British Universities Required to Pay Greater Attention to Racial Diversity

The United Kingdom’s Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (OFSTED) has issued new guidelines for the U.K.’s institutions of higher learning. Beginning this September, colleges and universities will be rated on their success in achieving equality of opportunity and racial and ethnic diversity as part of their overall score on efficiency and effectiveness in providing quality higher education. Colleges and universities that are found lacking in diversity will receive a lower overall score. This may hamper these schools’ ability to recruit students.

But some colleges and universities in the United Kingdom believe that the new rating system may be unfair. Schools that are located in primarily white rural areas of the country question whether they can effectively recruit blacks and minorities from urban neighborhoods.

One reason for this concern is that it has not been disclosed how the diversity and equality ratings will be calculated. The draft proposal seems to endorse strong affirmative action measures. The guidelines state, “Equality and diversity include social and educational inclusion and take equality of opportunity further than equal access to participation.”