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Indians getting preference over black students at Oxford University

December 7, 2010 - London

A report prepared by the UK admissions body, Ucas, has claimed that Indian students are getting preference compared to black candidates for undergraduate courses at Oxford and Cambridge Universities, as far as admissions are concerned.

Oxford's breakdown of its latest undergraduate admissions figures, published on its website reveals a total of 77 students of Indian descent being accepted in 2009 out of 466 applications, while only six black Caribbean undergraduates were accepted at Cambridge the same year.

The Guardian quoted Ucas as saying that figures revealed in the requests made under the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act by the British Labour MP David Lammy show over 20 Oxbridge colleges made no offers to black candidates for undergraduate courses last year, and that an Oxford college has not admitted a single black student in five years.

According to Oxford University's admissions data, only one black Briton of Caribbean descent was accepted for an undergraduate course last year, and that of the more than 1,500 academic and lab staff at Cambridge, none are black, while 34 of them are of British Asian origin.

The paper quoted 28-year-old Matthew Benjamin, who studied geography at Jesus College, Oxford, as saying that although he was never discriminated for being the only black student in the college, he was worried about the situation.

"I was very aware that I was the only black student in my year at my college. I was never made to feel out of place, but it was certainly something I was conscious of. On open days, some black kids would see me and say 'you're the only black person we've seen here - is it even worth us applying?'" he added.

The FoI data also said that 11 Oxford colleges and 10 Cambridge colleges made no offers to black students for the academic year beginning autumn 2009.

An Oxford college, Merton, has admitted no black students in five years, and just three in the last decade, the report said.

The data further reveals that 89 percent of students in the Oxford University belong to upper and middle-class sections of society, while 87.6 percent of the Cambridge student body is drawn from the top three socio-economic groups.


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