Diversity in the UK’s University System

Diversity in the UK’s University System

A Buzzfeed article by Tom Phillips unpicks recently published UCAS and HEFCE data to develop an understanding of the difference between BAME students compared to their white counterparts in Higher Education (HE). The article comes in response to a “name-blind admissions”┬áscheme piloted by six universities including the University of Manchester. The article provides some helpful and revealing visual charts that compare data of different ethnic student groups.

White teenagers over the past ten years are less likely to go to university, whilst other student ethnic groups have increased. However, when it comes to entry to Russell Group universities, black students are much less likely to be accepted. When comparing this to students’ Key Stage 4 and 5 results, black, Pakistani and Bangladeshi children are slightly less likely to do as well as white students, which is a contributing factor to their admission to these top institutions.

In terms of student attainment at HE, white students have on average the highest attainment rates, whereas black student on average have the lowest. Phillips concludes that “white students of every ability do better out of university than their peers, across almost every attainment category”. This also has a demonstrated effect on student employment. Six months after graduating, white, Chinese and Indian students are also more likely to be in employment, have graduate-level jobs or be continuing with their studies.

There are multiple reasons for this disparity between different student ethnic groups, and it can not just be pinned down to bias within institutions or the educational system, as there are various cultural factors that play their part. Nonetheless, these differences based on ethnicity are unacceptable at all levels, and more must be done by universities to tackle these barriers.

To access the full article please do so via this link.