China's population shrinks: What the slowing dragon means for IndiaPremium Story

The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | 17-01-2023 | 02:45 pm

China's population shrinks: What the slowing dragon means for IndiaPremium Story

This year and the next will see two landmark demographic events. In 2022, China will for the first time register an absolute decline in its population. And in 2023, India’s population, projected by the United Nations to reach 1,428.63 million, will surpass China’s 1,425.67 million.The potential economic implications are huge. But the first question to ask is: What has been behind these shifts? There are two primary drivers of population change.Mortality and fertilityMortality falls with increased education levels, public health and vaccination programmes, access to food and medical care, and provision of safe drinking water and sanitation facilities. The crude death rate (CDR) — the number of persons dying per year per 1,000 population — was 23.2 for China and 22.2 for India in 1950. It fell to single digits for China first in 1974 (to 9.5) and for India in 1994 (9.8), and further to 7.3-7.4 for both in 2020.Another mortality indicator is life expectancy at birth. Between 1950 and 2020, it went up from 43.7 to 78.1 years for China and from 41.7 to 70.1 years for India.Reduction in mortality normally leads to a rising population. A drop in fertility, on the other hand, slows down population growth, ultimately resulting in absolute declines. The total fertility rate (TFR) — the number of babies an average woman bears over her lifetime — was as high as 5.8 for China and 5.7 for India in 1950.Chart 1 shows how sharply the TFR has fallen for India in the last three decades. Between 1992-93 and 2019-21, it came down from 3.4 to 2; the fall was especially significant in the rural areas. In 1992-93, the average rural Indian woman produced one extra child compared to her urban counterpart (3.7 versus 2.7). By 2019-21, that gap had halved (2.1 versus 1.6).A TFR of 2.1 is considered as “replacement-level fertility”. Simply understood, a woman having two children basically replaces herself and her partner with two new lives. Since all infants may not survive to realise their reproductive potential, the replacement TFR is taken at slightly above two. It ensures that each generation replaces itself.The next question then is: If India’s TFR is already below-replacement, why is its population still increasing?Sustained lows necessaryThe TFR is the average number of births by women aged 15-49 based on surveys for a particular period/year. Populations can keep growing even with TFRs falling. De-growth requires TFRs to remain below replacement levels for extended periods. The effects of that — fewer children today becoming parents tomorrow and procreating just as much or less — may reflect only after a couple of generations.China’s TFR dipped below replacement first in 1991, which was almost 30 years before India’s. Recall that the CDR decline below 10, too, happened two decades earlier for China. Not surprising, China’s population more than doubled from 544 million in 1950 to 1.1 billion in 1987 — underpinned by falling CDRs — and continued to grow, peaking at 1,426 million in 2021. It took over 30 years for below-replacement fertility rates to translate into negative population growth.China faces a crisis…China’s TFR, according to its 2020 Census, was 1.3 births per woman — marginally up from the 1.2 in the 2010 and 2000 censuses, but way below the replacement rate of 2.1. China officially ended its one-child policy, introduced in 1980, from 2016. The UN, nevertheless, projects its total population at 1.31 billion in 2050, a 113 million-plus drop from the 2021 peak.The real crisis for China, however, is the decline in its population that is of prime working age. The proportion of the population aged between 20 and 59 years crossed 50% in 1987 and peaked at 61.5% in 2011. This period also coincided with high economic growth, with China successfully harnessing the “demographic dividend” that comes from a young labour force. If there is a large population that’s able to work and earn, not only will there be relatively fewer people to support — those too old or too young — but also greater tax revenues and savings potential from the generation of incomes. As these are directed to finance investments, a virtuous cycle of growth is unleashed — as indeed it happened in China.But that cycle has started to reverse, and the share of China’s working-age population is projected to fall below 50% by 2045. In absolute terms, the decline would be from a high of 839 million in 2014 to hardly 604 million in 2050. Moreover, the average (median) age of the population, which was 28.9 years in 2000 and 37.4 years in 2020, is expected to soar to 50.7 years by 2050. In short, China faces the prospect of a dwindling labour force having to support a rapidly aging population.…India has an opportunityIndia has just begun seeing fertility rates fall to replacement levels, including in rural areas. The latter has to do with the spread of education — and, perhaps, also farm mechanisation and fragmentation of landholdings. Reduced labour requirement in agricultural operations and smaller holdings make it that much less necessary to have large families working the land.But even with fertility rate declines, India’s population is projected to expand and de-grow only after touching 1.7 billion about 40 years from now. More important is the working-age population: its share in the overall population crossed 50% only in 2007, and will peak at 57% towards the mid-2030s (Chart 2).In absolute terms, the population aged 20-59 years will increase from 760 million in 2020 to nearly 920 million in 2045. The median age of India’s population also will not go up much — from 27.3 years in 2020 to 38.1 in 2050 — adding up to a less depressing prospect than China’s.Overall then, India has a window of opportunity well into the 2040s for reaping its “demographic dividend”, like China did from the late 1980s until up to 2015. That is, of course, contingent upon the creation of meaningful employment opportunities for a young population.Chart 3 shows that agriculture accounted for around 65% of the country’s employed labour force in 1993-94. That share fell significantly to 49% by 2011-12. But the trend has slowed, if not reversed, thereafter.Going forward, the challenge before India’s policymakers is to promote growth that generates jobs outside of agriculture. These mustn’t merely be in construction and low-paid informal services. The surplus labour from farms should find employment in sectors — manufacturing and modern services — where productivity, value-addition and average incomes are higher. In the absence of such structural transformation, the “demographic dividend” could well turn into a “demographic nightmare”.

