How does immigration affect education?
Around a third of children and young people in Germany have a so-called migration background - more than 70 percent of them are Germans. What about your starting conditions and educational opportunities? How do you compare to classmates without any migration references?
Social situation of children from immigrant families
Children with a "migration background" Anyone who does not have German citizenship by birth or who has at least one parent who does, has a "migration background". Source: Federal Statistical Office (2020): Microcensus lives more often in families with low incomes. According to the microcensus, around a third of under 18-year-olds with a migration background live in families at risk of poverty. Among people of the same age without a migration background it is around 12 to 13 percent. SourceStatistisches Bundesamt (2020): "Results of the Microcensus 2019", Fachserie 1 Reihe 2.2, p. 341
The microcensus also shows that even a good school leaving certificate does not necessarily protect against poverty: This is how the at-risk-of-poverty rate defines the proportion of people whose income is less than 60 percent of the average income of the total population. for people from immigrant families high (20.4 percent) even if they have a high school diploma. It is even significantly higher than for those who have completed secondary school without a migration background (16.2 percent). SourceStatistisches Bundesamt (2020): "Results of the Microcensus 2019", Fachserie 1 Reihe 2.2, p. 342
Early Childhood Education - How Important Is It?
Early childhood education means the institutional one of the most important offers of early childhood education includes facilities such as kindergartens, day-care centers and crèches and day-care with a childminder. Education of children from birth to school age. After the "PISA shock" The first PISA study from 2001 certified that the students in Germany performed poorly in comparison to other OECD countries. In addition, she found an above-average correlation between social origin and school performance. The formula established itself in politics, science and the media.See for example the article "Origin and educational success from early childhood to adulthood", in: Special issue of the Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaften, Volume 24, 2014, p. 98f: The earlier the entry into the education system the greater the chance of later educational success.
For example, the SVR summarizes: If children have attended a daycare center up to their third year of life, the statistical probability of later attending a grammar school increases by almost 40 percent. For children with a migration background, it even increases by around 55 percent. Especially children who do not learn German at home could benefit from an early daycare visit. SourceSVR annual report 2010, p. 153 f; Policy Brief of the SVR research area "Hurdles to the day care center", 2013, p. 3 ff; SVR annual report 2017, p. 121.
Some researchersSee for example the article "Origin and educational success from early childhood to adulthood", in: Sonderheft der Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaften, Volume 24, 2014, p. 111. Note: Early childhood education does not work per se, but only if it high quality and the care key, i.e. how many educators are available for how many children, is good. Others emphasize that the educational mandate rests with the schools and not the day-care centers.
How many preschool children have a migrant background?
According to the microcensus, around 1.5 million children under the age of five had a "migration background" in 2019. Anyone who did not have German citizenship by birth or who had at least one parent who did, had a "migration background". Source: Federal Statistical Office (2020): Microcensus. This corresponds to around 40 percent of all under five year olds in Germany. The proportion of children from immigrant families is increasing: in 2011 it was still around 33 percent. SourceStatistisches Bundesamt (2020): "Population with a migrant background. Results of the microcensus 2019", Fachserie 1 Reihe 2.2, p. 36f .; Federal Statistical Office (2017): "Results of the 2011 microcensus, Fachserie 1 Reihe 2.2, p. 35f .; the figures on the migration background are used" in the narrower sense "for comparability
There are major regional differences: in some western German metropolitan areas, for example, more than half of those under the age of six have a history of migration. This is shown by a special analysis of the microcensus from 2011 and statistical data from cities. SourceStatistisches Bundesamt (2013): Population by migration status regional, results of the microcensus 2011, pp. 10-36; see Kölner Statistische Nachrichten 1/2019, p. 40, Statistisches Jahrbuch 2018, 95th year: Population and households; City of Stuttgart: total population and with a migration background by age group; the surveys of the migration background can differ from one another, the data are therefore only partially comparable.
Children with a migration background in daycare centers?
In March 2019, 21 percent of theunder three year olds According to the microcensus, a child has a migration background if it does not have German citizenship by birth or if this applies to at least one parent. a daycare center. This applied to 42 percent of children without a migrant background. SourceStatistisches Bundesamt (2020): "Childcare rate for children under 6 with and without a migrant background in day care"
BothThree to six year olds 81 percent of the children with a migrant background took up a day care place. According to the extrapolation of the microcensus, this applied to 100 percent of children without a migrant background. SourceStatistisches Bundesamt (2020): "Childcare rate for children under 6 with and without a migrant background in day care"
The proportion of children with a migration background in all in 2019, around 3.7 million children attended a daycare center. Daycare children has increased in the past ten years: while children with a migration background made up around 23 percent of all daycare children in 2007, it was around 28 percent in 2019. SourceStatistisches Bundesamt (2019): "Statistics from child and youth welfare children and people working in daycare facilities and in publicly funded child day care on March 1st, 2019 ", p. 39, own calculation; Author group on education reporting (2018): "Education in Germany 2018", p. 74
Since August 1, 2013, children from the age of one have a legal right to a childcare place in a publicly funded day-care center or day care center, see Section 24 of the Social Code, SGB VIII and the entry "The Child Promotion Act (KiföG)" on the website of the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs. This applies regardless of whether the parents are employed or not.
