Population Education

J.L. Pandey


Population education which emerged as an educational innovation in response to population problems only about four decades ago, is now being experimented in over a hundred countries of the world in non-too-uniform a manner. It has been introduced in the education systems of different countries as an important component of the multi-pronged strategy employed to help nations attain the goals of population stabilisation and sustainable development. Very few educational programmes have matched its pace of expansion and adopted such varied conceptual frameworks and strategies of curriculum transaction. Perhaps no other educational concept has experienced such frequent changes in its framework and been subjected to so many misunderstandings as the concept of population education. This has been so because of not only the nature of the context in which it emerged but also its newness and its complex characteristics.

The Context

The concept of population education emerged in the context of population and development - the two most pressing issues before humankind today. Both are closely interrelated and both encompass a number of complex factors. Viewed as an epiphenomenon of the process of development, population issues have aroused widespread concern among almost all the members of the comity of nations. There have been undaunted endeavours to accelerate the pace of socioeconomic development through the instrumentalities of science and technology and to secure distributive justice for the people through different institutional mechanisms. But those are confronted with some basic population related questions of how many people are going to inhabit the earth, how they are to be supported and enabled to make their contributions to development efforts, what they are going to bequeath to posterity and how long they are going to be sustained by the natural and human resource base. The rapid population growth and the concomitant problems of poverty, lack of adequate health and educational facilities, malnutrition, non-fulfilment of even the basic needs of a vast majority of the populace, paucity of employment opportunities, dwindling natural resources and consequent environmental degradation constitute critical dimensions of the present population and development phenomena. It is also pertinent to note that the population phenomenon today embraces issues beyond development. While the size, growth, composition and distribution of population have a close bearing on socioeconomic development, the population related issues also bring forth concerns for the "carrying capacity" of biological and ecological system and the future of mankind.

Need for Population Education

It has been gradually realized that since the interrelationship between population and development is highly complex and population problems are multidimensional, it will not yield to any single solution. It is basically related to the developmental needs of a nation and its people. Demographic trends influence, and are influenced by, the level of development and the quality of life of the people. The population situation of any nation largely depends on the demographic behaviour of its people. Changes in the demographic profile of a nation depend largely on attitudes and behaviours of individuals in respect of population and development issues. The demographic behaviour is to a great extent informed by population socialization, a process by which people acquire norms, values, attitudes and belief systems in respect of population related issues and which is embedded within the larger complexes of social practices reflecting the society’s internal logical system. This process is greatly influenced by education which enables the individual to know the phenomenon of population change and its consequences. It is commonly observed in many countries that the knowledge of the simple facts of population change, let alone the complex interrelationships with other parameters, is very low even among educated people. It is precisely because of these complexities that population education has emerged as an integral part of the multi-pronged strategy employed to solve contemporary population problems that face the nations.

Emergence of Population Education

The idea that population education can play a potential role in addressing population problems, was first mooted in Sweden in 1935. The Population Commission of Sweden, which expressed its concern on the declining rates of birth in that country, recommended a comprehensive and truly vigorous educational campaign to clarify population related issues aimed at influencing the fertility behaviour of individuals. A similar view was expressed in the United States during 1937-38. Since the birth rate continued to decline and population seemed to be dwindling, it was suggested that population studies be included as a content area in the school curriculum. However, nothing noteworthy happened during the next two decades.

It was in the 1960s that the matter was seriously reconsidered in the United States. Warren S. Thompson and Philip M. Hauser published papers in march 1962 issue of Teachers College Record, Columbia University reiterating the inclusion of population content in the school curriculum. Interestingly, they made such recommendations in a completely different context, as the perception of population problem had changed during 1960s and the concern had shifted from decline in growth rate to rapid population growth in both the industrialized and developing worlds. In the fifties and sixties, therefore, efforts were initiated in a number of countries to arrest population growth; and motivational activities for adults provided information about the consequences of high birth rate. The information, education and communication "IEC" or information education and motivation "IEM’ strategy was employed in family planning programmes to achieve the desired objectives. However, in the developing world the "IEC" activities of family planning programmes were not always as successful as had been expected. It was in this context that the potential of education was realised in order to overcome deeply entrenched traditional learning that influenced demographic behaviour of the people. The school education, in particular, was considered effective for achieving this objective. However, the nomenclature of population education was given to this educational innovation at a later date. Sloan Wayland was the first to use the term "population education".

