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Equity in higher education



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Λ b MEDIA RELEASE-Αν. AUSTRALIA.,/^~ DR DAVID KEMP, MPMinister for Education, Training and Youth AffairsK2703 23 March 1999EQUITY IN HIGHER EDUCATIONThe study, Equity in Higher Education, was released today by the Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs, Dr David Kemp.The report presents a snapshot of the position of disadvantaged groups in 1997, as well as changes that have occurred since 1991. The picture that emerges is that some categories (particularly women from non- English speaking backgrounds) have made significant progress while for Indigenous people the situation is mixed.Announcing the release of the latest publication in DETYA’s Higher Education Division Occasional Paper series, Dr Kemp also drew attention to the increase of women in non-traditional fields of study now exceeding the 40 per cent mark.“Only one broad field of study continues to have low female enrolments, and that is Engineering,” said Dr Kemp.“However, I am pleased to note that significant progress has been made by some groups in recent years with a large increase in the participation of students with a disability between 1996 and 1997.Continuing growth in the higher education sector during the 1990s has led to disadvantaged students entering university in increasing numbers. The report shows that once disadvantaged students are in the university system they can generally achieve outcomes little different to the rest of the student body.“However participation in higher education should not be thought of in isolation. During this period there has been substantial growth in the vocational education and training sector, which has increased opportunities for access to post-compulsory education by disadvantaged students,” said Dr Kemp.“The problem of increasing enrolments by people from these backgrounds is a complicated one, with many factors affecting their entry. These include a lack of aspiration to undertake higher education, knowledge of the sector, educational and financial barriers and an over-emphasis on Tertiary Entrance Rank (TER) scores.“The Government will continue to ensure that disadvantaged students enjoy expanded access to university places.”Media contact: Samantha Herron 02 6277 7460 or 0412 639 754Report available on: www.detya.gov.au/highered/occpaper/equityhe.pdf