Population Education as defined by UNESCO “is an educational programme which provides for a study of the population situation of the family , community, nation and the world, with the purpose of developing in the students rational and responsible attitudes and behaviour towards that situation.”
Prof.Stephen defines Population Education as ” the process by which the student investigates and explores the nature and meaning of population process, population characteristics, the causes of population change,and the consequences of these processes, characteristics and changes for himself, his family, his society and the world. “
Population Education : A necessity
Population is the key to any national growth , development and progress. Mass poverty and illiteracy are two interrelated and interdependent factors which bring about challenging hurdles in the path of progress of any country. Population explosion is thus the root cause. Thus this calls for ” Population Education .” In its ordinary sense population education stands for an educational approach including necessary steps to be evolved and adopted towards population. It is one of the most critical issues with multidimensional effects. This is related to the process of National Development undertaken since independence. Population Education is however problematic, explorative and innovative. This demands a leadership role to be played by education in regard to population control. This is needed for National Development to reach its optimum level.
Population Education has mainly two dimensions like: to undertake a national level population awareness programmes which would be educative utilising communication media to the utmost. The other is to include and introduce a subject named ‘Population Education ‘ in the present school curriculum. This would contain an understanding of the implications and problems of population and to develop a positive attitude towards this issue. Individuals should be conscious and understand the relationship between population and national progress and it’s welfare. The Population Education Cell of the NCERT had developed a syllabus at the school level covering the different stages of education. It was decided that this would be integrated with other subjects and need not be treated as a separate entity. This was supported unanimously by the SCERT and also by the Central Government .
The teacher of today has a dual task to perform- one is to furnish subject knowledge and information and the other is to foster social change. The teacher must be convinced and motivated to accept this dual role otherwise the changes that might be recommended in the curriculum might not be successful.
The child who comes to the school is a member of his own family from where he brings some attitudes and values to the school. These initial attitudes and values need to be emancipated by the school through the new curriculum related to population education. Therefore some new thoughts and research are needed in this area to prepare the ground for the new curriculum. Population Education represents a synthesis of knowledge from several fields of study like Biology, History, Civics,Economics, Sociology and Environmental Studies.
Training of Teachers:
The Asian Regional Workshop held at Bangkok emphasised on pre-service and in-service training of teachers as high priority for a successful implementation of the Population Education programme. Thus there must be coordination between the curriculum designer and the instructional system which can function through the teacher educator. Thus the necessity for reorientation of the curriculum of the teachers training colleges became a necessity. The teachers who lacked this training may be given an opportunity to update themselves so that they take up the noble task of inculcating within the students the right values and attitudes, so much necessary in this changing scenario.
Ignorance, indifference or resistance on the part of the teachers might be a hindrance in the path of development of an effective programme of Population Education in our country. Majority of our teachers live in villages and new ideas do not find an easy access. This might act against their self development and will be an impediment to the nation’s progress.
Teachers must therefore be reoriented to the new idea by means of special courses and liberal provisions of teaching materials in the form of text books or visual aids and must be encouraged at every stage of the programme. This will help to develop the future plans and programmes of our country.
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