There are a lot more women than men going to university this September/October - a third more youg women than young men so far, according to UCAS (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-410669730).
The latest figures suggest that about 133,00 18-year-old women from the UK have secured a university place in the UK, compared with approximately 104,800 men of this age. The BBC suggests that across the UK, 27.3% of all young men are expected to go to university this year compared with 37.1% of women.This is a huge gap (36%) - and larger than last year's gap; it's also 5% more than the 2012 gender gap.
UCAS has said that there is a 9% increase in UK 18-year-olds placed on nursing courses this year, so this will be a contributory factor; women significantly outnumber men for these degrees, with around 28 women recruited for every man.
According to the BBC, Dr Mark Corver, who is UCAS's director of analysis and research, said:
"More UK 18-year-olds will be starting university this autumn than ever before but large differences in who goes remain.
"Our research has shown that the difference between 18-year-old men and women entering university is now similar to that between the richest and poorest halves of the population.
"The statistics today show the difference between men and women slowly growing wider."
We should always be wary of gender gaps; they often have their roots in schools, and in and they tend to be subject related - as we can see from the nursing figures, above. It is great, I hope, that more young women are entering HE - but what of the young men? Rumour has it that schools are putting an increased premium on apprenticeships, and these may be more attractive to young men. So is this the continuation of the deskilling of the workforce and of our developing a cohort of technicians (e.g. in education and nursing), as opposed to sentient professionals?
I was a psychology and social sciences teacher for many years and now I am in the throes of a teaching and research career in HE. I care passionately about education. This blog will show you why and how.