S.Y. Shah comments on the article “The challenges regarding data production”
Director, International Institute of Adult and Lifelong Education, New Delhi, India
I enjoyed reading the above article by Dr.César Guadalupe of Universidad del Pacífico, Peru on an important but much neglected aspect of “data” on youth and adult education. By focussing on four areas in which data are scarce or not systematic viz; (i) programmes and enrolment, (ii) learning outcomes, (iii) population to be served and (iv) financing, author argues that due to scarcity of systematic data on youth and adult education, their quality is often not properly documented or known. While several governmental and non-governmental organizations in different countries have been implementing a variety of programmes and generating vast amount of data related to enrolment of adult learners, their achievements and financing of adult education programmes, the end users rarely question the methodology of data collection or its validity or reliability and continue to use it to substantiate their arguments. Since the programme of adult education is often conceived as a short term activity, there is hardly any institutional mechanism or well trained personnel to collect qualitative and quantitative data on several aspects of the programme. Hence it becomes easy to fudge or inflate the achievement figures mainly to project the programme as a success. This has been noticed in several literacy programmes conducted in the past in India, where Government gave awards to those districts which achieved total literacy. But subsequently when a survey was conducted to initiate the post literacy programmes, there were no neo-literates in those places who could enrol in the programme. Presumably achievement figures of literates were fudged?
In order to improve the quality of data on adult education, the programme needs to have a well-defined policy, robust infrastructure, qualified manpower and sufficient funds. However, mere allocation of funds for adult education may not guarantee its success as it has been found that in several adult education programmes implemented in India, large chunks of funds remained unused due to lack of knowledge about financial procedures among the programme administrators. This implies the need for a comprehensive training of the staff of adult education programme. Unless the mind-set of viewingadult education as a poor cousin of education is changed and it is given due importance by the state, neither the quality of programme nor the data can be improved.
Links to the AED 85/2018 publication in three languages: English, French, Spanish
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