Moving ahead in the educational systems: The complexities, conditions and experiences of youth of African origin in Portuguese Higher Education
18th Nordic Migration Conference
The integration of descendants of immigrants is one of the main challenges facing education systems in Europe. Portugal is no exception - the significant presence of this population, in particular, with African origin in schools in major urban areas has made an important impact in sociological research in recent years, contributing to reinterpret old and new social inequalities. Little is known, however, about the educational paths of these students and their inclusion in higher education. There is a growing number of students with immigrant background in European Higher Education, showing the generational advancement and extension of the residence time of young people in the host or birth countries. Their access to higher education represents an important indicator of social inclusion and of impact of public policies. This emerging reality is the research focus of the project "Educational Paths of young Africans (PALOP) that access higher education". In this project we developed an exhaustive analysis of data from several official sources of statistical information, followed by a qualitative component that we address in this presentation - 17 biographical interviews conducted in 2015 to young descendants of immigrants from African origin that did enrol in higher education, despite adverse socio-economic conditions. The analysis demonstrates and explores the institutional contexts, the social conditions of possibility, but also the individual experiences and strategies that shape counter-tendency educational paths. The presentation addresses the social and ethnic reconfiguration of higher-education students in Portugal and Europe. It aims to contribute to a better understanding of equity in access to higher education.
Higher Education; African Portuguese-Speaking Countries origin; School success; Inequality