IMMIGRANT YOUTH AND EDUCATIONAL TRANSITIONS IN NORDIC COUNTRIES
44th NERA Congress ‘Social Justice, Equality and Solidarity in Education?’
The population of Nordic countries is rapidly changing more ethnically diverse. The previous research shows that in Nordic countries– in contrast to countries with longer and more widespread tradition in meeting the diverse population (e.g. Australia, Canada) – the educational performance and trajectories of immigrant youth in general tend to remain lower than for the native counterparts. The inclusion of a diverse ethnical population is a major challenge for the schooling and Nordic society in general. This symposium will be based on the findings of three research groups focusing on the experiences of immigrant youth and their families in Finland, Norway and in Sweden. The presentations will describe the educational experiences of migrant youth and/or their transitions to further education and work. The education policy as well as pedagogical implications of the research findings will be discussed.
Winding paths through school and after – Careers of young Swedes of Non-European origin
LISBETH LUNDAHL & MICHAEL LINDBLAD
Umeå University, Sweden
Not completing secondary education has been linked to multiple interacting causes related to the student and his/her family, to educational practices and policies (Dale 2010; Rumberger and Lim 2008). Generally non-completers have more limited life chances and less opportunities for social mobility than other youths; this is also clearly connected to social class, gender, ethnicity and disability. Non-completion increases the risks of unemployment, unsatisfactory working conditions and poverty (Fenton and Dermott 2006). The fact that immigrants are at the margins of the labour market in most countries (Behtoui 2004; OECD 2010) can be partly explained by lower than average educational attainment (OECD 2010), but socio-economic background and being a refugee, migrant or guest worker are also contributory factors (Rumbaut and Komaie 2010).
In Sweden as in other late-modern nations, a ‘transition machinery’ of policies and measures has emerged in the last decades to prevent and repair school failure and drop-out, and support young people´s entrance into the labour market. However unusually far-going decentralisation and marketization of education, and the disappearance of many ‘entrance jobs’ in Sweden have rendered such efforts more difficult. Young people now have to navigate through a veritable jungle of school and educational choices (Lidström et al. 2014). There are further unreasonably large local variations in e.g. special needs education, career counselling and measures addressing young people not in employment, education or training (Lundahl and Olofsson 2014).
Emanating from the research project ‘Unsafe transitions’, funded by the Swedish Research Council, this paper aims to deepen the knowledge of careers in and after school of young people of Non-European origin in Sweden. Based on life-history interviews, we analyse the careers and encounters with the Swedish ‘transition machinery’ of 26 young people (14 males, 12 females) of Non-European origin who failed upper secondary education. Their careers through school and after are also compared and contrasted to the careers of the other young people in a group of altogether 100 young Swedes in their early twenties (mean age: 21.5 years) who left school without complete upper secondary qualifications.
Using careership theory (Hodkinson & Sparkes 1997, Hodkinson 2008), the careers of the young people involved are analyzed in terms of pragmatic-rational choices, routines, breaking points and horizons of action. Departing from a critical perspective (Said 1978, Anthias 2002, Trondman 2007), ‘otherness’ is used to analyse and understand the stories of the young adults.
There are both common denominators and interesting and somewhat unexpected differences in the career patterns over time between youths with Swedish and migration background. The latter encounter certain common difficulties in school, e.g. to be treated as the ‘other’, and also lack of understanding of the common need to work parallel to the studies in order to support the family. They however succeed to get jobs at an early stage to higher extent than other youth in the study – but often what may be considered as dead-end jobs.
Anthias, Floya, (2002) ”Where do I belong? Narrating collective identity and translocational positionality”, Ethnicities: 2 (4): 491-514.
Behtoui, A (2004). “Unequal Opportunities for Young People with Immigrant Background in the Swedish Labour Market.” Labour: Review of Labour Economics and Industrial Relations 18 (4): 633-660.
Bunar, N (2010). “Choosing for quality or inequality: current perspectives on the implementation of school choice policy in Sweden.” Journal of Education Policy 25 (1): 1-18.
Dale, R (2010). Early School Leaving. Lessons from Research for Policy Makers. NESSE: An independent expert report submitted to the European Commission. European Commission.
Fenton, S & Dermott, S (2006). “Fragmented Careers? Winners and Losers in Young Adult Labour Markets.” Work, Employment & Society 20 (2): 205-221.
Hodkinson, P & Sparkes, A (1997). “Careership: a Sociological Theory of Career Decision Making.” British Journal of Sociology of Education 18, (1): 29-44.
Hodkinson, P (2008). Understanding Career Decision-making and Progression: Careership Revisited. London: John Killeen Memorial Lecture.
Lidström, L, Holm, A-S & Lundström, U (2014). “Maximising Opportunity and Minimising Risk? Young People’s Upper Secondary School Choices in Swedish Quasi-markets.” Young 22 (1): 1-20.
Lundahl, L, Erixon Arreman, I, Holm, A-S & Lundström, U (2013). ”Educational marketization the Swedish way.” Education Inquiry, 4 (3): 497-517.
Lundahl, L & Olofsson, J (2014). “Guarded transitions? Youth trajectories and school-to-work transition policies in Sweden.” International Journal of Adolescence and Youth 19 (Supplement 1): 19-34.
OECD. 2010. Equal Opportunities? The Labour Market Integration of the Children of Immigrants. Paris: OECD Publishing.
