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Last Updated: Monday, 7 August 2006, 13:29 GMT 14:29 UK
Study shows ethnic mix problems
Black student
Some ethnic minority students find it hard to mix, the study says
University students from ethnic minorities in Scotland find it hard to mix with others, a study has found.

The research carried out by the universities of Stirling and St Andrews said institutions could do more to get students to socialise.

The study also revealed that ethnic minorities youngsters in Scotland feel more Scottish than white young people.

The work, funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, involved youngsters sharing their experiences.

The report, entitled Young people's experience of transitions: A study of minority ethnic and white young people, was compiled by Dr Clare Cassidy and Dr Rory O'Connor of the universities of St Andrews and Stirling respectively.

For some participants, the drinking alcohol, pub and club culture of university life conflicted with their cultural and religious beliefs
Dr Cassidy
University of St Andrews

They interviewed two groups of 15 to 18 year olds, once when they were still at school and then a year later when they had left.

Dr Cassidy said relatively little was known about how children from ethnic minorities in Scotland made the transition from school pupil to adult.

Those taking part in the study were asked for their views on education, home and family life, social networks, access to information, ethnicity, identity and aspirations.

The researchers found that the majority of youngsters from ethnic minority backgrounds entering higher education were keen to pursue a career in medical sciences.

Socialising failings

Their decisions were more likely to be influenced by family or community expectations, the study said.

Young Pakistanis were the least likely to move away from home to study and were more likely to complain about distractions during their studies.

Dr Cassidy said: "For some participants, the drinking alcohol, pub and club culture of university life conflicted with their cultural and religious beliefs.

"As a result they found the transition to the social side of university more of a challenge than did their white counterparts.

"This raises questions as to whether universities should be providing ways of socialising and support suitable for the particular needs of young people from minority ethnic groups."

Dr Cassidy said the findings suggested a need to gain a better understanding of both structural and psychological factors which may contribute to a lack of ethnic mixing in higher education.

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