Anand Shukla, Chief Executive of the youth mentoring charity based out of London called Brightside, calls for change in higher education and data collection to assist more disadvantaged students. He claims we need to re-look at the definition of “disadvantaged” and ask ourselves who should use that term.
For example, he mentions that many students who care for relatives might not consider themselves as part of this demographic; however, their extreme commitment to the health and well-being of their relatives can put them in a position of needing extra support from their schools. Care leavers are another group that may be considered disadvantaged, yet most schools and authorities do not know these students are estranged from their parents and therefore cannot provide the extra help necessary (“Universities are reaching out – but some disadvantaged students remain hidden”).
Shukla suggests using free-school-meal data for a more informed measurement of disadvantage, as well as a collaboration between schools and third-sector organizations who can help identify disadvantaged students.
What are your thoughts? Do you think this issue affects students in the U.S. as well?
Shukla, Anand. “Universities are reaching out – but some disadvantaged students remain hidden.” Higher Education Network. The Guardian, 29 Sept. 2015. Web. 2 Oct. 2015.