Where Immigrants go to school is more important than where they came

Upon migrating to another country, Migrants are often at an educational disadvantage. This can affect the distribution of income and thus the quality of life.

The Children of foreign born parents are about on average a year behind their peers, even after accounting their parental income. The latest Programme for international Assessment test(PISA), found that while migrants struggled the most, what country they were educated in mainly determined their success in the test.

Distribution of Income and Wealth Table

From the chart it shows that in Australia and Canada pupils whose parents were born abroad do better on science tests than similar teenagers with native-born parents.

Meanwhile immigrants in European countries are often far behind. In Germany first-generation and second-generation migrants are respectively about 2.5 and 1.5 years behind teenagers with German- born parents, even after accounting for their different economic backgrounds. There are similar results in Finland, a country often lauded for its record of equality in education.

For sure, migrants’ origins matter a lot. Second-generation East Asian pupils in Australia are roughly 2.5 years ahead of those with native-born parents. They do even better than pupils in Singapore, the highest-performing country in PISA, even as results in Australia as a whole have fallen.

Yet the country in which the immigrant attends school is more important than the one he comes from, says the OECD’s Andreas Schleicher. Turkish-born pupils in Germany are nearly two years behind in science tests compared with those in the Netherlands, after adjusting for different economic backgrounds.

 This goes to show that educational policy makes a difference. Going to Nursery or preschool or tuition does make a difference.






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