Race Based Affirmative Action

Literature Review


Education is one of the most important things in life. It is the key to success. For a very long time now, it has been used as a tool of social mobility in many societies. Therefore, individuals, corporations, governmental and Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have taken a lot of efforts to promote it. They have invested a lot of funds to ensure that it is provided in a high quality that is line with international standards. The value placed in education has made it become so competitive. Today, everyone wants to acquire post secondary education. Therefore, there has been an influx of students to the middle level colleges and universities (Bettina, W., 2007). It is here where they get an opportunity to pursue certificate, diploma and degree courses. However, there have been lots of controversies revolving around college admissions. This paper gives an in-depth literature review on the influence of race based Affirmative Action policies and the socioeconomic status of prospective students on college admissions. This will be done by conducting a critical analysis of research works.

The Challenge

There have been lots of disparities in the enrolment rates of students in colleges. Life has become so dynamic and full of challenges. This is one of the reasons why there is no equality in the access of higher education. The transition rates from secondary to colleges have been worrying because during every year, at least 10% of the graduates do not proceed to the next level of education. This is worse in the Third World Countries where there are persistent cases of poverty, high dependency and gender discrimination.

Some colleges have been propagating discrimination of students based on their racial, gender, social and economic backgrounds. For instance, a number of colleges exclude females from pursuing certain lucrative courses such as medicine, engineering and laws (Jessie, D., 2007). At the same time, others peg their discrimination on race and economic prowess. Meaning, they reserve a large percentage of available vacancies for applicants linked to certain races. At the same time, it becomes extremely challenging for learners with special needs to freely get admission in the courses of their preference. Therefore, it is necessary for the involved stakeholders to come up with strategies to mitigate the situation. This is why a lot of affirmative action policies have been formulated.

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Affirmative Actions and Their Effects

One thing which can not be disputed is the complex nature of the contemporary society. There are learners from diverse backgrounds. While others are from rich families, others come from poor families which can not support their college education. Traditionally, the admission criteria for many colleges have only been favoring the privileged. Meaning, the unfortunate students always get thinner chances of securing chances in colleges (Marginson, S., 2013). This has been so detrimental to them since it denies them an opportunity to secure higher education and fulfill their life goals. In order to tackle thins problem, the following affirmative actions should be fully enforced:

First, special consideration has been put to safeguard the interest of female students. The females have been the most victimized set of learners who usually have slim chances of acquiring college education (Elizabeth, J.T., 2013). This has been so because of the difficult circumstances under which they operate. As this author explains, they are always subjected to lots of discriminations both in their families and learning institutions. However, it has been worse in certain societies which deliberately deny women an opportunity to get education.  The most appropriate suggestion made here is that female students should be given special consideration so as to increase their chances of pursuing hire education. Education should not be a reserve for the male folks a lone. Everyone can be better if they get a chance to empower themselves through education. Racial diversity should not be used to disadvantage others.

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It is commendable that the government has taken the initiatives to safeguard girl child education. As Linliana, G. comments, there have been deliberate attempts to come up with affirmative actions in favor of the female learners. One of the ways through which it has been accomplished is increasing the number of colleges to admit more students. While doing this, priority has been given to the female students. Meaning, the additional slots created have been specifically reserved for them. The paper accepts that this has been a very good move since it has increased the chances of ladies accessing higher education than it used to be. Initially, there were a very few chances which would mainly benefit the male students (Vinay, H., 2000). Hence, it has become possible for the girl-child to have increased opportunities of going beyond high school level as it used to be before. This can only be achieved if fairly done to all the races without any preference to any of them.

As already highlighted, affirmative action is being done as a result of the cooperation of the involved stakeholders. Since one of the major roles of governments is to provide education services to its citizens, many of them have taken this issue as a matter of national concern. As a result, they have reacted by formulating policies which are aimed at increasing the chances of females accessing college education. This has been commonly practiced in the Asian countries such as Saudi Arabia, Yemen, United Arabs Emirates, Oman and Qatar where female students were barred from taking some courses. For instance, in Saudi Arabia, colleges and universities have been built specifically for the female students (Elizabeth, J.T., 2013).

