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Why immigrant children are still struggling for access to German education

Children of immigrants in Germany are still struggling to gain more access to education, a new report has revealed.


The government’s sixth “Education in Germany 2016” report shows that such children have more access to education but mainly at the earlier stages of their education.

Much more needs to be done to improve their access to high school and university level, the report shows.

More than half of high school leavers (56 percent) of immigrant background (including African children) had achieved a “middle maturity” – 20 percentage points more than ten years previously, DW reports.

The report shows that the gap between German and immigrant children had narrowed at a pre-school and primary school level, but there were still “stronger inequalities” higher up the education system.

“Although parents of children of immigrant background bring ambitious educational aspiration for their children, the children over-proportionally attend schools that offer them the maximum of a middle maturity qualification – they are particularly under-represented at the Gymnasiums [higher level, more academic high school],” DW quotes the report to have said. This is in fact the main reason why children of immigrant background are under-represented in higher education.

“The new education report shows that in the last few years the educational disparity between people with and without immigrant background has been narrowed,” says Bremen Education Minister Claudia Bogeda. “What’s important … is the insight that the educational differences apparently down to migration are rather down to the socio-economic situation.”

Reacting to the report, Tahir Della, spokesman for the Initiative for Black People in Germany (ISD), wonders whether the figures hide everyday racism in the system itself.

He revealed to DW that his two teenage sons had not been recommended for the higher academic schools, despite good grades. “They were basically prevented from the better schools.”

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