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The current Conference time is: 9th Aug 2022, 06:45:58am CEST

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Overall view of the program
Parallel session - D.3 Young people of foreign origin and educational failures: key-roles and actions to contain dropout’s risk and promote inclusion
Wednesday, 02/June/2021:
5:45pm - 8:00pm

Session Chair: Antonello Scialdone
Session Chair: Riccardo Morri
Location: Room 4

Session Panels:
D.3. Young people of foreign origin and educational failures: Key-roles and actions to contain dropout’s risk and promote inclusion

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Gabriella D'Ambrosio1, Pasquale di Padova2

1Sapienza University of Rome, Italy; 2INAPP - National Institute for Public Policy Analysis

Unlike the other Western nations, Italy is a country of recent immigration. Although the first substantial inflows started thirty years ago, it is only in the last ten years that the presence of children with a migratory background has become sizeable in the Italian schools, as a result of both family reunification and entry into school of children born in Italy from parents of foreign origin or from mixed couples. For this reason, studying the scholastic participation of foreign children in high school has become possible only recently. This is a phase of pivotal importance in the transition to adulthood, during which young people can acquire useful qualifications and skills for entering the labour market successfully, and in which it is necessary to decide whether to enroll in tertiary courses or not. International literature points out that children of immigrants experience more bumpy school careers than those of natives. However, these disparities are going to be reduced on the basis of the migratory status of the children: compared to the first generations, the second ones obtain better results, and the disadvantage is almost completely cancelled with the children of mixed couples. Therefore, the “assimilation hypothesis” seems to be confirmed, since a tighter integration of the family in the Italian context, a longer stay, and a better knowledge of the Italian language foster a convergence in educational attainments between natives and foreigners. Nevertheless, since Italy is one of the Western countries where school choices and careers are most heavily influenced by ascriptive factors, it becomes essential to investigate the role played by the different opportunities and resources that social classes offer to their members. In this sense, it has long been known that the foreign population in Italy is mostly engaged in low-skilled occupations, especially immediately after their entry. Furthermore, the marked lack of fluidity in social mobility system between generations, and the rigidity of career’ paths contribute in making difficult, for immigrants and their children, to improve their condition. Starting from this premises, the aim of this study is to explore, using data from the Italian Labor Force Survey (2015-2019), the educational path, the risk of drop-out and the educational choices regarding tertiary education of children aged 15 to 19, both natives or not, who live with at least one parent, taking into account the family social class and the migratory background. This leads to update the indications that emerged in the first studies on this subject in the Italian context about the way in which the positive effects of the acculturation process of foreigners in the host society are conditioned by class belonging. This is now possible thanks to the availability of reliable data collected in recent years in which, due to migratory and demographic dynamics, the presence of immigrants' children has considerably grown in the age group 15-19 and in upper secondary schools.


Tiziana D'Amico

National Institute for Public Policy Analysis (INAPP), Italia

In Italy, the development of urgent policies to face early school leaving is one of the most important challenges at present and in the near future. The pandemic crisis has heightened critical issues that have always affected the Italian VET system and in relation to the benchmarks of the ET 2020 framework it is a priority matching the country with the European average. Early drop-out affects all Italy and involves natives and first-, second- and third-generation foreigners, who live in vulnerable situations. There has been a heavy effect on civil society, where the repeated outbursts of impatience and alarm about a supposed foreign invasion would suggest an altered collective perception of reality and decades of institutional short-sightedness. The anthropological normality of people’s displacement has become a banner for political propaganda and a cause for social alarm at the expense of the possibility of implementing the utopia of a multi-ethnic and intercultural society. However, the current historical moment needs utopia to become a reality, in order to ensure the resilience of the system: this study, therefore, has arisen from the need to assess whether and to what extent the best practices of another European country, which is considered an efficient model, could be adopted even in Italy. The first aim has been to formulate policy proposals that could contribute to integration of immigrants and their entry into the labour market. A second objective has been considering whether drop-out rates, with particular reference to young people of foreign origin, was a problem to be faced only with better VET policies, or if its complexity would need equally complex analysis and planning, in a multi-disciplinary and systematic vision of the theme. All this after considering the Netherlands, where the latest report of the Education Inspectorate encounters a more difficult statement than that represented outside the country. Although the Dutch VET system has been indicated as a reference model in Europe, compared to the past there are more critical issues today that interest first-, second- and third-generation foreigners despite the measures taken. Marginalization and blatant discrimination are undermining also an emblem of equal opportunities like the Netherlands, where more than half of non-Europeans are second and third generation immigrants and every year about 18,000 asylum-seekers are received. Increased education is not significantly reflected in the labour market, because one year after the end of their training, young non-European foreigners rarely find a job, unlike their native peers, especially in vocational education at lower levels, where the greatest drop-out rates are noticed. For all these reasons, looking at the Netherlands could make it easier to design the most appropriate solutions to the Italian reality, with the aim of supporting integration and reducing early school leaving.

Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek (2020), Asiel en integratie 2020-Cohortonderzoek asielzoekers en statushouders, Den Haag

Inspectie van het Onderwijs (2021), De Staat van het Onderwijs, Utrecht

OECD (2020), Education at a Glance, Paris

Vries J.F. de (2019), Uitkomsten TSD onderzoek Participatie zonder startkwalificatie jongvolwassenen, Den Hag


Petra Sidler1,2

1School of Education, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland; 2NCCR - on the move

In most OECD countries, immigrant descendants and young migrants face the risk of underachieving at school (Makarova & Birman, 2015). In comparison to native peers, migrant students often experience lower school engagement and higher levels of stress and burnout, which can lead to poor school outcomes (Özdemir & Özdemir, 2020). School outcomes, however, have long-lasting implications for future life opportunities (Heath & Brinbaum, 2014; Motti-Stefanidi & Masten, 2013), and thus should be well understood. The process of acculturation plays a crucial role when migrant students are adjusting to the host country and its schools. Acculturation is a process of cultural and psychological change taking place because of intercultural contact (Berry, 2019). Schools are key social contexts for adolescents’ development (Eccles & Roeser, 2011) and are a microsystem for adaptation (Suárez-Orozco, Motti-Stefanidi, Marks, & Katsiaficas, 2018). Acculturation outcomes can be measured via students’ psychological (e.g. well-being, self-esteem) and socio-cultural adjustment (e.g. acquisition of school-relevant skills, educational performance). The concept of mutual acculturation relates to the reciprocity of the process of acculturation, meaning that not only newcomers but also locals and institutions change and adapt when experiencing or when having to deal with intercultural contact. In particular, (national) institutions must be adapted to better satisfy the needs of all groups now living together (Berry, 2019). As schools are cultural actors (Warikoo & Carter, 2009) and peer interactions lead to contact with various cultural backgrounds (Miklikowska, 2017), mutual acculturation is expected to take place within the context of schools.

The aim of this contribution is two-fold: the first goal is to offer insights into secondary school students’ attitudes towards mutual acculturation, which, to our knowledge, has not previously been assessed in this way. Additionally, the second goal of this contribution is to analyze the various acculturation attitudes patterns in relation to educational achievements. Data has been collected in 2019 of N=1160 pupils in public secondary schools in Switzerland (n=375), Germany (n=346), and Greece (n=439). A newly constructed four-dimensional mutual acculturation attitudes scale has been used, which considers that acculturation attitudes are held not only towards immigrant students but also towards native students and towards schools’ responsibility of supporting intercultural exchange. Latent profile analysis (LPA) is a statistical person-centered approach and allows for the recovery of hidden groups from observed data (Oberski, 2016). Through such an LPA, acculturation attitudes patterns were examined in all three countries for native students and students having a migration background. Results show similarities but also diversity in these acculturation attitudes patterns over the three countries assessed. Additionally, these local acculturation attitude patterns will be analyzed and discussed in relation to educational achievements.


Giada Prisco1, Clara Maria Silva2

1Università degli Studi di Firenze, Italia; 2Università degli Studi di Firenze, Italia

