04 SES 09 C, Experience of Immigrant (Youth) in Education II
Parallel Paper Session
This communication presents the results of the research project “Young immigrants' successful journeys into higher education and the professional sector” (Generalitat de Catalunya, Secretaria per la immigració - AGAUR. 2010 ARF1 00039. 2011–2012). The main aim of this project was to study the various elements that condition young immigrants' access to higher education and their subsequent integration into the professional sector.
Educating immigrants is a high priority for most OECD countries. In many cases, national governments have been particularly interested in immigrant incorporation into the labour force (Arbeláez, 2005; Ferrer, 2008; Pajares, 2009; 2010). However, interest in immigrants' learning results and a general revision of the policies that are meant to address and respond to their educational and training needs is slowly gaining prevalence. This later trend is exemplified by grant programs like the ARAFI framework (Catalonia, Spain), or projects like the “Thematic Review on Migrant Education” (OECD, 2008).
The main questions raised in these studies and projects are:
- Access: do immigrant students have the same opportunities to access quality education as their native-born peers?
- Participation: do they participate, i.e., matriculate and complete their studies, at the same rate as non-immigrant students?
- Learning results: do immigrant students obtain the same learning results?
We have found that the majority of research carried out focuses on early-childhood, primary and secondary education, or professional training. This focus makes it nearly impossible to find studies that: analyse the low percentage of immigrant students who enter the university (approximately 3.3% in Catalonia); contribute to understanding what factors influence immigrant students' successful journeys into higher education and the professional sector; offer recommendations for developing educational policy aimed at improving the learning results of immigrant students; or which serve as a model and incentive for other immigrants, or even, the country as a whole.
This year-long research project aimed to identify and analyse what factors facilitate or inhibit the entrance of 1st and 2nd generation immigrants into institutions of higher education and, later, the professional sector. By developing 8 in-depth biographical narratives with four on subjects currently enrolled in Catalan universities and four subjects who have received a university degree and who are now at work in the professional sector related to their field of study, this inquiry asked: what factors influence the academic (and professional) success of immigrant students?
Our presentation will discuss our research methods and findings. We will share a clip of one film and samples from the biographical narratives, describing the role of narrative inquiry in shaping our investigation and our relationship with the collaborators. Second, we will summarise our findings and contextualise our work within the local context of Catalonia, Spain. We will highlight the factors that participants identified as having facilitated or inhibited their educational journeys.
Arbeláez, M. (2005). Algunes línies sobre les dificultats de la integració sociolaboral dels joves immigrants. La immigració a Catalunya avui: Anuari 2005. Barcelona: Fundació Jaume Bofill. Bach, H. (2007). “Composing a visual narrative inquiry”. In Clandinin, D. J. (ed.) Handbook of narrative inquiry: Mapping a methodology (pp: 280-307). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Couppié, T. ; Gasquet, C.; Lopez, A. (2007). Generation 98: The first seven years on the labour market. From school-to work transition to embarking on a career. Training & Employment, 74: 1-8. Dean, H. and Wildavsky, A. (1990) “La entrevista semiestructurada de final abierto. Aproximación a una guía operativa”. Historia y fuente oral, 4, (23-61). Ferrer, J. (2008). La inserció laboral de les persones immigrants. Quaderns d'Educació Social, 11: 117-132. Hernández, F. (coord.). (2011).¿Qué nos cuentan los jóvenes? Narraciones biográficas sobre las relaciones de los jóvenes con el saber en la escuela secundaria. Barcelona: Universidad de Barcelona. Repositorio digital: http://hdl.handle.net/2445/18348 Pahl, K. (2011) “My Family, My Story: Representing Identities in Time and Space through Digital Storytelling”. Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education, 110(1): 17-39. Pajares, M. (2009). Inmigración y mercado de trabajo. Informe 2009. Madrid: Ministerio de Trabajo e Inmigración. Pajares, M.(2010). Inmigración y mercado de trabajo. Informe 2010. Madrid: Ministerio de Trabajo e Inmigración. Pink, S. (2007). Doing Visual Ethnography. London: Sage.
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