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Review of Historical Background: A Bird’s Eye View

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Ancient India -
In ancient India, we have had the tradition of social education which was aimed at a well-planned, happy prosperous and developing society. Gurus, Rishi-Munis, Story Tellers, Orators etc. created awareness among people. The awareness was created towards social organization, morality and social responsibilities by various methods, discourses debates, religious songs and some constructive work models in our society.

British Period -
Social reformers like Mahatma Jotirao Phule, Mahatma Gandhi, Sant Gadge Maharaj, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar etc. made significant contributions in the domain of social awareness leading to important reforms.

At the end of the British rule, the popular interim Governments in various states developed the concept of social education which emerged to widen the scope of Adult Education to give it a social base to broaden dimensions of citizenship and nationalism.

After Independence -
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the first Education Minister of independent India stated that-
“By social education, we mean education for the complete masses. It will give them literacy, so that knowledge of the world may become accessible to them. It will teach them how to harmonize themselves with the environment in which they subsist:” (1949).

After independence, a new beginning was made for a balanced and multi-dimensional development of the nation. Sufficient stress was laid on community development in order to achieve the desired objectives. Special emphasis was on the active public co-operation. In the “community development programmes”, literacy was a major component at block level. Efforts were made to spread literacy with local resources.

The National Board of Adult Education was set up under the Chairmanship of Dr. V.K.R.V. Rao, the then Union Minister of Education. Education was brought closer to the life of communities. The youth were motivated to participate in such programmes for National Development.

The Domain of Higher Education -
Bombay University -The Bombay University was one of the oldest Universities in our country which was set up by the British Government in 1857 as per the model of London University.

Other New Universities -
The area of Bombay University was so vast that it was not possible to give importance to Regional Culture. Therefore, many new Universities came into existence during the period 1947 to 1955. Poona University was established during 1949 at Pune.

Poona University-
Barrister Jayakar, the first Vice-Chancellor of Poona University has made the following observations about the vital role of our University in Social Education.

Since its inception in 1949, the Poona University considered its social responsibility towards community through Social Education. Extra Mural Board was established for having a link between the University and community through various extension activities.

Social Commitment of Higher Education-
Changing Needs and Changing Programmes through years –

Continuing Education –
During 1970-71, University Grants Commission convened three National Seminars in three Universities. The theme of these Seminars was “Social Commitment of Higher Education for Betterment of Community”. These seminars became the foundation for the establishment of Centers for Continuing Education in some Universities. The University of Pune was at the fore-front to start the Centre for Continuing Education in 1972.

Different types of Education Programmes were introduced in 1972 for the betterment of Students, Teachers, Community Leaders, and Social Workers with an emphasis upon self-reliance, income generation, personality development and social transformation.

Action Plan for Continuing Education -
During 1973 a comprehensive course was organized by the University Grants Commission, at Madras University, for the experts and faculty working in the Centers for Continuing Education in various Universities. This resulted in an Action Plan for Continuing Education Programmes for Universities in the country.

The Centre for Continuing Education at University of Pune undertook a special programme for Rural Education. This special programme was implemented with the help of College students who came from rural areas.

The University Grants Commission’s policy (1977) –
The University Grants Commission’s policy 1977 states that-

“If the University system has to discharge adequately its responsibility to the entire educational system and to the society as a whole, it must assume Extension as the third important responsibility and give it the same status as Research and Teaching”.

During 1977, when the UGC policy was declared, Continuing Education was the major programme implemented by the Non-Agricultural Universities in the Country.

Extension: Concept and Features –

The role of Extension in Higher Education is very important. The University
Grants Commission had initially visualized ‘Teaching’ and ‘Research’ as the prime objectives of Higher Education. However, after realizing the role and responsibilities of the educated people towards the society, the University Grants Commission has included ‘Extension’ as the third and an important dimension, equal to ‘Teaching’ and ‘Research’. Extension involves transmission of knowledge, skills and values to individuals, groups or the community at large.

Some distinct features of extension are as follows :

  • Participation of students, teachers, colleges/universities in Community Development Activities.

  • Strengthening of higher education with realization of social realities.

  • Personality development of students for better achievements in life.

  • Enrichment of quality higher education institutions, which are imparting higher education.

  • Increasing cordial rapport between society and higher education.

  • Bridging the gaps between higher education and society.

Nature of Extension Activities :

  • Non-formal

  • Simple

  • Relevant

  • Flexible

  • Need-based

  • Meaningful

  • Target oriented.

In view of achieving the noble objective of ‘Extension’, co-ordination and collaboration is necessary with various Institutes and Departments.

