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More going to uni, fewer school dropouts but boys fall behind

File photo: School

Cypriot girls are leaving boys in the dust in the race to universities and when it comes to not dropping out of secondary school early, Eurostat figures showed on Wednesday.

According to the figures the number of boys going on to tertiary education increased only 7.8 per cent to 43.7 per cent between 2002 and 2016 but the percentage for girls for the same period jumped 26 per cent to 62.1 per cent who were going to uni in 2016. The combined figure does surpass the national target of 46 per cent but it’s clear that boys are being left behind and it’s nowhere near a 50:50 split.

It was not clear whether Eurostat took into account the time spent in national service – which does delay boys going to university and often makes them lose interest in going afterwards.

The figures show that in 2002 some 35.9 per cent of Cypriot tertiary students were male and 36.1 per cent female, a gap of only 0.2 per cent.  In 2016, the corresponding figures were 43.7 per cent and 62.1 per cent respectively, a gap of 18.4 per cent.

Similarly, in 2002, around 22.5 per cent of boys were high-school dropouts compared with 8.2 per cent of girls. In 2016, although both numbers have halved in line with the government’s target of an overall 10 per cent drop, 11.5 per cent of boys still dropped out early last year compared with only 4.3 per cent of girls.

The gaps between male and female is being replicated across the EU.  In 2002 some 24.5 per cent of women on average were in tertiary education across the bloc. In 2016, that figure was 43.9 per cent. And while the percentage of men was still slightly lower than women at 22.6 per cent in 2002, the gap widened considerably by 2016 when males made up 34.4 per cent of tertiary students, a gap of almost 10 per cent.

Overall, 53.4 per cent of Cypriot males and females aged 30 to 34 have completed tertiary education. The Europe 2020 strategy’s target is that at least 40 per cent of 30-34-year-old in the EU should have completed tertiary education by 2020. The EU average now stands at 39.1 per cent.

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