Issues regarding diversity in our universities
The article shows a study involving data that was recently published by UCAS and HEFCE to develop an understanding of differences between BAME students in comparison to white students when it comes to attending university and the possibility to prosper after higher education. The university of Exeter, Huddersfield, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, and Winchester were took part in a name blind admissions study as a means to strip inequality and bias in the university admissions system. The results were complicated and indicated that the problems surrounding race in regards to university attendance is not as clear cut as we believed. The study revealed that prior to belief, it is in fact white teenagers that are less likely to attend and apply to university and the rate is continuously dropping from the past ten years. Despite this there is a visible rise in the number of BAME students with Chinese being the highest attending ethnic minority. However, black students are less likely to be accepted to Russell group universities and White, Chinese, and Indian students are more likely to graduate and have a graduate-level job 6 months after graduating.
There are many social, cultural and economic factors which contribute to the different statistics. For example Chinese families are stereotypically known for pushing their children to achieve higher grades in STEM subjects from a younger age, and in terms of economy British Chinese men and women rank very highly in terms of receiving wages well above the national median, thus this may increase their chances to receive financial support and the grades for higher education. However, students of Afro-Caribbean and some of those from south-Asian backgrounds are statistically greeted with more hostility when applying for jobs post-graduation due to racial profiling. Likewise studies show that they are more likely to live in socio- economic circumstances which build barriers to the idea and the reality of achieving higher education a lot of which is left unaddressed.
I personally believe that even though the study indicates that there is more than one factor to why these results are the case and it is not necessarily the fault of higher educational institutions, in my opinion universities are still very much responsible in supporting equal opportunities both before the application process, during and after graduation, especially taking into account the amount of money students have pay to receive their degree. One of the possible solutions is to address the problems that are faced by students from different racial backgrounds back home before they even consider joining higher education. Are the schools attended by minorities pushing them to apply in the first place? Are universities abandoning certain school academies that have lower grades in comparison to other high achieving high schools, and are they neglecting the fact that some of these schools are struggling to push their students due to socio-economic issues? I believe with the creation of more organisations within universities taking a bottom up approach to reach the individuals that believe they are incapable to apply/ stay in university due to racial and economic issues and then incorporate that with support post-graduation, this matter of inequality within the education system can be tackled.