As per a 2020 statistic, the world population stood at 775.28 crore. This constant and rapid population growth is causing a slew of problems globally, including lower GDP, poor healthcare, deteriorating education, and even a skewed gender ratio. On the other hand, the resources are depleting at the same rate as the increasing population.
Hence, it is important to educate people, including students, teachers, and parents, about its implications and provide them with the basics of Population Education and its importance, a concept developed by Dr. Sloan Wayland of Teachers College, Columbia University.
What is Population Education?
UNESCO defines population education as “an educational program, which provides for a study of the population situation of the family, community, nation, and the world, to develop in the students rational and responsible attitudes and behavior towards that situation.”
In other words, Population Education educates people about population growth, its various aspects such as fertility, migration, mortality, demography, and so on, and their global impact.
What does Population Education cover?
Population Education is an evolving process. Population Education, according to author M V Lakshmi Reddy, is a multidisciplinary and value-laden subject that is problem-centered and an education program.
The different matters concerned with the population covered under Population Education include:
- Population size, structure, density, and more
Population Education deals with the growth of population, its increasing size, its structure, density, and distribution.
The size of the population is measured through censuses, counting, and other statistical methods. It covers the density of the population, i.e., the number of people per sq. km. As per a recent survey, China’s population density is 153, whereas India’s population density is 464.
Population structure covers the other demographic variables of the population, like sex, age, fertility rate, mortality rate, and migration rate. These indicators provide a better understanding of population change.
- Trends in population change
As per the latest data released in 2022, the population growth is increasing at a rate of 1.05 percent per year and is showing a decreasing trend as compared to the past five years. This shows that the world population will continue to grow but at a slower pace.
Trends in population change cover aspects like change in population growth at different levels, i.e. local, state, national, and country levels, along with factors that lead to or influence population change. For instance, as per the recent data from NFHS (National Family Health Survey), the fertility rate in India has gone down to 2.0 from 2.2. The factors that influence the positive change include the use of more preventive measures, an increase in the urban population, and more!
- Consequences of population growth
Population Education also studies the reasons behind the growth of the population and the related consequences on different aspects of human life, like economic, social, cultural, and political. Moreover, it also covers the effect of change on the environment, i.e., nature and ecological life, including plants and animals.
- Linkage with the human reproductive system
Population Education carries no meaning until people understand the root cause. The answer to the question, ‘How does population change occur?’ is to comprehend the human reproductive system, the process of birth, how pregnancy and delivery work, and later, the urgent aspects of it like the current reproductive health issues and rights (i.e., the right to abortion, the right to use contraceptive pills, etc.).
Benefits and importance of Population Education
The need for Population Education is multifold. Some of them are:
- To improve the standard of living of people
Overpopulation affects the quality of life. When there are more people per sq. km., it becomes difficult to provide better sanitary conditions, better hospitality, medical help, the best education, power consumption, etc. This indirectly affects people’s quality of life.
Population Education aims to bring about changes in people’s behavior and encourage them to have a small families. The program also teaches people to nurture family members, education, health and more, thus ensuring a happy life.
- Creating awareness among the younger generation
Population Education is a way to break the chain of overpopulation and its implications. As the younger generation will soon take the charge of leading the world, it is important to create awareness from a tender age. Making them aware that overuse of natural resources could lead to climate change, shortage of water, damage to natural habitats, an increase in famines, and more, will make them responsible citizens.
- To control family size
Population Education teaches students that family size can be controlled, which will facilitate the development of a higher quality of life. Small families can contribute materially to the quality of living for the individual family as well, whether it is better quality of education or healthcare.
Suggested Read: Introduction to CABE