Education pp 25-29 | Cite as

The Problems

  • John Vaizey
Part of the Studies in Contemporary Europe book series (SCE)


What were the major problems that faced education in Europe, to which these various education systems were to respond ? The first was the rising tide of population. Declining birth-rates had been common in Europe in the 1920s and 1930s. The British birth-rate had been among the first to fall, in the 1870s, but then, throughout Europe, the adoption of modern techniques of contraception, a rise in abortion levels and the postponed age of marriage in response to the depression and other uncertainties had led to dramatic falls in birth-rates even in predominantly Catholic countries. The death of so many men and women during the war and the substantial increase in infantile mortality due to malnutrition and inadequate medical care had cut down the numbers in the age-cohorts entering schools in the late 1940s. But the return of men and women from the war and the consequent rise in the marriage rate, together with more optimistic views of the future and new systems for family endowment, combined to produce a rapid turnround in birth-rates. The English birth-rate, for example, rose by over 25 per cent between 1945 and 1947, and then rose substantially yet again during 1947. A still more dramatic increase occurred in France. This rise was prolonged beyond the end of the 1940s, although it came to an end in the mid-1950s, followed in many cases by a renewed rise in the early 1960s, followed by a further substantial fall.


Marriage Rate Consumer Durable Good Rapid Turnround Consequent Rise Substantial Fall 
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© John Vaizey 1971

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  • John Vaizey

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