Immigrant children feel at home in Canada: OECD report

December 17, 2015

By Winnipeg Free Press|

Canada is one of the leading countries in which immigrant children feel at home in their new schools, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development reported today.

The OECD almost reported that data collected while conducting testing of children in developed countries found that the socioeconomic status of schools is a key factor in immigrant students’ success — the higher the better.

But, the OCED found, the number of immigrant children entering a school does not affect their academic performance.

The OECD urged schools, now welcoming thousands of refugee Syrian children, to enrol students in language classes held in a regular classroom setting as soon as possible.

The report, Immigrant Students at School: Easing the Journey towards Integration, finds no link between the share of immigrant students and the performance of school systems. It is the socio-economic status of students that makes the most difference, rather than their immigrant backgrounds, as schools with larger concentrations of immigrant students are often located in poor neighbourhoods, the OECD said.

“In the United States, for example, 21 per cent of all students have an immigrant background, but 40 per cent of the students in disadvantaged schools do.”

Today’s report also compares how migrant children feel a sense of belonging at school: in Belgium, Ireland, Luxembourg and Portugal, first-generation immigrant students expressed the most alienation from education systems as compared to students without an immigrant background.

“Integration unfolds over time in Luxembourg, Norway and Spain, where second-generation immigrant students expressed a stronger sense of belonging at school than first-generation immigrant students.,” said the OECD.

“In Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Qatar, the percentages of both first- and second-generation immigrant students who reported that they feel they belong at school were higher than the percentage of non-immigrant students who so reported. All four of these countries adopt highly selective immigration policies.”

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