Finally it is also important to stress that as systematic approaches to continuing education are relatively new in the region; their successful implementation will depend on the emergence of a new cadre of well qualified competent educational personnel. Effective training is the key to this development
POST LITERACY AND CONTINUING EDUCATION
How does an electric bulb light up? Why does it take such a short time cook “dal” in a pressure cooker? What is the area of your room? The answers to these and to other similar questions of everyday life cannot be given if the person is ignorant and not educated even in such simple things which one comes across every day. It is learning of information skills, and ideas that make a person knowledgeable and thus a useful member of the society. Education is change in behavior and improvement in abilities, when ignorance is changed into knowledge and awareness. The unskilled becomes skilled and his values, appreciations and outlook on life also change in a more positive way. Education meaning change in behavior and attitudes need not necessarily be through formal schooling; it can also be imparted in a non-formal setting. When education is imparted in a free atmosphere, without the rigidity of rules and regulations associated with school or college education it is termed as non formal education (NFE). Non Formal education imparts depth and meaning to that work of the recipient which he is already doing, or wants to do and thereby can make him more efficient and quite likely much more productive also. The non-formal approach to education can be described as the absence of a formal and captive way of teaching and evaluating. Non-formal education emphasizes learning. In the non-formal education; it is not necessary to put work into education because, most of the persons coming for non-formal education would already be working. Therefore; non-formal education is built around the work of the people who take up non-formal education. It enables the learner to increase his productivity in terms of output and also to improve the quality of the work in which he/she is already engaged. The large proportion of India’s population is poor; living in rural as well as urban areas. They live in pathetic conditions. Education in any form needs to be provided to them to improve their quality of life and to help them to participate productively in the national development. The formal education system; because of its rigid chronologically graded structure; excludes the poor from its advantages. The non-formal education, which is flexible and relevant to the lives of illiterates and the poor, needs to be encouraged. Formally educated persons can also continue their education for either self-development or higher professional advancement in a non-formal way.
Though, the basic concept of non-formal education is simple, educationalists responsible for its operation has developed academic objectives for this form of education also. The academicians have introduced such objectives not only to explain the concept of non-formal education, but also as a reminder of the dissimilarities in formal and non-formal education. Some of the academic objectives of the NFE are described below;
· To educate the dropouts from formal education
· To raise the extent of functional literacy
· To prepare individual for self-employment
· To retain adults for the changing requirements of jobs and family life.
· To complement formal education in a country of largely uneducated people
CENTERS FOR NON-FORMAL EDUCATION
In several Indian Universities, centers of adults and continuing educator have been established. These centers provide many forms of non-formal education; with varied contents. Besides, the university centers of non-formal education, the Industries, voluntary organizations, state governments, religious bodies, families and individuals also carry on a variety of NFE. Considering the extent of demands in the non-formal contents, the status of NFE is valid; desirable and is improving.
Even before 1995, when NFE was launched in a big way, several efforts were made by the government and other agencies to remove illiteracy. Some voluntary agencies, particularly some Christian missionary groups, made pioneering efforts to make children and adults illiterate, but they were not particularly successful because of the enormity of the problem and the severe economic and social constraints. Eradication of illiteracy was attempted through free and compulsory formal education.
Mass Literacy Movement, social education and other schemes were introduced, but all showed poor results. In the 1970’s NFE was widely suggested and illiteracy was the attacked through the non-formal approach. A major scheme was launched in 1975 to develop a large scale programme of NFE for under privileged children, youths and adults. These programmes were meant to be related to the needs and the aspirations of the learners and were to be based on local environmental conditions. This was an attempt to reach the deprived and the disadvantaged outside the formal system of education. The government of India became interested in the advancement of literacy education after independence and some steps were taken to introduce adult education. But, the progress had been slow and tardy. With growing awareness that economic and social development are linked to literacy and education, the drive for literacy has received a fresh impact.
Post literacy is defined as programmes which aims are 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.
This idea generally refers to processes and activities especially developed for neo-literates, which are designed to help them become fully functionally literate and to be autonomous learners. The essential aims are to prevent regression to semi-literacy or worse and to develop those higher-level literacy skills which are essential for autonomy in learning. Such skills include context vocabulary building, increased general know ledge and its application, and the development of skills in integrating concepts into cognitive systems (schema). It is especially important to develop higher skills of critical reading and to foster skills in independent problem-solving.
