Girls account for most of the rise in student numbers

The enormous increase in the number of students at Dutch universities over the past 30 years is due almost entirely to girls, Trouw reports on Thursday.

Of the 84,000 increase in student numbers, 74,000 are girls, who now outstrip boys in student numbers. Some 123,000 girls and 117,000 boys are currently studying at a Dutch university, according to education ministry figures.

Open University researcher Jos Claessen told Trouw the figures are ‘sensational’.

‘At secondary school, boys are trailing at both pre-college and pre-university levels,’ he told Trouw. ‘Boys have a tougher time. They are more likely to repeat a year and they are more likely to drop out of the highest streams.’

Boys find it more difficult to plan and organise themselves while girls have benefited from the rise in women in teaching and the emancipation in general and targeted information campaigns, Claessen said.

Education minister Jet Bussemaker told the paper that girls are still not benefiting fully from opportunities in the jobs market. ‘Employers don’t always recognise women’s qualities and well-educated women still stay home with the children,’ she said.

In addition, extra effort is needed to make sure boys do not become a disadvantaged group, the minister said.

Although more boy babies are born than girls, they only account for 45% of pre-university school pupils.

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