Does having a lower socio economic status influence the choice to participate in university in Australia? What reasons might there be for this?
Low socio economic status is part of the under-represented group in Australia, which also consists of ethnic background and indigenous Australians. People who are classified in the low socio economic group generally have poorer education, income and occupational status compared to members of the medium and high socio economic group. This group has a very low record of application rate to university (18.6%) especially when compared to the application rates of medium and high socio economic groups in Australia (49.1%, 30.5%) (Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education 2012, p. 30). This essay is designed to explore why there is such a difference in education among these groups, the influences of such poor application rates, what could and should be done to create equity and equality amongst all Australian students and if there has been an improvement in applications since 2011, if so, by how much? Australian residents with a low socio economic status tend to have the most financial difficulties due to their lack of income ($0-$50,000 a year) (Strick, B. R 2012, p. 3); this without realizing negatively affects a student’s education choices. Individuals with a lower income have to work more just to afford basic essentials such as food, shelter and clothing not giving them the luxury to be able to purchase new technologies such as a computer and internet or to even afford text books required for higher education. People in middle and high socio economic groups are earning $50,000 + a year, therefore they are able to afford these basics and also many luxuries needed for their own pleasures (Strick, B. R 2012, p. 4). Without the easy access to resources such as the computer, internet and text books’, studying is made much harder to partake in therefore students are lacking in aspiration for their future (Smith, L 2011, p. 165). Also people in this group are more likely to resident in rural areas, this then requires more travel to the majority of universities located in the cities. Due to the lack of income it is difficult to afford travelling expenses; this then is another reason why there is lack of motivation to apply at universities. All the time that is used up in the workplace to produce a sustainable income is valuable time that could be used to study. As there are higher working rates in a low socio economic group there is much less time spent studying to complete work that needs to be done and to achieve the marks needed to further on in their studies. This puts the student under more stress as there is too much to handle for one person, so at the end of the day it comes down to the choice of either starvation or education. Resources from home are not the only valuable resources needed to determine educational success. There is a great reliance on the sources provided at secondary schools leading up to the beginning of higher education. As the secondary schools are located in low socio economic areas, they struggle to provide students with reliable and current resources therefore creating boundaries stopping the students from being able to reach their full potential. Also, some of the secondary schools do not teach classes that are a pre requisite into the individuals’ higher education choices therefore the student is forced into a course that they are not interested in or to just give up completely with their education (Ramsay, E 1997, p 17). The limiting of counselling required to help the students decide their future pathway does not provide them a clear path to what is required, thus affecting their ability to meet the entry requirement set out by the universities. Socio economic status affects the choices made by individuals with what occupations they are interested in and choose, they are more likely to choose a occupation that is...
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