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Universities must do more to tackle the BAME attainment gap, report says


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The National Union of Students and Universities UK have released a new joint report calling for universities to do more to tackle the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) attainment gap.

Image credit: Pixabay via Pexels

The BAME attainment gap is the difference in undergraduate degree attainment between white and BAME students.

The report found that 81% of white students graduated with first and upper second class honours compared to just 68% of BAME students, making the attainment gap 13% in the academic year 2017/18.

The report recommends key steps for universities to close the attainment gap, including working with students to develop 'racially diverse and inclusive environments' and taking evidence-based, collaborative approaches to addressing the gap.

Speaking to the BBC, Baroness Amos said:
"Our universities are racially and culturally diverse, compared to many other sectors, but we are failing a generation of students if we don't act now to reduce the BAME attainment gap.


“It is important that universities act and are transparent in their approach so black, Asian and minority ethnic students are given the best chance of success."


NUS Vice-President Higher Education Amatey Doku, who co-authored the report with Amos, told the BBC that student unions across the country have already been campaigning for action.

"From decolonising the curriculum to more culturally competent support services, many students and students' unions have been fighting and campaigning for action in this area for years.

"This report highlights good practice and clear practical steps for universities to take to begin to respond to many of the concerns raised."

Universities have expressed their commitment to closing the attainment gap.




The Office for Students, the English universities regulator, already requires universities to eliminate the unexplained gap in first and upper second class degrees between white and BAME students by 2024/25.

Their goal is to completely eliminate the gap by 2030/31.

The NUS is also conducting research on BAME students' experiences in education, following up on their previous Race for Equality report, in order to challenge racism and build "liberated, racially equitable learning institutions".

The report follows a slew of measures previously announced by the government to improve outcomes for BAME students in higher education.

These measures involve actions from the government, regulators and sector groups, to hold universities to account through their Access and Participation plans. 

Lead image credit: Pixabay via Pexels

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