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Higher Education: Ethnic Groups

Volume 472: debated on Thursday 21 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what progress has been made in increasing the number of lecturers of black and minority ethnic origin in universities. (177069)

The responsibility for recruiting staff lies with higher education institutions (HEIs), as the employers. The Government have encouraged the sector to ensure that its work force is representative of the communities it serves and we have also instituted a number of measures to support HEIs in this area. The Race Relations Act 1976 (as amended by the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000) places a duty on higher education institutions to promote equality of opportunity. Through the Rewarding and Developing Staff initiative, we have supported HEIs in developing their human resource capability—recruitment and retention, and equal opportunities were two of the six priority areas.

There has been a rising trend in the numbers of black and minority academics working in higher education, although from a low starting point. In 2005-06, 8.4 per cent. of academics in UK HE institutions were from a black and minority ethnic background, compared to 6.0 per cent. in 1996-97.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England monitors the number of black and minority ethnic staff in higher education through its annual data reports—see

www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs/hefce/2007/07_36/

and its Higher Education Workforce Framework, at:

www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs/hefce/2006/06_21/

The Equality Challenge Unit, a sector body which provides advice on equality issues, also supports HEIs to help them improve their equality practice.