THE NUMBER of full-time further education student numbers grew by a sixth and part-timers by nearly a third in one year, an official tally has revealed.
The figures, from the Further Education Funding Council for England and the Department for Education and Employment, show that full-time numbers rose by 16 per cent between 1994/95 and 1995/96, while part-time numbers grew by 31 per cent. The overall growth was 16 per cent.
Drop-out rates for both full and part-time students increased by 2 per cent over the year. In 1995/96, 18 per cent of full-time students failed to complete their one-year courses while 16 per cent of part-timers dropped out. The equivalent figures for 1994/95 were 16 per cent and 14 per cent respectively. Of the total 3.5 million students enrolled in colleges in 1995/96, 2.7 million were on courses funded by the FEFCE. A further 300,000 were on FEFCE-funded courses provided in institutions other than colleges. In total, students were studying for 4.9 million qualifications.
Just over a fifth of them were under 19 and on average they were studying for 2.6 qualifications each. Three-quarters were studying full-time. Overall, 79 per cent were adults and they were studying for an average 1.3 qualifications each. Just under a fifth were studying full-time.
Students improved their performance over the year. Full-timers gained 69 per cent of the qualifications for which they completed courses, while part-timers gained 66 per cent. Equivalent 1994/95 figures were 68 and 62 per cent.