Welsh women boost learning numbers

August 4, 1995

Fifty-five per cent more students were enrolled in higher education in Wales in 1993/94 than in 1989/90, according to the Further and Higher Education Statistics recently published by the Welsh Office.

More than 77,000 students were enrolled in 1993/94. Nearly half (47 per cent) of the students were at the University of Wales, 18 per cent at the University of Glamorgan and the remainder at higher education colleges and the Open University. There were almost as many women studying as men, with the percentage of women students up from 44 per cent in 1989/90 to 48 per cent in 1993/94.

While the number of academic and research staff at the University of Wales increased by 12 per cent in 1993/94, other colleges saw class sizes grow and an increasing staff student ratio of 16.7 to 1.

Fewer than a third of University of Wales students came from the principality. But more than half of those studying at higher education colleges were local. The number of overseas students, however, was fairly low, with only 6,500 foreigners in residence.

The popularity of subjects differed markedly at undergraduate level between higher education colleges and the University of Wales. In the former business studies (with almost 10,000 recruits) was by the far the most popular subject, followed by education and engineering.

In the university, on the other hand, languages topped the list, closely followed by social science. But at postgraduate level, education had the highest number of enrollments.

Education is a subject that has experienced phenomenal growth in Wales in recent years. The 1993/94 undergraduate enrolment total of 5,725 students was 80 per cent higher than in 1989/90. Almost three-quarters of students reading the subject were women. And many - a little more than a third in the University of Wales - were more than 25 years of age.

At adult education level in 1993/94 the University of Wales catered for 34,000 students through its extra mural departments. The vast majority of these students chose to learn Welsh. But other modern languages, English, music and visual art also proved popular.

At further education level the 28 colleges in Wales enrolled 93,000 students in 1993/94.

That was an 18 per cent increase since 1989/90. As in higher education colleges further education students saw class sizes grow and staff student ratios increase to 14 to 1. Three years earlier, that ratio was only 11 to 1.

The most popular qualification in this sector was the BTEC diploma, and the favourite subject choices were business studies, computing, catering and engineering.

The majority of students studying in further education colleges did so full-time.

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