Country of Origin Effects and Impacts on Educational Attainment of Pupils with Migrant Backgrounds. Towards a New Research Agenda

  • Dirk Jacobs
  • Anne UnterreinerEmail author
Part of the Global Migration Issues book series (IOMS, volume 7)


It is well documented that in most European countries migrants have lower educational attainment levels than natives. Access to education for pupils of migrant backgrounds is almost universally guaranteed in the EU, but this does not automatically equate to access to education that is adapted to their specific needs linked to socio-economic disadvantages and linguistic challenges. Furthermore, social and ethnic school segregation constitutes a serious barrier towards access to education. The scientific literature has only given limited space to the potential role played by the countries of origin regarding access to education and the school performance of migrants and their descendants. The country of origin effect and its impact on education are extremely complex to identify using a systematic methodology, due to the complex intertwinement of a multiplicity of factors: micro-level individual characteristics, community structure and macro-level determinants at both destination and origin. In this chapter, we review the existing literature to trace the potential effects and impacts of the country of origin on migrant education. Although not acknowledged as such, a country of origin effect seems to exist, for instance in terms of enrolment in schools and universities overseas (due to the “internationalisation of higher education”) and the various types of “capital” available to migrant families. In parallel, the country of origin impacts the education of its emigrants through diaspora policies on language and culture and by issuing diplomas that are recognised at destination.


School Performance Destination Country Migrant Background Migrant Child Origin Country 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Agai, B. (2002). Fethullah Gülen and his movement’s Islamic ethic of education. Critical Middle Eastern Studies, 11(1), 27–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ammermüller, A. (2007). Poor background or low returns? Why immigrant students in Germany perform so poorly in the programme for international student assessment. Education Economics, 15(2), 215–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Aydin, H., & Lafer, S. (2012). Promoting multicultural harmony in Nigeria: The Gülen-Inspire Schools. In S. Pandya & N. Gallaghar (Eds.), The Gülen Hizmet movement and its transnational activities: case studies of altruistic activism in contemporary Islam (pp. 195–212). Boca Raton: BrownWalker Press.Google Scholar
  4. Becker, B. (2010). Bildungsaspirationen von Migranten: Determinanten und Umsetzung in Bildungsergebnisse (MZES Working Paper 127). Mannheim: Mannheim Centre for European Social Research. Accessed 18 July 2016.
  5. Becker, B. (2011). Cognitive and language skills of Turkish children in Germany: A comparison of the second and third generation and mixed generational groups. International Migration Review, 45(2), 426–459.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bertoli, S., & Brücker, H. (2011). Selective immigration policies, migrants’ education and welfare at origin. Economic Letters, 113, 19–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bourdieu, P. (1979). Les trois états du capital culturel. Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales, 30, 3–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bourdieu, P. (1996). The state nobility: Elite schools in the field of power. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Bourdieu, P., & Passeron, J.-C. (1970). La reproduction. Paris: Minuit.Google Scholar
