White British adults ‘less qualified’ than ethnic minorities, says Manchester University

Adults from ethnic minority backgrounds are more likely be educated to a degree level than their White British counterparts, according to Manchester university research.

The claim, based on evidence extracted from the 2011 census, shows an overall improvement of students gaining further and higher education qualifications over the past 20 years.

However, the research, which was conducted by The University of Manchester’s Centre on Dynamics and Ethnicity (CoDE), also highlights that ethnic groups are gaining more qualifications overall.

According to the data, in 2011, the groups with the highest proportion of people with degree level qualifications were the Chinese (43%), Indian (42%) and Black African groups (40%).

The Black African group, which comprises of a large number of international students, were the least likely to have no qualifications with 11%.

In contrast, 24% from the White British group had no qualifications.

According to Manchester University researcher, Kitty Lymperopoulou, the improvement is down to easier access to higher education – particularly among women.

She said: “Over the last twenty years, educational attainment has been increasing among ethnic groups as a result of an improvement in access to education overseas and the increasing proportion of ethnic minority people educated in Britain.

“Though this is good news for ethnic minorities, we need to remember that despite achievement gaps between some ethnic groups and White British people narrowing or even disappearing, ethnic minority groups continue to experience inequalities in education and the labour market.”

The study also discovered that other ethnic groups such as Bangladeshi and Pakistani saw a decrease in the amount people with no qualifications.

The Bangladeshi and Pakistani groups saw a 19% and 16% point decrease respectively in those without any qualifications between 2001 and 2011.

Ms Lymperopoulou said: “Whilst younger members of the Bangladeshi and Pakistani groups are achieving higher levels of attainment, members of these groups were also more likely to have no qualifications than White British people.

 “This partly reflects the lower rates of participation in education among Pakistani and Bangladeshi women, but also other factors including poverty and discrimination.”

The study highlighted that some ethnic groups continue to be disadvantaged.

Researchers found that more than 60% of White Gypsy/Irish Travellers had no qualifications in 2011, making them two and a half times more likely than the White British group to be educationally disadvantaged.

Image courtesy of pennstatenew, via Flickr, with thanks.

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