Immigrant Education Lags Behind in Finland

The difference between the school children of immigrant background and the native ones is greater in Finland compared to other European countries, a study has found.

According to the research of Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) in the OECD 2012, the children of immigrant background in the country are averagely 2-3 years behind in terms of know-how.

School children of immigrant background feel that teachers expect less from them compared to the natives.

File picture of Naima Farah. Photo – Str / Lehtikuva.

The research on the significance of ethnic background in the importance of learning – will be completed in the summer.

“The number of immigrants in schools has significantly increased in recent years. One might ask whether teachers have received additional knowledge in respective cultures,” said Heidi Harju-Luukkainen, who is part of the research team.

Naima Farah, an immigrant from Turku who was born in Somalia and fluent in four languages, said her family considers education as important.

File picture of a School in Espoo. Photo – Lehtikuva.

The matriculation exam candidate added that immigrant students’ successes in school are undermined by teachers expecting less from them.

In her blog, Naima wrote:”If a Finnish child gets grade seven, the teacher encourages by saying the child should be able to do better. When an immigrant child gets seven, the teacher thanks and congratulates the child.

“Many of the immigrants are very ambitious. A friend of mine came to Finland as a 12-year old, and did not speak Finnish at all. Now he is studying to be a doctor,” said Farah.

She admitted that not all immigrant families regard vocational training as a priority. In her opinion however, this was generalised to all immigrants.

-Finland Times