Equity in education? A comparative analysis of educational outcomes among refugee children in the Nordic countries
10 Sep 2020
This report assesses educational outcomes among refugee children in the Nordic region.
The comparative results presented in this report were derived from joint efforts to harmonize register data from Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden. The primary study population consisted of refugee children who were granted residency in the Nordic region as children (0-17 years) between 1986 and 2005, and were followed up through 2015.
Refugee children’s educational outcomes were assessed within and across the Nordic countries relative to:
1. their Nordic majority population counterparts
2. the Nordic-born children of refugeeand non-refugee migrants
3. non-refugee migrant children
The educational outcomes analysed included:
1. average grades from the last year of compulsory education
2. dropouts from upper secondary education
3. completion of upper secondary education
4. type of upper secondary education degree (academic or vocational)
5. completion of higher education
The overall results showed that to varying degrees, the Nordic educational systems have not been as successful in fostering the educational achievements of refugee students as they have been for majority population students. Average grades from compulsory school were lower among refugees compared to their Nordic majority population counterparts. Inequalities in upper secondary educational attainment were also evident in each of the Nordic countries.
Higher proportions of dropouts from upper secondary school were observed in refugee children compared to their native-born majority population counterparts. Similarly, smaller proportions of refugees who immigrated as children completed upper secondary education by age 25 relative to their native-born majority population peers.
Authors: Andrea Dunlavy, Anders Hjern, Lisa Berg, Karl Gauffin, Christopher Jamil de Montgomery, Thomas Lorentzen, Maili Malin,