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Showing posts from April, 2021

Office for Students: Meet the new boss……….

The idea that the new boss is always the same as the old boss is a well-worn adage that seems to apply most times. But, in the case of the Office for Students this week, there was an exception. Career politician, James Wharton took over the direction of the Office for Students (OfS) as its chair. Eager to please his political masters, his first move was to be interviewed by the Telegraph where he could lay out his priorities. During the biggest crisis for universities and students in decades, he cites his main priority as "Free speech” . To further this aim, it is reported that he threatens to use his new powers, which include the ability to fine and deregister institutions as well as ban degree courses from recruiting new students, if universities and linked clubs fail to uphold speech rights. His next priority is reported as urging universities to do more to boost their intake of white working-class boys. This is falling well short of dealing with the challenges ahead and he wi

Covering a tangled web of racial bias, poverty, and inequality with whitewash

The final report of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities (CRED) emerged this week and triggered a flood of complaints. Accusations of a ‘whitewash’ cut deep and should not be dismissed. The report’s many omissions and faults led to an assault on the credibility of both the report and the commissioners behind it. A golden opportunity has been lost and will be difficult to retrieve. There is no doubt that racial inequalities, prejudice, and racism exist across our society and are very emotive issues. Yet the idea of ‘institutional racism’ is dismissed by simply redefining it in narrow terms. The report’s main observation is that poverty and socioeconomic factors are key influences on the glaring disparities. But this is hardly a new observation and certainly not a ringing endorsement of ongoing government policies designed to entrench inequalities, regardless of the bluster and rhetoric. Success in Higher Education is a key element in progress and racial discrimination must not