Comment la Grande-Bretagne encourage davantage d’hommes à aller au Collège

En Angleterre des programmes sont mis en oeuvre pour augmenter la proportion d'hommes dans les établissements scolaires :

How Britain Is Encouraging More Men to Go to College

Like the U.S., the U.K. is facing a growing imbalance in the number of men going to college—but is doing more to target its main minority group of poor white males.

LONDON—Taking shelter from the chilly night inside a cavernous gym in a community center in the East London borough of Newham, two dozen teenagers gossip, stretch, and set up hurdles for a track-and-field training session.

This is one of the few things outside school that young people have to do in this neighborhood, which the government ranks among the country’s poorest. It’s also part of a subtle attempt to address a growing problem the United Kingdom has in common with the United States: After decades in which men in college far outnumbered women, boys are entering higher education at increasingly low numbers.

One-third more girls than boys in Britain go to college, government statistics show. Overall, British campuses are 56 percent female, and at 20 universities—and in once-male-dominated majors including medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, biology, and pre-law—women now outnumber men by two to one. A similar shift is happening in the United States, where in 1970 men made up 58 percent of college students, but today the proportions have reversed almost exactly, and 57 percent of enrolled students are women.

These changing gender proportions are vastly complicating efforts in both countries to increase the share of people who have college and university degrees—but the U.K. is doing more to address this than the U.S., which has fewer programs specifically designed to propel males of any race or income into college, or discourage them from dropping out.

“There’s no point in educating only half the population,” said Janet Beer, the vice chancellor—the equivalent of president—of the University of Liverpool, which is in the middle of a city that a Church of England charity says includes five of the 10 poorest neighborhoods in England.

The root of this problem in the U.K. has been traced to poor white boys, like some of the ones in this London gym. They’re even less likely than boys from many racial minority groups to go to college. In low-income neighborhoods, as few as one in 10 boys goes on to higher education, compared to half of girls. By the time they’re 11, researchers have observed, these boys feel little motivation to work hard in school, with few examples in their lives of men who went to college, and little hope they can afford what seem to them to be unaffordable fees.

In the U.S., it’s poor black and Hispanic boys who choose not to go to college, at higher rates than even poor white boys, for what experts believe are similar reasons. And a new study warns that, in America, all boys at the bottom of the income ladder are losing hope of ever climbing up it, in what the authors call “economic despair.”