Post-literacy programmes are designed for adults who want to strengthen their literacy skills. They may be immigrants, slum dwellers or elderly rural poor. In ail activities the objective is to sustain interest in learning and prevent regression. Literacy regression is common in any society and it is described as follows:
This term refers to the situation where learners, having reached a certain level or grade equivalent within a literacy programme, fall to proceed beyond that grade, lose skills and knowledge and revert to a lower grade of skill and functional knowledge; individuals who are semi-literate may revert to almost or complete illiteracy. Individuals who are almost at the neo-literate stage may revert to semi-literacy and so on. Among school pupils, it is well documerited that children who drop-out of formal education before reaching school grade V are likely to regress to almost complete or total illiteracy. Among adults, the boundary is less well-defined but premature withdrawal from adult literacy programmes inevitably leads to regression. The main problem among such people is motivation, which underlines the importance of including functional knowledge of direct and immediate relevance to the learners. Motivational aspects and the problem of regression have considerable implications for continuing education.
Post-literacy programme provide the point of «take-off» in a continuing education system. Without it, continuing education has little meaning to neo-literates or semiliterate rates. The aim of post literacy programmes is to consolidate the basic literacy skills of speaking, reading, writing, numeracy and problem solving while at same time overtly or covertly transforming the learners into an educated whole person, who is a productive socio-economic asset to the community- bale to participate actively and productively in a nations processes of Development.
In education many terms are used and many, such as the term post-1iteracy, have acquired a range of meanings. Some of these terms refer to concepts, some to «systems» some to «processes» and some to programmes. By concept is meant a general ideas or notion; and by process is meant a method of operation or a state of carrying on a procedure. By programme Is meant a structured series of learning events designed to develop concepts to foster the development of process skills and to achieve specified outcomes. Programmes may be available through the formal, non-formal or informal education channels.
a) Related Educational Concepts and their Expression in Programmes Relevant concepts to be considered in relation to the term post-literacy include the following:
This is generally to mean the ability to read, write and apply numeracy skills. Vagueness in the definition relates to some disagreement about what level or skill should be acquired before an individual can be said to be literate. Modern definitions tend to focus on competency and a literate person is perceived to be one who has sufficient reading, writing and numeracy skills to be able to continue to learn alone without the continuing guidance of a teacher.
Post-literacy programmes ensure that participants who have at one time reached such a level of competence, but have not adequately accepted the challenge to continue to learn, or even worse, may be in danger of regressing to partial literacy, in fact consolidate their literacy skills and advance to higher levels of competence.
ii) FUNCTIONAL LITERACY
There is a general consensus about the meaning of this term. Programmes concerned only with reading, writing and calculating for their own sake have little meaning. Functional literacy includes the development of these traditional literacy abilities, but it ensures that such development occurs in areas reflecting the socioeconomic and cultural needs of the learners. The emphasis is on directly usable knowledge. Reading, writing and numeracy skills develop with these goals sharply in focus.
Basic literacy programmes should build both technical literacy skills and functional knowledge. What people learn to read, write and calculate becomes equally as important as technical literacy skill, and the development of one aspect adds to the development of the other. All continuing education seen through this definition is functional.
iii) LEVEL ON GRADES OF LITERACY
The traditional way to define “level” of literacy was in terms of functional measures and grade equivalents, using the formal educational system as a standard. There is little international agreement, however, about what should constitute the levels or stages of achievement in developing literacy skills and functional knowledge from illiteracy to the achievement of basic literacy. This is partly understandable because of the contrasted problems posed by different languages and cultures.
This can be defined as a stage in literacy development, which may meet the technical requirements of the final grade of a literacy training programme but beyond which progress is inhibited. The failure to proceed further may be motivational, an absence of willingness to continue to learn without the guidance of a teacher; it may be because of some inherent ability problem or because of some gap or block in achievement. Semi-literacy is a major problem in many societies, including those of developed countries such as Australia, U.K. and U.S.A. Semi-literates are usually functionally illiterate. That is while .being basically literate in a technical sense, they cannot apply their literacy skills in everyday life.
This term is well-known and fairly non- controversial. A neo literate is an individual who has completed a basic literacy training programs and has demonstrated the ability and willingness to continue to learn on his/her own using the skills and knowledge attained without the direct guidance of a literacy teacher. It is important to stress that technical achievement is not sufficient for an individual to be classed as a neo- literate. He or she needs to have the ability and willingness to continue as an independent learner. Post- literacy programmes are not only for semi-literates, but also for neo-literates who do not proceed beyond formal primary schooling or its equivalent.
vi)ADEQUATE FUNCTIONAL LITERACY
By \’adequate\’ we could perhaps consider levels of competence and functional knowledge that facilitate an individual\’s personal development and his or her development as a member of society, and which help to maximize his or her contribution to the positive development of society, in other words, adequate functional literacy represents a staking off point from which an individual can grow and increasingly contributes to an improved quality of life.
