UK to prevent discrimination against NRI students
Top education authorities have recommended that to avoid bias, application forms should be made anonymous.india Updated: Dec 01, 2005 20:12 IST
British students from Asian and Afro-Caribbean ethnicities have a lower chance of being offered a place to study at universities than their white colleagues, a new study reveals.
To prevent discrimination against students from these backgrounds, top education authorities have recommended that university application forms should be made anonymous - that is, the student's name should not be mentioned during the application process.
The recommendation has been made by the Higher Education Funding Council of England (HEFCE) after a new study revealed that Pakistani students are two percentage points less likely to be offered a place at university compared with their white peers.
The disparity is particularly revealed in the case of applications to study law at university. Ethnic minority applicants - including Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, and Afro-Caribbean - have a significantly lower chance of receiving an offer when applying to study law compared with their white peers.
The latest study is based on a re-analysis of the 2002 research that caused a scandal about bias in applications.
Howard Newby, chief executive of HEFCE, said: "It is clear from this analysis that prospective students from ethnic minorities should not be put off from applying to study at the most highly selective universities.
"This is good news, but we do need to do more research in this area, particularly with respect to ethnic minority students who wish to study law."
A spokeswoman for the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service - the central organisation that processes applications for full-time undergraduate courses at British universities and colleges - said it would consider any change to make the system fairer, but any reforms would follow intense consultation with the sector.
"We would consult if there was a groundswell of opinion pushing for this," she said, adding that institutions did need to use the name of applicants for mailing processes.