University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Diversity in the United Kingdom: Quantification for higher education in comparison to the general population

Di Miceli, Mathieu ORCID: (2023) Diversity in the United Kingdom: Quantification for higher education in comparison to the general population. European Journal of Education. ISSN 0141-8211

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Diversity in the United Kingdom is regularly quantified through Census data. The latest figures (2021) for England and Wales indicate that 82% of the population identifies as white, 51% are females, 17.7%–22.3% are disabled, 18.2% hold no qualifications and 51.7% of households are deprived in at least one dimension. Furthermore, the me-dian age in England and Wales is 40. All of these figures vary significantly across local geographical areas. Diversity in Higher Education (HE) is also monitored yearly by the Office for Students. The latest figures (2020/2021) indi-cate that 68.4% of entrants are under 21 years old, 56.5% are females, 14.8% report a disability and 21.8% are cat-egorized as severely deprived. Some differences were observed between these figures and those from previous years. The current study aims to highlight how diversity in HE has evolved since 2010 and how the current landscape can illustrate significant differences between courses. Furthermore, comparisons with the general population are also measured in an attempt to describe potential bias in HE, together with new avenues that should be explored to level the HE field in regard to diversity. Our results indicate that access to HE needs to be improved for males, while strong discrepancies were observed between disciplines. Ethnic diversity remains high throughout the HE sector, although subject-specific biases were noted. An increase in students from the most deprived areas has been found, although it was not the case for all subjects within the sec-tor. Finally, reported disabilities are on the rise, especially regarding mental health, warranting additional support for affected students. These findings are discussed and put into context. To conclude, HE providers might need to col-legially address subject-specific discrepancies.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information:

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.© 2023 The Authors. European Journal of Education published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: diversity, England and Wales, higher education, university, United Kingdom
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
L Education > LC Special aspects of education
L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC5201 Education extension. Adult education. Continuing education
L Education > LF Individual institutions (Europe)
Divisions: College of Health, Life and Environmental Sciences > School of Science and the Environment
Related URLs:
Copyright Info: Open Access article
Depositing User: Mathieu Di Miceli
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2023 12:00
Last Modified: 30 Oct 2023 12:00

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