How the education system could contribute to better demographic development

Rašević, Mirjana (2013) How the education system could contribute to better demographic development. In: Obrazovanje i razvoj. Centar za ekonomska istraživanja Instituta društvenih nauka, Beograd, pp. 45-52. ISBN 978-86-7093-144-2

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The greatest problem of demographic development in many regions is that individual examinations, aspirations and answers which result from the process of childbearing are not rational from the aspect of society’s requirements. In development countries reproductive norms are low. Society has not even tried to influence the formation of a standpoint on the desired number of children through its institutions, or to moderate a number of barriers for their realization to a larger extent. Confrontation with the consequences of reproductive behavior is a reality and certainly follows in future time. The consequences of below-replacement fertility influence and will further influence the education system. Depopulation and population ageing in contemporary conditions, generally observed, decreases the demand for preschool, elementary and middle school education and increases the demand in higher levels of education. At the same time, they set new demands on the education system, primarily those that expedite work productivity through acquisition of better quality education. A decreased demand for lower levels of education may itself contribute to better quality education, but this assumes a more expensive educational system. It is disputable whether a more expensive educational system is sustainable in conditions of great pressure on the pension, health and social system due to continual and intensive population ageing. This question, however, is not one for demographers. Nonetheless, demographers are requested to search for new population policy measures which could contribute to alleviate the phenomena of below-replacement fertility and their consequences. Is there enough room for education system measures regarding political response to insufficient childbirth and its consequences? It is likely to be the truth and in that sense there are at least four compelling measures – reducing the school-leaving age, population education, promotion of youth reproductive health and lifelong learning. Postponing births is an important reason of extremely low levels of fertility in Europe today. Reforms in the education system may affect the timing of childbearing by reducing the age at completion of education. Population education is imposed as a new measure, because the biggest problem population policy has to solve is found in the level of consciousness. Promotion of youth reproductive health is a process which should begin in as early as possible period of life and should include all social institutions. Above all, schools, health institutions, and media. Lifelong learning is a prerequisite of high productivity, employment and social inclusion of the older generations, but of active ageing as well, namely healthy ageing. The answer to the issue of insufficient births is exceptionally complex. It is estimated that the maximum effect of the population policy is an increase in completed fertility of 10%. Examining the reasons for the absence of greater effects indicates that the response must be intensive, integral, direct, of strategic and research type. It means that, apart from the classical population policy measures regarding the mitigation of the economic price of raising a child and coordinating work and parenthood, a whole range of special measures should be carried out which have to do with alleviating the phenomena of below-replacement fertility and its consequences. In that sense, it is necessary to activate all resources, including the education system as well, with an aim of better demographic development.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: Population development, population policy, education system.
Institutional centre: Centre for demographic research
Depositing User: Vesna Jovanović
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2022 21:54
Last Modified: 26 Mar 2022 21:54

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