Linkages at Different Level –
The Department has developed linkages with several Government, Non-Government and Developmental Organizations at various levels –

  • International – UNESCO, UNICEF, UNFPA, Canadian International Development Agency, FAO, WHO, COADY International Institute, Canada, World Literacy, Canada.

  • National – University Grants Commission, National Literacy Mission, Directorate of Adult Education, Ministry of Women and Child Welfare, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

  • State – State Resource Centre, Directorate of Continuing Education, Department of Social Welfare, Department of Education.

  • Others – All Universities in the State, Non-Governmental Organizations, Social Organizations, Affiliated Colleges & Recognized Institutions.

Rural Development –

The University of Pune had planned a low cost alternative in upgrading knowledge level, employable skills and attitudes conducive to people’s participation in development. The colleges were engaged at grass root level as representatives of higher education, for undertaking meaningful field work within the context of this programme. It was expected that these villages with Village Planning Committees should develop a programme as per their expectations. This programme has been very much popular in the area of Pune University.

Integrated Village Development Programme –

The University had tried linkages with International Agencies. The Department had submitted a project proposal on the theme ‘Integrated Village Development’ to the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) through COADY International Institute, Canada.

A regular Training Programme was conducted for College Principals, Faculty and Village Leaders, by the department in collaboration with the experts from COADY Institute. Each College had adopted minimum two villages / a cluster of villages for overall development. There was a very good response to this programme from the Villages as well as Colleges.

National Adult Education Programme -

The National Adult Education Programme was taken up by the Universities after it was launched by the Government of India during 1978-79. Department of Adult, Continuing Education and Extension, University of Pune implemented this programme in 1,000 centres thereby reaching 30,000 people per year. All these centers were in the selected communities that were adopted by the colleges affiliated to Pune University.

University Grants Commission’s Guidelines (1982) -

As per the University Grants Commission’s guidelines in 1982, the Department of Adult, Continuing Education implemented the following programmes:

  • Continuing Education

  • National Adult Education Programme

  • Eradication of Illiteracy

  • Science for Masses

Mass Programme for Functional Literacy (1986) -

With the introduction of Mass Programme for Functional Literacy in 1986, there was a shift from Centre based approach to individual based-voluntary approach. With this shift, there was an increase in the involvement of students and youth. The special feature of this programme was

Each one – Teach One’ or
Each one – Teach a small group of five illiterates’

The training package including resource material was developed and used by the University Department. The resource material was distributed to the colleges for use by the Adult learners in their centers.

Planning Forums –

The University Grants Commission initiated the establishment of planning forums during 1985. These Planning forums were established in Universities and affiliated colleges. The basic objective of planning forums was to create awareness among the students, about the relationship between Planning and Development.

Population Education in Higher Education System –

Population Education Clubs:

The University Grants Commission, in collaboration with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), launched the programme of Population Education during 1985. This programme was launched through the Adult Continuing Education Departments in various Universities.

The basic objective of establishment of Population Education Clubs at College level was to create awareness among students and community about the relation between population, development and quality of life. There was an over- -whelming response to the Population Education Club activities in affiliated Colleges.

Population Education Resource Centres:

In order to assist the Population Education Clubs, with technical and academic support, the University Grants Commission, in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) initiated the establishment of Population Education Resource Centres in the Departments of Adult Continuing Education in selected Universities during 1986-87. One such Population Education Resource Centre has been established in the Department of Adult, Continuing Education sat University of Pune.

Area Development Programme – 1989-90:

According to the guidelines from the University Grants Commission, an integrated one umbrella approach was to be adopted by the Department while implementing various extension activities such as -

  • Adult Education

  • Continuing Education

  • Jana Shikshan Nilayam (Post-Literacy Programme)

  • Population Education Clubs.

Total Literacy Campaign - 1993:

The Department of Adult, Continuing Education at University of Pune has played an important role in the success of the Total Literacy Campaign Programme in Pune District (1993). It is noteworthy that in the Total Literacy Campaign for Pune District, instead of the District Collector, the Vice-Chancellor, University of Pune was the Chairman of the Total Literacy Campaign.

During the Xth Plan period, the University Grants Commission has given thrust upon need-based e-learning programmes through the Adult, Continuing Education Departments. At present the Department has taken up various activities on the following themes:

  • Senior Citizens

  • Empowerment of Women

  • Un-organized Workers

  • National Integration

  • Non-Governmental Organizations

  • Population Education.

XIth Plan and Beyond –

The Department would continue its march-
To help the society- to be ‘a learning society ‘- in the era of Globalization.
During the XI th Plan, the University Grants Commission
Has taken a decision to change the nomenclature of the Adult Education
Departments, in all the Universities in India. In the near future, the name
of these departments will be- ‘Department of Life-long Learning & Extension ’.


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