The Unequal Structure of the German Education System: Structural Reasons for Educational Failures of Turkish Youth in Germany

By Fuat Güllüpınar and Patricia Fernández-Kelly.

Published by Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies

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The paper examines the educational experiences of Turkish youth in Germany with special references to the statistical data of Educational Report, PISA surveys. The results of the educational statistics of Germany show that more group characteristics like social and cultural capital, structural and institutional factors (multi-track system with its selective mechanism, education policy, context of negative reception of Germany, institutional discrimination, and lack of intercultural curriculum) could have a decisive role in hampering the educational and labor market integration and social mobility of Turkish youth. This can be explained by a mix of factors: the education system that does not foster the educational progress of children from disadvantaged families; the high importance of school degrees for accessing to the vocational training system and the labor market; and direct and indirect institutional discrimination in educational area in Germany. Thus, this work suggests that the nature of the education system in Germany remains deeply “unequal,” “hierarchical” and “exclusive.” This study also demonstrates maintaining the marginalized position of Turkish children in Germany, which means that the country of origin or the immigrants’ background is still a barrier in having access to education and the labor market of Germany.

Keywords: Turkish Youth, Inequality of Education, Institutional Discrimination Intercultural Education, Germany

Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp.93-112. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.538MB).

Dr. Fuat Güllüpınar

Research Assistant, Sociology, Anadolu University, Eskişehir, Turkey

Assistant Professor Dr. Fuat Güllüpınar received a PhD from the Department of Sociology of Middle East Technical University in 2010. Güllüpınar works as an Assistant Professor in the Sociology department at Anadolu University. Güllüpınar is interested in sociology of migration, sociology of citizenship, social stratification, and inequality. In his dissertation, Güllüpınar examines the recent transformations of integration policies and citizenship laws in Germany, with a special focus on the experience of the children of Turkish immigrants in Goslar, a small town. By following a civic stratification thesis, he argues that the conditions and restrictions differentiated by different migrant categories and rights regarding entry, family reunification, welfare benefits, and labor market access go along with a particular legal status of those admitted migrants who have created a hierarchy of stratified rights.

Patricia Fernández-Kelly

Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, USA

Professor Patricia Fernández-Kelly holds a joint position in the Department of Sociology and the Office of Population Research at Princeton University. She conducted pioneer research on global economic integration and the study of export-processing zones on the U.S.-Mexico border. Her book, For We Are Sold: I and my People: Women and Industry in Mexico’s Frontier (1983), is regarded as one of the first global ethnographies. With Lorraine Gray, she produced “The Global Assembly Line,” an Emmy-winning documentary focusing on the effects of globalization on women in Mexico, the United States, and the Philippines. Fernández-Kelly has conducted extensive research on immigration, race and ethnicity, gender and the labor market, and the informal economy. With Paul DiMaggio, she is the co-editor of Art in the Lives of Immigrant Communities in the United States (2010). Her latest book, edited with Alejandro Portes, Immigration and Health: Understanding the Connections, will be published in 2012. She is currently completing a book entitled, The Hero’s Fight: African Americans in West Baltimore and the Shadow of the State.