DEVELOPMENT EDUCATION AMONG THE POOR
It is imperative, to seek ways and means of developing an educational pattern where the majority will have an opportunity, to know what is happening to them, to participate and to struggle in order to change the systems making them poor rather than emphasizing on formal education though literacy may be necessary at a stage.
Analysis of Education
Education is defined by many people in different ways to suit their own convenience. In simple meaning, education facilitates a man to live, (to attain self knowledge). This is the foundation of any educational system. One need not be knowledgeable in all the fields of human development. In whatever field, one is involved in, tries to perfect his/her own knowledge in that particular field for a living. This type of knowledge is attained by hard work, learning form other's experience, form the elders and of course, form the established Schools.
The purpose of education is to bring growth to an individual and thus to the large society. The majority of the people learn form their own experiences.
Education can be classified into five kinds: 1. Home education (oral and traditional) 2. Caste based education, 3.Formal education, 4.Non-formal education, 5. Development education.
1. Home education: The majority of the people who are involved in agriculture, artisanship are learning form their elders. The knowledge is transferred from parents to children. For example, the following works are carried out traditionally - a. cultivation, carpentry, blacksmithy, masionary, native medicine etc. No body is there as a teacher keeping a syllabus and teaching the above categories of people - how to do cultivation? How to be a labourer? (or a bonded labourer), how to do wood work? or how to construct buildings? All these, are carried out in the families for survival (economic viability).
2. Education based on the Caste systems: This system of education developed during the medieval period by the feudal lords for their prosperity. Education was based on the nature of work carried out by each group. This practice, later on paved way to form caste groups. For example - In Ancient India, The Kshatriya's - the rulers learnt form the teachers on marital arts, politics, revenue, administration, military and welfare. The Brahmins - the religious/spiritual leaders transferred their knowledge to their children or rituals, religious ceremonies, temple maintenance etc. Literature, basic numerology, astrology, science were the other subjects dealt. The vysias transferred their knowledge on petty business, money lending, marketing and cultivation. The Sudras taught their children menial job doing. And the last were Panchamas titled as untouchables, did not have access to the above educational system.
The above education was not available to all the people as it was based on the kula system and hence, the people who were born in that caste had the access to education.
3. Formal Education: Before and during the Colonial period, the old educational patterns prevailing did not help the British much. The British intervened in order to, develop a new educational system for their benefit and uninterrupted rule. For the natives, the educational system was totally new and it was derived from an alien culture, which paved the way for modernization, industrialization and capitalization. The new system was a mortal blow to the then system of education. The principles of education for all were transformed. This type of education helped the British to promote the colonial rule. In 1882, the universal education was introduced and continued even after independence from the British. After Independence, in 1948, a new law was enacted for free education to the children under fourteen. Educational Plans and policies were formulated in the five year plans to promote literacy among all the children irrespective caste, creed, colour or religion. This is formal education.
4. Non-Formal Education: After 30 years of independence, it was noted that, in the rural areas, only the affluent minority could get into the schools and enjoy the fruits of education. The poor (majority) were unable to enroll their children in the school of education even the children are enrolled, dropouts continued. Astonishingly, the illiterate's percentage was swelling. The majority were poor and they did not respond to the programme. But the planners, policy-makers and executives interpreted on the grounds that the people lack interest, ignorant and they do not respond. But the fact remains that the fundamental questions on injustice, unequal distribution of wealth, disparity of rich and poor were unanswered and unsolved.
During the VI th Five Year Plan, planners developed non-formal education programmes with a view to extend formal education to the illiterates and dropouts in the age group between 15 to 35. During the 30 years of time of Five Year Plans, there was no mention on non-formal, in 1977; the National Adult Education Programme was launched. The policy statement of NAEP said:
1. To impart literacy skill to age group 15 to 35.
2. Upgrading functional skills.
3. Awareness to people to transform the destinies of life.
Even after implementations of NAEP through non-formal methods, things did not really change. There were dropouts even in the extension programmes NAEP. Though all these intensions were good, the priority of the poor still is not to become literates, but to be free from hunger, unemployment, social abuse, ill health and of course, exploitation by the system of social, economic, political and cultural-promoting injustice. At this point, literacy did not mean anything to the rural/urban poor. Literacy can bring change only when people attain their basic needs.
5. Development Education: In every village, people do not sit and discuss on their problems. They come together when there is an occasion of festival/ marriage or death. Their meeting is formal and they are less concerned about sharing their own problems relating to poverty and exploitation in the village. Therefore, there is a need to innovate new methods of education to organize the people to share their problems and mobilize them into a form to question their poverty. This attempts to promote Development Education by them and for themselves. There is no need to organize the Development Education Programme in a classroom but it can be in a place selected by the village people. It may be under a tree, or on a verandah of a house or in their usual gathering places.
Education materials have to be prepared on the experience of the community itself. An effort to impart ideas alien to their culture should be avoided.
There is no time schedule, syllabus to impart development education - of course, an overall guideline ought to be prepared to start with. The subject in development education should have a base on the problems of an individual and the community as a whole - poor.
Development education is to be imparted through individual dialogue, group discussions and community meetings.
There is considerable difficulty in communicating through printed matters, as most of the villagers are illiterates. The modern sophisticated Communication technology is expensive and it is in the hands of the few. It is not easily available to the rural poor. It is imperative, to develop and adopt simple ways of communication techniques, easily accessible and practicable by the poor.
The folk media like drama, songs, one act play should be encouraged. The people should be trained in these aspects so that it will be possible to carry out development education on their own in the future too. This will also help them to move into neighboring villages without any financial constraint. Apart form these; pictures which are relevant can be made depicting their own lives. This should be kept before them to discuss and learn.
The most important factor in development education is to make people identify problems, articulate, analyse and take appropriate decision to solve their problems and to acquire knowledge from their failures and successes so as to promote a new socio-economic and political order.
People have to learn to pick up a vocabulary (words) highly relevant to their cultural interests and daily struggles for existence. The words should be selected (usually spoken) by the villagers.
Some of the words identified by the people are given below:
|1. Family||1. Land|
|2. Marriage||2. Patta|
|3. Divorce||3. Encroachment|
|4. Guest||4. Forest|
|5. Feast||5. Firewood|
|6. Religion||6. Labour|
|7. Superstition||7. Wage|
|8. Festival||8. Loan|
|9. Untouchability||9. Expenses|
|10. God||10. Rate of Interest|
|11. Population||11. Mortgage|
|12. Community||12. Marketing|
|13. Worship||13. Poverty|
|14. Priest||14. Power|
|15. Evil||15. Hunger|
|16. Rain||16. Food|
|21. Bonded Labour|
|1. Naik||1. Disease||1. Lazy|
|2. Headman||2. Evil||2. Responsible|
|3. Member||3. Water||3. Character|
|4. Election||4. Clean||4. Moral|
|5. Vote||5. Strength||5. Acceptability|
|6. Party||6. Weakness||6. Confidence|
|7. Leader||7. Hospital||7. Active|
|8. Freedom||8. Native Doctor||8. Participation|
|9. Panchayat||9. Doctor||9. Contribution|
|10. Law||10. Need||10. Unity|
|11. Sarapanch||11. Dhai||11. Organization|
|12. Government||12. Witchcraft|
Taking into account the area the words could be selected for discussion with the people and of course, other relevant words too.
The importance of development education is to build in people's unity and organization to overcome their hardship in life and establish continuous movements that strive for justice.
Conclusion: Education is not to make people merely to read and write a language but to make them to become aware of their life and try to change the situations making them poor - in other words, and education for life.