Migrant children born in Switzerland are much less likely to go to university than Swiss children, mainly due to unfavorable conditions at home and language barriers, a study found.
The Swiss National Science Foundation carried out research on over 5,000 children born in the German-speaking region of Switzerland. While they did not necessarily receive lower grades than their Swiss peers, they were still not often enrolled in high schools – expecting to go to university.
The main reasons for their failure to attend university were financial and cultural problems at home, where education might not be considered a priority, and added that often the language barriers also played a role.
Children of immigrants from Turkey, Portugal and the Balkans were singled out in the study as disadvantaged, while children born to immigrants from France, Germany and Austria are more likely to succeed thanks to their more comfortable socio-economic background, it said.
The Foundation said the failure of immigrant children to go to university was harmful to the Swiss economy:
“Individuals who would be able to achieve results but come from disadvantaged family backgrounds do not realize their full potential - which happens more often in Switzerland than in some neighboring countries.”
The study said there is no evidence that teachers or the school system in general are discriminating against migrant children.