According to a study by Raoul Van Esbroeck (VUB) en Marlies Lacante (K.U.Leuven) less than 20% of kids of Islamic background who start higher education succeed. By Ethnic Belgians, 56% succeed. The positive news is that the factors that account for the low success rate, such as an often unrealistic choice of study, can be dealt with.
The professors researched the participation and performance of immigrants in the Flemish higher education, but also the factors that could explain the numbers.
Barely half of immigrant kids of North African or Turkish background with a secondary diploma continue on in higher education. That's compared to 75% by the ethnic Belgians. While 56.1% of ethnic Belgian succeed in their first year, only 19.4% of Muslims do the same.
According to the study many immigrant students make unrealistic study choices, do not approach their studies efficiently and have difficulties adjusting. Immigrants choose particularly to go to university. The most popular are economics, followed by law and social courses. These courses enjoy a high status in their social background.
The difference in preparatory training is also important. 15.2% of Muslim immigrant first year students come from vocational schools (BSO), and 38.3% from technical schools (TSO). While BSO does not prepare students for university or higher education.
For that matter, about 60% of the immigrant students start their studies late. By ethnic Belgians that's 20%. 45% of Muslim immigrants drop out prematurely during the first year, compared to 22% by ethnic Belgians.
The difference in the parent's education level is also significant. 39.7% of Muslim students come from a family where the parents at the most finished elementary school. Compared with other immigrants the numbers show a significant lower social economic background. The difference with ethnic first year students is even more extreme. More so, the students often come from a family where the father is not employed.
Another problem is the issue of language. 36% of the immigrant students for whom Dutch is a mother tongue succeeded, compared with only 22% of students with another mother tongue.
Regarding attitude, Muslim immigrant students often underestimated the importance of effort, putting in less time in their studies and going less often to classes.
Source: HLN (Dutch)
See also: Belgium: 50% of immigrants drop out of high school
One thing that caught my eye when I was reading this: this is the first time I remember seeing the media actually referring specifically to Muslims and not just to "immigrants". There are three groups mentioned in this article: ethnic Belgians, immigrants, and Muslim immigrants. In some cases it is obvious that the 2nd group is more encompassing, but it is unclear to me if that's always the case.
See also: Euphemisms