ECU reaction to higher education green paper
Green paper provides opportunities to advance equality but government must look beyond social mobility.
The government’s green paper for higher education ‘Teaching excellence, social mobility and student choice’ presents a significant opportunity to advance equality for students, but further consideration needs to be given to ensure these opportunities are not lost.
ECU welcomes the increased commitment to achieving greater student diversity and addressing inequality in outcomes. However, it is paramount that such efforts focus across all groups of students and not just on social mobility. Our Equality in higher education statistical report 2015 (released today) sets out some of those challenges. For example the ethnicity degree attainment gap remains stubbornly large at 15.2 percentage points and we are seeing a spiralling decline of students over 26 participating in our universities.
David Ruebain, ECU’s chief executive said:
“We are pleased to see that this green paper is asking for further evidence of how the proposed changes will affect different protected groups and BIS’s responsibilities to equality as set out in the public sector equality duty.
The proposals for the TEF metrics to be broken down and reported by disadvantaged backgrounds and under-represented groups, recognising that ‘not all students will achieve their best within the same model of teaching’ is positive. This is an important step for institutions to continue their work towards closing the degree attainment gap – something which our race equality charter supports as it requires analysis of how inclusive pedagogy and teaching is.
We will be facilitating discussion with the sector on the equality implications of the proposals and look forward to using our research and expertise to respond to the consultation in due course.”
ECU will soon be setting out its 2016 work programme for English HEIs. It will set out the support and activities we will be offering subscribing institutions to help them increase the participation and achievement of under-represented and disadvantaged students. Data will be made available which considers the intersection of those from low participation backgrounds with different protected characteristics.