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Student Numbers

Volume 21: debated on Monday 29 March 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if public sector enrolments, as a proportion of the total numbers in higher education, have been falling over the last decade; to what extent this has been due to a reduction in initial teacher training; and what future projections he has.

In 1970–71, 49 per cent. of enrolments to full-time and sandwich higher education courses in Great Britain were to public sector institutions. By 1980–81, the last year for which final figures exist, this percentage had fallen to 43. These figures include enrolments to teacher training courses which had fallen by 73 per cent. over the period. It would appear that this fall was at least in part the cause of the reduction in public sector share because if these courses are excluded, the share of the remaining courses actually increased from 32 per cent. to 39 per cent. The projections of home student numbers in higher education which underlie Cmnd. 8494 assume a slight increase in the public sector share of higher education, from 43 per cent. in 1980–81 to 46 per cent. in 1984–85. A similar increase from 39 per cent. to 42 per cent. is expected in the public sector share excluding teacher training, as the numbers of teacher training students is expected to fall only slightly below its present level.