Belgium: Belgian friend doubles chances of success

Belgium: Belgian friend doubles chances of success

According to the researchers, a Belgian friend serves as a bridge.  But maybe they should be looking at it completely differently: having a Belgian friend means you're better integrated and open to Belgian culture to begin with. 


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 do higher education.

Researchers from KU Leuven questioned 1751 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.

The support of a teacher is also influential. In the study it was the most influential element, after having a Belgian friend, for further education.

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.


Source: flandersnews (English)

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