In fact, workers’ education is the most powerful instrument in economic development. It accelerates progress in the country and ensures the increase in industrial productivity. Besides, it also deals with human psychology in industry. It brings equilibrium in turbulent and the unorganized labor force; and also safeguards workers from exploitation. It can, through collective strength, raise their standard of living and improve their mode of living. It also makes him an enlightened family head. Modern age is the age of science and technology. It is also known as age of keen competition. Nowadays industries and business firms most of which are established in town and cities are employing more and more people in different capacities. Most of these personnel come from rural area without having adequate knowledge, understanding and skills for their work. It is said that every day 300 families migrate into Bombay in search of services in the factories, commercial centers and various offices. These men and women from villages are most unskilled and unable to cope with the exigencies of technological advances. Keeping in view the breathtaking changes in technology, the content of workers’ educational and vocational training provided in India needs to be determined on the basis of new directions. Workers’ education must take a note of the changing economic, social and political scenario in which workers find themselves and their ever widening concerns. The workers at present need more information to face the challenges of revolutionary changes taking place and would have to be enabled to appreciate, understand and comprehend their implications. Even the skilled persons need constant updating of their technical knowledge and ability. These unskilled and semi-skilled workers also face completely different environment and fail to adjust with the new situations of work and life. Consequently, they often work at half potential and their efficiency is reduced to a great extent.Many workers and also job-seekers feel frustrated with poor wages of income they get from their hard labor. They develop a sense of insecurity and anti-social attitude towards the urban life divorced from their social and cultural milieus. Even their personal and family life become very miserable, they get themselves lost in the maze of corruption, sometimes unconsciously sink into a dry, drab and colorless existence without any hope for the future. Instead of their active participation in the social welfare and upliftment activities, they get themselves aloof from the same when the workers are called upon to actively take part in the management of industries and commerce, they feel themselves deprived and secluded from the mainstream.
Concept of Polyvalent Education
The concept of ‘polyvalent education’ is based on the principle that a worker should have access to education and training throughout his working life. The demand oriented programs offered by the Shramik Vidyapeeth aim at raising the standard of living of workers, their functional efficiency and skill upgradation so as to enable them to combine knowledge and training in a balanced manner. However, the concept of polyvalent education has been explained from time to time with different opinions of the experts Involved in strengthening the programs of the Shramik Vidyapeeths. At the Asian Regional Seminar on Polyvalent Education Centres, Lazaurs (1971) stated that a “Polyvalent Adult Education Centre was not a school in the formal sense but an institute which developed courses on request from industries, trade unions or individuals belonging to particular operational groups, and took into account in designing curriculum the felt needs which were identified and analyzed by the staff of center.” She further explained that the “polyvalent approach was not static, it was flexible and open to new ideas and that to make a polyvalent Adult Education Centre a living organization in the community, it should have links and collaborate with all agencies – with the government economic enterprises, trade unions, universities, women groups and youth groups.” Polyvalent Education has been developed to meet various inter-related needs of the workers with specially designed programs consisting of educational, vocational, civic, cultural and other components. It has the “mix” content catering to the specific needs of the workers. It is multidimensional program and takes into account the worker as:
A number of the labor force
A fellow of a joint organization
A citizen of the state
A member of the family
An individual seeking to improve and enrich his life.
Polyvalent education is designed to meet the educational needs of workers at very outset and thus to their full personality. It would enable the workers to have an access to a continuing education and training which include academic, technical, civic, cultural and other components. Its programs may vary from place suiting to the local needs and conditions. There is no terminal point and functionality is emphasized in its programs. Thus, the content of the program, timing and venue of the polyvalent course are to be determined according to convenience of the workers.
