Northern Ireland news

Around 50% of school leavers enrolled in university over the past two years - the highest on record

Around 50 per cent of school leavers in NI entered university over the past two years

AROUND 50 per cent of school leavers entered university over the past two years - the highest rates on record.

Other figures reveal that around three quarters of those taking up places at university last year stayed to study in Northern Ireland.

The statistics from the Department for Education (DE) shows that the number of students entering university has risen steadily over the past two decades.

Just over a third of school leavers entered university, in Northern Ireland or elsewhere, in 2004 and by 2012 that had risen to 42 per cent.

But the most recent figures reveal that 47.9 per cent of school leavers entered university in both 2020 and 2021, the highest Northern Ireland rates on record.

This came at a time when pupils received grades were calculated by schools after summer exams were cancelled.

However, the number of school leavers entering Further Education (FE) Colleges has fallen to just over a quarter (27 per cent) last year.

Other statistics show women were more likely to go to university than men. Figures reveal that there were 56.3 per cent of female school leavers entering university in 2021 compared to male leavers.

The figures also show that pupils from a Catholic background were also more likely to go to university than pupils from a Protestant or 'other' background, while around three-quarters of grammar school pupils went to university last year compared to about a quarter of pupils at non-grammars.

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Northern Ireland news