Eradication of illiteracy has been one of the major national concerns of the Government of India since Independence. At the time of Independence only 14% of India’s population was literate. Today, after so many years, the numbers of literates have increased by five fold. Today literacy in India has made remarkable strides since Independence. This has been further confirmed by the recently declared provisional results of the Census 2001. The literacy rate has increased from 18.33% in 1951 to 65.38% in 2001. This is despite the fact that during the major part of the last five decades there has been exponential growth of the population at nearly 2% per annum.
The government has been trying hard by encouraging adult education over the last two decades like Operation Blackboard (that bombed). But this time adults themselves are highly engrossed and buoyant for higher education. A thrilling live example of this is now many of adults are appearing in SSC Examinations along with their kids so they too can compete in this highly technical world. At the Sanjivani High school centre for SSC examination at Damka village in Hazira, Gujarat, ten elderly candidates who are mostly working in the public and private sectors companies in the Hazira industrial belt, are all set and fully motivated for appearing for the SSC examination.
This step for education has different motivations for all of them – some want to compete for good job profiles and promotions, some for money , some of them fulfilling their desire to be educated and some for bright future of their kids.
I think, may be the stimuli are different for all of them but this bold and encouraging step of theirs will be an inspirational force for other adults to emulate and will collaboratively lead India to a new thinking process.