Gender progress at Otago University

This year Otago University has widened their gender options, and at the same it is reported that 60% of domestic students are female.

ODT: Uni adds gender options

Whereas in the past students could choose female, male or X for indeterminate, students this year can identify as “gender diverse”, and, if they want to, specify whether they are a male or female, a transgender man, a transgender woman or non-binary transgender.

There is also the option of calling themselves Mx or Id in addition to the titles Mr, Mrs, Miss or Ms – and students can change their gender in their student details without having to provide any supporting paperwork.

So you can fairly freely choose how to identify your gender. Anyone who doesn’t like the new options doesn’t have to use them.

This looks like gender is getting complicated, but it is complicated for some people.

OUSA former queer support co-ordinator Hahna Briggs said she was “really happy” students could now use those options to express their identity.

“Students were able to change their gender marker after enrolment to M, F, or X (X for indeterminate) but they had to provide a statutory declaration or an updated passport to make this change. Now this process is so much easier”.

OUSA president for 2019 James Heath said the new university process was “in line with common practice”.

“From an OUSA perspective we welcome, and celebrate, openness with regards to gender diversity with a goal to make Otago the most inclusive campus in NZ.”

Feedback about the change from students online was very positive, describing the move as “awesome” and “fantastic”.

Most young people should be quite open and liberal about this – but there could be some complications regarding use of gender assigned facilities and qualification for gender separated sports.

Also from ODT:  Uni women outnumber men 60:40

A gender studies specialist says the 60:40 split of female and male domestic students attending the University of Otago last year is part of a trend across most Western countries — though it might be slightly higher at Otago than at other universities due to the emphasis on health sciences.

Gender disparities were “subject-specific” and last year there was a slightly larger difference at Otago than usual, probably because of the role of health sciences at the university, Fairleigh Gilmour said.

Generally, men tended to outnumber women in engineering and IT, while women tended to dominate in health-related disciplines.

There are now many more female medical and dental students, but other health fields will lean even more heavily towards female numbers.

Statistics seemed similar at most other universities around the country for students. 2017 splits:

  • Victoria University 55% female, 45% male (all students)
  • Auckland University of Technology 61% female, 39% male (domestic students)
  • University of Auckland 57% female , 43% male (all students)
  • Massey University 60% female, 40% male
  • University of Waikato 58% female, 42% male (all students)

One bucked the trend…

  • Lincoln University 49% female, 51 male (all students)

…but that could reflect on the Lincoln specialising in agriculture.

Why are significantly more females going to university than males? It may in part be due to trade qualifications being done at polytechnics. More males may get into work without qualifications. And there could be more males unemployed or in other sorts of training.

But it is clear that as far as university education is concerned females are dominating the numbers.

Knowledge is power in a number of ways.

Principal on parental and school responsibility and accountability

In a senior prize giving speech a Dunedin principal has spoken of increasing pressures, especially from media, on schools on social issues and responsibilities.

He said that while most parents “did a fantastic job” some needed to take more responsibility for their child’s behaviour.

ODT: Principal bemoans threats to schools

A Dunedin school principal is  increasingly  concerned  by the  social expectations imposed on schools,  and says some parents need to take more responsibility for their children’s actions.

During the recent King’s High School senior prizegiving, rector Dan Reddiex praised his present cohort of pupils for their outstanding achievements  during the year, but went on to express deep concern about the future of education in New Zealand.

He said the school’s ability to educate boys “in mind and in heart” was under threat.

“Alarmingly, in my view, we are increasingly becoming as much a social institution as we are an educational one.

“The expectations imposed upon us now as a school, to attend to and reverse the ills of our society, are completely unrealistic and they are beyond our resource capability.

“It seems now, the first questions about the inappropriate text message sent by a school-age person in the weekend, or the under-age young person attending a party that goes wrong, are not ‘what were the parents thinking and what will the parents do about it’?

“The first questions now are ‘what school does the young person go to and what is the school going to do about it’? And we’ve seen that in the national media this year…

“I believe it’s not our parent body who thrust these expectations upon us. It’s the media and it’s increasingly a broader societal expectation.”

Mr Reddiex said the lines of demarcation between parental and school responsibility and accountability had been “completely obliterated”.

