Education and training are of key importance for the success of integration processes. They have an effect on access to central positions and resources in society as well as participation in political decision-making processes. The language competences and cultural skills of migrants influence their success in education and their integration into the labour market (cultural integration). Higher school leaving certificates, a completed vocational training or a university degree are of paramount importance for the development prospects and social position of immigrants (structural integration). Moreover, educational institutions play a major role for intercultural contacts and friendships to develop, for acceptance to grow and prejudices to be overcome (social integration), as well as for migrants to identify with the democratic structures and core values of the receiving society (identificatory integration).
In Germany, the educational opportunities of children and youths of immigrant families are much lower than those of pupils and students with no migration background. According to official statistics, foreign children and youths attain significantly lower results in the German educational system than their German classmates – in spite of some minor improvements over the past decades. Young migrants of non-German nationality are overrepresented at lower secondary schools (Hauptschule) and special schools, attend higher secondary schools (Gymnasium) less often, leave school with the lowest certificate or no certificate at all in higher proportion, and are clearly underrepresented among trainees and students at universities. Inevitably, this leads to lower chances on the labour market, more unemployment and dependency on transfer payments.
In Berlin, the imbalance between the educational opportunities of children and youths of German and non-German nationality is particularly striking: Whereas in the school year 2004/2005 some 37 per cent of the German school leavers qualified for university entrance (Abitur), only 11 per cent of the non-Germans did. Especially in lower secondary education the results are alarming: 23 per cent of the non-German school-leavers in Berlin finish school without any certificate, compared to only eight per cent of their German classmates; another 29 per cent of the non-German school-leavers obtain the lowest certificate only (as against 19 per cent of the Germans). Hence more than one in two non-German students leaves school either with no certificate at all or with a certificate opening up but little opportunities on the training and job market.
1. The concept “Integration through Education” of the Berlin Senate
In August 2005, the Berlin Senate presented its comprehensive cross-sectoral integration concept. The report focuses on current and future developments in integration policy and the resulting challenges for politics in Berlin. The Senate aims at combining the efforts of all departments in integration policy in an overall strategy, improving the coordination of the various programmes and measures, and defining targets more specifically. Integration policy is seen as a task for all departments to contribute to in a strategically oriented process comprising more precise definitions of role models and political targets, the development of indicators of integration policy, and a regular reporting system.
The Berlin integration concept for education includes the objectives adopted by the Senate in May 2005 in its programme “Integration through Education”. This detailed “concept for the promotion of children, youths and adults with migration background” contains an analysis of the current situation and the target groups, the development of central themes, targets and indicators, as well as the identification of spheres of action and measures.
The Senate’s programme “Integration through Education” has three major objectives in educational and integration policy:
1. to raise participation in education and the rate of attainment of higher school-leaving certificates among children and youths with migration background to enable them to achieve personal independence, self-responsibility and active participation in the society;
2. to remove language barriers on the part of parents with migration background, include them in the language acquisition process of their children and enhance the involvement of immigrants in bodies and activities at school;
3. acquisition of a thorough knowledge of culture and society, or enhancement of this knowledge, by students with migration background and their parents.
The concept “Integration through Education” of the Berlin Senate is the first integration programme that includes verifiable indicators. The effectiveness of the concept is to be established by measuring these indicators for the set targets. The indicators of integration were critically discussed and reviewed during a meeting of scholars and administration experts as well as representatives of charitable and migrant organisations at the Werkstatt der Kulturen in Berlin on 29 March 2006.
2. Recommendations for recording migration background
In order to monitor the educational success of children and youths with migration background in Germany, the data situation needs to be improved. The current classification into Germans and foreigners in official statistics does not reflect the social reality of an immigrant society any more: For statistical purposes, the large group of repatriates of German origin and the rising number of naturalised foreigners since the late 1980s are all classified as Germans. Since the new Immigration Act came into force on 1 January 2000, children born in Germany automatically receive German citizenship if one of their parents has been living in Germany for at least eight years. About 50 per cent of the children born to foreign parents in Berlin benefit from this regulation.
Since 1999, the Berlin school statistics have recorded not only the nationality of children starting school, but also “non-German native language” for those using another language than German at home. Nationality does not play a role here; all that matters is the language in which the family communicates. For the school year 2005/2006, the proportion of children and youths with non-German native language was 25.7 per cent and thus significantly higher than that of foreign pupils (16.5 per cent). How fast the proportion of pupils with non-German native language increases can be seen from the fact that they currently account for 32.0 per cent of all pupils at primary schools.
