Women education plays a pivotal role in population control, Educate girls to stop population soaring and education is the best contraceptive said Prof. Dr. Ilias Ali, noted Surgeon of Assam .
Speaking on the subject population explosion and women education as Chief Guest at a seminar held on 8th March, 2018 on the occasion of International Women’s Day organised jointly by Nabajyoti College Teachers’ Unit Kalgachia of Barpeta District in collaboration with ACTA (Assam College Teachers’ Association), Prof. Dr. Ilias Ali, “India’s population in 1900 was a mere 25 crores and in 1947, it was 37.5 crores. By 1965, the figure rose to 50 crores. Since then, there has been a stark increase in the population level, which reached 102.7 crores by 2001.
In other words, in 36 years, there was more than a 2-fold rise. Ironically, in the 65 years between 1900-1965, there was an increment of only 25 crores. India’s landmass is just 2.4 % of the planet’s total landmass. Such a small fraction of land is being forced to sustain a startling 17.5% of the world’s total population. This indeed is alarming. India is the 2nd most populous nation after China and is set to overtake China by 2024.
Speaking of the role of women education on population control, Prof. Ali said “It is a well established fact that women education plays a pivotal role in curbing population growth. An increase in the literacy rate among women tends to lower the fertility rate to a great extent than a similar increase in the education of men. Studies in Latin America have shown that women who have completed primary education, bear an average of about two children, fewer than those who have not. The average fertility rate of a rural woman without any formal education was found to be six children. Schooling tends to delay the age of marriage for girls, and thus reduces their total possible number of childbearing years.”
Further Dr Ali added that in many developing countries, women who complete secondary school bear almost two children fewer than women who complete primary school only. In a study conducted in Yemen revealed that the number of babies that were born to mothers who completed secondary school was nearly two.
Addressing the attending students, teachers and other dignitaries, Prof. Dr Ali lamented that Muslims, the largest minority community in the country, are seriously lagging in terms of most of the human development indicators and it is primarily due to lack of adequate women education. On the other hand this curse is also responsible for the spiraling population growth among Muslims. He hoped that the Muslim community and the government will pay special attention in regards to education of Muslim girls.
Speaking on underage marriage Dr. Ali said, “A worrisome cause for population growth is underage marriage. Though legally banned, it is still prevalent in certain parts of the country. Teenage marriage is not only fuelling the population rise, but is also increasing the maternal and infant mortality rates. In Assam, particularly among the Muslims of the riverine areas, the incidence of child marriage is around 50% which reflects ignorance, illiteracy and economic and social backwardness of the community.” He asked the gathering to join hands to fight against this social curse.
The seminar was presided by Prof. Ataur Rahman. Dr. Sajahan Ali Ahmed- the Principal of the college, Dr. Kishor Kumar Deka- Vice President ACTA, Dr. Jagaddish Sarmah- President ACTA Barpeta zone, Dr. Samiran Sarmah- Secretary ACTA Barpeta zone, Dr. Nazrul Islam– SDM&HO Kalgechia PHC and Dr. Hasmat Ali– Deputy Superintendent Barpeta Civil hospital also spoke on the occasion. The seminar was attended by students, teachers, ASHA workers, social activists and reporters of print and electronic media.