Universities: Equality

Department for Education written question – answered on 29th January 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Caroline Lucas Caroline Lucas Green, Brighton, Pavilion

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will take steps to ensure that universities use universally accessible (a) student surveys and (b) data collection processes to monitor university compliance with equality charters; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Chris Skidmore Chris Skidmore Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Universities and Science) (Joint with the Department for Education)

Higher education providers (HEPs) are independent and autonomous institutions. While we recognise the work of Advance HE and the value that both the Race Equality and Athena Swan charters bring to the sector the government does not compel HEPs to participate in equality charters.

However, progress on addressing both gender and racial equality in HE has been unacceptably slow, particularly for minority ethnic staff securing senior university leadership positions. It is essential that HEPs urgently address those institutional and cultural barriers standing in the way of women and minority ethnic staff and students so that everyone who has the potential to thrive at university, does so.

The government has brought forward sweeping reforms of higher education to tackle equality of opportunity through the Higher Education and Research Act 2017 (HERA). This includes a mandatory condition of registration which, for the first time, requires all higher education providers registered with the Office for Students (OfS) to publish data including the number of applications for admissions, offers made and acceptance rates broken down by gender, ethnicity and socio-economic background. The OfS has issued guidance to higher education providers on how to comply with the transparency condition.

The OfS has also made available online an interactive dashboard of data, which will help to evaluate access and participation at specific universities and colleges. The dashboard can be used to compare different student groups (for example, disabled students or students by their ethnic background) and their peers, and reveal gaps in access, continuation, success and progression. More information is available at the link:

https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/data-and-analysis/access-and-participation-data-dashboard/guide-to-the-access-and-participation-data-resources.

Does this answer the above question?

Yes2 people think so

No0 people think not

Would you like to ask a question like this yourself? Use our Freedom of Information site.