For the purposes of integration monitoring it is indispensable to record a migration background, as nationality alone will not suffice to identify problematic social situations and the need for political action. Particularly the registration of the place of birth of the pupil, or place or country of birth of his or her parents, seems to be useful as only a comparison between the first and the second generations facilitates a meaningful evaluation of integration processes. Even though there may be academic reasons for including earlier generations in the statistics as well, this would be problematic from a political point of view as it could have a stigmatising and excluding effect on the individuals concerned. In education it makes sense to record the language in which the family communicates, at least as an indication that special classes in German might be necessary.
In order to monitor educational success in a differentiated manner it is also necessary to register for those entering the German educational system at a later point the year of their immigration or age at that time. Indicators of their socio-economic and legal status (education and training of parents, nationality, residence status) are also significant. Furthermore, it seems to be necessary to record the educational success of children and youths according to country of origin or mother tongue.
3. Recommendations for the development of integration indicators in the field of education
We know from research that the educational success of children and youths with migration background is influenced by their and their family’s life situations (e.g. age at time of arrival in Germany, social position and educational level of parents, language spoken in the family and during leisure, interethnic contacts) as well as by social and institutional context (e.g. promotion of education in childcare facilities, attendance of and time spent at childcare facilities, ethnic and socio-economic mix at school, differences with regard to quality of teachers, material resources and intellectual climate at school). When developing an indicator system for education it therefore seems to be necessary to record not only the data, but the context in which they were found as well.
The following indicators are based on the educational career of children and youths (from early to higher education). They largely reflect the monitoring system for participation in education of the city of Wiesbaden which is most advanced in this respect. Subsequently, some indicators are proposed for contextual features such as intercultural opening of educational institutions (childcare facilities, schools).
Indicators for the educational success of children, youths and adults with migration background
• proportion of 6-year-olds who attended childcare facilities for at least two years
• proportion of children with a sufficient command of German before starting school
• proportion of children in grade four with a (very) good command of German
• proportion of pupils aged 6 to 10 attending all-day primary schools
transition from primary to secondary education
• recommendation by class teacher for type of secondary school in grade six, primary school: proportion of pupils with a recommendation for Haupt-schule or Gymnasium, respectively
• proportion of transitions from primary school to the various types of secondary schools in districts with low or high unemployment rate/dependency on transfer payments
• proportion of transitions from primary school to the various types of secondary schools in districts with low or high concentrations of non-Germans/migrants
secondary education (grades 7 to 13)
• proportion of students with and without migration background in grade eight according to type of school
• proportion of students with and without migration background who have to repeat a year, for each type of school
• proportion of students who have to change from Gymnasium or Realschule to the next lower type of secondary school, for the two school types
• school leavers according to qualification
• proportion of school leavers with university entrance qualification / without school leaving certificate according to neighbourhoods
• proportion of school leavers with university entrance qualification for various cities (Berlin, Frankfurt on Main, Hamburg, Cologne, Munich, Stuttgart)
• trainees according to fields, industries and occupations
• proportion of trainees in all youths of residential population (participation rate in vocational training)
• proportion of trainees who complete their vocational training
• proportion of young adults without completed vocational training in all young adults in the residential population
• number of lessons offered for German as a second/foreign language at adult education centres in Berlin
• participation in examinations for European language certificates
• participation in German classes organised for mothers/parents of pupils with non-German native language at schools
• proportion of first-year students (with German Abitur) in all school leavers with university entrance qualification
• proportion of students (with German Abitur) according to university and subject
• proportion of dropouts according to university and subject
• proportion of students who complete their university studies
• proportion of people over 18 holding a degree in total residential population over 18
Indicators for the intercultural opening of educational institutions
The “Berlin concept of integration” describes intercultural opening as the Senate’s central theme of integration policy to facilitate the participation of all groups of the population. According to the new Berlin Education Act, intercultural education is one of the special educational tasks of schools. The concept “Integration through Education” provides for all childcare facilities and schools to develop an intercultural climate which reduces barriers, reflects the ethnic diversity of the area and displays the necessary tolerance to make these institutions learning and meeting places for parents, too. Intercultural competence and the ability to teach German in a professional manner are to be enhanced in respective training courses for kindergarten and school teachers.
Indicators for the intercultural opening of educational institutions could include:
• proportion of childcare facilities and schools applying a concept for dealing with ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic diversity
• proportion of childcare facilities and schools applying a concept for the systematic improvement of the language skills of children and youths of non-German native language
• number of childcare facilities and schools offering bilingual activities
• proportion of schools offering German classes for mothers/parents of children of non-German native language
• proportion of kindergarten and school teachers with migration background in all kindergarten and school teachers of the respective institution
• proportion of kindergarten and school teachers who participate in courses to enhance their intercultural competences and ability to teach German in a professional manner
• proportion of parents of children with migration background involved in the work of parental councils at school.