Rumberger, R & Lim, S A (2008). Why Students Drop Out of School: A Review of 25 Years of Research, California Dropout Research Project Report no 15. University of California Santa Barbara. doi: http://www.cdrp.ucsb.edu/pubs_reports.htm
Rumbaut, R G & Komaie, G (2010). “Immigration and Adult Transitions.” The Future of Children 20 (1): 43-66.
Said, E.W. (1978/2004) Orientalism. Stockholm: Ordfront.
Trondman, M (2007). Cecilias dilemma: att vara eller inte vara ’invandraren’, in Dahlstedt et al (eds) Utbildning, arbete, medborgarskap: strategier för social inkludering i den mångetniska staden. Umeå: Boréa Bokförlag.
Children with immigrant backgrounds in Mid-Norway; their school experiences
ÅSA DAHL BERGE & GRO MARTE STRAND
Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
This presentation takes its part of departure in a study of school- home relationships with families of immigrant backgrounds in Mid-Norway. The aim of this presentation is to elaborate on how pupils experience learning, mastery and belonging.
Theoretical and methodology framework
The project builds on a phenomenological research tradition whose purpose is to obtain individuals’ experiences of a given phenomenon (Denzin & Lincoln, 1994). The empirical material builds on 14 videotaped focus group interviews of all together 71 pupils with immigrant background, aged 8, 13 or 16 years. Focus groups are often used to study how knowledge, values and behaviour develop and operate in a given context (Marková, Linell, Grossen & Orvig, 2007).
Earlier studies have shown that pupils with immigrant backgrounds tend to have lower grades compared to ethnic Norwegian pupils. Regarding experiences of school mastery in Norwegian schools, studies have shown that young people with and without immigrant backgrounds have approximately the same opinion of their performances, despite the fact that their results may be different (Frøyland & Gjerustad, 2012). Furthermore, the same study indicate that young people with immigrant backgrounds have a more positive experience of the learning environments than ethnic Norwegian pupils have, and that they also experience their parents to have high expectations when it comes to school results and plans of higher education.
In the data analysis, we looked for discursive patterns in order to develop a framework to limit the material (Chouliaraki & Fairclough, 1999; Fairclough, 2007). We will present findings according to the following discourses; i) The significance of being understood, ii) the significance of expectations, iii) the significance of coping, iv) the significance of mastery, v) the significance of belonging, and vi) the significance of support.
Relevance to Nordic educational research
According to White Paper 6 (2012 – 13) there is a lack of knowledge about the learning environment for pupils with immigrant backgrounds in Norwegian schools. By sharing these pupils experience of their own schooling, the aim of this study and presentation is to contribute to strengthen this knowledge, a knowledge that is important in the development of a diverse and inclusive school.
Chouliaraki, L. & Fairclough, N. (1999). Discourse in late modernity. Rethinking critical discourse analysis. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Denzin, N. K. & Lincoln, Y. S. (1994). Handbook of Qualitative Research. Thousand Oaks: sage Publications
Fairclough, N. (2007). The contribution of discourse analysis to research and social change. In N. Fairclough, G. Cortese, & P. Ardizzone (eds.). Discourse and contemporary social change (pp. 25-48). Bern: Peter Lang.
Frøyland, L. & Gjerustad, C (2012). Vennskap, utdanning og framtidsplaner. Forskjeller og likheter blant ungdom med og uten innvandrerbakgrunn i Oslo [Friendship, education and future plans. Differences and equalities among adolescents with and without immigrant backgrounds]. Oslo: NOVA-rapport 5/12.
Marková, I., Linell, P., Grossen, M., & Orvig, A.S. (2007). Dialogue in focus groups. Exploring in socially shared knowledge. London: Equinox Publishing.
White Paper 6 (2012 – 2013). En helhetlig integreringspolitikk (A holistic integration policy). Oslo: Barne-, likestillings- og inkluderingsdepartementet.
Immigrant youth in transition to upper secondary education in Finland
MIRA KALALAHTI, JANNE VARJO, TUOMAS ZACHEUS, MARJA-LIISA MÄKELÄ, MINNA SAARINEN, JOEL KIVIRAUMA & MARKKU JAHNUKAINEN
University of Helsinki & University of Turku, Finland
TRANSIT project is a prospective, longitudinal study exploring the educational transitions of > 400 students from compulsory education (Grade 9) to upper secondary education during 4 years period. The target group has been recruited from several schools from Helsinki metropolitan area and from Turku region. The study goal is to reach a comprehensive picture of the variety of trajectories of immigrant/multicultural youth, compare those to the native counterparts’ trajectories and explain the transition mechanisms.
Firstly, this presentation will describe these young people’s educational aspirations as well as their school experiences while still in compulsory school. This data was gathered in the end part Grade 9, when they need to apply to upper secondary education. Main findings are that compulsory school experiences of immigrant youth were more positive than for native Finns, although they reported to have experienced more difficulties related to learning and studying. The future educational aspirations for both groups were found to be very similar. This positive orientation despite the difficulties could be called as ‘immigrant paradox’: based on the register-based previous research, the immigrant students tend to drop-out of further studies significantly more often than non-migrants.
Secondly, the presentation will describe the actualized educational situation of the follow-up group after the transition from compulsory to upper secondary schools. This data is gathered during Fall 2015 using short mobile surveys and/or phone interviews. The actualized situation during the first post-compulsory year will be compared to the educational choices made during the Grade 9 using person-oriented approach.