The first national endeavour to evolve and concretise the concept of population education was made in India in 1969 and then in the Philippines and the Republic of Korea in 1970. The Workshop on Population and Family Education sponsored by the UNESCO Regional Office for Education in Asia held in September 1970 at Bangkok, was a land-mark in the history of population education. It not only facilitated the identification of objectives of population education, the selection of suitable contents and the consideration of strategies for introduction of population education into formal and non-formal education systems but also resulted in the launching of national population education programmes by many countries in Asia. Similar activities were initiated by UNESCO Regional Offices in Santiago (Latin America and Caribbean) and Dakar (Africa South of the Sahara). The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), previously known as United Nations Fund for Population Activities, played a vital role in appreciating the potential of population education and providing funds for national programmes from the late sixties onwards.

Population education emerged as an educational innovation during 1970s and various countries initiated activities to introduce it into their ongoing education systems. The recommendations of the World Population Plan of Action adopted at the 1974 World Population Conference held in Bucharest, also encouraged nations to adopt the strategy of population education. The Plan of Action recommended that "the Governments should consider making provision, in both the formal and non-formal educational programmes, for informing their people on the consequences of existing or alternative fertility behaviour for the well-being of the family, for the educational and psychological development of children and for the general welfare of society, so that an informed and responsible attitude to marriage and reproduction will be promoted".

In India, the Family Planning Association for the first time sent a Memorandum to the State Government of Maharashtra in 1968 recommending that education in population dynamics should be made a part of school curriculum. However, the idea of population education was crystallised in the National Seminar on Population Education organised in Bombay in August 1969. It recommended that population education should be introduced into curriculum of schools and colleges. The Seminar made an attempt to define population education in the context of Indian situation, but more importantly, expressed the national consensus for introducing this educational innovation in the education system of the country.

Population Education and other Concepts

In the initial phase of its evolution, there were several misconceptions regarding population education, and some of those still continue to affect its proper understanding. Population education was popularly equated with family planning or family planning education, primarily because of its emergence in close association with the "IEC" or "IEM’ activities of the family planning programmes. It was also regarded as a euphemism for sex education and family life education, as in some countries the concerned programmes approached population issues in terms of sexuality. Population education was also equated with population studies, and even now both the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, because the core of the knowledge base of population education, (the basic core content upon which the population education curriculum is developed), contained the elements of population studies. While population education is none of these "educations" in the true sense, it draws contents from all those educational areas the objectives of which are mutually supportive. It is necessary, therefore, to discuss the nature and objectives of certain related areas, as it may help in proper understanding of the distinction and complementarity between population education and them.

Family Planning

In many countries population programmes were initiated as family planning programmes which had a special "IEC" or "IEM" component. This component came to be popularly known also as family planning education. In some countries this campaign was launched in a very narrow sense aimed at creating awareness about controlling birth by using contraceptives. It helped in the supply and use of contraceptives to eligible couples. But over the years family planning also has adopted a broad orientation. It is now increasingly being regarded more than an intervention to promote the use of contraception. It is a means of caring for the health of mother and child, enhancing the quality of families by regulating and spacing child birth, raising the age at marriage and improving the position of girls and women, helping sub-fertile couples to beget children and providing counseling for parents and potential parents. Despite these changes, the family planning education continues to address itself primarily to adults and youth, and its approach also remains predominantly prescriptive, explaining the oversimplified dogmatism of assertions like "small family is a happy family". Population education shares all the content of the family planning education and also focuses on its objectives. But the scheme of contents of population education is broader and its specific objectives are more varied than those of the family planning education. Both have basic differences in their approach. Population education does not follow prescriptive and didactic approaches. Whereas family planning education aims at conveying specific messages of family size and quality of life issues, population education focuses on influencing attitude and behaviour of individuals and developing basic thinking and decision-making skills in them.

Sex Education

Sex Education is an educational programme designed to provide learners with adequate and accurate knowledge about human sexuality in its biological, psychological, socio-cultural and moral dimensions. It largely, though not exclusively, focuses on the individual self-awareness, personal relationships, human sexual development, reproduction and sexual behaviour. It also covers the anatomy and physiology of reproductive systems, physical, emotional and psychological changes during puberty and conception, pregnancy, and birth. It deals with sexual behaviour, sex roles and sexually transmitted diseases. Whereas population education deals with many of these contents, it focuses on their interrelationships with population issues and also on population processes other than fertility.

