Migrants prefer schools with fewer foreigners

Migrants in Germany would rather send their children to schools with fewer other migrants, a study published on Wednesday revealed. Parents fear that attending a school with too many other foreigners could hinder their children’s education.

Migrants prefer schools with fewer foreigners
Photo: Bernd Thissen dpa/lmv

On Wednesday preliminary results were released at a press conference in Berlin from the study entitled “Education, Background, Migration”. The study was conducted by the Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf on behalf of the Vodafone and Mercator Institutes.

Professor Heiner-Barz from the university’s department of educational research told The Local: “Many parents would rather send their children to schools with fewer migrants because they think it will harm their children’s educational opportunities.”

“Among other things, they worry that their children’s language skills will not develop properly,” he added.

Barz said the results came as a surprise. “We thought that some parents would express these concerns, but not so many,” he said.

For the study, 120 in-depth interviews were conducted with people from a variety of migrant backgrounds. All of the groups surveyed agreed that being a migrant in Germany limits your educational opportunities.

From the interviews it emerged that most first- and second-generation migrants received little educational support from their parents.

This was due to their parents’ low level of education, a lack of information on the German school system, inadequate language skills or too little money or time to properly help.

“Cultural diversity is naturally a part of life for people with migrant backgrounds and is seen as a positive,” the study’s preliminary report said. “In terms of educational participation in Germany, however – especially in deprived areas – one’s own migrant background and that of one’s children is considered a deficiency and a problem.”

The study’s project leader Meral Cerci told the Welt newspaper that parents want the German school system to be improved in two main ways.

“For one they want to be better informed,” she said. “Many are hardly familiar with the German school system and therefore choose the closest school or one where they know some of the other pupils.”

Parents would also like to see more teaching staff who themselves are from migrant families, the study found.

Full results from the study will be published in December 2014. 

READ MORE: Germans rise up education rankings


Bavaria plans 100 million rapid Covid tests to allow all pupils to return to school

In the southern state of Bavaria, schools have been promised 100 million self-tests starting next week so that more children can start being taught in person again. But teachers say the test strategy isn't being implemented properly.

Bavaria plans 100 million rapid Covid tests to allow all pupils to return to school
Children in the classroom in Bavaria. Photo:Matthias Balk/DPA

State leaders Markus Söder said on Friday that the first 11 million of the DIY tests had already arrived and would now be distributed through the state.

“It’s no good in the long run if the testing for the school is outside the school,” Söder told broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR) during a visit to a school in Nuremberg.

“Contrary to what has been planned in Berlin, we’ve pre-ordered in Bavaria: for this year we have 100 million tests.”

Bavaria, Germany’s largest state in terms of size, plans to bring all children back into schools starting on Monday.

SEE ALSO: ‘The right thing to do’ – How Germany is reopening its schools

However, high coronavirus case rates mean that these plans have had to be shelved in several regions.

In Nuremberg, the state’s second largest city, primary school children have been sent back into distance learning after just a week back in the classroom.

The city announced on Friday that schools would have to close again after the 7-day incidence rose above 100 per 100,000 inhabitants.

The nearby city of Fürth closed its schools after just two days of classroom time on Wednesday, after the 7-day incidence rose to 135.

The Bavarian test strategy plans for school children to receive one test per week, while teachers have the possibility of taking two tests a week. The testing is not compulsory.

But teachers’ unions in the southern state have warned that the test capacity only exists on paper and have expressed concern that their members will become infected in the workplace.

“Our teachers are afraid of infection,” Almut Wahl, headmistress of a secondary school in Munich, told BR24.

“Officially they are allowed to be tested twice a week, we have already received a letter about this. But the tests are not there.”

BR24 reports that, contrary to promises made by the state government, teachers in many schools have still not been vaccinated, ventilation systems have not been installed in classrooms, and the test infrastructure has not been put in place.