Education, learning and population change

Egypt Popul Fam Plann Rev. 1982 Jun;16(1):1-19.


PIP: This paper sets forth a reformulation of the concept of education in population-related behavior. The framework suggested distinguishes between population-relevant and population-specific learning and between structured and unstructured learning. These 4 types of learning can be further elaborated according to the life cycle stage at which the learning takes place and the particular agents of learning that are involved. It is maintained that insufficient theoretical consideration has been given to unstructured forms of population-related learning, and there has been a general failure to identify contextual and facilitating characteristics and structural conditions independent of specific population information. Population education itself is population-specific and structured, aimed at increasing awareness of population phenomena as they are interrelated with other phenomena. However, there is a need to complement in-school population education with instruction outside the school system, and to recognize the myriad of ways that individuals learn about population. In addition, there is a need for greater clarity on the meaning of the association between education and population variables. For example, the education variable included in research studies often reflects a combination of variables: acquisition of population-specific knowledge, population-relevant knowledge and skills, possession of a broader base of knowledge and skills with no obvious connection to population, and indications of other individual and group phenomena that are determinants of demographic change. The best solution seems to be to introduce variables into the research that tap each of the types of population-related learning and spurious factors. This research needs to be supplemented by surveys and evaluations that help determine the impact of direct interventions such as school-based population education on population-related knowledge, attitudes, and behavior.

MeSH terms

  • Education*
  • Health Planning
  • Information Services*
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Organization and Administration
  • Population*
  • Research*
  • Sex Education*