Family Life Education

Closely related to sex education, the family life education is an educational process designed to assist young people in their physical, social, emotional and moral development, as they prepare themselves for adulthood, marriage and parenthood. It deals with issues like ageing as well as social relationships in the sociocultural context of family and society. It provides an opportunity to the learners to study family relationships and peer relationships. It does not simply deal with physiology and anatomy of reproduction and human sexuality. While population education includes these concerns in its scheme of content, it also covers many other issues that are beyond the scope of the family life education.

Population Studies

Population studies is the body of knowledge, concepts and theories, which describe and attempt at explaining the dynamics of human populations and their relationships with social, cultural, economic, political and biological environments. It focuses on population issues related to the demographic processes of fertility, mortality and migration. It also covers components such as population size, age and sex composition, its spatial distribution and socioeconomic characteristics.Population studies as a general body of knowledge, therefore, has made substantial contribution to the knowledge base of population education. During the initial years of the evolution of population education it was thought to be the be-all and end-all of population education, and the curriculum framers were expected to perform the simple task of including and hierarchically arranging the facts, theories and concepts of population studies into the scheme of content of population education. But over the years, the conceptual framework of population education has broadened to incorporate those components which do not belong to population studies but to other disciplines and professional fields, such as life sciences, medical sciences, social sciences, pedagogy, psychology and so on. Moreover, population related attitudes, behaviour and decisions, rather than the internal logic of population studies are characteristically the major concerns of population education.

Population Education

Population education differs from all the areas delineated above in that its need arose under special historical circumstances and some typical contemporary issues. Family planning education was initiated with a view to conveying specific messages focussed on the need to control population growth. Sex education originally developed in response to the concern for changing sexual mores and increasing incidence of deviant sexual behaviour, venereal diseases and out of wedlock pregnancies. Family life education grew out of a recognition of the growing evidence of family instability and disintegration. Population studies evolved, not as a separate discipline but as an interdisciplinary body of knowledge by bringing together facts, theories and concepts based on the research studies conducted by the specialists of different disciplines and professional fields for explaining various facets of population phenomenon. Population education emerged as an educational response to the concern for population problems emanating from the changing inter-relationship between population and development.

It is primarily because of the context in which it emerged that population education, by its very nature, has been treated as a culture and region specific concept. Its definition in one country or region differs from that in the other. The numerosity of definitions is also the result of the constant changes being effected in the concept by including new areas of concern based on the experiences of international regional and national experimentation. Moreover, the definitions have been construed in various ways. Population education has been defined by describing the nature of activity or by stating objectives or contents or by spelling out behavioural outcomes. However, not all the definitions are actually different from one another; there is a substantial commonality among them with certain differences in the emphasis on some aspect or the other.

Population education is broadly defined as an educational intervention aimed at helping individuals in understanding the interrelationship between population and development, in appreciating the determinants and consequences of population processes and changes, in assessing the possible actions that they and their respective families and communities can take to modify these processes and in carrying out selected actions. It is a part of total social learning process and based on the premise that an educational intervention which helps the learners define problems and search for solutions will have greater impact than the prescriptive programme that employs only assertions.


Since its inception the conceptual framework of population education has been changing quite frequently because of the changes in the perception of population phenomenon and its relationships with development variables. Every time when there was a change in the perception pattern of population issues, a need was felt to reconceptualise population education. Although the changes that have occurred in the conceptual framework of population education in different countries over the years have reflected the context-specific variations, there has been an overarching commonness in them. And hence, the understanding of the process of evolution of the concept of sometimes erroneously, population education in one country such as India will provide adequate insight into its evolution throughout the world.

Conceptualisation of Population Education

The first attempt to conceptualise population education in India was made during late 1960s. The National Seminar on Population Education held in August 1969 made the following recommendations to define the concept:

• "The objective of population education should be to enable the students to understand that family size is controllable, that population limitation can facilitate the development of a higher quality of life.... It should also enable the students to appreciate the fact that for preserving the health and welfare of the members of the family, ensuring economic stability to the family ... the Indian family of today should be small ... with only two or three children."

