Scots lead ethnic access

September 17, 2004

Scottish universities have avoided the disparities between ethnic groups seen in English higher education, a three-year study has concluded.

Young people from ethnic minorities in Glasgow are just as likely to attend university, whether it is an old or new higher education institution.

Previous English studies have found that, with the exception of Chinese youngsters, ethnic minority groups were more likely than whites to go to new universities; old universities were more likely to choose white applicants with the same qualifications.

The study by psychologists at Strathclyde University, funded by the Glasgow Anti-Racist Alliance, found that racism was “a part of everyday life” for ethnic minorities in the city. But despite this, the final wave of interviews in the study - which began in 2001 -revealed that young people from ethnic minorities were no less likely to go to old universities than white researchers.

The study found that 77 per cent of whites going into higher education went to pre-1992 institutions, compared with 75 per cent of Indian participants, 68 per cent of Pakistanis and 55 per cent of Chinese. The report says none of these differences “reached statistical significance”.

Derek Heim, a research fellow, said the findings were encouraging. But since the total number of young people surveyed was small (1) the findings had to be seen as preliminary and more research was needed. This was particularly important in Scotland, where there had been a dearth of research into educational results.

Research south of the border had indicated that Chinese and Indian people were, on average, better qualified than whites, while Caribbean men and Pakistani and Bangladeshi people were less well qualified on average.

“Our results show that, in Glasgow at least, all groups are performing equally well,” the report says.

* Children as young as three in Northern Ireland reveal sectarian and racial prejudice, an academic from Queen’s University Belfast has discovered.

Paul Connolly of Queen’s Graduate School of Education gave evidence to the Parliamentary Northern Ireland Affairs Committee inquiry into hate crimes and argued strongly for nursery-age intervention programmes.

By the age of three, more than twice as many Catholic children as Protestants said they did not like the police or Orange marchers. Catholic toddlers were much more likely to prefer the Irish Tricolour flag and Protestant children the Union flag.

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