Gender divisions in education prove interesting too. In terms of the total student population (all figures for 2008/09 except where given otherwise), only 43.8% of students are male, while 56.2% are female. Divided into HIEs and colleges, however, shows differences in the gender balance. Of the 231,260 folk in HIEs, 42.6% are male, with 57.4% of students being female. Of undergraduate entrants in 2008/09, 62.2% were female compared with 37.8% male. In brute numerical terms, 34,300 more women than men now study in a Scots HIE. In colleges, by contrast, males make up 49.5% of the 48,355 total, females 50.5%. Divisions by subject also show some striking deviations along gender lines. Focussing on HIEs, take ‘Medical Studies’, which includes subjects allied to medicine, alone with dentistry and medicine proper. A whopping 78.3 % of these students (there are 39,025 of them) are women, men toddling along after them on a mere 21.7%, the lowest % of male students of all subject areas. Dr Finlay this is not. Among students of veterinary science, the proportions are similar. 73.8% of students are female. Female dominance is also clear in education and languages. 76.2% of education students are women, and 67.1% of linguists. Similar figures are replicated in the college column. Contrast this with Science and Engineering subjects. In HIEs, 66.9% of architects are male, 85.5% of engineers, 80.4% of computer scientists, 56.3% of mathematicians. Even in law, with its crusty Old Boy image, basically replicates the average – 42.7% male, 57.3 female. Interestingly, perhaps contributing somewhat to an explanation of the quiet feminine voice in the blogosphere, students of economics and politics elbow the feminising trend, with 56.6% of students being male.
Consider your modal student. In their early 20s, probably? Although most students do fall into that age bracket, the figures also reveal a woof of more complexity, a more many-aged weave. 84,270 students are aged 30+, 44,540 aged 40+ and 4,890 60+. Interestingly, of the 52,695 who are undertaking postgraduate study, only a quarter are aged under 25 with over 50% (27,710) being between 25 and 39 years of age.
There are also interesting stories about the international “life of the mind” of these Scots institutions woven through these figures. While 75.8% of students were Scottish domiciled (212,010) with 22,520 (or 8.1%) being English domiciled, some 39,085 students are classified as from being “overseas”.
“I am, I flatter myself, completely a citizen of the world. In my travels through Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Corsica, France, I never felt myself from home.”