Universities told to tackle race attainment gap

Tuesday 07th May 2019 18:42 EDT

Universities must "accelerate efforts" to close a gap in degree attainment between white and black, Asian and minority ethnic students, a study says.

Universities UK and the National Union of Students highlight a 13% gap between the chances of white and BAME students getting a first or upper second degree.

UUK and the NUS say campuses need a culture change to feel more inclusive.

The report acknowledges that many universities have worked to reduce the attainment gap, but says that with 81% of white students getting a first or 2:1 in 2017-18 compared with 68% of BAME students, more must be done.

It highlights five ways that universities can improve outcomes:

* provide strong leadership - university leaders should demonstrate a commitment to removing the BAME attainment gap and lead by example

* have conversations about race and changing cultures

* develop racially diverse and inclusive environments, ensuring that BAME students have a good sense of belonging

* gather and analyse data on the attainment gap

* understand what works - universities can share evidence of what works and what does not

UUK is asking vice-chancellors to sign up to an online pledge to work with students.

Meanwhile, the Office for Students (OfS) has set a target for the higher education sector to eliminate the unexplained gap in degree outcomes by 2024-25.

Baroness Amos, director of SOAS, who co-led the report, said: "Our universities are racially and culturally diverse, compared to many other sectors, but we are failing a generation of students if we don't act now to reduce the BAME attainment gap. It is important that universities act and are transparent in their approach so black, Asian and minority ethnic students are given the best chance of success."

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