Immigrant Youths in Italy: Early Leaving from Education and Training

Giuseppe Gabrielli, University of Naples Federico II
Alessio Buonomo, La Sapienza University of Rome
Salvatore Strozza, University of Naples Federico II

The phenomenon of early leaving from education and training (since now only ELET) among immigrants is very significant in the countries of South-Europe (Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece) where reaches on average the quota of 40% among immigrant resident population. European Commission included the goal of reducing the quota of ELET (of the total resident population) below the 10% among Europe 2020 strategies to improve European policies of education and social inclusion (European Commission 2014). Different studies show how the ELET have important economic negative effect on the society (Belfield 2008) and how it increases the social and economic emargination of individuals (Checchi 2014).

Appling multivariate regression analyses, we aim at analyzing the determinants of failure to enroll at university among immigrant youths aged 14-20 years old and of ELET among immigrant youths aged 18-24 years old. The main individual, origin family and school characteristics are considered as well as different synthetic indicators of integration. We use the first (and only) survey on the “Social Condition and Integration of Foreign Citizens” carried out in 2011-2012 by the National Institute of Statistics in Italy (ISTAT). The survey collects data on around 12,000 households with at least one foreign citizen and provides original information on foreigners living in Italy.

Our results highlight on average that specific categories among immigrant youths present greater fragilities and difficulties in achieving higher levels of education. Moreover, the cultural and economic integration of immigrants’ immediate descendants (and their families) produces positive effects on the school participation and performances. The attitudes and behaviors of parents toward the school system affect school performances of their children, as well as school strategies to involve origin families and actions aimed at reducing the cultural and linguistic distances can significantly have positive effect on school performances of immigrant youths.


Introduction

The phenomenon of early leaving from education and training (since now only ELET) among immigrants is very significant in the countries of South-Europe (Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece) where reaches on average the quota of 40% among immigrant resident population. European Commission included the goal of reducing the quota of ELET (of the total resident population) below the 10% among Europe 2020 strategies to improve European policies of education and social inclusion (European Commission 2014).

The problems related to the inclusion of children and adolescents of immigrant origins in the Italian educational system have been highlighted on several occasions, with particular reference to their regular participation, school success and training choices. There are important signs of a difficult inclusion process of children of immigrants in the Italian school system, comparing them with their native peers, such as: more frequent school dropouts, less effective performances, more frequent school retreats, and higher concentration of children of immigrants in professional and technical high schools to enter in the labor market immediately (Strozza 2015). Different studies show how the ELET have important economic negative effect on the society (Belfield 2008) and how it increases the social and economic emargination of individuals (Checchi 2014).

Appling multivariate regression analyses, we aim at analyzing the determinants of failure to enroll at university among immigrant youths aged 14-20 years old and of ELET among immigrant youths aged 18-24 years old. The main individual, origin family and school characteristics are considered as well as different synthetic indicators of integration.

Data and methods

We use the first (and only) survey on the “Social Condition and Integration of Foreign Citizens” (since now on only SCIF) carried out in 2011-2012 by the National Institute of Statistics in Italy (ISTAT). The survey collects data on around 12,000 households with at least one foreign citizen and provides original information on foreigners living in Italy. For our analyses, we consider two specific sub-samples of youths. The data allow us to associate each young individual of immigrant origin with his/her parents’ characteristics (e.g. age, citizenship, degree of study, family type) and to estimate different synthetic indicators of integration.

The first sub-sample relates to immigrant high school students aged 14-20 years old. We consider their intention to continue (or not) their own studies at university. In the end our final sample includes around 500 individuals. The logistic regression on the intention to continue or not own studies (a dummy variable that assumes value 1 in case of a negative answer and value 0 in the opposite case) allows to analyze its main determinants.

Another indicator we want to look at is the one of ELET. According to Eurostat, ELET indicator represents the “quota of immigrant youths aged 18-24 with at most a compulsory level of education, who leaved school before they have finished their course and do not have attended any other course since last four weeks” (European Commission 2014, 33). According to this definition, we consider around 1,700 individuals and conduct logistic regression analyses. The dependent dummy variable assumes value 1 in case of ELET youths and 0 in case of youths that are still in education or have reached at least high school degree.

Preliminary results

Our results highlight on average that specific categories among immigrant youths present greater fragilities and difficulties in achieving higher levels of education. Generally speaking, the results show that the worst school performances mostly occur among boys, among residents in the South of Italy, for those encountering problems with the Italian language, and they increases with age on arrival in Italy.

The cultural and economic integration of immigrants’ immediate descendants (and their families) produces positive effects on the school participation and performances, as well as on reaching higher educational levels useful for a better occupational inclusion. Moreover, according to our results, also the attitudes and behaviors of parents toward the school system affect school performances of their children. As well as it is very important the capacity of the school system to accommodate and promote the foreign pupils'' learning path. School strategies to involve origin families and actions aimed at reducing the cultural and linguistic distances can significantly have positive effect on school performances of immigrant youths.

Quoted references

Belfied, C. 2008. The Cost of Early School-leaving and School Failure. Milan: Economics Department Queens College, City University of New York

Checchi, D. (ed). 2014. Lost: dispersione scolastica: il costo per la collettività e il ruolo di scuole e terzo settore. Ediesse.

EUROPEAN COMMISSION. 2014. Tackling Early Leaving from Education and Training in Europe: Strategies, Policies and Measures. Eurydice and Cedefop Report. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

Strozza, S. 2015. L’inserimento scolastico dei figli degli immigrati: una questione aperta. Rivista delle Politiche Sociali. 2-3: 127-146.

Presented in Session 1082: International Migration and Migrant Populations