• "Students at all levels have a right to accurate information about the effect of changes in family size and in national population on the individual, the family and the nation so that this body of knowledge is utilized to control family size and national population

• "Population should not be treated merely as a quantitative phenomenon.... It is the quality of the population that is most relevant both as a factor of growth and an end product of growth....

In pursuance of the recommendations of the National Seminar, a Population Education Syllabus was developed by National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) in 1971. It defined population education as an educational intervention to make the target groups aware of the multi-faceted population phenomenon so that it leads them eventually to take rational decisions concerning population matters. The Syllabus contained a scheme of content which was developed by drawing contents from the six major content areas - population growth, population and economic development, population and social development, population health and nutrition, population, biological factors and family life and ecological considerations and population. Population education thus was treated as a demography-laden concept, predominantly as education in demography and population studies.

The First Reconceptualisation (1986-87)

The need to reconceptualise population education was felt for the first time during the early part of 1980s because of certain specific reasons. Evaluation studies on various facets of the implementation of the National Population Education Project identified significant gaps in the integration of elements of population education in content and process of school education. It was realized that since population education had been treated as a demography-laden concept, its ambitious conceptual framework, with excessive elements of population dynamics, had hindered the process of effective integration of its elements into the school curriculum. The need for modification in the conceptual framework was also felt in the background of the recommendations adopted by the International Conference on Population held in Mexico City in 1984, which unfolded new dimensions of population phenomenon. The initial step in reconceptualising population education was taken at the UNESCO Regional Seminar held in 1984, in which five major themes were identified as the core elements of the conceptual framework of population education. Those were: Family Size and Family Welfare, Delayed Marriage, Responsible Parenthood, Population Change and Resource Development, and Population related Beliefs and Values.

The National Policy on Education 1986 which reflected the magnitude of the major causes and consequences of rapid population growth also specified "promotion of observance of small family norm" as one of the core curricular areas to be reflected in the national system of education. It provided an appropriate context to reconceptualise population education. Moreover, nearly half of the ten core curricular areas identified by the policy document such as equality of sexes, protection of environment, removal of social barriers, and inculcation of scientific temper were considered critical for realising population education objectives.

During the process of revision of the conceptual framework of population education in India, six major themes: family size and family welfare, delayed marriage, responsible parenthood, population change and resource development, population related values and beliefs, and status of women were identified. The scheme of content was prepared by drawing contents relating to these major themes from the following six content areas: economic development, social development, environment and resources, family life, health and nutrition, and demographic implications. The reconceptualised framework also emphasised the strategy of integrating maximum contents at minimum points in order to provide comprehensive treatment to contents to make the integration of population education elements in the textbooks more effective. The new conceptual framework defined population education as an education in the interrelationships among population, development, resources, environment and quality of life.

Why Re-conceptualisation Again?

All concepts having an interactive relationship with social environment require reconsideration particularly after a perceptible change takes place in the context in which they were formulated. Sometimes, it is the odd fate of a concept to have too successful a rein. After it secures scientific acceptance, it may become so popular and fashionable that it is applied indiscriminately, leading to the dilution of its essential characteristics, generating a need to resuscitate it. The concept of population education has also undergone such a process.

The need to reorient the conceptual framework of population education was reflected in the Istanbul Declaration and the Plan of Action adopted by the International Conference on Population Education and Development, 1993, which brought forth the limitations of the existing concept and recommended the inclusion of a number of emerging concerns in it.

But the reconceptualization of population education was necessitated by the latest and most striking development of a global consensus on population and development. In course of Population Debate since Malthus initiated it, population phenomenon has been analyzed in view of perceptions of its interrelationships with other variables of development and social environment. The present perceptions of the patterns of these interrelationships reflected in the Programme of Action (POA) adopted by the International Conference on Population and Development, held in Cairo inl994, made it an imperative requirement for planned interventions addressed to population phenomenon to reorient, revitalize and rejuvenate themselves to realise the vision of the new paradigm of population and development. The ICPD Programme of Action has effected what is being described as "Paradigm Shift" from number to conditions for population stabilization. It is considered essential now to focus on the individual needs instead of demographic targets and to integrate population concerns into development strategies rather than pursuing and providing sustenance to population control approach. Moreover, the ICPD for the first time has explicated two distinct roles of education: (a) education as a key factor in population stabilization; and (b) education as a means to promote greater responsibility and awareness of the interrelationships between population and sustainable development.

