Scrutiny called for to ensure race equality

TIGHT scrutiny of colleges is required to stop staff from being denied promotion because of the colour of their skin, says a further education race watchdog.

Recommendations published by the Commission for Black Staff in Further Education says the progress of ethnic-minority staff should be monitored in each college and targets set for increasing numbers in senior management.

The conclusions were released in advance of the main report because colleges need to comply with the new Race Relations Amendment Act, which obliges them to have effective equality policies.

The report says race equality employment targets should be set, the racial composition of boards of government-funded education bodies should reflect the national population, and the proposed FE leadership college should put race equality at the heart of its activities.

Careers in post-16 education should be marketed to ethnic minorities, there should be funding for monitoring projects and fast-track training for ethnic-minority staff, says the report.

Doreen Lawrence, mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence, was at the launch of the recommendations in London on Tuesday night.

Stephen was stabbed to death in 1993 by a gang of white youths. The murder and subsequent police investigation, which has failed to result in anyone being jailed, sparked a searching examination of race relations in Britain.

Mrs Lawrence says increasing the number of black lecturers could help to reduce the prejudices of some young white people.

"Black students need to be able to identify with the tutors but white students need to see black people in those roles too. White students do not have any knowledge from their own history of black people in that sort of position," she said.

Wally Brown, one of just four black principals, from Liverpool Community College, said the commission's work is important because the obstacles to progression are often quite subtle.

He said. "You have to prove you can do it. But I was lucky because I worked with people who were into good equal opportunities."

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