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In Maharashtra draft policy includes role of parents to elevate learning
Times of India | 1 day ago | 31-01-2023 | 08:10 am
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1 day ago | 31-01-2023 | 08:10 am

PUNE: Involvement of parents in teaching their wards, providing uniforms and study material on time and to every student and mock tests were among suggestions from experts and educators in the draft policy to improve academic excellence in government schools prepared jointly by Samagra Shiksha Abhiyaan project and the Maharashtra State Council of Education Research and Training. The draft has been submitted to the state government for approval and once it gets a nod the policy will be implemented from next year onwards.Project director of SSA Kailas Pagare and other education department officials conducted a meeting recently to take suggestions and discuss ways to improve the quality of education in schools. Pagare said, "We took the opinions of ideal teachers, education experts, SCERT officials, and researchers among others."The campaign 'Nipun Maharashtra' is being implemented in the state for the past few months in order to improve the quality of school education."Against the same background, the quality of school education in the state should be enhanced more rapidly in the next academic year," added Pagare.Zilla parishad teacher Somnath Valke said, "We need to understand how to become self-sufficient in an effort to improve the quality in classrooms. One of my suggestions was that it was necessary to add classes from V to VIII to zilla parishad schools. This will help in increasing participation in scholarships and other examinations."Ashwini Sonawane, block development officer of Bhor taluka, said that the experiment of 'Mothers' Club' they had conducted in government schools has been effective. Parental involvement and environment are very important for the development of schools. "Innovation and experimentation lead to an increase in the quality of students," Sonawane added.

In Maharashtra draft policy includes role of parents to elevate learning
PhD enrolments in Maharashtra grow 109% in 5 years: Report
Times of India | 1 day ago | 31-01-2023 | 04:43 am
Times of India
1 day ago | 31-01-2023 | 04:43 am

MUMBAI: With increasing focus on research, enrolment in PhD courses in Maharashtra has more than doubled (109%)in the last five years. Nationally, the number has grown by 50% in the same period, shows data from the All-India Survey of Higher Education (AISHE) 2020-21 report, released in New Delhi on Monday.Enrolment in postgraduate courses in the state has seen a decent growth of 30%, with girls outnumbering boys significantly. More than half the students pursuing their master's programmes are girls in Maharashtra. In undergraduate courses, which involve the maximum number of students, enrolment has gone up by less than 10% in five years.The figures contradict the general perception that enrolment across courses dropped in the first pandemic year of 2020-21. Both national and state data from the report paint a completely different picture.‘Better results followed online exams, boosted enrolment’Even as the All-India Survey of Higher Education (AISHE) 2020-21 report showed more enrolment in the first year of the pandemic in 2020-21, S Mali, former vicechancellor of North Maharashtra University, said the pandemic impacted the assessment process across universities and more students may have cleared exams. “There was no significant impact on enrolments,” he said. A state government official said as more students cleared the class XII exams, enrolment may have gone up in the undergraduate courses. Online exams could have boosted scores at undergraduate level as well, leading to an increase in postgraduate enrolment at some places, said a principal. Maharashtra has the second highest enrolment numbers in higher education, after Uttar Pradesh. Compared to 2016-17, students pursuing PhD went up by 109% in the state in 2020-21. The official said PhD has become important in recruitment of faculty members, for career advancement schemes and other incentives. “Many teachers have realised it and are completing their degrees. The state government is also emphasising on having qualified teachers in colleges for sponsored schemes,” said the official. PhD enrolment went up by 31% in the pandemic year (from 2019-20 to 2020-21), showed the AISHE report; nationally, it was up less than 5%. In Maharashtra, research centres in autonomous colleges would have largely contributed to the drastic increase in numbers, said a vice-chancellor. Mumbai University has the highest numbers of autonomous colleges in the state. Over the last few years, an increasing number of girls in the state are pursuing postgraduate courses. In 2016-17, a thousand more boys were in PG courses compared to girls. Then the numbers started tilting, with over 75,000 more girls enrolled in PG programmes in 2020-21. “This increase is possible because of the rural regions in the state,” said Mali, who was also on the state’s committee to draft the statutes of the Maharashtra Public Universities Act of 2016. “In rural regions, we have seen an increase in the number of colleges, better transportation and more hostel facilities. All these could have boosted the numbers of girl students pursuing higher studies. It is a big plus for them,” he said. In Shivaji University, Kolhapur, Mali said, he has seen girls comprising 70-80% of the total admissions in some departments. More coverage of institutions under AISHE could be another reason for the rise in numbers, he added. Though the state has done better in both postgraduate and PhD education, the numbers in undergraduate education has not seen a significant growth. Nationally, enrolment rose by 15% in undergraduate programmes, as opposed to the state’s 9%. Speaking about the increase in enrolment numbers in 2020-21, an official from the Centre’s higher education department said it showed students continued with their education online despite the uncertainty. “There is a possibility the vulnerable sections of society in some states may have taken a hit, but better enrolment in other regions may have compensated. Positive initiatives in some states for better coverage of AISHE may have helped in the increase in enrolment. Government scholarships also largely covered the vulnerable section, who were financially hit in the pandemic,” said the official.

