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New measures to tackle ethnic disparities at universities


ALL universities in the UK will now have to publish information on the efforts taken to address ethnic disparity. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
ALL universities in the UK will now have to publish information on the efforts taken to address ethnic disparity. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
ALL universities in the UK will now have to publish information on the efforts taken to address ethnic disparity.
Cabinet Office minister David Lidington and universities minister Chris Skidmore announced today (1) that universities have to publish data on admissions and attainment, broken down by ethnicity, gender and socio-economic background to highlight those making good progress and those lagging behind.
The move is aimed at ensuring that a student’s outcome is determined by his hard work and talent, and not background.
Figures from the Race Disparity Unit’s Ethnicity Facts & Figure’s website and Office for Students show that although record numbers of ethnic minorities are attending university, only 56 per cent of black students achieved a first or 2:1 compared with 80 per cent  of their white peers in 2016-2017.
Black students are also more likely to drop out of university.
The government was making “a clear and concerted effort, alongside higher education partners, to tackle these injustices,” Lidington said.
“I am determined that nobody experiences a worse outcome solely on the grounds of their ethnicity.”
Skidmore said a person’s background shouldn’t hinder their growth.
The universities minister said: “It is one of my key priorities to work with universities to highlight examples of best practice in widening not only access, but also we redouble our efforts to tackle student dropout rates.
“It cannot be right that ethnic minority students are disproportionately dropping out of university and I want to do more to focus on student experience to help ethnic minority students succeed at university,”
Chris Millward, director for fair access and participation, Office for Students, said universities are being urged to close the attainment gaps between ethnic minority students and others.
“Where we see lower proportions of ethnic minority students continuing with their studies, achieving the best degree outcomes, or progressing into graduate jobs, we expect universities to have a measurable plan of action to address this. Today, we are publishing new research and guidance to support universities in effectively targeting their work for students from minority ethnic backgrounds, so they can make the changes that are needed if we are to achieve equality for all,” he added.