Turkish and Moroccan Belgians: 50% less chance of succeeding

29th June 2009, Comments 1 comment

Second generation Turkish and Moroccan Belgians are 50% less likely to succeed in higher education according to a study by the Catholic University of Leuven.

The results have been published in the daily De Standaard. Youngsters of Turkish and Moroccan origin double their chance of succeeding when they have even just one 'ordinary' Belgian friend.

Only one in two youngsters of Turkish or Moroccan origin (second generation) that start secondary school go on to higher education.

Researchers from KU Leuven questioned 1,751 youngsters between the ages of 18 and 30, from Antwerp and Brussels. One third of the group were Belgians of Moroccan origin, one third Belgians of Turkish origin and one third just ordinary Belgians from the same neighbourhoods (so the same social standing) as the youngsters of foreign origin.

The study reveals that one in two of the second generation Turks or Moroccans go on to higher education. Important is the influence of 'ordinary' Belgian friends. The students of foreign origin who have Belgian friends are more likely to go on to do further studies than those who have friends mostly from their own demographic group. Even one Belgian friend is enough to double the chance of succeeding for the students of foreign origin.

"The second generation is confronted with really separate worlds. The 'ordinary' Belgian friend can be a bridge between them. It gives the youngster of foreign origin access to the 'white' world of teachers and other students. This appears to make a dramatic difference. So, a social mix is very important for policy-makers to keep in mind," says researcher Karen Phalet.

Teachers are also influential in making future study choices

The support of a teacher is also influential. Apart from having a Belgian friend, this was the most influential element.

The chances of succeeding for second generation Turks or Moroccans is clearly less if more than half the students in their class are of foreign origin. Students who go to so-called 'concentration schools' have less chance of succeeding.

The home background and language do not play as crucial a role as the school and friends.

There is also discrimination

The study also reveals that a half to two-thirds of the Belgians of foreign origin have been discriminated against at least once : at school or at work or even when out for an evening or when coming into contact with the police.

"I think that especially the men of Moroccan origin have had at least one negative experience or have experienced animosity," says Karen Phalet.

Most second generation Moroccan and Turkish girls and women do not wear a headscarf. Those that do wear a headscarf say it is their personal choice.


1 Comment To This Article

  • - posted:

    on 1st July 2009, 16:12:19 - Reply

    i find this article to be a little obscure. what is meant by 'ordinary' belgians? and if the 'white' are considered as ordinary belgians then does that make the decendants of moroccan and turkish migrants ABnormal? and does the influence of the 'ordinary belgian friend' depend on the quality of friendship at all? also, if the home and background or language do not play a crucial role in the level of education obtained, what are the contributing factors?