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African-Caribbean teenage boys get a taste of university life at LSE

African-Caribbean-140pLSE hosted a cohort of 50 teenage boys from African and Caribbean backgrounds earlier this month in a bid to encourage more students from this sector into higher education. 

The three-day visit was part of the School’s Widening Participation Promoting Potential programme, aimed at encouraging bright Year 8 African-Caribbean boys from London state schools to consider university as an option.

The boys took part in social science workshops delivered by LSE academics and research students, providing them with a taste of university life and hopefully stimulating their interest in higher education.

They met with LSE African-Caribbean undergraduate students and also professionals from similar backgrounds, learning about their experience of university and the career opportunities it offers.

Twelve-year-old Jonathan Tufukama, a student at Urswick School in Hackney, described the LSE visit as an “eye-opener”.

“I really liked learning about economics and meeting people from LSE’s African Caribbean Society. Just coming to LSE has helped me understand who I want to be.”

Darnell Jordan-Pennant, 13, from St Thomas More Catholic School, said he was inspired by listening to a high-profile criminal lawyer who had come from an underprivileged background. 

The LSE visit also changed the mindset of 13-year-old Aman Messinezes from Whitmore High School in Harrow, who said the most important thing he learned from the sessions was to be proud of his heritage.

“After taking part in this programme I realise that as an immigrant I am part of this country’s history and success. I am proud of being black and this visit to LSE has altered my thinking,” Aman said.

In the 2013-14 year, 33 per cent of the 2,300 pre-university participants enrolled across the School’s Widening Participation programmes were of black African-Caribbean heritage.

This was the single largest ethnic group, with Asian students comprising 26 per cent and white students making up 23 per cent of the total WP programmes. The Promoting Potential programme offered by LSE hopes to further boost these numbers, well as overall enrolments at the School from African-Caribbean students. 

Following their April visit, the participants will take part in two ‘top-up’ days in August and November, where they will make off-site trips to banks and city law firms to gain an insight into the corporate environment.

More information on the Promoting Potential programme can be found at: www.lse.ac.uk/promotingpotentialyear8

16 April 2015