A visiting professor at Harvard University has called for a racial quota system to ensure a sufficient number of minority students attend the top universities.
Kalwant Bhopal, a professor of education and social justice at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, was recently given a post at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, while also contributing articles to the London School of Economics and Political Science.
In her latest blog post, Bhopal said: “Universities should be held to account for their lack of representation of black and minority ethnic groups in senior decision-making roles through monitoring and reviewing their staff profiles on a regular basis.”
Bhopal added: “Racism is alive and well and robustly shaping the educational experiences of black and minority ethnic students in the United Kingdom and the United States. Higher education must firstly acknowledge institutional racism and white privilege; a failure to acknowledge racism results in a failure to act upon it.”
— Prof Kalwant Bhopal (@KalwantBhopal) December 4, 2017
She went on to claim universities have a responsibility to have ‘frameworks’, “monitoring racist incidents, identifying measures to address racism, and action plans with specific outcomes”, reported Campus Reform.
Such action plans, she said, need to “demonstrate a clear link between identifying a problem, providing solutions and measuring outcomes.
“Additionally, they need the ‘clarity’ we might associate with being ‘out in the open,’ in which racism is publicly acknowledged and addressed. Such clarity would ensure that it is the outcome of change that is assessed, rather than the rhetoric of what should happen.”
— Prof Kalwant Bhopal (@KalwantBhopal) February 3, 2016
Bhopal claims universities can best do this through introducing a ‘quota system’ for universities, particularly elite institutions, arguing “the persistent failures of these publicly-funded universities to address their inability to recruit the brightest students if they have the ‘wrong’ skin colour is, in the language of civil servants and policy-makers, not delivering value for money.”
She concludes by explaining her ideas would not lower academic standards, asserting “measures such as outreach programmes targeting poor areas, underperforming schools, and underrepresented schools; offering support packages to pupils to develop their university applications; training for interviews; bursaries and scholarships to Oxbridge, are in no way about lowering standards”.
Rather, she says these are “simple, necessary steps to move toward an inclusive approach for students from black and minority ethnic backgrounds who are not currently finding they have access to the same opportunities afforded their white, more wealthy, privately-schooled peers”.