Multimedia Materials and Methods for Polyvalent Education
In order to take polyvalent education meaningful and interesting, not only its content should be made multidimensional, but also its media, materials and methods will be of a large variety. Basically, such education is voluntary and part-time, without any terminal point or any formal examination. Hence, the programs of polyvalent education have to be made attractive and appealing to its participants. Learning experience should be provided to the adult workers with meaningful objectives through suitable multimedia materials and methods. To motivate them and sustain their interest in learning, the competency of the instructor should been ensured and appropriate pedagogical methods for adults need be adopted at these centers.
Audio-visual media and materials like radio and television programs, tape-recording, gramophone, charts, maps, graphs, models, posters should be utilized in order to create interest and motivation in the workers. The learning experiences can also be made clear and meaningful through the use of these media and materials. Different activities should be organized as a part of the adult pedagogical methods. Important of them are dramatization, demonstration, field trip and projects which can motivate learning and make many concepts and ideas relevant and useful to the participants. Mere verbal discussion and use of printed materials like books and pamphlets will not help them much and process will be dry, dreary and drab without order audio-visual media. We have to answer the following questions while selecting media and material for teaching purpose:
What medium or combinations of media is most appropriate?
What facilities and equipments are available?
What is the size of audience group?
What are the time and budget allocation?
Will you get any technical help in production
Is sound necessary?
Is motion important?
Is color essential?
Is it difficult keep the medium up-to-date?
Will there be any problem in mass production?
Will there be any problem with storage and distribution?
What level of technical quality of the materials is acceptable?
It is often suggested that a “media mix” is preferable to a single medium or audio-visual material. There should be a proper combination of suitable material, may be low cost, but will be very effective like high cost media. The media and material should be practicable as well as available. Therefore in the media selection process, practicability, availability and variety are three important maxims to be followed. As regard practicability, for example, workers may be taken to various States for inculcating values of national integration. But in view of the high expenditure involved in this program of field trip, this method of teaching national integration may not be practicable. A film may be found suitable for teaching workers about various security measures to be taken under the working conditions at big factories, but it is to be ascertained whether such a film is available. Similarly, any medium, however, suitable to the teaching to the adults, will, if used always, be boring and uninteresting. Hence, a variety of media or media mix is preferable to any single medium or material.
The single most effective means of communication is the interpersonal discussion face to face between two and more people. Not only the verbal discussion or lecturing, in order to be effective, should be supported by graphics, print visuals or audio materials, but also radio and television programs or even film viewing is not so effective without adequate support materials like books, charts, pictures, slides in case of radio listening or group discussion on the content. Therefore, proper monitoring, feedback, demonstrations and extension activities must go hand with the audio-visual aids in order to greater impact and better reinforcement.
In this context, experiences gained from radio rural forums and satellite instructional television experiments are quite relevant. The radio and television programs in these experiments were specially designed and produced by a team of producers on the advice of committees of experts. The programs were mostly on agriculture, health education, social education, co-operation, and fishery and village industries. Different formats were employed for making these programs appealing and effective interviews, discussions, dialogues, dramatization, features, folk songs and dramas etc. An evaluation study has revealed that feature were the most useful means of communicating with rural practicing farmers. Farmers like to listen to their own friends and colleagues and have faith in the matter which is spoken by their own kith and kin.
The basic idea behind the multi-dimensional or the polyvalent approach to the education of workers and their family members in Shramik Vidyapeeths, is to meet the various learning needs of workers with specifically tailored programs. The multi-faceted approach to education is an attempt to provide knowledge and impart skills, relevant to identified needs of defined homogenous groups or locations In order to facilitate the process, audio-visual materials and media should be utilized selectively and in combination with a view to ensuring better impact on the workers. Low-cost or small media and materials are often of greater use and utility. Varieties, availability and practicality are the criteria to which priority should be given in selection. The use of audio-visual materials and media should be supported by various television programs and films should be used in order to reinforce the learning experiences. Various formats, particularly, features comprising interviews and dialogues with the workers are to be highly appreciated to have a better impact. It is to be borne in the mind that face-to-face interpersonal and group discussion on the content of the films, radio and television programs will be useful for polyvalent centers.