‘Men are less likely than women to go to British universities, those who do are more likely to drop out and those who complete their course are less likely to get a good degree, according to a think-tank report.
Universities are being urged to set themselves targets to recruit more male students amid growing alarm about the widening gender gap in higher education.
One of the report’s authors said the underachievement of men in higher education was a national scandal and called on universities to focus funding for widening participation on young men.
The Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) report proposes a “take our sons to university day”, modelled on the success of “take our daughters to work” days, and the use of male role models in activities aimed at widening participation among under-represented groups in higher education.
However, the National Union of Students (NUS) criticised the report, saying it had taken a complex issue and turned it into “a battle of the sexes”.
The report, entitled Boys to Men: The Underachievement of Young Men in Higher Education and How to Start Tackling It, says the proportion of men entering UK higher education institutions is at a record low.’ - Guardian
‘However, the report acknowledged the difficulty in reaching targets. It added: “It is easier to set targets or benchmarks than to hit them and there are no easy or certain solutions to the underachievement of boys entering higher education.
“Even if there were, higher education institutions would not be able to solve the problem on their own, given how far back in the education system the differences in achievement emerge.”
The report also said that dealing with the under-achievement of young men at university does not interfere with tackling other inequalities in the system - such as the gap between rich and poor.
The report added: "The weak performance of people from disadvantaged backgrounds or certain ethnic groups can only be fully addressed by dealing with the differences in male and female achievement.
"For example, while men underperform overall, poor white men have the worst record of all.
"So tackling the underperformance of young men is essential if we are to tackle other dismal higher education performance indicators."’ - Telegraph
‘The failure to recognise days or societies dedicated to men’s issues only sidelines these issues further, and creates a taboo around difficult to talk about subjects. Withholding this vital information from male students will only result in the failure to prevent their growing prevalence.
The reluctance to acknowledge men as individuals (and the issues they face) is a dangerous stance to adopt. HEPI’s report today has validated my belief that more must be done to ensure equality and progression for both sexes.’ – Student opinion in Telegraph