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Tertiary students under 25 years with no school qualifications, 1994-2000

Tertiary providers include polytechnics, universities, colleges of education and wananga. Each year from 1994 to 2000, there were approximately 6,000 tertiary students under 25 with no formal school qualifications enrolled at tertiary institutions. Although recorded enrolments of tertiary students numbered just 3,900 in 1999, it is unlikely to have been the full total. The fluctuating nature of tertiary providers' annual enrolments is also influenced by operational procedures in the collection and processing of the data. However, analysis of the available data does provide some insight into the composition and courses of study undertaken by these students.

Among the tertiary providers, polytechnics attracted the majority of enrolments. At least 84 percent of all tertiary students under 25 with no qualifications were enrolled at polytechnics between 1994 and 2000. This is in contrast to enrolments by all tertiary students under 25 years, with 40 percent opting for polytechnics and 56 percent attending university courses between 1994 and 2000. University enrolments of students under 25 years with no qualifications numbered around 400 in 1994 and 1995. Although this number appears to have decreased sharply during subsequent years, this was probably due to imprecision in the administrative data. By 2000, enrolments were once more around 400. For most years in the 1994 to 2000 period, colleges of education were accepting around 100 students under the age of 25 who did not have any school qualifications. Although no data was available for 1998 and 1999, it appears that there are increasing numbers of students with no qualifications enrolling at wananga. From 1995 to 1997 there were about 200 students under 25 years without school qualifications enrolled at wananga, and by 2000 this total had increased to at least 450.

Male students formed a greater proportion of tertiary students under 25 years with no school qualifications, ranging from 54 to 57 percent of enrolments. However, female students formed a slightly larger proportion of all tertiary students under 25 years, ranging between 51 and 53 percent from 1994 to 2000.

Figure 8

Graph, Tertiary Students Under 25 Years with No School Qualifications by Sex.

Māori comprised between 22 and 28 percent of tertiary students under 25 years with no qualifications between 1994 and 1999. This rate rose to 34 percent in 2000. Yet overall, Māori formed about 10 percent of all tertiary students under 25 years between 1994 and 2000. The proportion of Pacific students without school qualifications was generally in the range of 7 to 11 percent of all tertiary students with no qualifications. Pacific students accounted for 4 percent of tertiary students in the under 25 age group.

Figure 9

Graph, Tertiary Students Under 25 Years with No School Qualifications by Ethnicity.

Full-time students consistently outnumbered part-time students. In 1994, 60 percent of tertiary students under 25 years who had left school without gaining any qualifications were opting for full-time study. This rate remained in the 60 to 66 percent range through subsequent years, except for the aberrant year of 1999. By 2000, the proportion of those in full-time attendance was 63 percent. Conversely, the proportion of students enrolling in part-time study ranged between 34 to 41 percent during this period, again except in 1999.

Tertiary students without school qualifications are more likely to opt for part-time study than other tertiary students. The proportion of all tertiary students under 25 years enrolling in part-time study was 29 percent in 1994. This rate had decreased to 21 percent by 2000 as full-time enrolments expanded.

Figure 10

Graph, Proportion of Tertiary Students Under 25 Years with No School Qualifications by Attendance Status.

Female tertiary students under 25 without qualifications were more likely to be enrolled in full-time study than their male counterparts. Generally, 63 to 70 percent of female students under 25 with no qualifications were attending full-time courses, compared with 53 to 63 percent of male students. However, by 2000 the gap had narrowed, with 64 percent of female students and 62 percent of male students enrolled full-time. For male students, this was an increase on the 56 percent enrolled in full-time courses in 1994.

Certificate level courses were the most common level of study for these students. From 1994 to 1998, approximately 4,600 students, or 67 to 71 percent of tertiary students under 25 years with no school qualifications were enrolled in courses at the certificate level. This dropped to 63 percent in 1999, and increased to almost 80 percent in 2000. These fluctuations may be partly accounted for by the incompleteness of data for some years. The number of students studying at the diploma level also appeared to fluctuate during this period. In 1994, the 1,300 students enrolled in diploma level courses accounted for 20 percent of all tertiary students under 25 years without any school qualifications. By 2000, the comparable figures were 700 and 12 percent respectively. It is not clear if this is a real decline or due to anomalies in the data. There was an increase in numbers enrolling in degree level courses from 700 students in 1994 to 1,000 in 1998. The total declined in 1999 and 2000, though this may have been due to incomplete data. As a proportion, 11 percent of students under 25 without qualifications were enrolled in degree level courses in 1994, rising to 18 percent in 1998, and 21 percent in 1999, before dropping to 8 percent in 2000.

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