More children and young people of refugee origin complete upper secondary school in Norway than in Denmark and Finland.
The data was revealed in a review of registration data for refugee children who arrived in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden in 1986-2005.
The registration study is one of two new studies conducted under the auspices of the Nordic research project “Coming of Age in Exile” (CAGE) that focuses on the health, education, and the connection to the job market of young refugees.
The second study is a qualitative survey of the experiences of young refugees in Norwegian upper secondary schools.
Researchers from the National Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress (NKVTS) and the University of Southeast Norway (USN) have participated in the CAGE project from Norway.
The registration study shows that between 46% and 66% of young refugees in Norway completed secondary school by the age of 25, depending on their age of arrival. In comparison, this applies to 79% of children born in Norway.
The older the children are when they arrive, the more difficult it is to attend school.
The age of arrival in the Nordic countries seems to play an important role in how well or how badly refugee children perform.
Refugee children and young people arriving in the Nordic countries after the age of 15 have poorer school performance and a higher drop-out rate from upper secondary school than their classmates born in Norway.
“Young refugees arriving here in their late teens have particular difficulties, as they have to learn a new language, adapt to an unfamiliar school system, and complete upper secondary education within a few years.
At the same time, they often have little or no education from their home country,” lead researcher Lutine de Wal Pastoor of the National Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress (NKVTS) noted.
Lack of understanding of mental and social conditions
The qualitative study shows that schools and teachers in Norway have diverse and often inadequate knowledge about how to deal with a diverse group of students with a refugee background.
School staff tends to be more concerned with relationships that relate to education itself than with psychosocial conditions when discussing the challenges of refugee youth in school.
“Many teachers emphasize that the school is primarily an educational institution and not a care institution.
But teachers who point out the role of school in promoting the psychosocial well-being of young refugees express the need for greater competence in this area.
One consequence of the lack of competence in schools is that the problem of the system becomes the problem of the individual student,” Lutine de Wal Pastoor noted.
Source: NKVTS / Norway Today