Integration process is uphill struggle

20/11/2014 08:00

Young people with non-western background still lagging behind in socio-economic terms compared to their native Dutch counterparts
In socio-economic terms, young people with a non-western ethnic background are still lagging behind compared to their native Dutch counterparts, as Statistics Netherlands stated today in its Annual Integration Report 2014. Education is an essential factor in this respect. The average education level attained by young people with a non-western background is lower than that of young native Dutch people and they leave school more often without having graduated. Statistics Netherlands reports that school dropouts less often find a job and that their wages are lower. This applies in particular to those with a non-western background.

Non-western pupils attend lower forms of education than native Dutch pupils

On average, non-western pupils, in particular those with a Turkish or Moroccan background, attend a lower form of education than native Dutch pupils. In the third year of secondary education, they half as often attend higher general secondary education (havo) and pre-university education (vwo) as native Dutch pupils. Compared to a decade ago, non-western pupils slightly more often opt for havo or vwo, higher levels in secondary vocational education (mbo) and they also more often opt for higher education. Typically, the gap between young people with a non-western background other than Turkish, Moroccan, Surinamese or Antillean and native Dutch young people appears to be  much smaller. Pupils with an Iranian background, for example, even  attend havo or vwo more often than those with a native Dutch background.

Basic qualification very important for non-western young people 

Non-western young people more often leave school prematurely than their native Dutch counterparts: they leave school more often without a basic qualification, i.e. a completed education at havo or  vwo level or a basic vocational education (mbo-2). Six years after leaving school, those with a basic qualification have a better chance of finding work and higher wages and a smaller risk of living on social security benefits or committing crimes than young people without a basic qualification. This also applies to young people who leave school prematurely, but attained a basic qualification at a later stage. Six years after leaving school without a basic qualification, the chance of finding work and higher wage turns out to be smaller for young people with a non-western background than for native Dutch.

Home environment pupils affects school performance

Home environment and school performance are closely related. If young people do not speak Dutch at home, they are in a more unfavourable position when leaving primary education; in that case, their results at the final test primary education tend to be lower. Other factors, which increase the risk of leaving school without a basic qualification are low-educated parents, unemployed parents, living in a single-parent household and low household incomes. The (first-generation) parents of pupils with a non-western background are much more often low-educated than native Dutch parents. In general, first-generation people with a non-western ethnic background are more often unemployed than native Dutch and their household incomes also tend to be lower. Especially the categories with a Surinamese or Antillean ethnic background include many single-parent households.

Non-western second-generation is in better socio-economic position than their parents

Non-western people of the second generation (often young people) often encounter difficulties on the labour market: they are more often unemployed and rarely have permanent employment contracts compared to native Dutch. Their average incomes are also lower and they live on social security benefits more often. On the other hand, the non-western second generation is in a better socio-economic position than the first generation. Among 25 to 35-year-old people with a Turkish or Moroccan background, the number of high-educated is currently almost three times as high as among the 55 to 65-year-olds within these ethnic groups. Yet, their average level of education is still lower than that of their native Dutch peers.