A key aim of programmes of post-literacy is to ensure that participants become adequately functional literates. Adequate functional literacy is a pre-requisite for autonomous learning and the development of a learning society.
vii) AUTONOMOUS LEARNING
The idea of autonomous learning is a much more sophisticated concept than the Idea of simply being and willing to learn on your own, which is the concept used to define a neo-literate. The concept implies not just an autonomous learner but an autonomous person. At an autonomous stage of personal development, education is seen as leading to creativity, self-fulfillment and deeper values; it is seen as an on-going process. It is characterized by a learning style that probes for increasing complexity, complex patterns, toleration for ambiguity and development of broad views of the world and reflects a respect for objectivity.
This concept clearly implies that if a learning society to be effective, the opportunities provided by it must be accepted and utilized by its citizens. Only autonomous learners can take maximum advantage of such opportunities, so that evaluation of a learning society depends on the development of autonomous learning. This is a major challenge for continuing education, and especially for programmes of post-literacy with their aim of achieving not only learning autonomy, but the development of an autonomous person.
Three well-known terms of particular relevance to post-literacy are as follows:
i) LIFE-LONG LEARNING
In 1976, the General Conference of UNESCO adopted the following definition of life-long learning. The term life-long education and learning denotes an overall scheme aimed at restructuring the existing educational system and at developing the entire educational potential outside the education system; in such a scheme men and women are the agents of their own education. This definition contains three basic ideas:
a) The entire formal educational sub-system should be restructured to develop life-long learners;
b)The non-formal and informal education sub-sectors should be developed and utilized to the fullest extent;
c) The importance of autonomous learning is stressed.
According to this view, life-long learning is a process that involves purposive, directed learning not merely incidental learning. Post-literacy programmes are enabling forces to give participants the motivation, knowledge, skills and values required for them to undertake self-motivated lifelong learning.
ii) ADULT EDUCATION
Adult education programmes should be seen as a sub-set of lifelong learning. Adult education has been defined as engaging in courses and other educational activities organized by three teachers or sponsoring agency, and taken by persons beyond compulsory school age. Excluded is full-time attendance in a programme leading toward a high school diploma or an academic degree.
Examples include courses such as diet control, football, ballroom dancing and car maintenance. Adult education as a process, however, also refers to methodologies of teaching appropriate for adults- the idea of a dragogy as distinct from pedagogy. Post-literacy programmes can benefit from a close association with adult education programmes as defined, but certainly all effective post-literacy involves adult methodologies as a process.
FUNCTIONS OF POST-LITERACY
Some major functions of post-literacy programmes include the following:
a) TO CONSOLIDATE BASIC LITERACY SKILLS
A literate who has just completed a basic literacy course is not guaranteed retention of that skill. As for any other skill it could become diffuse and fade out in time unless it is systematically strengthened. A well-designed post-literacy programme may be able to save the situation. With material designed to suit the interests of the target group, post-literacy skill should be able to reinforce and consolidate basic literacy skills both cognitively and affectively.
b) TO MAKE LIFE-LONG LEARNING POSSIBLE
Post-literacy is a bridge towards autonomous learning. To reach the stage of autonomous learning means to be within the grasp of being a life-long learner. Every country plans to become a learning society. Post-literacy programmes develop reading habits while at the same time enhance writing and numeracy skill. Without post-literacy programmes, or their equivalent, a learning society cannot materialize since the neo and semi-literates will not be motivated to go beyond basic literacy skills. Post-literacy programmes provide a second opportunity for the disadvantaged to become life-long learners. A keen student within a post-literacy programme has wide options from which to choose further education. Such a student can either enroll in an equivalency programme and so have the chance to enter the formal system again, or he or she can go to other types of continuing education such as vocationally-oriented income-generating programmes or others. In this sense, post-literacy programmes are liberating forces \’which provide the opportunity for participants to continue to learn throughout life.
c) TO ENHANCE UNDERSTANDING OF SOCIETY AND COMMUNITY
Effective communication fosters understanding and promotes ties in the community. No person is an island. Humankind is gregarious by nature. Being gregarious we must have the skill to communicate to others and to listen effectively. Effective communication, including listening, requires certain skills. These skills can be acquired through training. Communication training programmes can be designed and made available to every interested individual.
Communication skills, therefore, should be a central part of any post-literacy programme. They should be carefully developed to enhance understanding of society and of the community.
d) TO DIFFUSE TECHNOLOGY AND INCREASE VOCATIONAL SKILL
Post-literacy programmes can be an effective instrument to transfer required technologies to disadvantaged groups and to change a listless observer into a productive energetic member of the labor force. Reading and numeracy materials appropriately designed and properly worded maybe able to diffuse the required technology even into the remotest part of the country, instruction and developmental materials can also be modified to suit the peculiarities of any community and this can be done at relatively low administrative cost.