Why do children with a migration background go to daycare less often?
Whether children are looked after in a day-care center is less related to the origin of the parents than to their level of education. This is what an investigation by the SVR research area shows:
- Only parents who have immigrated themselves leave their toddlers at home particularly often. This is due to the fact that they have little experience with the German education system or have different expectations of care and the time of entry into the day care center. Further obstacles are the lack of multilingual offers or the removal of the daycare centers.
- For all other parents, the childcare quota is primarily related to school education: the higher the educational qualification, the more likely the parents will decide on childcare. SourceSVR research area (2013): Policy Brief "Hurdles to daycare" p. 3f. , 7; compare also: Jessen, Spieß et al. (2020): "There are many reasons for children under the age of three to use different day care centers", DIW weekly report 14/2020
Almost as often as other parents, parents with a migration background want their children to be looked after in a daycare center. But there is a lack of good offers. This is shown by a study by DIW Berlin. According to the study's authors, to change that, not only more daycare places would have to be available. Registration should also become easier, the costs for childcare should fall and more multilingual educators * work in the daycare centers. QuelleJessen, Spieß et al. (2020): "There are many reasons for children under the age of three to use different day care centers", DIW weekly report 14/2020
What is the proportion of students with a migration background?
How many students in Germany have a "migration background" Who does not have German citizenship by birth or has at least one parent who does, Source: Federal Statistical Office (2020): Microcensus. cannot be answered without further ado. Because the data situation is incomplete and the results are often not comparable with each other.
- According to Microcensus In 2019, over a third (around 37 percent) of the students at general and vocational schools in Germany had a migration background. However, the data of the microcensus are not based on the official school statistics, but on a representative survey of around 810,000 people. The results are extrapolated. SourceStatistisches Bundesamt (2020) "Results of the Microcensus 2019", Fachserie 1 Reihe 2.2, p. 46, own calculation; Federal Statistical Office (2019): What is the microcensus?
- In the nationwide School statistics the "migration background" is not a category. Although the Standing Conference decided in 2005 to include the "migration background" in the school statistics, so far only some of the federal states have implemented this decision. The migration background is recorded using voluntary information on citizenship, country of birth and / or language of origin, see the KMK definition catalog (2018 ). The federal states collect this differently. In the national school statistics there is only data on students with foreign citizenship. According to this, 1.3 million of the around 10.9 million students in Germany did not have a German passport in the 2019/2020 school year. This corresponds to a share of 11.8 percent. SourceStatistisches Bundesamt: Press release No. 090 of March 12, 2020
Information on the school success of foreign students is often related to the entire group of children and young people with a migration background. However, this can lead to incorrect interpretations. For example, students with a migration background who were themselves born in Germany perform better in school comparison studies than children who were born abroad. In some groups of origin, they even achieved better results than Germans without a migration background. SourceSpecialist Council of German Foundations for Integration and Migration (2020): "Uneven educational opportunities", p. 1; OECD (2019): Country Note Germany, PISA 2018 Results, p. 7
School qualifications of students with a migration background
Regarding the question of which qualifications students with a "migration background" have. Anyone who does not have German citizenship by birth or who has at least one parent who has a "migration background" has a "migration background". Source: Federal Statistical Office (2020): Do a microcensus of a certain age group in Germany, no data are available. There are figures for the following two questions: 1. What qualifications does the population with a migration background have? 2. Which school qualifications do foreign school leavers achieve?
Qualifications according to migration background
The microcensus provides information on the school-leaving qualifications of people with and without a migration background. It shows what the population's highest school-leaving qualifications are in certain age groups. SourceStatistisches Bundesamt (2020): "Results of the Microcensus 2018", Fachserie 1 Reihe 2.2, p. 187f.
Qualifications of foreign students
The school statistics indicate the degree with which young people with and without a German passport leave school:
Foreign pupils * reach the Abitur less often and drop out of school more often than classmates * with a German passport. According to experts, the poorer performance is primarily due to disadvantages in the education system: On the one hand, the starting conditions of people without a German passport are often worse than those of German citizens. This is the case, among other things, if they only learn German at school. On the other hand, they are often affected by discrimination. The second generation does significantly better at school. SVR (2020): "Unequal educational opportunities. Facts on the disadvantage of young people with a migration background in the German education system"
Development of school qualifications
The school success of young people with a migration background has improved in recent years. This is shown in the management report of the federal integration commissioner. The report compares data on the school-leaving qualifications of young people with a migration background from 2017 and 2007. They show:
- In 2017, around 19 percent of young people with a migration background had the Abitur or the technical college entrance qualification - an increase of eleven percentage points compared to 2007. The proportion of young people with intermediate degrees also increased.