The Italian statistics for the 2019-2020 school year describe a national system in which there are about 860,000 students with non-Italian citizenship (MIUR, 2020). Of these, almost a third, faced the experience of family reunification. The "left behind" children (Zanfrini, 2007) represent that part of the population with a migratory cultural background that are most exposed to the dropout’s risk and who faced multiple difficulties in social inclusion processes (ISMU 2020 Report). These children were born elsewhere, socialized and educated for a few years in a different environment, they became immigrants during childhood or adolescence, and found themselves catapulted into a new context, completely foreign, without points of reference (Lagomarsino, Erminio, 2019). The greatest risks to which they are exposed are represented by educational failure and slipping into social marginalization. Their study path is subject to a number of variables, of subjective and objective unknowns that cannot be immediately specified and, in any case, conditioned by a series of elements among which at least must be considered: the age of entry into the school system, inclusion in different age groups, the "decision" to attend technical and/or professional institutes, learning a new language, socializing, knowledge of a different educational system, discrepancy between school and job demand, etc. (Ambrosini, Pozzi, 2017). From a research carried out by us from 2016 to 2019, it emerges that the experience of family reunification can be configured as a vulnerability, but at the same time also as a wealth of stories and experiences that educational and training agencies can enhance by transforming it in an identity resource within the framework of an empowerment process. The research, conducted with 26 daughters of immigrants, aged 13-20 living in Florence and Madrid, in an interdisciplinary perspective, using Grounded Theory as a method of investigation, and a semi-structured interview as a data collection tool, highlighted that without an enhancement of their experiences their potential resilience remains unexpressed, making their scholastic and social inclusion more difficult. The essay aims to highlight the essential role of the school as the fulcrum of the dynamics aimed at encouraging the inclusion and socialization of these adolescents. An inclusive school aims to transmits knowledge and skills to all students, guaranteeing equal opportunities. Regarding students with a migratory background, only if schools are prepared to welcome their growth experiences, characterized by "before" and "after", "there" and "here", they will be able to really support them in the processes of school and social inclusion. This contribution therefore concludes with indications addressed to the school system so that this, today even more than yesterday, given the pandemic situation, is able to perform its dual function as an attractive pole of the requests posed by these young people and as a catalyst agent for their life plans (Silva, 2004).


Vanessa Candela, Damiano Periccioli

Dipartimento di Filosofia, Scienze Sociali, Umane e della Formazione, Università degli Studi di Perugia, Italia

Early school leaving is one of the biggest problems in the European education system (Batini et al., 2018). According to recent estimates, a large proportion of early school leavers is represented by immigrant students (European Commission report, 2018). Since individuals who interrupt their education early are more likely to incur in significant economic and social disadvantages in adulthood, it is crucial to have adequate tools to curb this phenomenon. In order to plan effective intervention proposals it is important to understand the variety of individual, family, socio-economic and school factors that contribute to the outcome of dropping out of education (Batini et al., 2017).

The aim of this contribution is to propose intervention strategies to prevent the drop-out of young people of foreign origin.

Specifically, we will focus on the potential of choral singing and reading aloud, illustrating their common advantages and differences. The literature shows us how choral singing can foster well being, social affiliation and inclusion (Pearce et al., 2015) and the transfer of acquired skills also to domains outside the strictly musical one (Moreno & Bidelman, 2013).

Teachers reading aloud can have positive effects on pupils in the cognitive, emotional and social spheres, fostering the development of language skills and stimulating involvement in a common activity (Batini et al., 2018).

While singing can offer the possibility to go beyond language barriers thanks to the universality of the musical language (Donnay et al., 2014), reading aloud can give the opportunity to act in a targeted way also on more purely linguistic aspects that can enhance the migrants' skills in this domain (Brabham & Lynch-Brown, 2002).

These two types of intervention have in common the use of voice as a democratic tool to promote integration and inclusion. We will discuss the need to implement such interventions in the education system both increasing teacher training in this area, and supporting research in this field.


Batini, F., Bartolucci, M., & De Carlo, E. (2017). Fight dispersion through education: The results of the first cycle of the NoOut project. Mind, Brain and Education, 11(4), 201-212.

Batini, F., Bartolucci, M., Bellucci, C., Toti, G. (2018). Bocciature ed abbandoni: Uno studio sulla relazione fra bocciature ed abbandoni. Giornale Italiano della Ricerca Educativa, 11(21), 31-50

Brabham, E. G., Lynch-Brown, C. (2002). Effects of teachers’ reading-aloud styles on vocabulary acquisition and comprehension of students in the early elementary grades. Journal of Educational Psychology, 94(3), 465-473.

Donnay, G. F., Rankin, S. K., Lopez-Gonzalez, M., Jiradejvong, P., Limb, C. J. (2014). Neural substrates of interactive musical improvisation: An fMRI study of ‘trading fours’ in jazz. Plos One, 9(2).

European Commission. (2018). Immigrant background and expected early school leaving in Europe: Evidence from PISA. JRC Scientific and Policy Reports.

Moreno, S., Bidelman, G. (2013). Examining neural plasticity and cognitive benefit through the unique lens of musical training. Hearing research, 308, 84-97.

Pearce, E., Launay, J., Dunbar, R. I. M. (2015). The ice-breaker effect: Singing mediates fast social bonding. The royal society publishing, 2(10).

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