India Population Hits 1.21 Billion as Female Birth Rate Falls (Advanced News Lesson)

With Answers! | Download Free India Population News Lesson plan here: India-Census-Advanced-01042011.doc

EnglishCurrent.Com:  Advanced News Lesson Plan Warm-up

1)    Does your government regularly conduct a census?
2)    How has the population of your country changed in the last 10 years?
3)    In your opinion, what is the ideal number of children to have?
4)    If you could choose, would you rather have a daughter or a son?

India Population Hits 1.21 Billion as Female Birth Rate Falls (April 1st, 2011)

Recently published statistics from the 2011 census in India reveal that the country's population rose by 181 million people since the 2001 census. This amount is equivalent to the entire population of Brazil. With a total of 1.21 billion people, India is on course to overtake China as the world's most populous nation by 2030.
On a positive note, the rate of population growth has slowed to 17.6%, compared to 21.5% of the previous decade. BBC analyst Mark Dummet suggests efforts to promote birth control and female education are paying dividends. The census also shows a nine percent jump in literacy.
The most troubling finding concerns the ratio of newborn girls and boys. The 2011 sex ratio was 914 girls to every 1000 boys. Feticide, the practice of killing unborn babies, is reportedly still common in India although sex-selective abortions based on ultrasound scans have been made illegal. The Indian government has recognized this as a matter of grave concern. It vows to review its (failing) policies on the issue. Experts are concerned about the repercussions the sex ratio will have on society when these children enter adolescence.
The census was completed at a cost of approximately 490 million US dollars and required the employment of 2.7 million officials to survey the country. Officials report that many problems, such as high illiteracy rates and millions of homeless people, hindered their efforts.  [231 words]
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News Lesson Plan: Comprehension Questions

1.     True or False: India's population is now the world's largest.
2.     What does the author believe are two positive things the census has revealed?
3.     According to the author, what is the most troubling finding of the census?
4.     True or False: Government efforts to reduce feticide have been ineffective.
5.     What are some of the difficulties that census workers faced?
1 - False
2 - The rate of population increase has slowed down and literacy rates have risen as well.
3 - The sex ratio is unbalanced. More boys are being born than girls.
4 - True
5 - They faced difficulties such as collecting data from illiterate people and India's millions of homeless people.
Match the words with their meaning as used in the article.
on course
pay dividends
finding (noun)
vow (verb)
grave (adjective)
pledge, swear
produce benefit
(criminal) abortion
puberty, teenage years
impede, obstruct
method of showing relationship between two groups, e.g. 1:14
statistical survey of a population
census - statistical survey of a population
on course - scheduled
pay dividends - produce benefit
finding - discovery
ratio - method of showing relationships between two groups, e.g. 1:14
feticide - (criminal) abortion
vow - pledge, swear
grave - serious
repercussion - consequence
adolescence - puberty, teenage years
hinder - impede, obstruct

News Lesson Plan: Master the Language

Connect the below ideas to make a sentence.
government     census               conduct
economy         on course        collapse
investment      pay dividends
researcher       findings
ratio     men to women
doctor              arrested           feticide
vow     revenge
crime    grave   repercussion
problems         adolescence
rain      hinder              construction
Possible answers
  • The government plans to conduct a census next year.
  • The country's economy is on course for a total collapse.
  • I hope my investment in my brother's restaurant will pay dividends.
  • The researcher's findings shocked the scientific community.
  • The ratio of men to women in my office is 2:3.
  • The police arrested the doctor for committing feticide.
  • I vow to get revenge on the man who murdered of my father.
  • People who are found guilty of serious crimes face grave repercussions.
  • Teenagers can face many problems in adolescence, such as peer pressure, acne and drug addiction.
  • The heavy rain hindered the construction of the bridge.

News Lesson Plan: Roleplay (Pair Work)

Scenario 1:
Student A: Your partner, Student B, is pregnant. You want to have a son, not a daughter. Convince your partner to have an ultrasound scan done to learn the sex of the child. Try to think of convincing reasons. When you are ready, start the conversation. (If you'd like, go as far as to suggest that you wouldn't even want a daughter).
Student B: You are pregnant with the child of Student A. You would like to have a natural childbirth and you don't care to know the gender of your child before it is born.
Scenario 2:
Student A: You believe Earth is overpopulated. Student B has five children and plans to have more. Try to convince him/her not to do so. Take a minute to plan your argument. When you are ready, start the conversation.
Student B: You are the proud parent of five children. You believe it is your right to have children. You plan to have more children.

News Lesson Plan: Discussion Questions

(Write your answers in the Comments section below if you wish).
  1. Do you believe censuses are worth their costs?
  2. Is there information you'd be unwilling to reveal on a census?
  3. What would be the most efficient way to conduct a census?
  4. Should people who do not participate be fined?
  1. Do you believe overpopulation is a major issue? If so, what can be done about it?
  2. How does overpopulation affect you?
  3. Would you be for a one-child policy for overpopulated countries?
Sex Ratio:
  1. What social factors do you think have caused the unbalanced sex ratio in India?
  2. If you were the leader of India, what steps, if any, would you take to address the issue?
  3. Do people in your country have a particular preference for male or female children?
  4. What repercussions could the unbalanced sex ratio have for the future in India?

News lesson plan copyright Matthew Barton of

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