- In contrast, the number of those who have a secondary school leaving certificate has decreased by around 20 percentage points.
- The proportion of young people with a migration background without a qualification has increased by 5 percentage points. According to the report, it is not yet clear whether this is due to the fact that there are more refugees among the young people who have to learn German first. Source12. Report of the Federal Government's Integration Commissioner, 2019, Table 19, p. 148, according to the Federal Statistical Office, special analysis of the microcensus.
The proportion of students with a migration background at grammar schools is increasing. This emerges from the education report 2018. In 2015, at around 36 percent of the examined grammar schools, at least one in four students had a migration background, defined by at least one parent born abroad (see authors' group Bildungsbericht (2018): "Bildung in Deutschland" 2018, p. 93). For comparison: In 2000 this was only the case at around 14 percent of high schools. SourceAutorengruppe Bildungsbericht (2018): "Bildung in Deutschland" 2018, p. 93, Tab. D 1-7web
Segregation in German schools
One usually speaks of segregation in the case of school classes or entire schools, in which predominantly children from immigrant families learn. The percentage from which a school or class is considered segregated is not generally defined. The SVR research area understandsSee study "Segregation in German schools - extent, consequences and recommendations for action for better educational opportunities", 2013, p. 7 including institutions where more than 50 percent of the children have a migration background. School groups in which the proportion of children from immigrant families is particularly low, on the other hand, are usually not referred to as segregated.
Some educational researchers criticize: The focus on the migration background shows that in addition to cultural origin, social class also plays a role in segregation. This is how the phenomenon of segregation is "culturalized". Source Juliane Karakayali / Birgit zur Nieden (2013): "Racism and classrooms. Segregation according to origin in Berlin primary schools", in sub / urban - magazine for critical urban research 2013, issue 2, p. 61- 78
The few studies on school segregation mainly relate to state primary schools. As a rule, these are not freely selectable, the pupils are assigned by the authorities to a primary school near their place of residence ("Einzugsschule"). However, it is known that many catchment schools do not reflect the cultural (and social) mix of the neighborhood. Analyzes "Segregation in primary schools - The influence of parental school choice", 2012, and "Segregation in German schools - Extent, consequences and recommendations for action for better educational opportunities", 2013 by the SVR research area and other studies See for example Juliane Karakayali / Birgit zur Nieden: " Racism and classroom. Segregation according to origin at Berlin primary schools ", published in sub / urban - magazine for critical urban research 2013, issue 2, pp. 61-78 show:
- Segregation is often encouraged by parents: when they get information about a school, most ask about the "migrant percentage". If this is high, many parents assume a poor level of learning and a problematic environment and try to enroll their child in another school. In large cities, around ten percent of parents manage to do this.
- Around 41 percent of primary school students from immigrant families are taught in "segregated" schools, where more than half of the students have an immigrant background.
- Almost 15 percent of students in Germany study at primary schools without classmates from immigrant families.
Institutional disadvantages increase segregation. This also applies to secondary schools that are attended after elementary school, such as Hauptschule, Realschule or Gymnasium schools, for example if pupils with a migration background are not accepted there or school principals (sometimes at the request of parents) divide classes according to origin.In addition, pupils with a migration background are often given less support, receive lower grades for the same performance and are less likely to receive a recommendation for secondary school or grammar school.
Equal opportunities at German schools
Children and adolescents from immigrant families achieve worse results in tests such as PISA than their peers without a migrant background. This is often attributed to a lack of knowledge of German. Studies show that the parents' income and educational level are particularly decisive for educational success in Germany. Children with a migration background are more likely to come from low-income families. According to the microcensus, around a third of under 18-year-olds with a migration background live in families at risk of poverty. For comparison: for people of the same age without a migration background, the figure is around 12 to 13 percent. In addition, the proportion of parents without school or vocational qualifications in children under 20 with a migration background is many times higher than in children without. SourceOECD (2019): PISA 2018 results, country note Germany, page 5; Stiftung Mercator (2016): Are you doubly disadvantaged? Children and young people with a migration background in the German education system, p. 3; Author's group on education reporting (2016): Education in Germany 2016, p. 168; Federal Statistical Office (2020): Results of the microcensus 2019, Fachserie 1, Reihe 2.2, p. 341; OECD (2018): "Equity in Education, Country Note Germnay", p. 2.
