Call to punish race bias

January 9, 1998

COLLEGES should have their teacher training accreditation withdrawn if they fail to tackle ethnic discrimination, the Commission for Racial Equality has said.

Sir Herman Ouseley, chairman of the commission, told an education conference that the Teacher Training Agency must clamp down on institutions that fail to implement adequate equal opportunities policies. This should include an insistence that they collect and examine ethnic monitoring data and change practice if patterns of potential discrimination are revealed.

Speaking at the North of England Education Conference on Monday, Sir Herman said change was necessary against a background of too few teachers from ethnic minorities and even fewer at senior or headteacher levels.

He said: "This issue must be addressed. Inevitably the teaching profession is failing to benefit from the talents of many highly able people from ethnic minority communities. Neither the profession nor the service can afford that."

The financial crisis in the FE sector will do nothing to improve the situation for those from ethnic minorities who have their sights set on a career in teaching, he said.

The TTA held three Teaching in Multiracial Britain conferences jointly with the CRE last year and it is to launch a campaign aimed at recruiting more people from ethnic minorities into teaching. A spokesman said: "The conferences raised a number of issues which are now under consideration."

Liberal Democrat education spokesman Don Foster attacked the "huge disparities" in the funding of sixth form and further education colleges that receive less money. He said that a level playing field could be created by tying funding to a simplified framework of qualifications that applied to both types of institution.

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