Ethnic minorities are still struggling to gain places at top UK universities according to collaborative research involving the University of Manchester.
Figures show that race inequality remains to be a stringent issue across areas of higher education, including staffing, admissions and employment.
The Runnymede Trust, chaired by the University of Manchester’s Claire Alexander and Leeds Beckett University’s Jason Arda, compiled the Aiming Higher report looking at diversity within the British higher education system.
Speaking in a video produced by the UOM, university reader Robbie Shilliam, said: “Unless we subscribe to the idea that black people are inherently more stupid than white people, we have to say that there is something going on structurally within universities.
“If that’s the case then universities which are supposed to be providing a meritocratic basis for future life are actually reproducing existing inequalities and might actually be deepening them.”
Despite the increase of BME students in higher education, enrollment numbers remain depreciated across the top Russell Group universities like Oxbridge.
Claire Alexander said: “The percentage of BME students entering university is much higher than white students, but we know from the work done by Runnymede and what other organisations have done, they’re not doing as well.
“They’re not getting employed at the same rate, they’re not achieving the same wages and so on, so there are issues which universities, if they’re going to be taking themselves seriously, need to be addressing.”
The lack of BME senior figures teaching in universities is also a concern driven by figures collated in the Aiming higher report – something that Jason Arda believes is a contributing factor to ethnic student under-representation.
Mr Arda said: “Whatever background you’re from, if you see someone who looks like you and represents what you’re about and where you’re from, that will always have significant effects on how you think and how you carry yourself.”
Figures highlighting that 92.39% (15,905) of professors in UK academia are white and 0.49% are black (85) with just 17 of those being female, shows that despite ethnic minorities doing well at university, the prospect of being offered jobs that match their level of education or progress to professorships and other senior management roles is low.
Director of the Runnymede trust, Dr Omar Khan, explained how the ideology of white privilege was keeping Asian students away from the UK’s top universities.
Dr Khan said: “Evidence that white British students with lower A-level results are more likely to get into elite British universities than Asian students with higher A-level results suggests there is unconscious bias, if not positive discrimination, in favour of white university applicants in 2015.
“The obvious question, then, is, if these racial inequalities persist across every measurement of outcomes in higher education, will black and minority ethnic students continue to pay £9000 a year for a much poorer experience than their classmates?”
Image courtesy of University of Manchester, with thanks.