YLE: Maahanmuuttajanuoret kouluttautuvat huonosti

by , under All categories, Enrique

Comment: Here is an interesting story published by YLE on why the children of immigrants don’t excel as well at school as children born to Finnish parents.

One of the matters that bothers me about these types of stories is not only lower academic achievement but no attempt to speak to experts and ask what the causes may be. Without doing this a story like the one by YLE reinforces stereotypes that “immigrants are not as smart as Finns.” If anything, lower academic achievement among second-generation Finns shows how the system has failed and, worse, the inability of the authorities  to  address the problem.

We have mentioned on this blog that when some politicians, policy-makers and the general public speak of immigration and immigrants in Finland, they speak as if there are few problems and that the issue is far in the future. This perception could not be further from reality. The present situation shows the few tools and probably will to address the problems forcefully and effectively. Do you agree?


Maahanmuuttajanuoret kouluttautuvat selvästi huonommin kuin syntyperäiset suomalaiset. Suurin ero näkyy pelkän peruskoulun suorittaneiden määrissä. Maahanmuuttajista yli neljännes jättää koulunkäynnin peruskouluun, syntyperäisistä suomalaisista noin 15 prosenttia.

Tiedot käyvät ilmi Tilastokeskuksen sanomalehti Keskisuomalaiselle tuottamasta aineistosta.

Lapsena Suomeen muuttaneista ulkomaalaisista noin 23 prosenttia on käynyt korkeakoulun. Syntyperäisistä suomalaisista korkeakoulun on käynyt noin 36 prosenttia. Keskiasteen tutkintojen yleisyys on molemmissa ryhmissä on melkein sama. Lukion tai ammattikoulun on käynyt noin puolet.

Lapsena Suomeen muuttaneista ulkomaalaisista parhaiten ovat kouluttautuneet saksalaiset ja heidän jälkeensä venäläiset.

Tutkimukseen poimittiin ulkomailta Suomeen vuosina 1983-1990 muuttaneita, jotka olivat saapuessaan 0-14-vuotiaita ulkomaan kansalaisia. Koulutustasoa verrattiin vuodelta 2008 samanikäisiin syntyperäisiin suomalaisiin.

Jyväskylän yliopiston Koulutuksen tutkimuslaitoksen johtaja Jouni Välijärvi on erityisesti huolestunut maahanmuuttajista, jotka ovat käyneet vain peruskoulun. Hänen mukaansa koulutuksen puute on vakava riski työmarkkinoilla kaikille taustasta riippumatta, mutta se korostunee maahanmuuttajien kohdalla.

YLE Uutiset

  1. Enrique

    All those who have worked and taught immigrants and their children understand that some of these people need a lot of support. The article forgets to mention how many children of immigrants were ridiculed openly in school in the 1990s and earlier for having foreign parents. This type of behavior not only stifled their development as human beings at school, but aimed to teach them that their “other half” was something to be ashamed of. A huge mistake.
    If there are social problems in Finland emerging it is with the second generation. They have seen it all and understand the language and culture to interpret their environment: How their parents were treated, racism and exclusion at school.

  2. Enrique

    Another interesting point to highlight is that there may be more “understanding” from the general population to first-generation immigrants because they are after all “foreigners.” With the second generation it is different. The discrimination could even be in some cases stronger because that person has not “assimilated into our culture” even if he/she speaks Finnish and grew up in Finland.

  3. Mateus

    Hi Enrique, how do you do?

    I haven’t participated here for a long time (I was too busy with my studies), but now the university entrance exams are over and I am happy to be back!

    Have you heard of the PISA assessment? The results from 2009 have just come out and, once again, Finland is among the top 5.
    I watched a video last week in which Finnish politicians and professors explain how they created a way of foreseeing students’ problems and difficulties in order to avoid failures in the future. Here it is:


    According to the video, all children have equal opportunities. Do you agree?

    • Enrique

      Happy New Year Mateus, and how nice to hear from you! I am certain that things have gone very well for you in Brazil.

      You pose a very good question with respect to the Pisa assessment. In first place, it is a great matter that the state invests so heavily in education. This is what Latin American countries should do. However, this good system has been founded for Finnish kids not so much for children of foreigners who are full members of our society entitled to their history and place. This does not mean, however, that the system does not have the ability to tackle such weaknesses in the system. How effectively this happens and what tools are implemented to address the issue is an interesting question. Are we doing enough?

      The video clip link that you provided states that the educational system started to be transformed in the 1970s. If you have been in Finland and spoken to children of foreigners that grew up in this country in the 1990s, one worrying matter emerges from their tales: how they were discriminated by their fellow pupils (most likely with the quite approval of the teachers) and forced to hide and forget their “foreign half.” Is this an example of a model educational system if it shoots down and ridicules difference? I still think this happens probably to a lesser degree than in the past. However, discrimination and prejudice hold no place in a world-class educational system. Probably this is the area where the Finnish educational system has to do a lot more work. If we fail here and if Finland allows xenophobia to raise its head in the next election, they will be direct threats to our society. Racism, discrimination, inability to accept difference and Otherness are factors that can destroy matters and cause a lot of societal damage.

      Even so, you would think that if Finland has a world-class educational system that is based on equality how could it fuel xenophobia and racism? Probably this is where we will see the fruits of our great system: Voters will reject extremism, ultra nationalism and racism.

      I think one of the greatest matters that the Finnish educational system offers is that (a) it is relatively free and accessible, (2) quality education and (3) it offers opportunity.

      Here is an interesting question that was made in a video clip provided by xyz: If the Finnish educational system is so great why is there such high unemployment among 15-24 years olds? The latest Statistics Finland unemployment figures show that 16.1% of those in the latter age group were unemployed in November. That is over two times higher than the jobless rate reported for that month, which was 7.1%.

  4. Tiwaz

    It is choice of immigrant children not to pursue further studies. THEY have to take responsibility of their choices.

    As for “other half” issue. Society does not need dividing lines, thus foreign parents who are smart let their kids become Finns, instead of trying to make them “half and half”.

    Second generation immigrants are not somehow problematic only in Finland, this issue is globally spread and is result of fact that multiculturalism DOES NOT WORK.

    Third generation has been sufficiently distanced from the culture of their grandparents to have essentially lost so much of it that they are no longer multicultural (unless parents make mistake of trying to enforce it). And that is where things get going upward, towards complete assimilation to society at large.

    Our challenge should be that second generation are same way. Foreign parents must have the interest of their children at heart and let them go, as much as it might pain them to see ways of “home” discarded in favor of Finnish tradition. Because “home” is no longer where they are.

  5. JusticeDemon

    Tiwaz preaches interminably on how proud she is of her roots, but she would have immigrants try to disconnect from their roots. This is a typically authoritarian agenda from an obviously insecure person, and we need not concern ourselves with it any further.

    The puzzling thing about the survey commissioned by Keskisuomalainen is what it is seeking to investigate. Evidently children who begin their acculturation, language learning and formal schooling abroad before moving to Finland as foreigners sometime before their 15th birthday tend not to complete the first stage of higher education before the age of 18 – 39 years compared to “children of Finnish origin” of the same age. The term syntyperäinen suomalainen is not defined here, so we don’t know whether it includes children born abroad who gained Finnish citizenship at birth or the children of naturalised immigrants born in Finland.

    If the intention is merely to indicate that a 14 year-old arriving in Finland for the first time has (or at least had) a substantial handicap in the Finnish public education system compared to a student of the same age who has always lived here, then this is hardly a momentous discovery.