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HATS OFF: Numbers of African students at university have increased

THE NUMBER of British African students in university has increased over the last six years but numbers of under-graduates of Caribbean descent has barely improved according to new figures.

Student participation rates compiled by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) reveals a noticeable contrast between the two groups.

The most recent data for the 2011/12 academic year shows that students from an African background make up 4.1 per cent of the total student population.

For the same period, only 1.5 per cent of the total number of students in higher education was from a Caribbean background.

When the “Black Other” category is included, black students collectively made up 5.9 per cent of the total university population, but form approximately one third of the minority student population.

REVEALING

In the 2006/07 academic year, it was a different picture. Black Africans formed only 3.2 per cent of all students beginning their first year at university, revealing a one per cent increase over six years. For their Caribbean counterparts, the figure was 1.4 per cent – a negligible increase.

The statistics also revealed the most popular university subjects for ethnic minority students, which includes South Asians, Chinese, and other groups, were law, medicine and dentistry.
The least popular course was veterinary science.

ACCOMPLISHED

André Flemmings, banking and finance manager at Rare Recruitment which matches up accomplished black graduates with Britain’s top corporate firms, told The Voice: “The ratio of candidates of African parentage and those of Caribbean parentage who have ended up securing work experience and graduate roles through Rare remains about the same, suggesting that neither group is more successful than the other.”

He added: “Students are better served choosing the best university they can, studying a course they enjoy and excel at that, rather than spending three years and thousands of pounds to go to a less well regarded university and doing a course they or their parents think will be more related to a career.”

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