Hard work, not race key to success

19th April 1996 at 01:00
Pupils of Chinese and Pakistani origins in Glasgow are more than twice as likely as their white counterparts to enter further and higher education, according to a survey of 1994-95 school-leavers disclosed to the city's education committee yesterday (Thursday). Two-thirds go into post-school education.

The findings come amid the racial controversy stirred this week by Christopher Brand, a psychologist at Edinburgh University, who argues in his latest book that differences in intellectual ability are the result of a fixed and hereditary general intelligence. Mr Brand contends that people of Afro-Caribbean origin are less intelligent than Asians and whites (page 14).

The figures from Glasgow show that of 389 leavers from black and ethnic minority communities, 34.2 per cent went into further education and 32. 7 per cent into higher education. Comparative figures for white leavers are 16. 3 per cent and 13.6 per cent. Only 6 per cent of the city's leavers are from ethnic minority communities.

Bashir Maan, chairman of Strathclyde Community Relations Council and a Labour member of Glasgow's education committee, dismissed Mr Brand's theories. "The reason is that first-generation parents from ethnic minorities are very keen to provide children with the best they can," Mr Mann contends. "They make them work when they come home and do not allow them to waste time watching television or videos. Mothers are at home and, although they are not educated themselves, make sure their children do their homework. They ensure children give time to their studies."

According to Mr Maan, evidence from south of the border showed that Chinese children came out top, followed by Indo-Pakistanis and whites. "It is all to do with hard work. Achievement in education has an element that is inherited but good education can enhance that element," he said.

The Glasgow survey also reveals a continuing rise in the overall number of pupils entering further education (now 17 per cent of leavers), although the figure for higher education remains constant at 15 per cent.

Over the past three years, the number of young unemployed has risen marginally to 20 per cent of leavers. The majority have low, few or no qualifications and come from areas of priority treatment. A third of those unemployed last October had been in work, training or college.

Between 1992-95, the number in work rose from 20 per cent to 22 per cent, while the number of those in training fell from 19 per cent to 17 per cent.

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