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'Universities must do more to tackle ethnic disparity' says Gov

DIVERSITY: BAME students at UK universities

MEASURES TO improve outcomes for ethnic minority students in higher education were announced by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster David Lidington and the Universities Minister Chris Skidmore today (Feb 1).

The measures are part of a cross-government effort to “explain or change” ethnic disparities highlighted by the Prime Minister’s Race Disparity Audit website, so people can achieve their true potential, whatever their background and circumstances.

Universities will now be held to account on how they will improve outcomes for underrepresented students, including those from ethnic minority backgrounds, through powers of the Office for Students, who will scrutinise institutions’ Access and Participation plans.

All universities will now have to publish data on admissions and attainment, broken down by ethnicity, gender and socio-economic background, to shine a spotlight on those making good progress and those lagging behind.

League table providers are being encouraged to present better information on social mobility and underrepresented groups, while the Office for Students is developing a new website to replace Unistats, which will have a greater focus on supporting those who are less likely to enter higher education.

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster David Lidington said: "I am determined that nobody experiences a worse outcome solely on the grounds of their ethnicity. which is why the Government is making a clear and concerted effort, alongside higher education partners, to tackle these injustices.

"These ethnic disparities in higher education cannot be tackled overnight, but I look forward to seeing meaningful and sustained progress in the higher education sector in the next few years.”

Universities Minister Chris Skidmore commented that universities need to “reflect modern Britain, and ensure that everyone who has the potential, no matter their background or where they are from can thrive at university.”

Skidmore added that he expects universities will be drawing up plans for implementation in 2020-21.

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