Need for more opportunities for BAME undergraduates, says leading Yorkshire academic Yorkshire News

A prominent Yorkshire academic has called for greater efforts to ensure that universities become more diverse and create equal opportunities for black, Asian and ethnic minority students in higher education. Photo credit: PA

Professor Zahir Irani, Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Bradford, said it is a “chance in time” for UK institutes to take action to address the deep-seated inequalities that exist within higher education.

The 51-year-old counted The Yorkshire Post, Inequalities had been further highlighted by the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement.

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“Inequalities are everywhere. They are economic, social, professional, health and educational.

The total percentage of black academic staff stands at 1.4 percent, in the Yorkshire and the Humber, based on figures for the 2018-19 academic year. Photo Credit: Getty Images

“What Black Lives Matters has done is highlight those tension points and those opportunities as a result.

“I hope that this is a real boost of energy in our governing bodies.”

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Professor Irani added: “The higher education sector must play a role in trying to encourage and create opportunities while being accountable to ensure that universities are a good representation of our society.”

Professor Zahir Irani, Associate Vice Chancellor of the University of Bradford.

Analysis by Yorkshire Universities, a group representing 12 institutions in the region, for this newspaper showed that black students made up just three percent of the region’s total student population of 196,000, based on figures from the 2019-20 academic year. . While the total percentage of black academic staff stands at 1.4 percent.

Professor Irani said: “These numbers are small.

“Our students need to have role models and look to their teachers and they need to see diversity and get some kind of inspiration and motivation.

“It’s looking in the mirror and one day thinking that it could be me.

“It’s a great statement, but it should start with being able to have open conversations.”

The University of Bradford is challenging the trend in the region on some aspects of diversity, with 10.5 percent of its entrants coming from areas where 18/19 year-olds are less likely to enter higher education, according to figures. from the Student Office for 2019. -20.

The university also ranked first in England in the new Social Mobility Index university league table recently, while last year the institute was named university of the year for social inclusion by The Times / Sunday Times.

Of the new students, 62.9 percent were Asian, compared to the national figure of 14.7 percent, but 6.9 percent were black students, compared to 10.5 percent nationally. .

Professor Irani said: “We want to increase the numbers … The model must change because the world is changing very fast.”

Meanwhile, a leading higher education organization in the region has emphasized the need for a “culture shift” within the sector to increase diversity.

Dr Peter O’Brien, Head of Yorkshire Universities, said: “To build a more inclusive student population, action must be driven by strong leadership, the commitment of all staff and cultural change within the institutions. higher education “.

He added that universities in the region are “working hard” to address the inequalities faced by BAME students and are working with local businesses and professional services to support greater employability.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Education said: “Diversity and equality are vital in higher education. Our world-leading universities are an engine of social mobility and provide life-changing opportunities for thousands of ethnic minority students and staff each. anus.

“The Government has launched the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparities, which is reviewing disparities in outcomes, achievement and employment in a variety of communities and organizations.”

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This notice was published: 2021-06-20 10:00:22

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