Even though the educational achievement gap between White British and ethnic identity groups has narrowed, numerous ethnic minority groups continue to face educational disparities. Minority groups in British communities have traditionally been disadvantaged in receiving education in contrast to white British groups (Lymperopoulou, 2015). Immigrants after WWII lacked credentials, and those who did had skills that did not allow them to work in the United Kingdom.
Inequality exists in most regions around the world in some form or another. Ethnic discrimination refers to the economic and political disadvantages that minority ethnic groups often face. The Equality and Human Rights Commission report in 2010 indicated that the education system in the British society is so much divided (Asthana, 2010). The inequalities in schools start as early as in nursery school, which is transferred into the primary level then carried to the secondary level and the same students carry it on into university and even into their workplaces. Most of these inequalities are related to poverty, race, and gender poverty among others.
Even after so many years of reforms in the education sector, in which the governments have been trying to curb this social problem in the British education, these challenges persist in many schools to date. Few factors contribute to ethnic inequalities in schooling, and they include:
Women from the minority groups always face discrimination. Most minority groups have an average of 10 and below when it comes to schooling. In a census conducted in 2011, it was indicated that there is a significant difference in the attainment of education among the older and the younger members of the minority groups (Holcroft-Emmess, 2016). The difference can be seen more in women from the minority groups compared to the men of the same group. Most of the women from these groups do not have the qualification. On average the women who are above 50 years without qualifications were more than seven times of the women who are between the age of 16 and 24 (Garner, 2010). During the study, the gap in gender in the attainment of education narrowed. It showed, on average men had a smaller fraction of those with no educational qualification that was 24% compared to that of women of 33% in 2011.
On the other hand, the report indicated that the boy child during their early years in school lag behind in various school subjects such as social and emotional development, problem-solving and reasoning.
One major factor of inequalities in the British society is the story which was one of black and white that led to discrimination based on race. In the Equality and Human Rights Commission report indicate that the black Caribbean and the mixed white/black Caribbean students are more than three times expected to be excluded from school compare to the population of the pupils in a whole. This statistics highlights the sad consistency concerning a profound imbalance in education.
Racism has affected education attainment among the minority groups in two different ways
The culture of resistance- many at times racism result in people having a low self-esteem in ethnic minorities, low self-esteem led to pupils from the minority groups to reject school and was referred by a Marxist Hall as a culture of resistance.
Teacher labeling, stereotyping and conflict in the classroom. – Most of the time a small number of teachers are perceived to be racist, some of them unknowingly hold a prejudgment against pupils of ethnic minorities. This kind of attitude as the potential pf lowering the attainment of students in many ways, one is that it can lead to the teaching giving the students lower grades, the second one is that the teacher will label the student from the minority group negatively which may result to a prophecy that is self-fulfilling. Learning can also be made difficult because of the conflicts between the teachers and the students due to racism.
Ethnocentric School Curriculum.
According to Cook (2011), in most British schools the curriculums used are ethnocentric, which is termed as a direct discrimination among students from the minority groups. These groups are disadvantaged when using the curriculum because of many reasons such as; most of the subjects in the curriculum mostly talks about the British culture, which white British students are familiar with because they have been brought up with the culture. Secondly, the contents that are included in the curriculum could lower the self-esteem of the ethnic minorities because it presents the character of the white as being good and much more superior while that of the ethnic minorities are depicted as inferior and evil.
Students from the minority groups are mostly disadvantaged in school because English is not their first language. This makes the minority students perform poorly in school because they do not comprehend the exams well because they are written in English (Phillips, 2011 pp.181). Students from the minority groups often have a challenge when it comes to expressing themselves with little English. Some teachers often perceive that if one does not know how to speak English, it means they are not intelligent, which most of the time is not true. This implies that the intelligent and clever students from the minority groups could be left behind by the teacher instead of the teacher trying to help the student improve in areas they are weak.
There is a significant progress in tackling the challenge of inequalities in schools and the education system as a whole. Even with this progress, there is a distinct and substantial difference in education among people from the various ethnic groups. Although in the recent past people from the ethnic minority communities have a better education than the British white people, the minority groups are still facing the challenge of discrimination when it comes to employment. The increase in attainment of education is due to the allocation of resources to the minority groups and also the provision of structures that has led to improvements which have resulted in better access to higher education especially among women. Education attainment among the ethnic groups has also increased due to the improved accessibility of education overseas which has made the ethnic group population in Britain to increase.
Under successive governments, the policy on education in Britain is featured by a sequence of initiatives. The objective of this policy is to improve performances in schools and also to increase attainment of education in all racial groups. There have also been resources that are targeting the minority groups with the aim of reducing inequalities in the education system. This has been seen as an essential part of improving educational attainment.
Asthana, Anushka (2010). Britain’s divided schools: a disturbing portrait of inequality.
(Online). The Guardian. Available at https://www.theguardian.com/education/2010/oct/10/britains-divided-school-system-report. (Accessed on 10 May 2017)
Cook, Sam (2011). 9) Ethnic groups differences in achievement in education. (Online).
Revisesociology.wordpress.com. Available at https://revisesociology.wordpress.com/2011/04/24/9-ethnic-groups-differences-in-achievement-in-education/ (Accessed 10 May 2017)
Garner, S. (2010). Racisms: An Introduction: “‘Race,’ Class and Gender.” London: SAGE
Publications Ltd, pp. 33-48.
Holcroft-Emmess, Natasha (18th August 2016). Ethnic Minorities In Britain Face “Entrenched
Race Inequality” – UK’s National Equality Body. (Online). Human Rights News, Views & Info. Available at https://rightsinfo.org/ethnic-minorities-britain-face-entrenched-racial-inequality-says-uks-national-equality-body/. (Accessed 10 May 2017).
Lymperopoulou, K. (2015). Still disadvantaged? The educational attainment of ethnic minority
groups. (Blog). Manchester Policy Blogs: Ethnicity. Available at http://blog.policy.manchester.ac.uk/featured/2015/05/still-disadvantaged-the-educational-attainment-of-ethnic-minority-groups/. (Accessed 10 May 2017).
Phillips, Coretta (2011). Institutional racism and ethnic inequalities: an expanded multilevel
framework. Journal of social policy, 40 (01). pp. 173-192. Available at https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/216781.pdf. (Accessed 10 May 2017).