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White Washing the NAEP

Shobita Punja

Edited by A.N. Shah  and Susheela Bhan
Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 1980, pp. 245, Rs. 65.00

VOLUME V NUMBER 3 November/December 1980

The articles in this book are written by various authors who deal with nume­rous aspects of the Government National Adult Education Programme of 1978. The book reads as though a group of people are discussing the means of trans­porting a doctor, some suggest that the doctor should be brought by road or by air and yet others are talking of the financial implications. Little is said about the nature of the illness of the patient or the treatment that is required. One wonders what reactions the 'patient' (in this case the adult illiterates) would have if they heard what was being said in this book! In recent years numerous books and articles have appeared on the subject of education, process and procedure and government policies. This kind of litera­ture derives much of its inspiration from publications of UNESCO and such agencies. Characteristic of this type of literature is a style that tends to be semi­-academic in presentation, with a verbo­sity that overshadows many practical issues so that no particular political stance is discernable. The relationship of education, politics and culture is of paramount importance. The politics of education determines the approach and methodology of initiating the educational process, of what will be included or excluded in the content of education and the motivation of the learner that is required. Most of the articles discuss the non-­formal method of education and the need to link it with aspects of economic deve­lopment. D.P. Patanayak's article on "linguistic issues and teaching-learning material" raises an important issue on the approach to educating adults in this country. He suggests that given the diversity of languages in India, any literary programme has to take cognizance of this fact and adapt programmes that are region and language dialect specific so that the education rendered becomes meaningful. If his suggestion can be placed in a wider context it would appear that any educational programme that it aimed at being relevant has to be diverse in approach and content to accommodate the variety of geo-cultural patterns and life styles of the learners. It appears then that no uniformity or mass approach in the educational process is possible, an idea that is interesting but one that has not been taken up in this book by' any other author. In the same light B.G. Verghese's article on the use of mass media for ...

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