Towards a post-racial society: how to make universities more inclusive

上一篇 / 下一篇  2018-03-21 11:37:19

Radical changes are needed in the UK education system to demonstrate that inclusion, social justice and equity are being taken seriously. Schools, colleges and universities must be held more accountable for their practices, and demonstrate that they are implementing policies with concrete outcomes for the inclusion of black and minority ethnic staff and students.

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Race continues to remain a disadvantage for those from black and minority ethnic groups. By virtue of their non-white identity, black and minority ethnic groups continue to be positioned as outsiders, marginalising them in all aspects of society.

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The current neoliberal higher education system has reinforced inequalities between black and minority ethnic groups and white members of society. These inequalities stem from racist and exclusionary practices which continue to perpetuate white privilege and dominance. A post-racial society remains a myth. But there are steps universities can take to begin redressing the balance.

Acknowledge racism
Our education systems must first acknowledge institutional racism and white privilege, otherwise they will fail. A failure to acknowledge racism results in a failure to act upon it and to instigate change. Specific institutional frameworks are needed to facilitate change at local and national levels. Schools and universities must demonstrate a clear monitoring of racist incidents, which includes outlining how racism is addressed through clear action plans with specific outcomes.

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Unconscious bias training
Universities should take the bold step to introduce mandatory training in unconscious bias for all staff. At the very least this training should be a requirement for individuals involved in promotion and recruitment panels. More black and minority ethnic staff are needed in senior decision-making roles so that there is a specific recognition and valuing of diversity in staff representation, as well as a diverse curricula for students.

Better accountability
Universities should be held to account for the underrepresentation of black and minority ethnic groups in senior decision-making roles through monitoring and reviewing staff profiles on a regular basis. Analysis should address under (and over) representation of staff and staff levels (such as position and type of contract) as well as data on staff promotion and progression. To support black and minority ethnic staff to reach their full potential, all universities should be expected to provide formal mentoring and training to staff who wish to progress in their careers.

More diversity at the top
Advances in higher education policymaking have have not led to more black and minority ethnic individuals in senior roles. While the Race Equality Charter is a positive move, it is far too early to tell whether it will make a difference to universities addressing racial inequality.

Directly linking the charter to funding may encourage a greater number of universities to apply for the award and address issues of racial inequality. To qualify for funding, universities should demonstrate how they are addressing issues of race, equality and inclusion.







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