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At the same time, affirmative actions have been taken to ensure that the female students easily get access to certain courses which they were initially forbidden to take even if they were qualified. This as also practiced in highly conservative societies such as Saudi Arabia were they were not allowed to take courses such as medicine, laws and engineering. This was so unfair because they were supposed to be accorded equal treatments as compared to their male counterparts. Hence, affirmative actions have been taken to eliminate this barrier and give them more opportunity to access higher education and allow them to do the course of their choice. Uneven development can be achieved if such a noble idea if based on races (Harriman, P., 2005).

The paper would like to concur with these authors for suggesting that the enforcement of these actions has been beneficial to the entire society. First, it is a form of justice. It is so unfair to discriminate people based on their gender. Naturally, everyone should be regarded as equal because they were created by the same God. It is natural that people have diverse features. Being a male is not an automatic guarantee for superiority. Gender discrimination is not only a vice, but also a criminal offence. In this regard, these affirmative actions have enabled the female students to pursue college education without any obstacle. As a result, many of them can now enjoy easier access to colleges without any problem (Vinay, H., 2000).

As a result of this, admission to the colleges has been done in a fair manner. Instead of only considering on males, focus has shifted to the girl-child. They can enjoy higher opportunities to pursue any kind of course. They can not be denied admission so long as they qualify. In fact, in most cases, more qualified males can be locked out to create room for the female applicants. This has been the trend in higher education national selection panels in many countries. The entry behavior for female students is lower than that of their male counterparts. For instance, in Kenya, the government has directed that the National Joint Admissions Board should lower the cut off point for the female students (Whyte, C.B., 2009). This has revolutionized the education sector. The enrolment rates for the female students to the middle level colleges and universities have increased by 23% over the last 3 academic years. Such an initiative can not yield any fruit if done to one race instead of others.

As Simon Marginson argues affirmative action has been put in place to ensure that students from poor family backgrounds have increased access to college education. As a result of civil campaigns, numerous individuals, corporations, Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and government agencies have come up with strategies to boost enrolment in the colleges. One of the challenges which deny many learners easier accessibility to higher education is poverty (Anderson, T.H., 2004). The increased cost of living has been reflected to education sector. In other words, it has become extremely challenging for many parents to educate their children. The cost of education especially in the private sector has become so high. Hence, very many learners have opted to drop out of schools. As a result of the intervention of the above stakeholders, several scholarships and bursaries have been launched (Linliana, G., 2013).

This has been a right initiative since it has provided a relief to many people. Hence, the learners who come from less fortunate families can now get chances of pursuing higher education. This is mainly due to the fact that such scholarships are offered in order of preference. First priority is given to the poor and orphans (Mclnerney, M.D. et al., 2013). This has revolutionized college admission because they can now accept to admit students without considering their economic background. It is revolutionary since it enables the free mingling of learners from diverse backgrounds. This paper accepts that it is a good initiative because it is a recipe to the accomplishment of the unitary role of education in the society.

According to Elizabeth J. Tisdei, many colleges used to peg their admission in religion. Before the acceptance of applications, many colleges had to ensure that the learners were subscribing to certain religious faiths (Samuel, B. & H. Gintis, 2011).  While this is a good idea, it is unfortunate that it was not properly used. Instead, it was only meant to scare people and create room for the propagation of religious intolerance. However, things have now changed since no college can be allowed to discriminate potential applicants based on their religious affiliation (Finn, J. D. et al., 2005). This only applies to ecclesiastical institutions which are often extremely inclined to certain doctrinal values. This action has opened more chances to many learners to access college education. Moreover, it has greatly benefited the minority groups such as pagans and atheists whose religion is more amorphous and is so difficult to classify amongst the classical ones.


Education should be offered without any discrimination. Everyone should have an equal opportunity to access education regardless of their race. While it is commendable to take affirmative actions in the education sector, it is not a good idea to base this decision on races. Otherwise, a positive affirmative action aiming at benefiting the racial minorities is commendable. Everyone should be treated with in an equal manner. Race should not be used as a barrier to higher education. Instead, it should be used to as a unifying factor. Racial tolerance can enable the privileged races to empower their less fortunate counterparts. It should not be used to oppress them in any way. Otherwise, equal development will be realized.

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