PhD enrolments in Maharashtra grow 109% in 5 years: Report
Maharashtra Minister Compared To Jyotiba Phule, Months After Ink Attack
Ndtv | 1 day ago | 30-01-2023 | 03:13 pm
Ndtv
1 day ago | 30-01-2023 | 03:13 pm

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To be de-novo, JJ School in Mumbai may need to show the art of business
Times of India | 2 days ago | 30-01-2023 | 07:08 am
Times of India
2 days ago | 30-01-2023 | 07:08 am

MUMBAI: To acquire de-novo status for the proposed Sir JJ University of Art, Architecture and Design, the state government is likely to take the route of registering it as a company under Section 8 of the Companies Act, 2013. Deemed institutions focussed on innovations and research in unique and emerging areas fall under the de-novo category, as per University Grants Commission (UGC) regulations. While a section 8 company primarily operates for charitable and non-profit objectives, the state government will now have to resolve the names for its board of directors. The Department of Higher Education of the Union Ministry of Education in its letter of intent granted on October 27, 2021, has asked the state to fulfil around nine conditions for the de-novo status. The most important one was to set up the cluster of three institutions - Sir JJ School of Art, Applied Art and Architecture - as a separate and dedicated society/trust/company that needs to be registered under the new name as per UGC regulations of 2019. Sources from the state government said that the taskforce set up to work on the conditions have decided to register the new university as a Section 8 company, which will be sponsored by the state government. The taskforce led by state project director for Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan, Nipun Vinayak, has resolved many conditions laid down in the letter of intent and will soon submit the final report to the government. Speaking to TOI, the officer said that it is a visionary move for Sir JJ Institutions to become a world-class university with a 'de-novo' status, one of its kind in the country. "For this, like other de-novo universities, the institution will have a sponsoring body in the form of a trust or a Section 8 company upon which the taskforce is deliberating," he said. Only a handful of institutions in the country have been granted de-novo status. Another official said, "Once the state finalises the decision to register as a company, the institutions can recommend some names for the board of directors. The final decision, however, will lay with the government. Ideally, the institutions will prefer to have the deans and some of their illustrious alumni on the board." The state has time till October 2024 to fulfil the conditions laid down in the letter of intent. While the letter of intent came in 2021, the state's higher education department, under MVA then, decided to convert the Sir JJ Group of Institutions into a state university. The decision did not find many takers. Now the de-novo plan is back on track. But students have apprehensions about fee hikes, though officials said this won't be the case.

To be de-novo, JJ School in Mumbai may need to show the art of business
Schools’ assn alleges extortion bid by education officers in Maharashtra
Times of India | 3 days ago | 28-01-2023 | 11:40 am
Times of India
3 days ago | 28-01-2023 | 11:40 am

NAGPUR: The Unaided Schools’ Forum (USF), which represents almost all CBSE schools in Maharashtra, has alleged that education officials are trying to extort money in the guise of ‘NOC renewal’.An email sent to chief minister Eknath Shinde among others by USF said the 3-year NOC renewal GR has already been stayed by the Bombay High Court in 2021, but the state education officials continue to ‘harass’ schools. In the email, USF’s honorary secretary Subhash Chandra Kedia, wrote, “We are really shocked to bring to your kind notice that officers of the education department are harassing our unaided private schools and trying to extort money on the pretext of renewal of the NOC.”Speaking to TOI, Kedia said that the state government had issued a GR in August 2009 in which it mentioned that schools have to take NOC from the education department every three years. Kedia said, “This GR was challenged by us in writ petition No. 2157 of 2010 before the Bombay High Court. The court stayed the GR in its order dated November 14, 2011.”He said that things changed in 2020. Kedia said, “The education department has again issued illegal GRs dated March 4, 2020 and July 20, 2020 regarding renewal of the NOC every three years by disobeying the order of the court aforesaid.” He added that both these GRs have also been challenged before the court.USF said that this ‘discrepancy’ had been pointed out to the state government in official correspondence in March 2021. Kedia said, “Still education officers throughout Maharashtra are threatening our schools that if NOC is not renewed, then such schools shall be derecognized. They are also indulging in extortion of money under the pretext of renewal of the NOC.” Kedia said, “We really fail to understand why the education department is openly defying the court’s order of 2011.” USF has warned that if education officials insist on renewal of the NOC, then they will proceed with legal action. “These officials are in contempt of court. So we will definitely file a case against them for harassing our schools,” said Kedia.

Schools’ assn alleges extortion bid by education officers in Maharashtra