  10. Brinbaum, Y., & Cebolla-Boado, H. (2007). The school careers of ethnic minority youth in France: Success or disillusion? Ethnicities, 7(3), 445–474.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Brinbaum, Y., & Kieffer, A. (2009). Les scolarités des enfants d’immigrés de la sixième au baccalauréat: différenciation et polarisation des parcours. Population, 64(3), 561–610.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Brinbaum, Y., & Primon, J.-L. (2013). Parcours scolaires des descendants d’immigrés et sentiments d’injustice et de discrimination. Economie et statistique, 464–466, 215–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cabau-Lampa, B. (2000). L’expérience suédoise en matière d’enseignement des langues-cultures d’origine. Language Problems and Language Planning, 24(2), 149–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cheung, S. Y., & Heath, A. (2007). Nice work if you can get it: Ethnic penalties in Great Britain. Proceedings of the British Academy, 137, 507–550.Google Scholar
  15. Cobb-Clark, D., Sinning, M., & Stillman, S. (2012). Migrant youth’s educational achievement: The role of institutions. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 643, 18–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dehon, C., Jacobs, D., & Vermandele, C. (Eds.). (2009). Ranking universities. Brussels: Editions de l’Université de Bruxelles.Google Scholar
  17. Derek, L., & Stephen D. (1999). Staying on in Full-Time Education: Reasons for Higher Participation Rates among Ethnic Minority Males and Females. Economica, 66(261), 63–77.Google Scholar
  18. Di Bartolomeo, A., Kalantaryan, S., & Salamońska, J. (Eds.). (2017). Migrant integration between Homeland and Host Society (Vol. 2). Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  19. Entorf, H., & Lauk, M. (2008). Peer effects, social multipliers and migrants at school: An international comparison. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 34(4), 633–654.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Erel, U. (2012). Engendering transnational space: Migrant mothers as cultural currency speculators. European Journal of Women’s Studies, 19(4), 460–474.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. EURYDICE. (2009). Integrating immigrant children into schools in Europe, EAC Report. Brussels: European Commission.Google Scholar
  22. Glick Schiller, N., Linda, B., & Blanc-Szanton, C. (1992). Transnationalism: A new analytic framework for understanding migration. Annals of the New Academy of Sciences, 65, 1–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hanushek, E., & Wössmann, L. (2006). Does educational tracking affect performance and inequality? Differences-in-differences evidence across countries. Economic Journal, 116, C63–C76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hanushek, E. A., & Wössmann, L. (2011). The economics of international differences in educational achievement. In E. A. Hanushek, S. Machin, & L. Wössmann (Eds.), Handbook of the economics of education (Vol. 3, pp. 89–200). San Diego: North-Holland.Google Scholar
  25. Huddleston, T., & Niessen, J. (2011). Migrant integration policy index III. Brussels: MPG.Google Scholar
  26. Ichou, M. (2014). Who they were there: Immigrants’ educational selectivity and their children’s educational attainment. European Sociological Review, 30(6), 750–765.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Jacobs, D., & Batista, S. (2012). Examining results for the core EU-indicators of immigrant integration: Focus on education. Brussels: ULB.Google Scholar
  28. Jacobs, D., & Callier, L. (2012). Immigrant citizen survey. Regard sur les résultats belges. Brussels: Fondation Roi Baudouin.Google Scholar
  29. Jacobs, D., & Rea, A. (2011). Gaspillage de talents. Les écarts de performance dans l’enseignement secondaire entre les élèves issus de l’immigration et les autres d’après l’étude PISA 2009. Brussels: Fondation Roi Baudouin.Google Scholar
  30. Kanas, A., & van Tubergen, F. (2009). The impact of origin and country of destination schooling on the economic performance of immigrants. Social Forces, 88(2), 893–915.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Konietzka, D., & Kreyenfeld, M. (2001). Die Verwertbarkeit ausländische Ausbildungsabschlüsse: Das Beispiel der Aussiedler aud dem deutschen Arbeitsmarkt. Zeitschrift für Soziologie, 30(4), 267–282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lainé, F., & Okba, M. (2005). L’insertion des jeunes issus de l’immigration: de l’école au métier (Net.Doc.15 Report). Accessed on 6 July 2016.
