Tuesday, September 20, 2016
UK: Gender gap in higher education is bigger than ever as 25% more girls than boys now go to university
The gender gap in higher education is now at its largest since records began. The figure for young women in higher education is now almost 25 per cent higher than that for men, according to the Department for Education.
It says that 53.5 per cent of women aged 17 to 30 were in higher education in 2014/15. The equivalent proportion for men was just 43.4 per cent.
This gap represents a 25 per cent difference and is the biggest since comparable records began in 2006.
The rise is being driven by a faster growth in the number of women entering higher education. While the rate for males rose by 2.9 per cent year-on-year, the rate for females jumped by 4.5 per cent.
The figures also suggest that a total of 48.3 per cent of young people in England were in higher education in 2014/15.
This number has risen steadily since 2006, apart from a dip between 2011/12 and 2012/13 which coincided with the introduction of higher tuition fees.
The DfE’s statistics cover 17 to 30-year-old residents of England who are studying in UK higher education institutions, along with English, Welsh and Scottish further education colleges.
Meanwhile, a report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development yesterday revealed that 56 per cent of graduates taking their first (bachelor) degree in the UK are women – close to the OECD average of 57 per cent.
Its notes on the United Kingdom say: ‘As in most countries, there are large gender differences in the distribution of graduates by field of education.’
Last month, Mary Curnock Cook, head of the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas) urged teenage boys getting their A-level results, who had not decided what to do, to sign up to higher education. She said: ‘Whatever you study, you’ll come out of the experience with a clearer sense of your future self and full of ideas about how to make the most of your life and career.’
Her appeal came amid the problem of ‘missing men’ in higher education. About 90,000 more women than men applied to take a degree in England this autumn and for the first time in recent years the number of university applications from 18-year-old boys fell.
* Graduates in this country have the second highest average debt in the world, a report revealed. University leavers in England in 2014/15 had debts from student loans averaging £22,919. The OECD warned that the UK ‘will need to watch out that it remains the smartest and not the wealthiest students who get the best educational opportunities’.
The OECD believes the figure is only beaten by US gradutes because of the high level of fees charged by private institutions. The US did not contribute to the analysis but the figure is put at around £25,000.
The graduate debt burden in the UK is more than double that in Canada (£9,381) and Denmark (£11,219). Japanese students had similar debt levels of £22,611.
The study comes after most English inversities revealed they will raise fees to £9,250 next year.
Andreas Schleicher, education and skills director at the OECD, said governments and universities must recognise that there is a ‘price limit’ where tuition fee rises will start to hit student access, even in those nations with income-contingent loans.
Political Correctness Doesn't Only Threaten Speech
By David Limbaugh
Many, including me, have lamented that political correctness, especially on university campuses, is undermining free speech. That's true, but I'm not sure that political correctness is the only culprit or that free speech is the only casualty.
Most of us have heard about "white privilege," "trigger warnings," "microaggressions" and "safe spaces." Let me provide rough definitions from an online dictionary and other websites. I'm sure that I could be accused of a microaggression for failing to be more precise, but I'm trying.
White privilege is the notion that whites have an advantage in getting societal benefits in Western countries, to the disadvantage of nonwhite people under the same social, political or economic circumstances.
Trigger warnings are communications warning that the content of a text, video, etc., might upset or offend some people, especially those who have previously experienced a related trauma.
Microaggressions are subtle but offensive comments or actions directed at a minority or other non-dominant group, often unintentionally or unconsciously reinforcing a stereotype.
The original idea of safe spaces was that educational institutions should not tolerate anti-LGBT violence, harassment or hate speech. Therefore, certain places were designated as safe for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students. The term has been expanded to protect all minorities.
Last year, just a few days before Halloween, there was a firestorm involving these concepts when a Yale University professor responded to an email sent to students by the university's Intercultural Affairs Council. The council had advised students not to wear costumes that would "threaten (the) sense of community" there.
Some students and faculty members took umbrage to the email because they considered it patronizing and also unnecessary because, in their view, it "had no applicability to the culture and the actual history" at Yale. But when professor Erika Christakis — who was also an associate master of Silliman, one of Yale's residential colleges — took exception to the email in her own email to Silliman students, many students, sadly, didn't receive Christakis' message with good cheer. Christakis wrote, "Have we lost faith in young people's capacity — in your capacity — to exercise self-censure, through social norming, and also in your capacity to ignore or reject things that trouble you?"
Instead of applauding her for vouching for their maturity, they interpreted it as inviting insensitivity to the experience of minorities. Some 700 people, including students, faculty and alumni, fired off an open letter in response to Christakis' email, saying, "In your email, you ask students to 'look away' if costumes are offensive, as if the degradation of our cultures and people, and the violence that grows out of it is something that we can ignore."
Christakis' husband, Nicholas, who was the master of Silliman, made the mistake of meeting with students and not sufficiently throwing his wife (and himself) under the bus for her email. Nicholas met with a large group of students, who surrounded him in the residential college quad. The encounter was captured on four videos, totaling some 24 minutes, and I watched the entire thing (titled "Yale Students and Nicholas Kristachis" on YouTube). To me, it is appalling and horrifying.
Christakis calmly, respectfully and cordially responded to one student after another, most of whom treated him with utter contempt and disrespect, used invectives, and demanded an apology for his wife's email. Several rebuked him for not remembering their first names from his previous interactions with them. When he acceded to their demands to say he was sorry for hurting their feelings and the pain it had caused them, they were unmoved. When they further demanded that he also acknowledge that the email created "space for violence to happen" and apologize for it, he drew the line, saying, "That I disagree with."
