Tag Archive | "Universities"

14,000 British professors – just 50 are black


The Guardians Education Correspondent, Jessica Shepherd wrote at the end of May:

Call from leading black academics that an urgent culture change is needed at UK universities as figures reveal just 50 black British professors out of more than 14,000, and the number has barely changed in eight years, according to data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

The University of Birmingham was the only University with more than two black British professors, and six out of 133 Universities have more than two black professors from the UK or abroad. The statistics which were gathered, from 2009/10, define black as Black Caribbean or Black African, and do not include professors of South American or Asian backgrounds.

Shepherd writes “Black academics are demanding urgent action and argue that they have to work twice as hard as their white peers and are passed over for promotion”. A study to be published in October found ethnic minorities at UK universities feel “isolated and marginalised”. One wonders how these academics differ to any other minority workers in Britain? I’m sure that any study in any workplace might reveal similar figures.

Emeritus professor at the Institute of Education, University of London, Heidi Mirza, is demanding new legislation to require universities to take a stronger stance on tackling discrimination.

Laws brought in in February 2011 give employers, including universities, the option of hiring someone from an ethnic minority, if they are under-represented in their organisation and are as well-qualified for a post as other candidates. This is known as positive action. Mirza wants the law amended so that universities are compelled to use positive action in recruitment.

Mirza stated that there were too many “soft options” for universities and that there needed to be penalties for those that paid lip-service to the under-representation of minorities. Positive discrimination, where an employer can limit recruitment to someone of a particular race or ethnicity, is illegal.

The HESA figures show black British professors make up just 0.4% of all British professors – 50 out of 14,385.

This is despite the fact that 2.8% of the population of England and Wales is Black African or Black Caribbean, according to the Office for National Statistics. Only 10 of the 50 black British professors are women.

Despite the fact that 0.4% of all professors are black. I feel that someone is overlooking some glaringly obvious facts which distort the information and the context in which it has to be viewed.

The figures reflect professors in post in December 2009. When black professors from overseas were included, the figure rose to 75. This is still 0.4% of all 17,375 professors at UK universities. The six universities with more than two black professors from the UK or overseas include London Metropolitan, Nottingham, and Brunel universities. Some 94.3% of British professors are white, and 3.7% are Asian. Some 1.2% of all academics – not just professors – are black. There are no black vice-chancellors in the UK.

Harry Goulbourne, professor of sociology at London South Bank University, said that while the crude racism of the past had passed, universities were “riddled with passive racism”. He said that, as a black man aspiring to be a professor, he had had to publish twice as many academic papers as his white peers. Stating that he had switched out of the field of politics, as it was not one that promoted minorities. He called for a “cultural shift” inside the most prestigious universities.

Mirza said UK universities were “nepotistic and cliquey”. “It is all about who you know,” she said.

Visiting professor of education at Leeds University, Audrey Osler, described the statistics as “a tragedy”. “Not just for students, but because they show we are clearly losing some very, very able people from British academia.”

Black Students seeking academic posts were also questioned. Many students were seeking academic posts in the United States where they believed the promotion prospects were fairer. Some students that said too little was being done to encourage clever black students to consider academia and that many were put off by the relatively low pay and short contracts.

Nicola Dandridge, of Universities UK – the umbrella group for vice-chancellors also acknowledged the problem. Dandridge, said:

“We recognise that there is a serious issue about lack of black representation among senior staff in universities, though this is not a problem affecting universities alone, but one affecting wider society as a whole.”

A study by the Equality Challenge Unit, which promotes equality in higher education, found universities had “informal practices” when it came to promoting staff and that this may be discriminating against ethnic minorities. Its findings, Which will be published in the Autumn of 2011, are expected to call on universities’ equality and diversity departments to be strengthened.

Mirza said that despite equality committees being aware of the problem, the committees are on the margins of the decision-making.

Nicola Rollock, an academic researcher in race and education at the Institute of Education, University of London, said there needed to be greater understanding of how decisions were made inside universities. Equality departments risked being “an appendage” or a monitoring form for people applying for jobs. “We are still far more comfortable talking about social class than race in universities,” .

Posted in Black Britain, Black History, Black People in Europe, Black Women, Caribbean HistoryComments (2)

Students How to curb your debt

Go to the Ant - Financial Advice

Go to the Ant - Financial Advice

The recent report published Universities UK, which represents vice-chancellors, in which it concluded that University tuition fees should more than double to 6,500 Pounds per year is once again a reminder of just how expensive higher education is in Britain today.

