Apart from lack of education among the younger generation there is also the problem of adult illiteracy. Many people in our country do not receive education because of poverty, lack of educational facilities or social conditioning, especially in case of girls. The National Literacy Mission was started in 1988 and we have many adult education programmes now running all over the country. The aim was to provide functional literacy to ten crore people by the year 1997. Thus, many adult education centers and libraries have been opened. Many non-conventional methods like theatre, bhajan, and kirtan are being used to help make adults literate, particularly in the villages. Many voluntary agencies have done good work in this field too, like organizing Mahila Mandals to reach out to the women.
Literacy Distance Education Programmes, the National Open School, and Open Universities provide opportunities to people who wish to further continue their higher education. The distance education programmes make use of various means, for imparting education, for example, printed material, video and audio cassettes that area are available at the regional centers throughout the country, regular telecast of various projects dealing with, wide range of subjects, etc. Radio and television are being used for this purpose. Also SITE and INSAT programmes have contributed a great deal in the field of education. New learners benefit greatly from the slow speed news bulletin of the All India Radio. It provides them with information of events in our country as well as throughout the world. The government also launched programmes to remove illiteracy through the involvement of students.
In the year 1951 only eighteen per cent of our people were literate. By the year 1997, sixty-two per cent had achieved literacy. Some states like Kerala have achieved almost a ninety per cent literacy rate. Though states like Rajasthan, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh are still backward.