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Population study in schools

Guwahati, June 12: Dispur is contemplating making population education compulsory at the school level.

Sources said the Assam education department was actively considering the proposal of making population education a separate subject or integrate it with social science subject to create awareness among the future generation about dangers of population explosion as well as benefits of family planning.

Assam’s population at present is 3,11,69,272 registering an increase of 45,13,744 in the last 10 years.

According to the latest provisional population report of the 2011 census, the density of population in Assam has increased to 397 per square km against 340 in 2001.

“Erstwhile education minister Gautam Bora was interested in making population education compulsory at schools and discussed the matter in details with those closely associated with the family planning programmes. The new education minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma, has also shown keen interest on the issue,” a source in Dispur told The Telegraph.

Ilias Ali, the trainer-cum-nodal officer of the male and female sterilisation programmes closely associa- ted with the move, said according to the definition of the Unesco conclave held at Bangkok in 1970, “population education is a programme which provides population scene in family, community and nation with the purpose of developing in the students a rational and responsible behaviour towards that situation”.

“We are focusing on the Unesco definition and trying to integrate population education into school curricula, especially in social science and general science. The education department has to design the curricula in such a way that students understand the nature, causes and implications of population processes as they affect individuals, families, communities, and nations,” he said.

Ali said in view of the limitations of communication within families, population education programmes in school were also essential to address issues of adolescent sexual and reproductive behaviour, which often leads to early pregnancy.

“Himanta Biswa Sarma has been extending his full support in making family planning a success in the state. Now being health as well as education minister, he would respond positively towards making population education compulsory at schools. We will soon hold a meeting with the minister on the issue,” Ali said.

He said Assam would soon have a modern male reproductive heath centre to be funded by the Centre, which will address exclusively the problems relating to male reproductive health.

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