The need to shift from purely demographic or population control approach to a broader sustainable development approach has been advocated in other international conferences also. The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, Rio De Janeiro, 1992 focused on the linkages between population, natural resources, environment, development and quality of life in the Agenda-21 : The Global Plan of Action adopted by it. The International Conference on Population Education and Development, 1993 and the Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing, 1995 that adopted Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action also emphasized these linkages.

Experiences under National Population Education Project

The experiences gained during the implementation of NPEP have also suggested the need to reconceptualise population education again. The Population Education Framework even after the first reconceptualisation did not include elements relating to the process of growing up and HIV/AIDS, as these elements had been regarded very sensitive. But without these elements the Population Education Framework remained incomplete. In view of the problems that adolescents have been confronting for lack of authentic knowledge about the process of growing up from childhood to adulthood and the recently realized urgency to impart HIV/AIDS education, it was felt that the Population Education Framework must incorporate all the elements that had been considered crucial for attaining the objectives of population education.

Moreover, the Framework of Population Education being primarily influenced by the IEC approach had not been in consonance with the existing school curriculum framework, and hence the gaps in effective integration. Population education tended to be didactic making efforts to convey messages. But the existing school framework is open-ended and is considered a process during which messages are caught. Population education, therefore, needed to be reconceptualised as an educational endeavour that would make the learners aware of all possible dimensions of population - development interrelationships, promoting a general approach of supporting and empowering learners to take rational decisions regarding population and development issues; and also making them aware of the social consequences of their individual decisions. Accordingly, the population education framework was once again reconceptualised. It makes an attempt to focus on all possible variables that interact with population and development phenomena and to bring the concept of population education in tune with the existing school curriculum.



Definition of Population Education

The reconceptualised framework provides a broader definition to the concept of population education, which mirrors the basic tenets of the ICPD Programme of Action. Population Education is defined as an educational process which develops among learners an understanding of interrelationships between population and development, causes and consequences of population change, and the criticality of the conditions for population stabilization. It inculcates in them rational attitude and responsible behaviour towards population and development issues, so that they may make informed decisions.

Major Strands of the New Framework

The definition of population education given above seeks to delineate the major strands of the conceptual framework: objectives, basic themes, scheme of content, strategies of integration into school curriculum, methods of curriculum transaction and modalities of evaluation.


The objectives of population education as delineated in the Reconceptualised Framework are as follows:

Population Education aims at:

• Making learners aware of the interrelationships between population and sustainable development;

• Developing in them an understanding of the criticality of essential conditions of population stabilization for better quality of life of present and future generations;

• Inculcating in them rational attitude and responsible behaviour towards population and development issues;

• Making them understand the crucial aspects of adolescent reproductive health, focusing on the elements of process of growing up, and implications of HIV/AIDS and drug abuse.

• Inculcating in them rational attitude towards sex and drugs and promoting respect for the opposite sex; and

Empowering them to take informed decsions on issues of population and development including those of reproductive health.

Basic Themes:

With a view to attaining these objectives a scheme of content contained in the Framework has been developed around the following six basic themes covering all the concerns delineated in the Programme of Action of ICPD, 1994:

• Population and Sustainable Development;

• Gender Equality and Equity for Empowerment of Women;

• Adolescent Reproductive Health (Adolescence Education);

• Family, Socio-Economic Factors and Quality of Life;

• Health and Education - Key Determinants of Population Change; and

• Population Distribution, Urbanization and Migration.

Broad Content Outline

Population education does not have its own content; it draws contents from the existing disciplines and attempts at providing the needed focus to those contents. Only such contents are borrowed from concerned disciplines as have the potential to help this educational intervention attain its objectives. The scheme of content of the Reconceptualised Framework, therefore, contains those contents that have been selected from the existing disciplines and that meet the requirements reflected in the ICPD Programme of Action. These contents have been placed under the six basic themes in the following manner.

I. Population and Sustainable Development

A. Population Growth and Structure: Implications for Population Stabilisation:

Population Growth, Fertility, Mortality, Age and Sex Structure - Implications in terms of the interrelationships between population change and the pace and quality of economic and social development, patterns and levels of use of natural resources and the state of environment; Infants, Children and Youth - Need to promote to the fullest extent the health and well-being of infants, children and youth in the context of attaining the goal of population stabilisation; Elderly People - Increasing rate of life expectancy, need for health care and social and economic security and enhancement of their self-reliance; Persons with disabilities - Conditions for the realisation of the rights of persons with disabilities, valuing their capabilities and dignity, promotion of their self-reliance.

