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survey: college drinking and sex down

Boston - College freshmen have less interest today in drinking, extramarital sex, and supporting abortion rights than they've had in years, according to a new national survey of freshman attitudes released yesterday.

Among 275,811 students surveyed, just over half - 51.6 percent - of freshmen said they drink beer frequently or occasionally, down from 75.2 percent in 1981, according to the survey by the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California-Los Angeles. Meanwhile, support for keeping abortion legal fell for the sixth year in a row to 50.9 percent compared with 64.9 percent in 1990.

At the same time, acceptance of casual sex was 39.6 percent compared with 51.9 percent in 1987. Researchers, who have been surveying freshmen since 1966, said freshman attitudes may reflect concerns about sexually transmitted diseases. But other attitudes were noteworthy. Freshmen appear to view college mainly as a way to get a high paying job - not simply to learn, researchers said. Curiously, 74.2 percent of freshmen said volunteering was a vital activity in high school. Yet only 18.9 percent expected to continue community-service work while in college.

- Mark Clayton

Attendance 'meltdown' in East Europe

United Nations, NY - UNICEF is warning of a "major educational meltdown" in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet countries, where thousands of public schools have shut down and fewer children are attending classes. More than 32,000 preschools have closed across the region and the number of children attending kindergartens has fallen from 61 percent to 44 percent - primarily because of economic and social crises in the last 10 years, UNICEF said last week. UNICEF figures show that in the Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan, fewer than 1 in 10 children attend kindergarten, compared with 1 in three 10 years ago.

- Associated Press

Teachers Interested in writing for us?

We are always on the look out for 600-word columns written by kindergarten teachers on up to college professors. To submit a "Class Act" column, e-mail Amelia Newcomb at newcomba@csps.com or write to The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway Street, Boston, MA, 02115.

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