Population Matters

Education, family planning and population

Education, family planning and population

In the UK, a committee of MPs has called on the government to increase overseas aid spending on education, while an international petition calls on world leaders to address failings in the education of girls. Girls’ education is not just vital for their personal development but plays an essential role in bringing down family size and reducing population growth.

The Committee on International Development has written to the UK government, calling on it to devote 10% of aid spending to education. It found that the average expenditure on education per child in low and middle-income countries was less than $10 per head per year, even with spending of all aid agencies taken together. The proportion of the global humanitarian budget spent on education is just 1.8% and has been declining since 2011.


The committee highlighted the value of education for girls. The Malala Fund told the committee that “If all girls had 12 years of education, child marriage would drop 64%, early births would drop 59% and child deaths would decrease by 49%”.

A petition by the campaign group One has also highlighted the need for education for girls. 130 million girls are currently not in school. In advance of the G20 Summit in Germany in July, the petition calls on world leaders to put  adequate financing in place to ensure all girls receive a proper education.

Education and family planning

Education plays a vital role in bringing down family size. It has been a key factor in success stories such as the falling birth rates in Thailand and South Korea over recent decades. It has a striking impact in Africa: African women with no education have, on average, 5.4 children; women who have completed secondary school have 2.7 and those who have a college education have 2.2.

Take action

Please sign the One petition.  In addition, take action to defend global family planning which has been hit by significant cuts in US aid funding.

Note. The forthcoming general election in the UK means that there is currently no value in writing to MPs or the UK government about aid.

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