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The Awarding Gap Explained by Panashe Chisasa

 

I am a BAME Student Advocate. "A what”! you may be asking. Let me explain. I am student like yourself who works with other BAME Students Advocates and staff, to create and increase awareness of race, equality, diversity and inclusion within the university, mostly focusing on the BAME Awarding gap. "Another Buzz word again". "How is this going to end"? Bear with me and let me explain again. The awarding gap is the percentage difference between white students and students from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds, who are awarded/graduate with a good degree when they complete their studies. In the context of the work on the awarding gap, a good degree is defined as a degree classification of 2.1 or first classification.

 

Putting this into perspective, if you are an Asian student arriving to University with AAA the data suggests you might graduate with the same degree classification as a white student with BCC. A key point to note is that neither white students nor BAME students are to blame for the way things are. Rather it's a bigger problem rooted in the way higher education institutions have been run, that has prevailed since the inception of higher education. Only until 2003, did we start to have data that records this information. Between 2003 and 2016 the difference in awards received by white and BAME students has remained almost constant.

 

In the last few years, our university together with other universities in the UK are starting to wake up to this problem and recognising it for what it is, an institutional problem. A number of initiatives have been put in place to reshape the outlook of higher education for every student. Some of these include having BAME Student Advocates at the tables where key topics affecting BAME students are discussed. Our role is to bring the perspective, needs, challenges and lived experiences of BAME students into the rooms where these discussions are held. We recognise the coexistence of white students and students from ethnic minorities in the classroom and other spaces that we operate in, as well as the fact that some of the challenges faced in these spaces are not exclusive to BAME students but affect all students. As such we encourage you to engage with us. Put simply, our mission is to consult you. How are you doing? What are some of the barriers that stop you from achieving your best results? Get in touch with us and learn about the work we do, our influence and impact within the university. Equally we want to learn about your experiences. Our work would be meaningless if it weren’t for who we do it for. YOU.

 

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