Sunday, July 15, 2018

One of the Results of a Low Birth Rate

On the opinion page of the Catholic Peace Weekly, a senior journalist writes about the decrease of the birth rate and the impact on society. He recently attended a lecture at a high school and spoke with the principal, teachers, and parents. At first, the conversation was about the career path of the high school students but passed to the issue of elementary and junior high schools in the countryside.

The problem is the lack of students because of the low birth rate in the country. One of the middle schools with the smallest number of students was 13 and there are 16 staff members. At some other middle schools there were only 18-35 students, in the past these schools had 300 to 500 students.

It would seem that if the number of teachers and students were such that you have one on one you would have more interest in the needs of each student and more learning. One student's mother responded that people who speak this way don't know what they are talking about.

When you have so few students socializing is a problem and you are in a situation where you are competing with friends from elementary school. Parents have a problem with sending their children to such a school. This is a problem not only in the country. This year's school population was 8,240,000 which is a decrease of 5,444,000 from 1988.

In June the Ministry of Education completed the evaluation of 323 universities nationwide including 40 colleges and vocational schools. Universities that received bad grades in the second evaluation which ends in August will be sanctioned and reduced in their capacity and financial support ended. 

The reason is to reduce the admission quota of college students in line with the decline in the school-age population. In 2015, the number attending universities was 530,000 this will decrease to 240,000 in 2023.  No signs of improvement in the future. 

The number of children born last year was only 358,000 and this year at most 320,000. The number of babies born in April of this year was only 27,700  so this year the birth rate even lower than last year which was the lowest recorded.

This will also affect the universities run by the church. The question is what will happen when the ripple effect reaches these schools. The average number of new students in the seven Catholic seminaries nationwide including the Catholic University is significantly below the quotas. The average was 53% percent lower than the quota and in a few, it was 30%. The recruitment rate occupies a large percentage of the total score of 76 points in the evaluation.

Although the Catholic and other religious groups claim that it is necessary to consider the circumstances of each university since theology schools only have one department; it is unlikely this will be accepted by the Ministry of Education.   

The situation in the universities will continue to deteriorate with the passage of time. The low birth rate will have serious repercussions and one of the signs is when you have more staff than students. This will require preemptive measures for Catholic seminaries with low recruitment rates.