Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Dropouts higher for students who work

Not really surprising:

"Study authors Cain Polidano and Rezida Zakirova, from the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, drew on data from the Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth research program, which follows people between the ages of 15 and 25. They found that full-time students who worked between eight and 16 hours a week were 5 percentage points less likely to finish their courses than those who did not work at all.

Those who worked more than 24 hours a week were 14 percentage points less likely to complete their studies than those who did not work, the researchers said.

For those studying part-time, full-time work reduced their chances of completing their qualifications by about 12 percentage points."

I think this research is highly concerning, if not highly surprising, and demonstrates yet another aspect of unequal outcomes in our society. It goes without saying that kids from a poor background who have to work to finance study will not have as good academic prospects as those from a more wealthy background. It also points to the fact that these hard working people may be locked out of the upper end of the jobs market. I think this calls for a policy response that allows kids from a poorer background the opportunity to focus on their studies whilst at university.


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