Recent figures from the Ministry of Education show that last year there was a significant drop in men enrolled in tertiary education. Of the tertiary body, only 39% of students are now men.
In 2021 only 8.6% of Aotearoa’s adult population enrolled in tertiary education. The Ministry of Education figures also show that over the last ten years the number of male enrolments in Polytechnics have dropped by 41%.
In an RNZ article from 21 September, Chris Whelan, Universities Chief Executive publicly called the shift of gender proportions worrying, saying men might be shut out of high-skilled jobs.
Oh no, we, as women, couldn’t possibly imagine what that’s like. Where was all this concern over gender proportions for the several hundreds of years where men made up 100% of the tertiary body?
Additionally, the stats are clear: men are moving into industries. The percentage of male trainees and apprentices rose by 4% from 2019-2021 despite an uptick in enrollments from women. Maybe trades are just a better option in this economy?
Luke, who works as an electrician, says there are a lot of other options to make money than attending university, and people are going for them.
“It’s expensive to live, and to do that with student debt on top is something a lot of people don’t want to even consider. Most of my friends from high school didn’t bother with uni, and when you’ve got more people in your cohort moving away from going to uni, I think it encourages people to explore other options.”
Former University of Auckland student, Cameron made the decision to drop out to work full-time.
“It just wasn’t for me. I’m not going to come back to a place that’s wasting my time when I could be out working. People don’t want to study anymore, and until it’s cheaper I think a lot of people won’t pursue it either.”