Sunday, July 13, 2014

UK: Boys losing out in university gender gap: Nearly 95,000 more women apply for degrees to start this autumn

The gender gap in the race for university places is bigger than ever as young men become a ‘disadvantaged’ group on campus.

Nearly 95,000 more women than men applied to start degree courses this autumn as girls’ success at school translated into university applications.

Demand among both sexes rose this year despite £9,000-a-year tuition fees but applications from women grew faster, increasing four per cent against men’s three per cent.

Figures published by the University and Colleges Admissions Service show that 659,030 students submitted applications overall by the June 30 cut-off date – the second highest total on record.

It suggests demand for higher education is recovering following a sudden drop in applications sparked by the introduction of higher fees in 2012.

There had been signs that men were catching up with their female classmates in making applications to university but this year the trend reversed as women pulled further ahead.

Women made 376,860 applications – 94,690 more than men.

UCAS warned earlier this year that weak demand among men was becoming a more pressing issue that under-representation of youngsters from poor homes.

‘There remains a stubborn gap between male and female applicants which, on current trends, could eclipse the gap between rich and poor within a decade,’ said Mary Curnock Cook, UCAS chief executive.

‘Young men are becoming a disadvantaged group in terms of going to university and this underperformance needs urgent focus across the education sector.’

However men remain more likely to choose degrees in subjects which employers are increasingly demanding such as engineering.

The figures relate to applications to start degrees in the autumn. Those applying after the June 30 deadline will be encouraged to go through the clearing system.

The data also showed that university applications from international students are rising faster than home-grown students.

Demand from UK students rose three per cent while students from elsewhere in the European Union made five per cent more applications and those from the rest of the world six per cent more.  EU students made 45,380 applications and those from outside it put in 60,060.

Meanwhile degree courses which saw the biggest rise in demand were technology, which saw 13 per cent more applications, computer science, up 12 per cent and engineering, up 10 per cent.

Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK, welcomed the figures but warned that women still less likely to study courses such as engineering.

‘The increase in applicants applying for subjects such as engineering and computing is also welcome. Those subjects play a vital role in meeting the skills needs of UK employers in globally competitive industries.

‘However, it is still a concern that the number of women applying to study these courses remains disproportionally low when compared to the number of male applicants.

'Universities are aware of this and continue to work hard to encourage women into technology and engineering through their outreach activities.’


Be careful what you ask for

by Janet Roberts

I strongly oppose the new Common Core curriculum for K-12 and all-day kindergarten that are in the process of being implemented into Region 16. Contrary to what proponents are saying, Common Core will dumb down our students' education; it is important that parents and taxpayers understand this.

First, I will point out that Common Core is unconstitutional because it is a federal take-over of education when education is the responsibility of parents with their local communities. In addition, Common Core is bad for parents, teachers, taxpayers, as well as students.

To give some of my education background, I attended parochial school in elementary school where I received a great education. There were approximately 40 students in my classrooms and no teacher aides. My education was streamlined and proven to work. When my three grown children were school-age, I wanted them to have a faith-based education and chose to homeschool instead of putting them into a private school. In homeschooling, I used a simple-to-use, step-by-step program like I had when I was in elementary school with 40 students in my classroom.

Grades1-4 are the foundation years in education in which the building blocks for all other learning are laid. A half-day kindergarten was added to prepare students for Grade 1; it is recommended that no more than 30 minutes a day of structured learning takes place in Kindergarten. Anyone who has taught these foundation grades will tell you that beginning in Grade 4 the lessons start getting noticeably more time-consuming. This means that there is plenty of time in Grades 1-3 to complete the important reading, English, and arithmetic basic-requirements for these grades, which too many are not doing.

Many years ago I was alarmed when a newly-graduated student with a degree in elementary education from a reputable college remarked that she had to learn how to teach reading because she was never taught how to in college; this is a huge problem that can be fixed easily. Several years ago calculators were introduced into classrooms; this has created a big math problem that can be fixed easily, also.

Today, computers have been invited into the classrooms, and will be used exclusively with Common Core in all grades. This is a humongous problem! With this, parents will not be able to "see" what their children are learning. The data collection is outrageous. Furthermore, Common Core is more about indoctrination than education, leading our next generation into collectivism rather than individualism.