I don’t think this is necessarily new. I remember my school being involved in student behaviour outside school time, like smoking, and there was a kerfluffle at school when I was in Form 1 when a girl self tattooed her hand.

Following the prizegiving, he told the Otago Daily Times there was an expectation that schools would, in part, fulfil the function that historically had been the role of a parent.

“The vast majority of parents are doing a fantastic job, but there are some who need to take more responsibility for their child’s behaviour.”

It usually is a small minority who are at fault.

Otago Secondary Principals’ Association secretary Gordon Wilson said it was a widespread issue.

“Schools are under increasing pressure to help the community solve some of its issues, and often schools are seen as the last place where some of these issues can be addressed.

“That’s not where schools should be. A lot of these issues that schools are being asked to deal with are not internal issues. They are issues that have arisen from outside the school.”

Schools and teachers have long been held as exemplary social examples, with an aim to make it’s pupils similar.

NZ History:  Schools in 1914

George Hogben, who headed the Department of Education from 1899 until 1915, believed that ‘moral purpose should dominate the spirit of the whole school life.’ Schools and teachers were to shape children into productive, moral and healthy citizens prepared to serve their country in both peace and war. J.P. Firth (or ‘the Boss’, as he was known to most) was principal of Wellington College from 1892 to 1920. Firth believed in the virtues of manliness, toil and duty in preference to ease and pleasure, and transmitted to his pupils an abhorrence of ‘slovenliness, sneaking, and all things mean and unworthy’.

Social behaviour outside schools can impact in schools, for example with bullying.

From Tackling Bullying – A guide for Boards and Trustees

“Schools are increasingly involved in incidents where the activities of students at home or in their own time have an impact on the life of the school; for example, creating and posting harmful content on social media using their own Smartphone or computer, whether at school or not. It can affect a student’s wellbeing no matter where it happens.

Schools have the responsibility and power to act when it is reasonable to expect that what’s occurred could have a negative impact on the school’s learning environment. Trying to pinpoint where and when the bullying took place may be less helpful than asking ‘what effect is this having on the student/s involved and how will we respond?’

If signs of bullying such as absenteeism or other worrying behaviour are noticed by school staff, or if anyone reports bullying to school staff, it’s important to investigate and take action, regardless of where and when it happened.”

Often parents are unaware of social exchanges including bullying. Children often stay silent at home about problems they face in school and outside school.

As far as I’m aware schools have always assumed some responsibility for the behaviour of pupils outside school – but in the past at least they took action in school but didn’t want bad publicity for the school.

Schools are a major part of the social interactions of students, so they can’t avoid social responsibilities. They will of course want parents to also take responsibility for their children, but it is a complex issue, and is fraught when there is a clash between school and parent expecations and values.

Dunedin’s non-student problem

Dunedin students have copped a lot of flak over the years for couch burning, rioting and general mayhem and alcohol abuse.

There’s no doubt that a minority of students cause trouble – I think first year students in their first year away from home and old enough to buy alcohol will always be a bit of a problem.

But some of the problems are not students. Non students from Dunedin and also from provincial towns are known to be attracted to scarfyville to stir up mischief, burgle, and assault, and confront authorities.

There is another example of this in the court news this week.

Stuff: Police arrest two teens after Dunedin student quarter assaults

A pair of Dunedin men have been arrested for the alleged assault of two students in Dunedin’s student quarter.

The men, aged 19, were arrested last week, following two assaults on Hyde St on February 18.

The notorious Hyde Street.

Both men were non-students, with one remanded in custody and the other on strict bail conditions, Detective Sergeant Chris Henderson said.

Police were continuing to investigate two other assaults from the same night, which happened on Castle St and Dundas St.

Students come to Dunedin to further their education, and most also try to have some fun while they are here. A few do stupid and sometimes illegal things.

Local low-lifes take advantage of the concentration of young people and the social events that take place.

Most people in Dunedin courts are not students.

 

They didn’t draw provocative cartoons

From KWESTA on Facebook:

PLEASE SHARE: ‪#‎LetItBeKnown‬ ‪#‎AfricanLivesMatter‬ – Dead. Students. Kenya. They didn’t draw offensive cartoons. They’re just kids in Africa so who cares?