The greatest threat to mankind's existence is from the unchecked multiplication of his own species, especially in the developing countries of Asia and Africa. The uneven distribution of population in the world has severely affected the fragile ecological balance in many countries. The unbridled growth of human population has also brought in its wake problems like unemployment, urbanization, pollution etc.
Environmental pollution is no doubt the result of rapid population growth and man's mad pursuit to exploit nature ruthlessly to meet the ever growing human necessities and comforts. The unprecedented growth of population has adversely affected the per capita income and standard of living of the people. Population growth has aggravated the condition of poverty and hunger in many countries.
Population explosion is the biggest problem which has drawn attention of the all concerned. As the most urgent need of the time there are several national and international policies and programmes developed to tackle the situation.
Expansion of population Education is the need of the day. According to 1991 census total population of India is 8463.3 million and Orissa has 31.7 million of population.
Meaning of Population Education
Population Education in lay man's language is the education about population matters i.e. fertility, mortality, migration, etc.
But population education is an educational process. It is a desired to help people to understand the nature, the causes and consequences of population growth.
The population forces (fertility, mortality, migration) are shaped by the population related policies. These factors operate within the society and affect social, political and economic standards also. In other ways the political, social and economic decisions made by the people of a society of Nation influence the behaviour of the individual in relation to population growth.
According to Gopal Rao, “Population education an educational programme which provides for a study of the population phenomenon so as to enable the students to make rational decisions towards problems arising of rapid population growth". To tell in simple words population education means educating the students about a large population or ever increasing population and problems "which the population creates".
According to Sharma, "Population education is the study of human population in relation to his environment with a view to improving his quality of life without adversely affecting the environment."
In view of Burbson "Population education is an exploration of knowledge and attitude about population, the family and sex. It includes population awareness, family living, reproduction education and basic values".
Population education should not be misunderstood as sex education, family planning, family welfare project, family life education. But population education is an educational programme which studies the population situation in the family, in the community, in the nation and in the world. It is a relationship between population change and quality of life at the micro and macro-level.
Population education enables those students to be aware of the process and consequences of the population growth on the quality of our lives and the environment. The child gets an opportunity to investigate and explore the interaction between populations and their environments. Population characteristics, the meaning and nature of the process. The child also knows the causes and consequences of population increase at local, national and global level.