Three things that I came across on my Google Reader stream in the last week or so:
Let me start with this NYTimes story:
David Lammy, a former higher education minister and Labour member of Parliament, has used figures obtained under Britain’s Freedom of Information Law to reveal a dearth of black and other minority students at either of the country’s two oldest universities.
According to Mr. Lammy, last year the whole of Oxford University admitted just one black student, and Cambridge University does not have a single black faculty member.
The Guardian carried a debate on its pages: Should Oxbridge discriminate to boost the numbers of black students? You'll find an echo of the debate that raged in India in 2006 when the Union government chose to implement a 27 % quota for OBC rstudents in federally funded institutions (including the IITs, IIMs and AIIMS).
Richard Kahlenberg at Innovations: Oxford’s Research-Based Affirmative Action
A large-scale British study, released last week, gives new empirical support for the drive to provide affirmative action to “strivers,” less advantaged students who, despite obstacles, perform fairly well academically. The research finds that students who attended regular “comprehensive” (public) secondary schools did better in college than those who scored at the same level on standardized admissions exams and attended “independent” (private) or “grammar” (selective public) schools.
Pointing to the study last week, Oxford University’s dean of undergraduate admissions, Mike Nicholson, created waves when he declared that students who do well at poor performing secondary schools “may have more potential” than those from more-advantaged schools, and that universities should consider the context in which students compile an academic record. [...]
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Addendum: See also:
David Lammy: The Oxbridge whitewash.
Sally Mapstone: These figures do not show that Oxford and Cambridge discriminate.