Written Answers. - Socio-Economic Background of Students.

20.

asked the Minister for Education if he will provide a breakdown in socio-economic groups, of those who avail of third level education and his views on the lack of opportunity to aspire to third level education by sections of the community.

Data concerning the socio-economic background of all students in third level education are not available. The Deputy will find, however, in the statistical table which I propose to circulate in the Official Report, information regarding the socio-economic background of students who entered third level education for the 1984-85 academic year.

I am of course concerned at the under-representation of certain socio-economic groups in third level education. Having said that, I would have to point out that increasing participation by these groups in higher education is a complex problem. In addition to educational factors it includes social and attitudinal aspects, some of which are outside the control of the educational system. Failure of students from these groups to complete second level education is part of the problem.

Following is the table:

Socio-Economic Background of Students who entered Third-level Education in the 1984/85 Academic year.

Social Groups

Universities and other HEA Colleges

Vocational and other Third-Level Colleges

Total

Percentage of Total

Percentage of Social Group in Total population (1981 census)

Farmers

863

1,377

2,240

12.1

13.6

Agricultural Workers

244

253

497

2.7

2.9

Higher Professional

1,158

537

1,695

9.2

3.8

Lower Professional

810

578

1,388

7.5

5.0

Employers and Managers

1,207

970

2,177

11.8

6.8

Salaried Employees

705

485

1,190

6.4

2.2

Intermediate Non-Manual Workers

1,003

1,166

2,169

11.7

12.8

Other Non-Manual

352

264

616

3.3

10.9

Skilled Manual

545

888

1,433

7.7

19.3

Semi-Skilled Manual

166

447

613

3.3

5.8

Unskilled Manual

225

238

463

2.5

6.8

Unknown

1,059

2,974

4,033

21.8

10.1

Total

8,337*

10,177+

18,514

100.0

100.0

*Data in respect of HEA Colleges refer to first-time entrants only.

+Data in respect of Vocational and other Third-Level Colleges include 586 students who entered a third-level course having completed or partially completed another third-level course.