Statistics Netherlands announced today that children adopted from China perform better at school than non-adopted children; 15-year-old children with a Chinese background more often attend pre-university (vwo) education. Children adopted from South Korea have the same performance level in secondary education as non-adopted children, but - on average - children adopted from other countries attend lower strata of education. Children adopted after their second birthday have a lower education level than those adopted prior to their second birthday.
30 percent of children adopted from China are in pre-university education
Children adopted from China are doing well at school. At the age of fifteen, 30 percent of them attended pre-university education, versus 21 percent of their non-adopted peers. Many children (girls in particular) were offered for adoption as a result of the one-child policy implemented in China, not because of poverty. Perhaps, Chinese children have enjoyed better prenatal conditions compared to children adopted from other countries, which enable them to perform better at school. Children adopted from South Korea are also doing well at school. On average, children adopted from other countries have a lower education level than non-adopted children.
Fifteen-year-old children adopted from China are almost invariably girls; among children adopted from other countries, the proportion of boys is marginally higher than the proportion of girls. Since girls generally have a higher education level than boys (23 percent of non-adopted 15-year-old girls are in pre-university education, as against 20 percent of boys), this partly accounts for the gap between Chinese children and children adopted from elsewhere. Adopted children also more often live in high-income households. This applies specifically to children adopted from China. In high-income households, there is often more money available for extra lessons and other forms of educational support.
Children adopted at an early age perform better at school
On average, children adopted after their second birthday attended lower types of education than children adopted prior to their second birthday. Language deficiency and adverse living conditions in their countries of birth possibly play a part in this respect. The advantage children adopted from China and South Korea have at the age of fifteen, is most apparent in children adopted at an early age.
Children adopted from other countries are even more behind in education, if they were adopted after their second birthday; 6 percent of them attended pre-university education, versus 9 percent of children adopted prior to their second birthday. Proportionally, children adopted after the age of two also more often attended basic vocational or advanced vocational tracks in preparatory secondary vocational education (vmbo): nearly half versus one third of children adopted at an earlier age.