If you think more money is the solution to our failing education system, think again. The Region 16 school budget for 2014-2015 was passed in May. A total of $39,735,842 was budgeted for an estimated 2,350 students (from the 2013-2014 student count, which is declining yearly while the budget increases). That amounts to close to an average of a whopping $17,000 per-year per-student in K-12!

You can learn more about Common Core by watching Dr. Terrance Moore's one-hour video of January 9, 2014, called "Story Killers: How the Common Core Destroys Minds and Souls," found online. Also, go to for more information. I urge parents and taxpayers in Region 16 to join me now, before it is too late, in opposing Common Core for Grades K-12 and all-day kindergarten which comes with it; our future depends on it.


The top five most ridiculous student bans

The intolerant zeal with which British students’ unions have banned everything from pop songs to national newspapers has grabbed headlines over the past year. But ‘Blurred Lines’ and Page 3 are just the tip of the campus-censorship iceberg. Here’s the five most ridiculous student bans that may have passed you by.

5) Tequila club night closed down by Leeds University activists

The Tequila club night was the oldest and most popular student night in Leeds, running for almost 20 years. However, this long tenure didn’t stop it quickly succumbing to the steamroller of student censorship when, last year, it posted a promotional video on Facebook called ‘Fresher Violation’. The video included a number of ‘sexually aggressive’ comments from drunk patrons of the club night. Despite apologising and deleting the post within hours of it going up, the complaints came in hard and fast, with 100 students turning up to protest outside the club and an online petition to close the night gaining 3,000 Facebook ‘likes’. The media joined the storm, as the phrase ‘rape culture’ was used to mark the club night for slaughter. A police investigation sparked by the controversy ended in the night being closed down, and subsequent attempts to re-launch it elsewhere have been thwarted by the authorities’ threats of a license review.

4) University of Birmingham bans sombreros

Last November, the University of Birmingham’s Guild of Students put in place a series of restrictions on what students could wear to fancy-dress parties. Students donning sombreros and other ‘racist’ costumes found themselves turned away from student-run club nights. In one instance, a student was turned away for dressing up as ‘General Aladeen’ from the Sacha Baron Cohen film The Dictator. The irony of banning a costume inspired by a film that ruthlessly poked fun at the censorship of authoritarian regimes seemed to be lost on Birmingham’s union officers.

3) Leeds University bans sexist greeting card

A jokey greetings card comparing women to dogs was banned by Leeds University Students’ Union (LUU) at the beginning of this year. In a statement, LUU said the card was ‘offensive and degrading to women and against what LUU stood for’. The card, which bore the harmless, albeit not particularly funny, message of ‘Beware of the dog: she might look sexy in hot pants but she’s probably got Chlamydia’, was only the latest victim of a union which had already banned ‘Blurred lines’ and the Sun in quick succession. It was just the next step in the union’s crusade to prevent anyone on campus ever being offended. The basic principle of ‘buy it if you like it’ was disregarded in the noble effort to quash the oppressive power of a single greetings card.

2) Swansea University bans pole-dancing society

Swansea University Students’ Union (SUSU) banned a pole-dancing society last year, citing the activity’s ‘intrinsic link to the sex industry’. Dozens of students who had signed up to the club for its health benefits were told by a union spokesman that pole dancing ‘contributes to an atmosphere where women are viewed as sexual objects and where violence against them is acceptable’. One wonders if the students’ union reps at Swansea will continue their righteous crusade and impose further bans on activities ‘intrinsically linked’ to the sex industry – sexual intercourse, for instance.

1) University of Exeter bans Safer Sex Ball due to sex

In February 2013, the University of Exeter Students’ Guild had to cancel its controversial Safer Sex Ball after CCTV footage of a couple having sex during the event went viral. While it is unclear whether the couple in question were indeed practicing safe sex, it still did damage to the guild’s fledgling reputation, following previous allegations of sexist jokes in the guild magazine. A guild spokesman said: ‘The negative reputational damage has overshadowed the outstanding work that the committee and RAG [student-run charitable organisations] do to generate charitable funds and student opportunities.’ This didn’t prevent Exeter students from being disappointed that a bad joke, and a couple making the most of ‘student opportunities’, lost them the chance to receive a free Jack Wills condom.


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