Department of Demography
Prof. (Dr.) P.S. Nair ( 1996-2005 )
University of Kerala has the distinction of being the first University in India to introduce Demography as a discipline of study at the PG level in 1963 in the Department of Statistics- thanks to the visionary efforts of Prof. (Ms). A George and Prof. N. Krishnan Namboodiri of the Department of Statistics.
In 1979 under the erudite leadership of Dr. R. Ramakumar, Department of Demography and Population Studies became a full scale department of PG study and research. In addition, three Lecturers added the minimal faculty strength for several years. On retirement of Prof. Dr. Ramakumar in 1990, a post of Professor was newly created and Dr. P. S. Nair was appointed Professor & Head of the Department in 1996.
Soon afterwards, one of the steps the department undertook was to examine the veracity of the name (of the Department) viz., Demography and Population Studies. As the terms demography and population studies carried the same meaning, in 1997 the department was renamed as Department of Demography, based on the recommendation of the departmental council
The department offered MSc, MPhil and Ph.D. programmes in Demography. It also carries out research and extension activities in the field of population and family planning. The whole syllabi of M.Sc. and M.Phil. programmes was reviewed, updated, restructured and unitized in module form in 1997. An innovative course viz. ‘Community Outreach Programme’ was introduced in the M.Sc. course utilizing departmental funds. In addition to the classroom courses, a class outreach to a rural / urban ward in Trivandrum was initiated to collect data on demographic, socioeconomic, health and environmental aspects. The intention of this course was two-fold; (i) to get the students familiarized with the current scenario in the selected areas including the ‘felt needs’ of the community and (ii) to get the students practical experience on the Research Methods course. This field study reports including recommendations are submitted to concerned authorities in a meeting on the World Population Day on July 11 every year to take feasible actions. Further, the Department conducts research in various fields including mortality, fertility, migration, urbanization, reproductive and child health and population aging.
The department publishes a journal -Janasamkhya- since 1983 with the HOD as the Chief Editor. A full facelift of the journal was implemented in 1997 by changing the format, editorial board and print quality and a double blind peer review of manuscripts submitted for publication. This resulted in lifting the international rating of the journal. .
One of the 18 Population Research Centres (PRCs) in the nation, fully funded by Govt. of India, came into existence on 1st July 1983, as part of the Department of Demography. We undertook intensive steps to fill in all the vacant posts within a year and that resulted in enhancing the research output considerably. Our PRC was rated very high by Govt. of India.
Further, collaborative activities were initiated in 1997 with the University of Groningen, The Netherlands, French National Institute of Demography (INED), Paris and the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada. As a result, we could attract funds for research and seminars and faculty and student exchanges.
Other faculty members, viz., Dr. Krishnakumari, Dr. K. JyothiKamalam and Dr. S. Sulaja who joined the department on varying time lines also carried forward the developmental activities of the department commendably. Now, the department is under the able leadership of Dr. P. Mohanachandran Nair with a new team of Assistant Professors, contract Lecturers and Guest faculty. Under the leadership of Dr. P. Mohanachandran Nair, a new Master’s and M.Phil programme in Actuarial Science has been added in the repertoire of the Department.
Departmental activities / achievements are highlighted as follows:
- Completely modified and updated the syllabi for M.Sc. and M. Phil courses. Introduced a module structure and a few state of the art optional courses such as Business Demography, Population Genetics and Population Aging.
- An innovative course viz, Community Outreach Activity has been introduced for the first time in 1997.
- Three MSc students who passed out in flying colors were sent to University of Groningen, The Netherlands for Ph. D programme under my personal initiative. One such student is now Full Professor in the University of Southampton, U.K.
- We could obtain grants from Gov. of India to buy a vehicle for the PRC and building complex for PRC.
- Quantity and quality of research publications from the Department and PRC grew manifold.
- All the vacant posts in PRC and the Department were filled in by promotions and hiring meritorious candidates circumventing the usual ‘political pressures’ to a great extent.
- A system of monthly seminars (by faculty and technical staff of the Department and PRC and research scholars) was initiated and followed meticulously.
- In addition to the journal – Janasamkhya, a Working Paper Series was also launched in the PRC.
- The Ph.D. programme in the Department was given a boost by encouraging and helping qualified faculty from PRC as well to obtain supervisorship. Several academics working in outside institutions such as Medical colleges, affiliated colleges and Government had registered with me and other faculty members for Ph.D. A record number of Ph.Ds. were produced during the period of my stay in the Department.
- In addition to demography programmes, a new M.Sc and M.Phil programmes in Actuarial Science was also included in the Department
Our alumni include eminent academics such as (Late) Prof. N. Krishnan Namboodiri, Dr. K. Srinivasan, former Director, International Institute of Population Sciences, Mumbai, Dr. M. Vijayanunni IAS (Retired), former Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India, Dr. N. Unnikrishnan Nair, former Vice-Chancellor, Cochin University of Science and Technology, Dr. Sabu Padmadas, Professor, University of Southampton, U.K.
The honor list of past teachers in the Department includes:
- R. Ramakumar
- K. Krishnakumari
- P.S. Nair
- K. Jyothi Kamalam
- S. Sulaja