavioural change, conventions and more specially is an agent
of change. Hence, if the adult education programme is organised on set
objectives, change the task according to the needs of target group, creation of
congenial environment then the attitude of the learner is to be changed towards
positive participation. Then only the sustainable development of life can be
achieved great extent through literacy programmes as expected by the
Government and Planners.
Literacy is a process which dispels and promotes rational thinking and
moulds human being becomes a responsible citizen. The absence of literacy,
directly and indirectly refers the development of individuals, society, community
and the country. For the success of any programme, people should be motivated
by providing necessary congenial environment to develop their socio-economic
conditions, also committed efforts of implementing agencies and positive efforts
of the elected representatives. In a democratic society people cannot remain
silent spectators to the vast changes that are taking place in the society. But they
have to participate effectively not only in the decision-making process, but also in
the formulation and implementation of the developmental programmes. To
achieve this objective, all the citizens need to be educated for desirable
participation and reap the benefits of rural development programmes. In other
words, ‘Literacy is the tool for the Development’.
A strong commitment on the part of implementing agencies, strong
will on the part of the functionaries and the strong zeal on the part of
beneficiaries towards Adult Education and Rural Development programmes
will be the factors for the successful implementation of the programmes and
yields better results as expected by the planners and Government of India.
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sides and my widows to be stuffed. I want the
cultures of all lands to be blown about my house as
freely as possibly but I refuse to be blown off my feet
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ADULT EDUCATION AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT
Prof. B. S. Vasudeva Rao
If I learn carpentry from an illiterate carpenter only I know, how to do work,
but if I learn from a literate carpenter, my thoughts will be stimulated”
- ----------------Mahatma Gandhi
Major themes to be discussed:
Concept of People-Centred Development
The basic need of Rural Education in India
The Concept of Development in India
Changing Concept of Adult Education in India
Concept of Rural Development
Approaches to Rural Development
Basic objectives of Rural Development
Indicators of Rural Development:
Policies and Programmes of Rural Development:
Rural Development in India: Major Interventions
Rural Development Programmes in India - A Chronological History
Key Issues of Rural Development
Contemporary Issues in Rural Development
Rural Transformation: Challenges and Issues
Rural Transformation: Implication and participation
Rural Transformation: Government's Focus
Behavioural patterns of stakeholders
A strong commitment on the part of implementing agencies, strong will on the part of the functionaries and
the strong zeal on the part of beneficiaries towards adult education and rural development programmes will be the
factors for the successful implementation of the programmes and yields better results as expected by the planners and
Government of India.
“I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my widows to be
stuffed. I want the cultures of all lands to be blown about my house as freely as
possibly but I refuse to be blown off my feet by any”
Principal Investigator, U.G.C- Major Research Project, Dept. of Education, Andhra University, Visakhapatnam –
530 003. E-mail: bandaru.vasu @ gmail.com, drbsvasudevarao @ yhoo.co.in, cell n0 09440720949
** Source material – Resource person’s work-shop, S.K.University, Anantpur, 17-18,0ct.2011.