Educational coping mechanisms and aspirations of migrant-background students in Finland
The proposed study aims to give an insight into the correlation between immigrant-origin youth’s aspirations, agency and educational practices in Finland. It will focus on upper secondary education, including both general and vocational, and will investigate young people’s goals and ambitions in the last stage of compulsory education. The universalistic transition regime which characterises the Nordic countries places its emphasis on support and guidance for all young people, and grants access to tertiary education regardless of students’ chosen pathways. However, as many migrants start from a disadvantaged position compared to their nativeborn counterpart due to the reduced access to social and cultural capital, this gap might present barriers in born counterpart due to the reduced access to social and cultural capital, this gap might present barriers in their educational and post-educational lives. Despite this, immigrant-origin youth tend to have high educational and career aspirations. It is therefore important to evaluate the coping strategies and ‘tactics’ they avail themselves of when deciding on their future. Previous studies in Finland have shown how young people use their agency in order to achieve their goals. Nevertheless, they might also encounter structural barriers and dominant discourses, which may be exacerbated by matters of gender, ethnicity and class. It is also the aim of this study to evaluate how education professionals respond to young people’s aspirations, agency and tactics. Given migrant youth’s high drop-out rates from upper secondary pathways, it is the intention of this project to analyse what contributes to these young people’s aspirations, as well as the ways they choose to fulfill their ambitions. Mixed methods combining ethnographic observations, life-story narratives and policy analysis will provide an in-depth view of individuals’ mechanisms in life situations
Doctoral student Alessandra Aldrovandi.