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Study warns of lack of 'ethnic mixing' in universities

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A recent study has warned of a lack of 'ethnic mixing' in UK universities.

The research, from the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Bath, found out that ethnic segregation in neighbourhoods across the UK is reflected in university intakes.

Indeed, half of the students from the most ethnically diverse backgrounds tend to attend the most diverse universities, while only 12.3% of white British students attend the same institutions.

However, this does not mean that a university represents the local area; universities specialising in arts and music have higher percentages of white students than their local area. The least diverse universities were found to be located in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

There also appears to be only 20 universities in the UK where the majority of undergraduates are from ethnic minorities, excluding overseas students.

The study highlighted that academic subjects could be seen to be more segregated than universities as a whole. Indeed, only 25 black Caribbean students entered in medicine that year, and just over 50 students from non-white backgrounds entered veterinary science. Other subjects included dentistry, history, philosophy and language-related subjects.

Law, business studies, computer science and engineering are the most diverse subjects.

The research suggested that the basis for this segregation was that students from multicultural parts of London were worried about facing racism if they chose a less diverse university, while white students were avoiding some universities.

The study further argues that while student recruitment services should be careful of creating a ‘meaningfully diverse culture’, the core change needs to come from the transformation of the culture and structure of higher education.

According to the researchers, this should include anti-racist activities, teaching about inequalities, and greater access to elite institutions and courses.

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