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Minority ethnic groups face particular issues and challenges in the field of education, where issues such as access to education, achievement, the curriculum and language issues all have an impact in terms of needs and experience. Some minority ethnic groups are over-represented in school exclusion statistics whilst under-represented in the examination league tables. The reasons for over-representation in this area are complex, but it has been suggested that stereotyping and disproportionate levels of punishment dependent on certain groups could be responsible for this disparity.

Issues around access, expectations, etc will have an impact on the needs and experiences of people from different racial groups with reference to lifelong learning and, as such, should be taken into account by research and policy in this area. Black Caribbean, Pakistani and Bangladeshi people are considerably underrepresented in academic posts. Indian people are marginally underrepresented with Black Africans, Chinese and Asian others being over-represented. Within these categories, however, the position of women is worse. Black and minority ethnic staff were significantly more likely to be on fixed-term contracts and were significantly less likely to be in senior positions, particularly professorial. There are also issues here about access to higher education for minority ethnic groups and career patterns after qualifications have been obtained.

Questions about minority ethnic groups and enterprise in Scotland are beginning to be discussed, particularly with reference to the over-representation of some groups in self-employment/small to medium enterprises, and the under-representation in terms of access to training and funding relevant to this sector. That some minority ethnic groups have different patterns of access and participation in this area should be taken into account when formulating policy and research.

Scottish Executive

Scottish Centre for Research in Education

Department for Education and Skills

Commission for Racial Equality

Leeds University