From education to employment

Ethnic Students Centre In Research As New BME Network Established

Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) students achieve a lower class of degree than their comparative white students, according to research released by a company whose annual turnover tops £200 million.

Public sector specialists, Tribal Group, compiled the research in order to understand the trends and participation rates for BME groups in higher education, making a number of strategic recommendations for future policy. And further to these recommendations saw the launch of a new organisation called the BME Education Network, designed with the specific intention of promoting the participation and progression of more BME students.

“We are pleased with initial response to the report and to the launch of the BME Education Network”, explained BME Director Emy Onuora. “We are delighted that the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) are planning to implement some of report’s recommendations as this can help impact positively on entry into and success in higher education for black and minority ethnic students”, she continued.

The report articulates that there is a sincere view in many parts of the HE system that a problem does not exist with BME participation, and that it is dropping off the policy maker’s agenda. Furthermore, it summarises that BME students are more likely than their white counterparts to join the unemployment line following graduation.

Julie Tolley, author of the report, commented: “The report highlights complacency on the part of some universities, funding bodies and policy makers in assuming that there’s no problem. Much of the research shows that the picture is far more complex and despite a series of recommendations over recent years to take decisive action, none of them had been acted upon.”

Among these recommendations are the proposals that there is a need for the production of meaningful statistics avoiding the grouping together of a wide number of diverse ethnic groups, and the revitalisation of the BME policy agenda. And pertinent to this news site, is the recommendation that more research be undertaken to understand the effect of current Further Education policies on mature BME students aiming to enter Higher Education.

The report was released alongside the official launch of the BME Education Network at the “Improving Choice and Opportunities for BME Learners in Higher Education” conference, held on the 21st June 2006 at the Barbican Centre in London, supported by Sir Trevor Philips, Chair of the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE).

Vijay Pattni.

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