Low University Enrolment levels for South Australian Males

The Hon. A.L. McLACHLAN ( 16:12 ): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Higher Education, Employment and Skills a question regarding male university students in South Australia.

Leave granted.

The Hon. A.L. McLACHLAN: A federal education department report recently revealed that South Australia has the lowest proportion of male university applicants in the country, with males making up just 38.8 per cent of applications to begin undergraduate courses this year compared with 61.2 per cent of female applicants. The report also revealed that the proportion of male university applicants in South Australia is well below the other mainland states, such as Western Australia, New South Wales and the ACT, which all reported a male enrolment rate of 43 per cent or above. The findings have also raised concerns about the place of men in a struggling economy, where they can no longer rely on readily available blue collar employment.

The Executive Director of Adelaide University’s Australian Workplace Innovation and Social Research Centre, Associate Professor John Spoehr, has called upon South Australia to narrow this gender gap, pointing out that with fewer jobs available in manufacturing it is all the more important to consider a higher qualification, especially a university one. Given that there is a large proportion of South Australian males working in the manufacturing industry, and in view of the industry’s potential decline, my question to the minister is: is the government considering initiatives to increase the number of males enrolling in university undergraduate courses?

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