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Migrant Education in the Shadow of the Temporary Law on Upper Secondary Education

Konferensbidrag (offentliggjort, men ej förlagsutgivet)
Författare Marianne Dovemark
Publicerad i Konferenspaper
Publiceringsår 2019
Publicerad vid Institutionen för pedagogik och specialpedagogik
Språk en
Ämnesord migrant education,Temporary Law on Upper Secondary Education, observations/interviews
Ämneskategorier Pedagogik


Previous research has shown that a majority of the students at the language introductory programme ends outside of further education (Erixon Arreman & Dovemark, 2017). Several structural barriers such as high demands on knowledge in Swedish and a maximum age for applying for a national programme at the upper secondary school hinder many migrant students from entering further studies. They are even encouraged to apply for courses that are strongly oriented towards work with few academic subject studies even though they have high expectations on higher education and are ambitious (Dovemark & Beach, 2016). Taken together, studies show an increasing achievement gap between migrant and native students (Grönqvist & Niknami, 2017; SNAE, 2016). Lundblad and Linblad (2018) provide an overview of achievement results on national and international large-scale assessment measures examined in relation to native and migrant student groups and state that the achievement gap between native students and migrant students has increased the last decades. Structural problems faced by many migrant youths within the Swedish education system were recognized by the National Agency for Education (2016b) and to alleviate the consequences of these problems the Parliament of Sweden made a decision regarding new provisions in the so-called law on upper secondary education (gymnasielagen). The new provisions make it possible for students who have had their applications for asylum rejected to receive a residence permit to undertake studies at upper secondary level. That means they can finish the upper secondary education and after that they can receive a residence permit. There are though many factors which affect whether a student may be entitled to a residence permit for upper secondary education studies. The rules are different depending on whether the student is an asylum seeker, has a temporary residence, or have had an asylum application rejected. The rules also vary depending on whether it is an unaccompanied minor, what upper secondary course they are studying, and, in some cases, when the first application for asylum is received. A case study has been done in two middle size cities in Sweden in two ethnically diverse public upper secondary schools with more established as well as newly arrived migrant students. Migrant students, teachers, principals and counsellors within the language introductory programme have been observed and interviewed. The purpose of the study is to provide in-depth knowledge about the processes of integration concerning migrant students’ possibilities of further education. The observations' and interviews’ main themes are in terms of teachers’ and migrant students’ expectations on academic achievement, school engagement, expectations on further education and future profession, possible opportunities through the law on upper secondary school, obstacles and support as coaching and encouragement, help with homework etc. during schooldays. An ethnographic thematic analysis is done where the intersectionality of ethnic background, SES, and gender will be taken into in the analysis. The first findings show that teachers and other school staff often find themselves in untenable situations where they are forced to act “as judges” that determine the lives of young people. The results also show some creative solutions to help the young migrants to receive a residence permit.

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