Thursday, April 28, 2011

U.S. women surpass men in advanced degrees

Affirmative action?

For the first time, American women have passed men in gaining advanced college degrees as well as bachelor’s degrees, part of a trend that is helping redefine who goes off to work and who stays home with the children.

Census figures released yesterday highlight the latest education milestone for women, who began to exceed men in college enrollment in the early 1980s. The findings come amid record numbers of women in the workplace and a steady decline in stay-at-home mothers.

Educational gains for women are giving them greater access to a wider range of jobs, contributing to a shift of traditional gender roles. Based on one demographer’s estimate, the number of stay-at-home fathers who are the primary caregivers for their children reached nearly 2 million last year, or one in 15. The official census tally was 154,000, based on a narrower definition that excludes those working part-time or looking for jobs.

“The gaps we’re seeing in bachelor’s and advanced degrees mean that women will be better protected against the next recession,’’ said Mark Perry, an economics professor at the University of Michigan-Flint who is a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank.

“Men now might be the ones more likely to be staying home, doing the more traditional child rearing,’’ he said.

Among adults 25 and older, 10.6 million US women have master’s degrees or higher, compared with 10.5 million men. Measured by shares, about 10.2 percent of women have advanced degrees compared with 10.9 percent of men — a gap steadily narrowed in recent years. Women still trail men in professional subcategories such as business, science, and engineering.

When it comes to finishing college, roughly 20.1 million women have bachelor’s degrees, compared with nearly 18.7 million men — a gap that has remained steady in recent years. Women passed men in bachelor’s degrees in 1996.

Some researchers including Perry have dubbed the current economic slump a “man-cession’’ because of the huge job losses in the male-dominated construction and manufacturing industries, which require less schooling. Measured by pay, women with full-time jobs now make 78.2 percent of what men receive, up from about 64 percent in 2000.

Unemployment for men currently stands at 9.3 percent, compared with 8.3 percent for women, who make up half the US work force. The number of stay-at-home mothers, meanwhile, dropped last year for a fourth year in a row to 5 million, or roughly one in four married-couple households. That was down from nearly half of such households in 1969.


British University campuses 'a hotbed of Muslim extremism', claims Parliamentary security group

Universities are failing to tackle the growing menace of Islamic extremism on campuses. Although they have been aware of the problem for many years, university authorities are reluctant to combat it because they fear a decline in the number of foreign students, from whom they make millions of pounds every year, it has been claimed.

A report by a Parliamentary homeland security group said the evidence against universities was 'damning' and that there was no sign of the risk of student radicalisation diminishing.

The review highlighted serious problems and claimed that 'some universities and colleges have become sites where extremist views and radicalisation can flourish beyond the sight of academics'. The report called on the institutions to tackle the issue with 'utmost urgency'.

Terror expert Professor Anthony Glees said the universities had failed to co-operate with the Government, making it much harder for them to tackle extremism. He said 'money-hungry' institutions are more worried about their coffers than keeping the country safe and insisted they must allow counter-terrorist police access to campuses and clamp down on extremist Islamic societies.

He added: 'We are dealing with people who hate this country and the way that it is governed. 'Taxpayers would be sickened by the idea that taxpayer-supported universities are giving people the space to develop plans that will result in some of us being blown up.

'The fundamental problem is that universities have refused to co-operate. 'It is not because they are fusty academics stuck in their ivory towers unaware of the scale of the issue. It is because they are now money making enterprises. 'They fear a hard line will lead to a decline in the number of lucrative foreign students coming to British universities.'

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Homeland Security was set up in the wake of the alleged attempt by student Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to blow-up Northwest Airlines Flight 253 from Amsterdam, carrying 280 passengers, as it made its final descent towards Detroit on December 25, 2009.

The Nigerian studied at University College London between 2005 and 2008, and was the Islamic Society president from 2006 to 2007.

The Parliamentary group said the Government's National Security Strategy and the Strategic Defence and Security Review were 'deeply unsatisfactory'.

A previous inquiry found that UCL will remain at risk of radicalisation for as long as the institution retains its 'educational mission and character'.

Shortly after the foiled Christmas bomb attack, it was revealed that security services believed 39 universities were 'at risk of extremism'.


Foreign influx 'threatens uniquely British identity of public schools'

Private schools risk diluting their ‘uniquely British identity’ as pupils numbers are kept buoyant by an increase in overseas students. A national census of fee-paying schools shows the number of new overseas pupils in independent schools has reached unprecedented levels, increasing by a massive 44.4% on last year. More than a third of these youngsters, 37.8%, are from China and Hong Kong.

Meanwhile some 2,559 fewer British pupils were admitted in September 2010, compared with the previous year. Experts believe the drop in British pupils is due to high fees which spiralled out of control during Labour years and increased by an average of 4.5% in September 2010.

Average boarding fees for sixth formers are now £26,346-a-year and £16,290 for day pupils. Three schools now charge in excess of £30,150. The average annual fee for a private education is £13,179. That is an increase of 4.6 per cent on last year.

The fees are proving prohibitive for many recession-hit British parents. But wealthy parents from China and Kong Hong, who have a culture of paying for a good education, are happier to fork out. They believe a British private school education will help their child get into a top UK university. The revelation coincides with the phenomenon of the Tiger Mother who will relentlessly push their children to academic success.

Yesterday David Lyscom, chief executive of the Independent Schools Council, warned the trend risked diluting the nature of independent schools. He said: ‘Some schools specialise in teaching overseas students, to prepare them for entry to British universities. ‘So in the majority of private schools there are a handful of overseas pupils.

‘But one of the attractions of a British independent education is that it is uniquely British. ‘It is a brand that needs to be protected. It is all very well to have them [overseas students] but we need to make sure that it doesn’t go too far or we’ll lose our appeal.’

Data from Independent Schools Council (ISC) census which covers 1,234 schools, shows total of 13,944 of the 506,500 pupils in fee paying schools - 5% - are non-British with parents living overseas. This is an increase of 5.5% on last year. On average, each school has around 20 overseas pupils. The average independent school has 410 pupils.

Overall independent pupil numbers have dipped slightly, by 0.2%. It brings the numbers back to 2004 levels, after peaking in 2009, with some 506,500 pupils in the 1,234 fee paying schools.

Mr Lyscom added that although they had lost a few British pupils he was very encouraged because, despite the recession, few were fleeing the independent sector. This academic year there are some 5,859 pupils from Hong Kong and 3,428 and China in private schools. Of these 2,245 from Hong Kong and 1,684 from China were new to their school.

Self-proclaimed Tiger Mother Amy Chua, author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, said Chinese parents fight far harder than Western parents to educate their children. She said they are prepared to ‘scrimp and save’ for a good education and ‘drill their children on academic task ten times more than Western parents’.

The next single country with a large share in pupils in fee-paying schools was Germany where 9.6% of all are foreign students.


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