Ethnic minorities stumble at higher education hurdle

Minority
ethnic groups are more likely than white people to progress to higher education
in England, but on average are less likely to do as well in degree performance
and face more problems getting jobs.

A
new report, published by the Department for Education and Skills, contains the
findings of a major research study conducted for the Institute for Employment
Studies over the past two years.

It
shows the various influences on minority ethnic participation and achievement
in higher education, and their transitions to the labour market.

The
report’s main author, Helen Connor, said: "Minority ethnic students
represent a significant proportion of today’s output from higher education –
around one in six of graduates. But this overall figure masks important variations
between the different minority groups in their progress to higher education,
the universities they go to, and their subsequent achievements.”

Professor
Tariq Modood, one of the authors, said the possession of a degree for ethnic
minorities was still not converting into an appropriate share of prized jobs.

Other
findings include
:

Uneven
distribution of minority ethnic students within the higher education sector,
with a strong bias towards certain universities and subjects, and geographical
differences

Minority
ethnic students face greater problems in finding their preferred choice of jobs
or careers. This can be attributed to a number of factors (eg, prior
attainment, choice of course and university, personal attributes) in addition
to ethnicity. Under-representation still occurs in many large organisations,
mainly because of their highly selective recruitment processes

The
report highlights a number of policy implications, including:


the importance of having an understanding of minority ethnic progress,
participation and outcomes at a detailed level, so that policies and approaches
to help overcome disadvantage can be more focused


that more private sector employers should monitor ethnicity in their graduate
recruitment.

By Mike Berry

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