London, Jan 31 (IANS) British Prime Minister David Cameron on Sunday announced that a new government law will require universities to publish statistical data on admissions by gender, class and ethnic backgrounds.
The move comes as a response to criticisms that students from the ‘wrong’ backgrounds were under-represented at elite universities such as Oxford and Cambridge, Xinhua news agency reported.
Downing Street said in a statement: “Under the proposal, all universities will have a new ‘transparency duty’, part of a drive to highlight those institutions failing to improve access.”
“There are currently huge discrepancies in the offers made by universities to students from disadvantaged backgrounds. In 2014, just 27 black students entered Oxford University out of an intake of more than 2,500, and only one in ten of the poorest white working class boys enter higher education.”
Under the duty, which will be introduced in legislation, wide-ranging data will be published showing the ethnic, gender and socio-economic breakdown for applications, entry, and retention in key disciplines at all higher education institutions.
Government Business Secretary Sajid Javid said: “This new transparency duty will highlight where progress is being made and where institutions could do much more. Only by working together can we tear down barriers and create a genuine level playing field for those with the potential to study at our world-class universities.”