Tag Archives: Immigrant children

Limits On Immigrants In Schools?

The Minister of Education in Finland has called for establishing quotas on the number of immigrant pupils who can be found in a single school. He argues for a 20% limit on immigrants in one school. Currently, about 15 % of students in Helsinki schools have children with immigrant backgrounds. Rauno Jarnila, who is head of the Education Department of the city of Helsinki, laughs at the proposal and believes it ignores reality of how immigrants interact with schools and society. About 20 of the 108 Finnish language comprehensive schools in Helsinki have about 25% of their student body who are of immigrant origin. Jarnila agrees it would be wonderful if immigrants were evenly distributed across the school population, but that stance flies in the face of how immigrants congregate.

It is normal for immigrants to seek housing in areas where there are people of their own background or schools which have reputations of being concerned to provide excellent education for immigrant children. This process is well known in any society which has traditionally had ongoing arrival of immigrants. It is difficult for immigrants to live in areas where there are few people of their own background. Reality is there will be an imbalance. The issue is not the number but the quality of education provided.

Immigrant Children In Greece Left Behind

The European Union may take action against Greece unless it scraps a new law which forbids children of undocumented immigrants from applying for the coveted EU-wide longterm residence status– a permanent form of residence. Under a new Greek law, only the Greece-born children of immigrants may apply for this residence permit, provided they are 18 and their parents reside legally in the country. The European Union does permit children under the age of 18 to apply for permanent residency and there is concern the Greek law may be in violation of EU laws. Greek officials insist that if an immigrant came illegally and has not been able to legalize their position in Greece they will be deported and any children under 18 must accompany them.

Historically, the United States of America was among the few nations which grant citizenship automatically to anyone born in the country regardless of the status of their parents. Greece apparently claims a child’s citizenship follows the status of their parents. The American model is an inclusive one which recognizes that once born in the country, one will be regarded as a citizen.

Finland Immigrants Population Seeks Education

According to most forecasts, immigrant population will continue to grow due to the decline in birth rates among Europeans and the need for workers to handle tasks not being done by the native born population. A study by the Finnish National Board of Education concludes immigrant success in school depends upon several factors such as their cultural background, length of time in Finland and their ability to gain expertise in the Finnish language. However, second generation immigrants perform at higher levels than native born Finns. It is estimated by 2025 about one in five students attending school in the greater Helsinki area will be of immigrant background.

An issue for current children of immigrants is the smaller percent who go on to upper secondary school. This should not be surprising since it is common in virtually all societies which have a heavy immigrant influx. It takes one or two generations for immigrant children to reach the level of native born students. As is so frequently the case lack of teachers with language skills to work with immigrant children is factor in the inability or lack of interest on the part of immigrant children to go on to upper secondary school.