New data published today (04 June 2018) shows that six Cambridge colleges admitted less than 10 black students in the last five years, whilst some admitted none at all in some years. The university has called for parents and schools to help boost the numbers of ethnic minority applicants. Responding to the data, Sandra Kerr OBE, Race Equality Director at Business in the Community, said:
Although this report shows that Cambridge is making progress in admitting BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) students, there is still work to be done. Attending an elite university can often be a stepping stone into prestigious careers, so it’s vital we ensure BAME applicants are being given a fair chance to access these institutions and increase diversity at every level of society.
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I would encourage Cambridge and all other universities to involve BAME employees in the selection process where possible and to provide unconscious bias training to all staff involved in these processes. Universities should also set targets for BAME student representation and monitor the selection process to identify and tackle areas where BAME students are disproportionately dropping out. Finally, they should engage with schools with diverse potential candidates, including providing comprehensive pre-application guidance so young people understand what is expected and giving feedback to unsuccessful candidates to help develop their skills further. These actions will ensure that young people from all ethnic backgrounds have an equal chance to succeed.