Co-ed fear hampers minorities' prospects

January 25, 2002

Young people from ethnic minorities are more likely to live at home as undergraduates because of fears about co-educational universities, according to a new survey. As a result, they are more likely to feel confused about their options and to choose the wrong course.

More than 2,000 youngsters across the country were interviewed by the charity Young Voice, that compared different outlooks on the future. The sample in Bradford, that comprised 86 per cent ethnic minorities, were twice as likely as others to study in their home town.

In Bradford, just 42 per cent of the respondents said they were confident of achieving goals compared to 63 per cent nationally.

Many minority parents are reluctant for girls to study away from home, concerned that they might move away from the family and reject traditional values.

The report says: "The Muslim community is deeply against men and women living together in halls of residence and they know very little about places where the sexes can study in separate residences."

In Bradford, 38 per cent of students, compared with 13 per cent nationally, said that their families needed them at home and that this influenced their decision either to drop out of education or to choose to study near home.

"Local colleges... may not always offer the best courses for the career chosen," says the report.

The survey also uncovered a worrying lack of understanding about educational choices.

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