Sunday 4 December 2016

NI Catholics outnumber Protestants in university

Published 20/01/2016 | 02:30

Last year, 45.3pc of students from Northern Ireland at university were Catholic. Just 29.5pc of the students said that they were Protestant. Photo: PA
Last year, 45.3pc of students from Northern Ireland at university were Catholic. Just 29.5pc of the students said that they were Protestant. Photo: PA

There have been calls in Northern Ireland for universities to be more welcoming to Protestants after it was revealed that 50pc more Catholics are studying in top institutions there.

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Last year, 45.3pc of students from Northern Ireland at university were Catholic. Just 29.5pc of the students said that they were Protestant.

While the figures reflect that there are now more Catholics of college-going age than Protestants in the North (48.5pc to 43.3pc), concerns have been expressed about educational inequality.

It has also been claimed that underachievement by Protestant schoolchildren may have a role to play in the figures.

They relate to numbers attending Queen's University Belfast, The University of Ulster, Stranmillis and St Mary's Colleges and the Open University.

It means that the number of Protestants studying at third level in Northern Ireland is now down 3pc compared to 10 years ago. However, the figures released by the 'Belfast News Letter' reveal that the number of Protestants attending university increased by 1pc last year compared to 2014.

Only students who originated in Northern Ireland are counted in the figures with international students and students from the Republic excluded.

Unionists and Protestants have raised a number of concerns about activities on college campuses in recent years which they claim act as a deterrent for students, including an attempted ban on wearing the poppy and hunger strikers' names appearing on GAA kits at the University of Ulster in 2013.

Irish Independent

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