B. Population, Sustained Economic Growth and Poverty : Integration of population issues in the development strategies - Planning, decision-making and resource allocation for meeting the needs of all, promoting social justice and eradication of poverty; Interrelationship between eradication of poverty and population stabilisation; Sustainable patterns and levels of resource utilisation, production and consumption; Sustained economic growth and status of women; Creation of job opportunities in the industrial, agricultural and service sectors, promoting self-employment.

C. Population and Environment : Interrelationship between population, development, natural resources, use of technology and quality of life - Socio-economic dimensions of sustainable development, such as poverty, consumption style, human health and human settlement; Sustainable management of resources - Unsustainable consumption and production patterns and their impact on environment, need for fostering sustainable resource use and prevention of environmental degradation; Environmental Pollution Air, Water, Land and Noise: impact on health and quality of life; Use of technology in agriculture, industry and other aspects of life styles - Impact on the sustainability of resources and environmental degradation; Interrelations between women and environmental issues; Future increases in population numbers and changes in concentration and distribution, particularly in ecologically vulnerable and urban agglomerations.

II. Gender Equality and Equity for Empowerment of Women

A. Gender Equality and Equity: Equality and equity based on harmonious partnership between man and woman in different spheres of life; Promoting the fulfillment of women’s potential through health care, education, skill development, ability to earn beyond traditional occupations, employment opportunities outside the household, and making them self-reliant; Empowerment and autonomy of women and improvement of their social, economic and political status; participation in the decision making process at various levels; Participation in all aspects of production, employment, income generating activities, science and technology, sports, culture, political processes and public life, and population related activities; Need to redefine the role-stereotypes and the social worth of women; Discriminations against women; Need to eliminate violence against women.

B. The Girl Child : Need for change in the perception of the social worth of the girl child; Equal treatment of girls and boys; Elimination of discrimination; Adequate health care and nutrition, education and opportunities for realisation of the full potential of the girl child; Role-stereotypes and discrimination within the family; Impact of prenatal sex selection, female infanticide and higher rate of girl child mortality; Trafficking in girl children; Need to strengthen self-image, self-esteem and status of the girl child; recognition of the special needs of girls.

C. Male Responsibilities : Need for change in their knowledge, attitude and behaviour as necessary condition for achieving the harmonious partnership of men and women; appreciation of the key role of males in bringing about gender equality; Participation in all areas of family and household activities; Shared responsibilities of responsible parenthood; Parental care of child health, education; Equal treatment to daughter and son; Care for mother and elimination of violence against women and children.

III. Adolescent Reproductive Health (Adolescence Education)

A. Process of Growing Up : Physical change and development during adolescence Phases of adolescence, male and female body clock, conception and pregnancy, pre and post-natal care, adolescent pregnancy; Socio-cultural development - Emotional development, identity development,, body image, self-esteem and self-concept, social relationships, changing relationships with parents, peer groups and the opposite sex; Gender Roles-Stereotyped gender role development, proper gender role development.

B. HIV/AIDS : Basic information - Meaning of HIV/AIDS, routes of transmission, effects of HIV infection, how HIV is not transmitted, STDs and AIDS; HIV/AIDS. Prevention and control - Sexual relationships, blood, mother to child, no risk behaviour, risky behaviour, sexually transmitted diseases.

C. Drug Abuse : What is drug and drug abuse, factors promoting drug abuse, symptoms of drug addiction, drug dependence, effects of drug abuse, myths and misconceptions about drug intake, prevention and responsibility.

IV. Family : Socio-cultural Factors and Quality of Life

A. Family as Basic Unit of Society : Importance of institutions of marriage and family; Process of rapid demographic change and socioeconomic development - their impact on patterns of family composition and traditional notions of gender-based division of parental and domestic functions; Shared role and responsibilities of the members; equality of opportunities for all in the family, ensuring especially the rights of women and children; Participation of women in decision-making in the family; Female contribution to family income and welfare; Equal opportunities to female members for working outside the household and traditional occupation; Status of the girl child: Elimination of stereotyping and discrimination against her in the family; appropriate opportunities to girls for education; Care for health and nutrition and overall development of girls.