One student then said, "It doesn't matter whether you disagree." Another launched into an endless rude diatribe, and when Christakis tried to calmly respond when she'd paused, she cut him off, saying he shouldn't get to speak.
You will have to watch the video to get the full flavor of how hateful it was, how unreasonable the mob of students was and how patiently and calmly Christakis tolerated their bullying.
Shortly thereafter, about 1,000 students conducted a "March of Resilience" against an "inhospitable climate for people of color on campus." Then a smaller group submitted a list of demands to the university's president. It said the school must immediately implement "lasting policies that will reduce the intolerable racism that students of color experience on campus every day."
Among other specific demands were that all undergraduates be required to take courses in the "Ethnicity, Race, and Migration" program, that mental health professionals be permanently established in each of the four cultural centers with discretionary funds, that the annual operational budget for each such center be increased by $2 million and that the Christakises be removed from their positions as master and associate master of Silliman College.
Believe it or not, despite the fact that there were no documented examples of racism giving rise to their complaints, the university surrendered and granted most of their demands.
Much has been written about the danger to free speech such events represent. There is no question that is the case. But I am far more concerned with what they reveal about the state of race relations in this country — at least on college campuses — and the messages we are sending to young people, namely:
—They are too fragile to deal with perceived, let alone actual, adversity.
—If a charge of racism is leveled against a "non-minority," it must be presumed valid, and the accused won't even be allowed, in some cases, to explain or deny it.
—Any perceived slight must be addressed, and all demands must be satisfied, no matter how unreasonable.
—We must be forever obsessed with race, gender and sexual preferences.
—Rudeness and disrespect will not be punished but will be rewarded.
The atmosphere on many college campuses on these issues is toxic. Those engaging in the indoctrination don't appear to seek improvement in race relations and don't appear to seek resolution.
Is it not obvious that a flagrant contradiction underlies these complaints? Those crying "racism" and "sexism" demand that they be treated equally and nondiscriminatorily, yet virtually every demand they make screams just the opposite. How can we be colorblind and color-obsessed at the same time?
Many people don't have the courage to address these issues, because they fear the mob would descend on them if they dared to challenge its claims. Yes, but if we keep pretending that the mob's claims are true and rolling over, things will only get worse. When can it possibly end?
Gender theory taught in Australian schools is a matter of faith’, says family law expert
A leading family law and child-protection expert has criticised the teaching of radical gender theory in classrooms across the country, likening the “odd and unscientific” beliefs promoted by groups such as the Safe Schools Coalition to those espoused by Scientology.
Sydney University law professor Patrick Parkinson has called for an extensive overhaul of the Safe Schools program, having taken issue with its promotion of “exaggerated statistics” on the prevalence of transgender and intersex conditions in the community to support its creators’ “belief that gender is fluid and can even be chosen”.
In a research paper to be published today, Professor Parkinson notes that gender ideology, which lies at the heart of Safe Schools, has become a widespread belief system, particularly in Western countries.
With its origins in university philosophy departments rather than science, it has no place in the primary or secondary school curriculum, which is required to be evidence-based, he argues.
“There would be an uproar if the beliefs of Scientologists ... were being taught in state schools through state-funded programs,” he says, referring to the controversial religion.
“Yet the belief system that what gender you are is a matter for you to determine without reference to your physical and reproductive attributes might not be dissimilar.”
Professor Parkinson’s damning review comes as the NSW Education Department investigates the inclusion of gender theory in its own official curriculum, including its mandatory sex education program for Years 11 and 12.
Last week state Education Minister Adrian Piccoli asked his departmental secretary, former ABC boss Mark Scott, to look into whether there was a scientific basis for claims made throughout the Crossroads program that gender was “a social construct”, neither fixed nor binary.
A spokesman for the Education Department said Mr Scott would report back to the minister’s office “as soon as possible”.
Professor Parkinson’s report, The Controversy over the Safe Schools Program — Finding the Sensible Centre, which is available via the Social Science Research Network, has added further weight to concerns about the program.
While originally touted as a program designed to stamp out homophobia in the schoolyard, it has divided parents, politicians, religious groups and even the LGBTI community.
Prominent transgender advocate Catherine McGregor faced a backlash when she recently spoke out against Safe Schools, claiming that it would not have helped her as a young person grappling with gender issues. Professor Parkinson is also concerned that its teachings may harm some young people.
The former member of the NSW Child Protection Council, who has advised government and other organisations on matters related to child safety, says a school-wide program that normalises transitioning from one gender to another creates a risk that some children will become confused unnecessarily.
“Gender dysphoria in childhood and adolescence is far too complex to be addressed by pop psychology or internet-based self-help materials,” he says.
“While a program of this kind may offer benefits for some young people, there is reason to be concerned that it may cause harm to other young people who experience same-sex attraction or gender confusion.
“This is not good enough for an educational resource.”
Professor Parkinson believes it is unlikely that concerns raised by the community will go away.
He says politicians who have supported it based on its origins as an anti-bullying program would likely face a backlash from their constituencies unless the program was reviewed and significantly reformed.
More than 500 schools across the country have signed up to be Safe Schools members, and the program has attracted federal and state funds.
Posted by jonjayray at 12:35 AM