Introduction to social education in India:

Democracy is meaningless in a country where people are illiterate. In India social education corresponds to adult education, which is the greatest national shame. But in the progressive countries it is more than adult educa­tion. In those countries, even the educated receives social education. For full­est development of an individual social education is essential. Education is a lifelong process.

At the end of formal education, social Education can make an individual a true, dutiful and responsible citizen. For citizenship train­ing social education is thus a must. A citizen must not be a misfit in the State and in the society at large. He must be a productive and useful citizen. Social Education can deeply help in this regard.

In Allahabad in Jan 1949 Maulana Abul Kalam Azad emphasised that adult education should not be limit­ed to making people merely literate. It should also include education so as to prepare every citizen to play his part in a democratic social order. Since then adult education is known as “social education” in the country.

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (1949) defines Social Education in the following way:

By Social Education we mean education for the complete man. It gives him literacy, so that the knowledge of the world may become accessible to him. It will teach him how to harmonize himself with his environment and make the best use of physical condition in which he subsists. It is intended to teach him improved crafts and modes of production so that he can achieve economic betterment. It also aims at teaching him the rudiments of hygiene both for the indi­vidual and community, so that our domestic life may be healthy and pros­perous. Lastly, this education should give him training in citizenship.

The Central Ministry of Education defined social education in 1963 in the following ways:

  1. Social Education is adult education. It means functional literacy.
  2. Social Education is education for desirable social change.
  3. Social education is education for the betterment of the individual’s social, economic and political and moral life.
  4. Social Education is education which enables a community to assume direction of its own development.
  5. Social Education is education for better work, better rest, better use of leisure and recreation.

UNESCO named Social Education as fundamental education and de­fined it as …….The only means to elevate mankind emotionally intellectu­ally, morally and materially.

Indian Education Commission (1964-66) has given three essential ingre­dients of social education:

(1) It must be work based and aimed at creating attitudes and interests and imparting skills and information for efficient doing of a work.

(2) It must create interest in the illiterate to participate actively in vi­tal national problems and in the social and political life of the country.

(3) It must impart skills in 3 Rs. so that he can continue his education independently.


From Individualistic Point of view:
(1) It is needed for those who do not get formal education. It is spread of literacy among grown-up illiterates.

(2) Vocational improvement by providing training according to the need of the locality.

(3) Providing Health Education on fundamental principles and rules of hygiene.

(4) Making conscious about the healthy forms of recreational enjoyment suited to the needs of the community.

(5) Promoting self-development.

(6) Developing social skills, social efficiency and social fitness.

(7) It is training for the improvement of the adult’s economic status.

(8) Inculcation of a sense of rights and duties of citizenship.

From Sociological Point of View:
(1) For promoting social cohesion and national solidarity.

(2) National efficiency and National development. It is needed to aug­ment national productivity.

(3) Development of cultural heritage and values of a Nation.

Education is given in social context and not in the vacuum. Education is irrevocably linked with the class structure of a society, social mobility, ba­sic values and social norms. Education aims at both individual as well as so­cial development. The education given by any society to its children can be expected to be in keeping with the views and ways of life of that particular society.

In India Social Education chiefly means literacy campaign among the illiterate youths and adults. There is a separate Adult Education Directo­rate attached to the Ministry of Education, Government of India, which has given highest priority on this greatest social problem.

In the 6th Five Year Plan rupees 2 hundred crores was allotted for adult education. It is 10% of the total educational outlay. It is no doubt a bold step forward but it was not implemented in right earnest. The Central Government has undertaken a Central programme for Adult Education.