Oxbridge’s lack of diversity is ‘staggering’ says Universities Minister as he urges academics to take account of ‘a broad range of factors’ during admissions
- Oxbridge should try to attract more black students, Universities Minister said
- Sam Gyimah said Oxford and Cambridge needed to address its lack of diversity
- He said diversity at UK’s oldest universities hasn’t changed from his student days
- Mr Gyimah said universities should make more use of ‘contextualised’ admissions – not results alone
Oxbridge should try to attract more black students to address its ‘staggering’ lack of diversity, the universities minister said yesterday.
Sam Gyimah said admissions were focused too heavily on academic performance and needed to ‘take into account a broad range of factors’.
The Tory minister, who became the first black president of the Oxford Union debating society in 1997, claimed that diversity at the UK’s two oldest universities had barely improved from his student days.
Oxbridge should try to attract more black students to address its ‘staggering’ lack of diversity, universities minister Sam Gyimah (pictured) said yesterday
Mr Gyimah said admissions were focused too heavily on academic performance and needed to ‘take into account a broad range of factors’
He told the Daily Telegraph the institutions should aim to help schools that were not good at preparing pupils for Oxford or Cambridge applications.
‘If you go to a school where this is not the system at all, you find it very difficult to catch up. You’re quite smart, you’ve got the potential, but there’s no one there to help you,’ he said.
‘What Oxford should be doing is helping those schools who do not have those inbuilt systems, to actually develop those advantages in those schools. If you don’t know those systems, you don’t have a hope of getting through.’
Mr Gyimah said universities should make more use of ‘contextualised’ admissions – not results alone. UCL, King’s College and York have introduced such schemes to improve the uptake of black and ethnic minority students.
A spokesman for Oxford University agreed that the university had ‘more work to do’ but insisted significant progress had been made by it and Cambridge.
Mr Gyimah’s comments comes as new rules to tackle soaring pay among university bosses were branded ‘woefully inadequate’ yesterday.
The Tory minister, who became the first black president of the Oxford Union debating society in 1997, claimed that diversity at the UK’s two oldest universities had barely improved from his student days. Pictured: File photo of Cambridge University
The new Senior Staff Remuneration Code was criticised for failing to ban vice-chancellors from attending committee meetings at which their pay is set.
Published today by the Committee of University Chairs, the guidance aims to stop university bosses influencing their own salary, and make the decision processes on increases more transparent.
It follows a year of revelations about the enormous pay packets of vice-chancellors, with many getting large rises or ‘golden goodbyes’ with little justification.
The code, which also says institutions must provide justification if they give their vice-chancellor a pay rise, applies to all remuneration committees.
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Nearly half of vice-chancellors are members of the committee at their university and although the new rules say they must not take part in any discussions relating to their pay, there was anger that it failed to ban them from the meeting.
Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union, which represents lecturers and other higher education staff, said: ‘This woefully inadequate code is nothing more than another plea for restraint to a group of people who have ignored every previous request.
‘It is staggering that it does not even ban vice-chancellors from attending the meetings where their pay is set. If leaders are to be held properly accountable, we need students and staff to be sitting on the committees which set their pay.’
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