Migrant Children Do Worse in School in Europe

Georg Schreuder Hes, Radio Netherlands, June 8, 2009

Children of the first wave of migrant workers who arrived in Europe in the 1950s and ’60s are doing worse in school than their peers in their countries of origin, reports de Volkskrant.

This negative effect is not limited to children of migrant workers from Mediterranean. Children born to French or German immigrants also do worse than their counterparts in France or Germany.

However, the reverse is true in the United States and Canada, said educational sociologists Jaap Dronkers and Manon de Heus who conducted research into the educational achievements of migrant children.

In an interview with the paper, Dronkers said: “The wait-and-see attitude of a society seeps through into its educational system. In many European countries, migrants are asked: Do you really belong here?

“In countries such as the United States, Canada and New Zealand everybody is factually an immigrant. They have a much more open attitude towards newcomers. At the same time they impose restrictions: only people who stand a chance in the labour market are admitted. This means that those who do arrive are well-motivated”.

The sociologist will present their findings at the European University Institute in Florence later this week.


A new study shows second generation Turkish children do better in other European countries than in the Netherlands, reports De Volkskrant.

One third of Turkish children in the Netherlands and Germany drop out of school early as compared to less than 10 percent in Sweden, Switzerland and Belgium.

According to the study of seven European countries on second generation integration, the Dutch education system is to blame for Turkish pupils leaving school early with very low qualifications.

In other countries such as France, children follow the same education until the age of 15.

However, children in the Netherlands are streamed into different education paths at the age of 12, making it a disadvantage to second-generation children whose lower-than- average language abilities mean they often excel at a later age.

Another reason cited by the paper was the age where children are allowed to leave school after receiving their basic education. At 16, students receive a diploma and many do not continue with their studies.

“Sixteen is a risky age for dropping out of school. Pupils are right in the middle of puberty,” said researcher Maurice Krul.

Education plays an important role in integration as it determines success on the job market, reports the paper.

The study was commissioned by the Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies in Amsterdam.

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