In Germany, the relationship between social origin and academic success was already shown by the first PISA study, and almost twenty years later, educational success in Germany is more closely related to the social situation of parents than in many other OECD countries. more pronounced than in many other OECD countries. Social differences are "passed on" in Germany: only 24.4 percent of young adults acquire a higher educational qualification than their parents. For comparison: In other industrialized countries this is an average of 41.1 percent. SourceOECD (2019): PISA 2018 results, country note Germany, page 5; OECD (2018): "Equity in Education, Country Note Germnay", p. 2; OECD (2018): Equity in Education, p. 35;
The school system plays an important role in the educational success of students with a migration background, as it is only slowly opening up to intercultural issues and adapts to diversity - such as the multilingualism of students. The differences in performance are still comparatively small in elementary school. However, teachers often underestimate the children's abilities and therefore rarely give high school recommendations. Among other things, this can lead to pupils being less motivated. See the Policy Brief on the "Pathways to Sucess" study by the University of Osnabrück, 2015; Press release of the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt "Social origin is only decisive for educational success after elementary school", December 5, 2019; Barz et al. (2013): Education, Milieu Migration.
Further information on discrimination in the education system can be found in our section "Discrimination".
How important is education for parents with a migration background?
Immigrants are often accused of not paying enough attention to their children's education. As part of the research project "Education, Milieu & Migration", 1,700 parents with a migration background were asked about their attitude towards educational issues. According to the 2015 results, they are quite interested in the school performance of their children:
- Two-thirds of parents said they help their children with school-related issues for more than half an hour every day.
- Over 70 percent said they "always" or "often" help their children with their homework.
- Most of the respondents also take part in parenting consultation days and parenting evenings, with 84 and 87 percent respectively.
- 96 percent of parents agreed with the statement: "Education is the most important key to a successful life."
The study also shows what parents miss in schools:
- Over 90 percent find the "intercultural competence" of teachers important. But only 60 percent said they would find them in their children's schools.
- The vast majority (86 percent) would like advice on support and scholarship programs for their children. However, only a fifth stated that they received this information at school. Source study by the Mercator Foundation and the Vodaphone Foundation: "Great diversity, fewer opportunities" 2015, p. 7
Migration and integration in school books
The "curriculum study migration and integration" of the Mercator Forum Migration and Democracy (MIDEM) 2021 showed: The topics of migration and integration are increasingly finding their way into the curriculum. For the study, curricula for grades 7-10 from Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia, Saxony and Berlin were used / Brandenburg examined in the subjects of history, politics and geography. However, they do not systematically reflect the reality of the immigration society. Important phases of migration, such as those of guest workers or repatriates, are hardly mentioned. The main results:
- The topic of diversity and questions of identity and belonging are rarely addressed in curricula. However, there are clear differences between the federal states of NRW, Saxony, Bavaria, Berlin / Brandenburg: In NRW, for example, there is particularly little about migration and migration-related diversity.
- Migration and integration are mainly associated with crises:
- In geography, for example, with rural exodus, global inequality and population growth.
- In the subject of history, for example, with displacement, war, colonialism; Racism and anti-Semitism are mentioned above all in connection with the Nazi regime.
- Important phases of migration to Germany - such as the influx of displaced persons after the Second World War, guest workers in the 1950s and 1960s or ethnic repatriates in the 1990s - are hardly discussed.
- If migration and integration are not included in the curriculum, they are rarely addressed in the classroom.
- People with a history of migration are clearly underrepresented in curriculum committees. SourceMIDEM (2021): "curriculum study migration and integration"
School books have so far only insufficiently represented the diversity of the German population. The "Textbook Study Migration and Integration" published in 2015 on behalf of the integration commissioner of the federal government comes to the following results:
- Migration is usually presented as a problem and a challenge.
- Integration is considered to be absolutely necessary for social cohesion, but appears above all as an adjustment effort that people with a migration background have to provide.
- In the texts and tasks, diversity in society is almost never depicted as normal.
- Germany is described as a country of immigration, but it is still assumed that the (German) society is homogeneous and that people immigrate to it. The host society is not portrayed in a multicultural way.
- Immigrant students are usually marked as "other". For example, one task is: "Ask your foreign classmates what integration means for them."
- Terms such as "migrant", "migration background", "foreigner" or "foreigner" are often used synonymously and without comment. SourceSee also the summary of the most important results in the press release of the Georg Eeckert Institute of March 17, 2015 as well as in the "Textbook Study Migration and Integration "Pp. 67-69.
This confirms the findings from previous studies: immigrants are usually equated with foreigners and, above all, reduced to their benefits for the German economy. Muslims would be marked as non-European "others", "Islam" and "modern Europe" would be shown as incompatible, as a study by the Georg Eckert Institute from 2011 shows.
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