The most successful post-literacy programmes are associated with the work force. In many Member States, post-literacy activities are presented on-job in factories on farms, in retail stores, commercial institutions and so on. The advanced skills of reading, writing and numerically required for autonomous learning are developed in association with the functional knowledge needed by participants to be maximally efficient as employees.
The significance of such an approach for the overall upgrading of technology and for improvement in individual and commercial efficiency is self-evident. This type of approach makes a major contribution to the economic well-being of individuals and of the nation as a whole.
e) TO MOTIVATES INSPIRE AND INSTILL HOPE TOWARDS IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF LIFE
Drop-cuts, disadvantaged groups and low-income earners have a feeling of hopelessness. For them the future is bleak. Their children are unlikely to have a meaningful place in society. Survival is by chance. Motivation to improve and the will to excel in life is marginal if not zero. For this «unproductive» and negative group, interesting and creative post-literacy materials can act as a \’stimulant. Creatively designed materials can Instill a fighting pioneering spirit. Feelings of helplessness and the sense of alienation can be overcome. Making such people realize that each and everyone has the same unharnessed potential and that everybody is capable of attaining the best in life, will motivate them to excel in whatever field they decide to undertake. This is possible because a post-literacy programme is an educational activity. Being educational it is an effective tool to affect changes in attitudes and behavior towards life. Post-literacy cultivates, develops, strengthens and stimulates the power of the target group.
f) TO FOSTER HAPPY FAMILY LIFE THROUGHEDUCATION
The ultimate goal of development’s to improve the quality of life of every citizen in the country. To attain this goal requires co-operative effort by government and citizen. Every individual should be active in the development process. The fruit of development will only be harnessed by active participants. Bystanders will be swept aside by the tide of change.
Beside economic opportunity, development also provides other social benefits that will improve family life. Post-literacy programmes on consumerism, environment, health and ways of leisure can contribute towards happy living. Participating in post-literacy programmes sharpens the mind and makes participants alert for all openings and opportunities. Citizens become responsive and sensitive to the changing environment.
To be alert, adaptable and able to think positively makes possible the attainment of a fuller life in a demanding society. With higher income and a healthy mind and body the post-literacy leaner is able to improve the quality of life. The world becomes a happy place and there is a bright start towards greater happiness for the family as well as for the individual.
Our country has set before itself the goal of ^\”Education for all1 by 2010: a good that aims at, of providing equity, access and quality education to reach the hitherto unreached population. Hence, continuing personal development throughout life in both formal and informal terms has become an essential requirement for all.
India has a very rich and long history of education: education which has been passed on from one generation to the next for thousands of years in various fields of knowledge. In most fields this transfer of knowledge has been through a tradition of oral learning with very little of it written down. 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 or lifelong learning has been embedded in almost all traditional philosophies. Before the impact of the commercial and industrial civilization, most countries had a traditional society with a dominant role of the village community and a subsistence agrarian economy. Education in that society had to provide occupational skills, behavior codes, initiation into the value system and an understanding of the ultimate objective of life.
CONTINUING EDUCATION SCHEME
The structure of the continuing education programme, launched in 1995 as a fully funded centrally-sponsored scheme, will be retained and further strengthened and expanded in scope and content. A continuing education centre will be set up for a population of 2,000-2,500 so that it caters to the need of at least 500-1000 neoliterates. A nodal continuing education will be set up for a cluster of 10-15 continuing education centers.
Post literacy is a part of the continuing education process. Post- literacy programmes are designed to strengthen the literacy skills so that the learner can follow meaningfully other opportunities offered by other continuing education prorgammes. Continuing education is an inevitable component of the strategy of human resource development and of the goal of creating a learning society. The aim of continuing education programmes is to consolidate the basic literacy skills of reading, numeracy and problem solving while simultaneously transforming the learner into an educated member of the community able to participate actively and productively in the nation’s development. But, in all developmental programmes, the most important problem faced by the planners and implements is the lack of effective and positive response of the weaker sections of the population not only to general development programmes but even to those which are exclusively intended for them. A failure to elicit a response from people is mainly due to lack of motivation and lack of awareness resulting from illiteracy and poverty.
This Assignment provides only very broad guidelines for the training of continuing education personnel for post-literacy activities. In practice detailed strategies and training programmes would need to be designed and developed. Post-literacy programmes are only one form of continuing education and much of the training should focus on the general principles and practice of continuing education.