UGC accepted extension as the third dimension, equal in status to teaching and research, in its landmark policy frame declared to benefit both the community and the higher education system.
These departments have been involved in programmes like literacy, post-literacy, continuing education and science for masses, environmental education, legal literacy and technology transfer by involving students and teachers. However, the major focus has been on Adult Literacy work. The programme over past decades has conceptually and operationally undergone several changes.
The acceptance of Extension as the Third Dimension was in the context of a growing realization that universities and colleges having institutional resources-knowledge, man-power and physical have an obligation to develop sensitivities to involve the development of the community with particular reference to overall and diverse learning needs of all segments of the people of the community.
The Third Dimension aims to promote a meaningful and sustained rapport between the university and the community. It aims, firstly, to extend knowledge and other institutional resources to the community and secondly, to gain insights from contacts between knowledge resources and socio-cultural realities with a view to reflecting these in the entire curricular system of higher education including teaching and research.
The UGC sanctioned the establishment of a Department of Adult, Continuing Education and Extension in H.N.B. Garhwal University at par to that of other academic department of the university in the session 1980-81. After 31st March 1997 the State Government (U.P) taken over all liabilities of the Department.
The Department received NLM-UNESCO ADULT LITERACY AWARD 2003.