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Architecture schools fail to help study on ethnic minority students

Schools have failed to cooperate with a landmark study into the problems faced by ethnic minorities in architectural education, researchers have claimed.

CABE and its co-sponsor, Architects for Change, said they were 'surprised and frustrated' that schools have 'almost uniformly' failed to provide researchers with the 'simple information required'.

As a result, the publication date for the Minority Ethnic Students in Architecture report - looking into the low proportion of newly qualified architects from ethnic minorities - has been delayed from this week until 'some time in September'.

The organisation commissioned to carry out the study, the Policy Studies Institute (PSI), said it had received only a 'very small number of replies' to requests for statistics on ethnic minority ratios.

In addition, schools had nominated only 30 possible students for interviews with researchers.

Sumita Sinha, chair of Architects for Change - one of the commissioning organisations - said she was 'shocked' that cooperation from schools was so poor.

'It is very difficult to understand, ' she told the AJ. 'Either schools believe providing the information is just another administrative burden they cannot be bothered with or they think it is political correctness gone mad.'

PSI researcher Helen Barnes agreed that the lack of cooperation had proved to be a real problem for the study. 'There have been major differences in the responses to our demands, ' she said. 'There also seems to be a variation in the ability of schools to provide a breakdown of ethnic minority students.

The response, though, is still very low.'

However, Kit Allsop, chair of heads of schools body SCHOSA, said he thought it was unlikely that academics were actively trying to disrupt the investigation's work. 'But it does seem weird because most schools should have this information easily to hand, ' he added.

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