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Students Dropping 2005-01-27

Posted by clype in Scotland, Statistics.

The number of Scots going to university has dropped for the first time in five years despite attempts by ‘The Scottish Executive’ to get more people into higher education.Statistics published yesterday 2005-01-26, showed that fewer Scots applicants had been accepted to attend UK universities than in the previous year. The last time there was such a drop was between 1998 and 1999.

According to figures from ‘The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service’ (UCAS), 28 225 Scots were accepted to attend UK universities in 2004, compared with 28 278 in 2003 — a drop of 0.2 per cent. The findings back two separate sets of figures issued last year which showed falling numbers of Scots were entering higher education.

A spokesman for ‘The Scottish Executive’ insisted there was no evidence to suggest a long-term trend showing Scots beginning to turn their backs on a university education. However, a leading academic accused ministers of ‘complacency’ and warned that the buoyant labour market meant many people now viewed getting a job as more important than gaining a degree. Mr.John Field, a professor of ‘Lifelong Learning’ at ‘The University of Stirling’, said:

‘The proportion of school leavers who are qualified to enter higher education is continuing to rise, so it’s not a question of there being fewer people in a position to go on to university.

‘It’s my strong impression that increasing numbers of people are choosing to enter the world of employment rather than higher education.

‘These new figures suggest that participation in higher education has now reached a plateau in Scotland and this is something that “The Executive” should not be too complacent about. ‘“The Executive” might insist that there is nothing to worry about, but that kind of complacency really “won’t wash”‘.

The 2004-09, statistics from ‘The Scottish Executive’ showed that the rate of young Scots entering higher education had dropped below 50 per cent for the first time since 2000. And last month, official figures revealed that the proportion of Scottish school-leavers going on to university or college had dropped to its lowest level in five years. ‘The Scottish Executive’ spokesman said:

‘There is no evidence this is the start of a trend.

‘Scottish participation in higher education is very high and we remain strongly supportive of the sector and committed to supporting students.

‘We have been clear for some time that this is a period of consolidation for higher education in Scotland — we believe our participation rate meets Scotland’s needs’.

Overall, the number of students entering Scottish universities has risen by 1.6 per cent, with the main increase coming from Ireland and other countries in the European Union.

Elsewhere, the UCAS figures revealed an increase in the number of students from England & Wales heading for Scotland and a drop in the number of Scots heading in the opposite direction. A total of 4 067 people from England & Wales were accepted to study at Scots universities, compared with 3 897 the previous year — an increase of 4.4 per cent. At the same time, the number of Scots entering universities in England & Wales fell by 9.6 per cent, from 1 989 to 1 799. The imminent introduction of ‘Top-up Fees’ in England & Wales has been blamed for the increasing number of students heading north in search of cheaper courses.

‘It’s clearly the case that more people are coming to Scotland from England because of their concerns at the impact of “Top-up Fees”‘.



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