The idea of a Learning Society was first forward by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in its famous report, titled “Learning to be “. According to these report, a learning society is one in which all agencies of a society are educational providers; not just those primary responsibility is education. Similarly all citizens should be engaged in learning, taking full advantage of the opportunities provided by the learning society. True to these words, Kerala has always been a learning society. The educational and social reforms of Maharajas, the relentless efforts of Christian missionaries, the educational pursuits of Nair Service Society, the contribution of Sree Narayan Movement and a galaxy of social reforms laid a strong educational base in Kerala.
India has very rich and long history of education: education which has been passed on from one generation to the next of thousands of years in various fields of knowledge. People passed on skills along with the rigor of knowledge and human values. It was an integrated kind of an education.
The concept of continuing education, post literacy or lifelong learning has been embedded in almost all traditional philosophies. Continuing education is seen as going far beyond what is already practiced, particularly in the developed countries such as upgrading with refresher training, retraining and conversion or promotion courses for adults. It should open up opportunities for learning for all, for many different purposes.
Education should enable people to develop awareness of themselves and their environment and encourage them to play their social roles and work in the community. It should help keep pace with the development of new knowledge of today particularly in the domain of information and communication technology. It should help acquire new skills to face global competitiveness. Therefore, continuing education, post literacy or lifelong learning will soon become a reality for all people. Lifelong learning means learning throughout life. It is not confined to childhood or youth but takes place in mature adulthood as well as in older age. This is a major change from traditional approaches to education and learning.
Adult education is a powerful auxiliary and an essential incentive to primary education. The concept of adult education has brought a new hope for adults who could not get opportunity of receiving education during their school years. Through various programmes and techniques of social education, the illiterate farmers in the fields, laborers in the factories and others can be acquainted with the latest developments taking place in their on fields and thus they can be made happier and useful citizens who would understand their rights and duties given to them in the constitution of free India.
Adult education is very much needed to change the various facets of the life of our adults. It is essential so that the masses may be trained in various habits to enable them to lead a happier life. Literacy will provide them opportunities of reading and writing and will liberate them from the chains of ignorance. Adult education will bring them in close contact with their community and country’s cultural heritage.
Adult, continuing education and post literacy is one of the prestigious programmes of University Grants Commission. In American and European Universities, this programme enjoys much importance while in Indian Universities; it is struggling to survive within the University system.
In India the unique style of interpretation of Adult education is Adult Literacy (3Rs). We are focusing on Total Literacy, Residual Literacy, post literacy, continuing education etc. The scope of Adult education is unlimited. In India at the beginning, the priority was given to adult literacy and it is the time for ‘Mission for Continuing education’. Adult education is a vibrant, fueled by expanding demand and interest with broad range of possibilities in both public and private sector.
In Academic Adult Education, being ‘adult’ does not refer to age, but rather the mode of study and the objective of the students. Adult education within universities is an open non-formal system of education which is aiming at complementing and supplementing the requirement of students and community and contributing to the principles of Lifelong learning.
Post literacy or post literacy education is a concept used in Adult education programs aimed at recently illiterate or ‘neo-literate’ adults and communities. Unlike continuing education or further education, which covers secondary or vocational topics for adult learners, post literacy programs provide skills which might otherwise be provided in primary education settings. Post literacy education are programmes which aim to maintain and enhance basic literacy, numeracy and problem solving skills, giving individuals sufficient general basic work skills enabling them to function effectively in their societies. Post literacy programmes are designed for adults who want to strengthen their literacy skills. They may be immigrants, slum-dwellers or elderly rural poor.