The above report is to be taken into account by the new Coalition Government in its review of tuition fees later this year, and all the indications are that it will approve an in principle increase of tuition to approximately 7000 Pounds in the next academic year.

In addition to the above there is evidence that students are struggling with debt, not only during the course of, but also after the completion of their studies. A recent survey (Times Newspaper 18 August 2009) suggested that students starting university this year could end up with debts of 23,000 Pounds after graduating.

Student debt is no joke and is becoming increasingly serious. So what can be done about it? Well here are the Ant’s top ten tips for surviving your degree with as little debt as possible:

1. Live at Home – A substantial part of student expenditure goes on living and eating expenses when living away from home. Accordingly, If at all possible stay at home this way you can, save rent, save the cost of meals, washing, and drying, utility bills. I appreciate this is note ideal university experience but it can be just as much fun. However I would not suggest that you actually choose your University for this reason, but as the above report it will increasingly become a factor in your choice.

2. Student discounts- There are endless discounts for students to make your lives easier in terms of expenditure, including travel, clothing cinema, restaurants, and sportswear but to name a few. Your NUS card is a gateway to numerous discounts (see www.nus.org.uk ) but also check out the following sites some of which offer not only discounts but free stuff including cash www.studentdiscounts.co.uk www.studentbeans.com www.wealthystudent.co.uk

3. Check your bank account – It is a well known fact that the first bank a student chooses to open an account with is probably the one that he or she will stay with for long after their education has been completed ( I stayed with Nat West for about 18 years after I had completed University). The banks are well aware of this fact and therefore bend over backwards to secure student accounts. You must use this to your advantage and make sure you carefully examine the bank account you pick as a student. There are numerous incentives given by banks to try and secure you as a customer but you must choose your bank based sound financial criteria such as overdraft facilities, interest and account charges rather than free gifts. I will not personally recommend any particular account but suggest you check out websites such as http://www.moneysupermarket.com/currentaccounts/ and www.moneyfacts.co.uk/banking/…/banking_stud_accounts.

4. Cook your own food – Whether living at home or in student accommodation you can save money on your lunch and dinners by cooking your own food. Eating out (even in halls of residence) for lunch and dinner can eat into your limited funds and can be avoided by you cooking your own meals and taking them into University if you live off site to if you’re living or at home.

5. Get a job – Many students work their way through university by using part time income to supplement grants and student loans. Obviously you should ensure that work does not intrude on your studies to the point where it becomes counter- productive but if you can balance part time working and studying it can not only provide you with extra income but also help you to start saving for your post university life.

6. Bursaries – Another means of supplementing your grant or student loans is applying for bursary. Bursaries are given by universities or colleges to eligible students. English universities and colleges who charge fees over 2,835 Pounds are obliged to provide extra financial help to students on a low income who receive the full Maintenance grant or special support grant. Check out www.studento.com for a guide to bursaries.

7. Buy and sell second hand books – You don’t need to spend hundreds of pounds per year on new text books. You can buy second hand books from students who have just completed the academic year of you degree or course you are entering. The advantage of buying such books is that they are probably annotated and have the important provisions already highlighted. You should however check that the books you are buying are not out of date. You can also buy second hand on line. Check out www.sellstudentbooks.com/ and www.academicbooktrade.co.uk/

8. Mentoring /Student Ambassadors- All universities need student ambassadors offer tours around the campus to prospective students and assist during events. Some Universities also have connections with local schools and need student mentors to work with school children. All the positions are paid and are on a casual basis. If you find yourself short on money being a student ambassador can help you bring in a bit of extra cash when its needed without having to commit yourself to a a weekly hour commitment

9. Online – As can be seen above the internet is an invaluable source of information on how students can save money. Use the internet to research any questions you have on finances relating to student loans, bank accounts, discounts, eating out, living away from home

In conclusion remember the years you spend in higher education are supposed to be amongst the most rewarding and exciting time of your life don’t let debt ruin it

Isaac Carter is the author of “Go to the Ant” a simple but effective guide to money management which can be purchased at. www.gototheant.co.uk

Isaac Carter is the author of “Go to the Ant” a simple but effective guide to money management.

Posted in African American History, African History, Black Britain, Black WomenComments (2)