Higher university tuition fees 'putting off working-class boys'
Richard Garner has been Education Editor of The Independent for 12 years and writing about the subject for 34 years. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a disc jockey in London pubs and clubs and for a hospital radio station. His main hobbies are cricket (watching these days) and theatre. On his days off, he is most likelt to be found at Lord’s or the King’s Head Theatre Club.
Wednesday 10 April 2013
Boys are more likely to shun university as a result of the rise in tuition fees, according to new research.
In particular, the gender gap between working class boys and girls going to university is growing, the study, by the Independent Commission on Fees, shows.
Whilst overall acceptance rates among applicants from poorer homes have remained steady, the figures show 1,700 fewer boys from the 40 per cent of neighbourhoods with the lowest higher-education participation rates were accepted into university last year.
Will Hutton, chairman of the Commission, said the study showed the first year of higher fees had produced a worrying expansion of the university gender gap.
Overall, 112,300 young males (aged 17-19) got a place at university last year, a 1.4 per cent fall on 2010, compared with 135,100 young females (a 0.9 per cent rise).
The findings follow a call by Universities minister David Willetts, in an interview with The Independent, for white working-class boys to be classified as a target for universities in the same way as ethnic-minority students.
The report, though, shows that the slump in applications from boys runs through all social strata - with 6.2 per cent fewer boys from the most advantaged areas applying than girls. Professor Alan Smithers, of the Centre for Education and Employment Studies at Buckingham University, said one reason could be growing interest amongst boys in seeking apprenticeships "as a direct route into employment".
"You are getting experience which could lead to a degree-type qualification," he added.
However, 14 universities have decided to set targets for the recruitment of males – mostly to primary-teacher training courses where women form the vast majority of students.
In recent evidence to MPs, Mary Curnock Cook, chief executive of UCAS – the university admissions service – said the gender gap in applications "appears to be getting worse".
"I am very worried about the gap between males and females," she added. "We are beginning to look at men being the disadvantaged group and women looking more like the advantaged group."
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
£110 - £130 per day + Pay between ?110 - ?130 Day: Randstad Education Cardiff:...
£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Supply Teachers Would you ...
£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Maths EBD Teacher job in Run...
£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teachers required, vario...