Male ECE Students in Post-secondary Classrooms: Enrolment and Retention

Anthony Randall


This study examines the underrepresentation of male Early Childhood Education (ECE) students in post-secondary classrooms. Through the implementation of a mixed methods design, quantitative data on student enrolment and graduation rates were collected (N=3009) and discussed in the context of the perspectives of male interview participants (n=4). Data collected from a large Ontario college demonstrated that males comprised an average of only 5.4% of students enrolled in the ECE program over an eight-year timespan, and of that demographic (n=159), only 30.8% of male students graduated. This rate was signifcantly lower than that seen in female students during the same time period. Interviews revealed that male ECE students face a number of deterrents, from bias to gender imbalance in post-secondary classrooms and placement settings. However, these variables can potentially be mitigated through protective factors, for example, connections with faculty, motivation and self-effcacy. In light of the continued low enrolment for male ECE students, and recent downward trend in graduation rates, research-based support strategies are recommended to help increase enrolment and retention.

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