B. Socio-Economic Support to the Family: Basic needs: housing, food, clothes, health, education, social security and work; Need to promote social environment against domestic and sexual violence, dowry, drug dependence, child abuse, neglecting or abandoning women, old and handicapped members, extreme poverty and chronic unemployment.

V. Health and Education : Key Determinants of population Change

A. Health, Morbidity and Mortality: Interrelationship between health, morbidity and mortality, population change and quality of life; Need for universal availability, accessibility and affordability of primary health care, including reproductive health care; need to reduce morbidity and mortality differentials between males and females as well as among geographical regions and social classes; Support to the role of women as primary custodians of family health and their access to basic health care, including reproductive health care services.

B. Child Survival: Linkages between child survival and timing, spacing, number of births and reproductive health of mothers; Reduction of disparities between male and female child care; Causes and consequences of infant and child mortality, and especially girl infant and girl child mortality; Need to, improve the health and nutritional status of infants and children.

C. Health of Women and Safe Motherhood: Health of women as a key factor for quality of life in a family and society; promotion of women’s health through primary health care services; Improvement of the health and nutritional status of women, especially of pregnant and nursing women; Need to reduce the morbidity and mortality among women including maternal mortality.

VI. Population Distribution, Urbanization and


A. Population Distribution: Interrelationship among patterns of population distribution, socioeconomic development, environment and quality of life; Factors influencing population distribution; need for adopting sustainable regional development strategies, particularly to promote a balanced spatial distribution of population.

B. Population Growth in Urban Agglomerations: Continued concentration of population in primate cities/mega-cities and economic, social, civic and environmental challenges; Problems of Urban agglomerations; overcrowding, increasing density and health hazards, acute pressure on civic amenities, growing slums and social problems.

C. Migration: Causes of migration, especially related to poverty; Migration from rural to urban areas; Impact of migration on socioeconomic development of rural areas


Integration Strategy

Population education has been accepted as a critical curricular area and not as a separate subject, and hence efforts have been made to integrate its elements in the entire content and process of school education and teacher education. Since population education draws its contents from the existing disciplines of social sciences and sciences, it has been found more feasible and pragmatic to integrate its elements into the concerned subjects being taught at different school stages. Population education elements have accordingly been integrated in the selected subjects being taught at different school stages, such as Environmental Studies and Languages at the primary stage; Geography, Economics, Civics/Social Studies, Science and Languages at the upper primary and secondary stages; and Economics, Geography, Sociology, Political Science, History, Psychology, Biology/Life Sciences, Home Science and Languages at the higher secondary stage.

Moreover, attempts have also been made to include a separate paper on population education, over and above integrating its elements in existing papers in the pre-service elementary and secondary teacher education courses. As regards in-service teacher training, while independent training programmes for teachers of all the school stages have been extensively organized, elements of population education have also been dovetailed with the general in-service teacher training programmes being conducted by different institutions.

Co-curricular Approach

Co-curricular activities have always been an integral part of the teaching-learning process. Their significance particularly for an educational area like population education, which aims primarily at influencing attitude and behaviour of the learners, can hardly be over emphasised. However, for population education co-curricular activities are considered important not only for reinforcing the classroom teaching but also for initiating the teaching-learning process without waiting for a number of its elements to become an integral part of school syllabi and textbooks. The activities are expected to be organized in schools on such a scale and so frequently that both students and teachers, and in certain cases the parents also, are thoroughly exposed to the new population education contents.

Strategies for Curriculum Transaction

Adoption of appropriate strategies for curriculum transaction is crucial for achievement of the objectives of population education. It is very often presumed that when there is teaching, learning takes place automatically, and that learners learn only because the teacher teaches them. But this is not always true. There can be no learning, in spite of teaching, and the learners can learn even without teaching. As a matter of fact whether learning takes place, whether things learnt are retained and whether the learning process leads to desirable attitude formation and behaviour change depend largely on the teacher and the teaching methods.

This is more so for educational areas like population education, the primary focus of which is on the inculcation of positive attitude and the development of responsible behaviour towards population and development issues. The expository method of teaching, the lecture method or ‘chalk and talk’ method has serious limitations. There is a series of "new" methods known as "participatory" methods which have been considered very effective because of their potential to induce students into taking active participation in the teaching-learning process. In this context problem solving/discovery approach and value clarification strategies are found to be more functional.


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