Reducing the education gap

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Illustrative photo: Colourbox.

A new report from Statistics Norway (SSB) shows that Norwegian-born children of immigrant parents top the statistics for higher education. Immigrant children are also obtaining higher education more than ethnic Norwegians, and women constitute the majority.

It is particularly young people with background from India, China, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Bosnia-Herzegovina who are, to a greater extent than their peer students, completing secondary school and then continuing on to higher education.

87 percent of girls and 85 percent of boys with Bosnian background complete secondary education within five years. The average for Norwegian students is 66 percent for girls and 51 percent for boys.

“We have been refugees and we have made it to Norway. Now we must not waste the opportunities we have received. Our parents are probably a little extra concerned that we cannot take education for granted”, says Una Pasovic to NRK, whose parents fled from Bosnia-Herzegovina during the 90s civil war.

The findings of Statistics Norway support a research done by sociologist Are Skeie Hermansen in 2015. He also compared the children to their parents, in addition to other Norwegians and found that children of immigrants in Norway take much more education and earn far better than their parents.

“The most remarkable finding is that immigrant groups have moved so much closer to the majority population in just one generation”, says Hermansen to forskning.no. As children of first-generation immigrants, many have grown up in poor families with parent with little formal education. Nearly half of the immigrants grew up in very poor families. These huge differences have been wiped out in one generation.

Another effect is that this social mobility creates diversity. Norway gets more Norwegian-born doctors, lawyers and politicians with immigrant backgrounds than ever before. “Now that this generation of immigrant children has grown up, they begin to influence all social arenas. As they become integrated with the rest of the population, they also contribute to greater ethnic diversity in all social layers. This changes the dynamics of the multicultural Norway”, says Hermansen.

Norway is proud of its multi-cultural identity and continues to encourage the spirit of diversity among all our citizens.

Story sourced from NRK and forskning.no.