  33. Levels, M., & Dronkers, J. (2008). Educational performance of native and immigrant children from various countries of origin. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 31(8), 1404–1425.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Levels, M., Dronkers, J., & Kraaykamp, G. (2008). Immigrant children’s educational achievement in western countries: Origin, destination, and community effects on mathematical performance. American Sociological Review, 73, 835–853.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Mehmeti, J. (2012). The role of education in Kosovo: The contribution of the Gülen movement. In S. Pandya & N. Gallaghar (Eds.), The Gülen Hizmet movement and iIts transnational activities: Case studies of altruistic activism in contemporary Islam (pp. 213–222). Boca Raton: BrownWalker Press.Google Scholar
  36. OECD. (2010). PISA 2009 results: Overcoming social background. Equity in learning opportunities and outcomes. Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
  37. Ogbu, J. U. (1987). Variability in minority school performance: A problem in search of an explanation. Anthropology and Education Quarterly, 18(4), 312–334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Polat, C. (2012). Gülen-inspired schools in Australia and their funding. In S. Pandya & N. Gallaghar (Eds.), The Gülen Hizmet movement and its transnational activities: Case studies of altruistic activism in contemporary Islam (pp. 171–190). Boca Raton: BrownWalker Press.Google Scholar
  39. Portes, A., & Rumbaut, R. G. (2001). Legacies: The story of the immigrant second generation. Berkeley/New York: University of California Press/Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  40. Portes, A., & Zhou, M. (1993). The new second generation: Segmented assimilation and its variants among post-1965 immigrant Youth. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 530, 74–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Portes, A., Fernandez-Kelly, P., & Haller, W. (2005). Segmented assimilation on the ground: The new second generation in early adulthood. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 28(6), 1000–1040.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Rangvid, B. S. (2007). Sources of immigrants’ underachievement. Education Economics, 15(3), 293–326.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Salamońska, J., & Unterreiner, A. (2017) Civil Society Organisations and the Diaspora-Integration Nexus, In A. Di Bartolomeo, S. Kalantaryan, & J. Salamońska (Eds.), Migrant integration between Homeland and Host Society (Vol. 2). Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  44. Schneeweis, N. (2011). Educational institutions and the integration of migrants. Journal of Population Economics, 24, 1281–1308.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Sze Yin Ho, J., & Sok Foon, Y. (2012). Internationalizing higher education: The effect of country-of-origin on the evaluation of service quality. Communications of the IBIMA, 2012, 1–11.Google Scholar
  46. Tucci, I. (2008). Les descendants d’immigrés en France et en Allemagne: Des destins contrastés, Participation au marché du travail, formes d’appartenance et modes de mise à distance sociale. Paris/Berlin: EHESS/Université Humbold.Google Scholar
  47. Unterreiner, A. (2011). La moindre performance scolaire des enfants de couples mixtes en France. Un éclairage par les méthodes quantitative et qualitative. Sociologie, 2(1), 51–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Unterreiner, A. (2012). Liens sociaux et construction identitaire des enfants de couples mixtes: une étude comparée en France, en Allemagne et au Royaume-Uni. Paris: EHESS.Google Scholar
  49. Unterreiner, A. (2017). Following the global competition for talent: What risks to integration in the UK?. In A. Di Bartolomeo, S. Kalantaryan, & J. Salamońska (Eds.), Migrant integration between Homeland and Host Society (Vol. 2). Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  50. Vallet, L.-A. (1996). L’assimilation scolaire des enfants issus de l’immigration et son interprétation: un examen sur données françaises. Revue française de pédagogie, 117, 7–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Van Tubergen, F., & van de Werfhorst, H. (2007). Postimmigration investments in education: A study of immigrants in the Netherlands. Demography, 44, 883–898.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Warner, L. W., & Srole, L. (1945). The social systems of American ethnic groups. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  53. Waters, J. (2005). Transnational family strategies and education in the contemporary Chinese diaspora. Global Networks, 5(4), 359–377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Waters, M. C., Tran, V. C., Kasinitz, P., & Mollenkopf, J. H. (2010). Segmented assimilation revisited: Types of acculturation and socioeconomic mobility in young adulthood. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 33(7), 1168–1193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Weinar, A., & Schneider, J. (2015). Corridor report Germany (INTERACT Research Report 2015/02), Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute, San Domenico di Fiesole (FI).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Université Libre de BruxellesBruxellesBelgium
  2. 2.European University InstituteFlorenceItaly

Personalised recommendations