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Children of Turkish Immigrants in Germany and the Netherlands: The Impact of Differences in Vocational and Academic Tracking Systems

by Maurice Crul & Jens Schneider - 2009

Background/Context: Much research is being done on Turkish immigrants and their children in Germany and the Netherlands, but almost always from a national perspective. To compare the situation, for example, regarding educational outcomes across the two countries has proved to be very difficult because of different sets, selection criteria, and time periods for statistical data on immigrant populations. However, those data, which are actually available and comparable to at least some degree, already show how strongly the differences in educational attainment and labor market integration of Turkish immigrants depend on structural and systemic differences in the ways that education is organized in Germany and the Netherlands.

Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study: The article analyzes available data on young Turkish immigrants and native-born second generations and their educational success in the two countries with the major Turkish populations in Western Europe. It aims to direct the focus away from group background characteristics, which are actually quite similar, to the influence of institutional arrangements and the way that the educational system facilitates (or not) the educational integration of Turkish youth.

Research Design: The article is based on publicly collected and available data on the Turkish populations in Germany and the Netherlands. This mainly refers to the Dutch SPVA surveys and the German micro-census and Integration Survey.

Conclusions/Recommendations: The findings show that more than group characteristics, systemic and institutional factors can have a decisive role in promoting or hampering the educational and labor market integration of young immigrants and the native-born second generation. The greater openness of the Dutch school system to provide “long routes” and “second chances” shows its effect in significantly higher shares of Turks in higher education. On the other side, the dual system of vocational training in Germany seems to be better suited for labor market integration, especially because apprenticeships are more practice oriented and do count as work experience for later application procedures. The Dutch system also offers better opportunities for girls than does the German system. Yet, the polarization effect between “high achievement” and “failure” of only partial integration success is greater in the Netherlands, whereas the overall advancement is slower, but also less polarizing, in Germany. In this sense, each country could learn something from its neighbor regarding those aspects of the institutional and systemic setting that apparently fail to do the job well enough.

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 111 Number 6, 2009, p. 1508-1527
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 15333, Date Accessed: 6/12/2021 10:23:45 AM

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About the Author
  • Maurice Crul
    University of Amsterdam
    E-mail Author
    MAURICE CRUL is a social scientist working at the University of Amsterdam, specializing in education for the last 15 years, first within the Dutch context and more recently in a comparative European context. He is a member of the program board of the Institute of Migration and Ethnic Studies and an appointed member of the advisory board on issues of integration and diversity for the city council of Amsterdam. He is one of the principal investigators of the transatlantic project, Children of Immigrants in School. The subproject he is supervising together with Jennifer Holdaway is comparing school careers of Moroccan second generation in Amsterdam with second-generation Dominican youth in New York. Maurice Crul is also, together with Jens Schneider, coordinating the international research project TIES (The Integration of the European Second generation, http://www.tiesproject.eu/), which involves partners in eight European countries.
  • Jens Schneider
    Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies, Amsterdam
    E-mail Author
    JENS SCHNEIDER received his PhD in Social Anthropology at the University of Tübingen. Currently he is a Senior Researcher at the Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies in Amsterdam and Co-Coordinator of the TIES project on second-generation Turks, Moroccans and former Yugoslavs in Europe. He has extensive ethnographic fieldwork experience in Chile, Germany and Brazil. His main fields of interest are educational integration processes and national and cultural/ethnic identities, specifically regarding the influence of the receiving society on identity formation and integration processes.
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