Ethnic minority students parents 'forcing them to study medicine and law' in Britain
Teenagers from ethnic minority families are under excessive pressure from parents to push for medicine and law degrees at top universities in Britain, the government's higher education access tsar has warned.
Prof Les Ebdon, head of the Office for Fair Access, said that many students who made it onto degrees in medicine or law are sometimes not be 'personally committed' to the subjects leading them to drop out.
He insisted that parents and children needed clearer information to help them make more informed choices about higher education courses, the Telegraph. According to the report, the comments come just days after the watchdog told universities to start identifying children as young as seven with the aptitude to proceed onto degree courses.
In an interview with The Sunday Times, Prof Ebdon said that "one of the underlying reasons for the under-representation of ethnic minorities in some highly-selective universities is because they apply for medicine and law – both highly competitive courses – and a significant amount of that is parental pressure'. He said that he was told that these students are not always personally committed to medicine or law as a career but that is the career their parents want for them.
Prof Ebdon, former vice-chancellor of Bedfordshire University, said that the pressure could take a major toll on students. Last year, Prof Ebdon insisted that school children should ignore the 'dreadful snobbery' that puts pressure on them to push for places at elite universities, the report said.
He said pupils should be encouraged to pursue the 'most appropriate route' into the workplace, including taking up vocational courses and apprenticeships, it added.