Responding to government’s announcement on tackling ethnic disparities at universities, Baroness Valerie Amos, Director of SOAS and Universities UK’s lead on work to address the BME attainment gap, said:
“We face a significant challenge in our universities. Whilst the number of BME students at university has increased by around 30% since 2007 there is a persistent attainment gap which has been hard to shift. We also need to do a great deal more to enhance the ethnic diversity within the university academic community. There were only 25 black women and 90 black men among 19,000 professors in 2016-17.
“Universities UK is supporting universities in their efforts to tackle the attainment gap. In conversations we have had with students and university staff up and down the country a number of key issues have emerged. Everyone mentioned the importance of leadership from the top. In addition universities sharing information about what works and what doesn’t, engaging with schools and national outreach programmes to help raise pupil attainment, as well as identifying how universities can make progress in reducing ethnic disparities through work such as the UUK-NUS initiative to tackle gaps in BME students’ achievements at university. It’s a huge agenda and one which universities must prioritise to deliver on our commitments to equality and social justice.”