Background: In India, adolescent pregnancies are very common because of early marriages, lack of knowledge of contraception, and increase in sexual activity among adolescents, together leading to early child bearing in the absence of adequate and effective information and education on planning and spacing children.
Objectives: Comparative measurement of knowledge regarding contraception and population control, and to determine the need of inclusion of sex education in curriculum.
Materials and Methods: Study was carried out in randomly selected four schools. Two were of central board (private) and two of state board (government) of Ahmedabad, India. A total of 530 apparently healthy students, 265 from each of the two school types aged between 14 and 16 years were recruited for the study. A descriptive study, using a pretested, self-administered questionnaire, was carried out to assess the knowledge and practice about contraception and population control.
Result: Majority of the subjects, 205 (77.35%) of private and 199 (75.04%) of government school, stated that uncontrolled population growth has adverse effects. Only 60% private and 52.83% government school students knew the correct legal age of marriage (p < 0.05). All the respondents were unanimous in their desire for a gap between the first and the second child, but private school students, significantly more (84.90%) than the government school students (71.69%), preferred a gap of more than 2 years between the children (p < 0.05). A significantly higher proportion of central board private school students (90.94%) than state board government school students (72.75%) knew about condoms and contraceptive pills (p < 0.05).
Conclusion: Students showed mixed performance regarding knowledge and practice of contraception and population control. There are gaps in knowledge that need to be addressed by including population control and sex education in the school curriculum. Government school students are far behind regarding knowledge of contraception and population control as compared to central board private school students.
Contraception, population control, knowledge, practice