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Evidence of school segregation and/or policies of separate/distinct schooling of migrants

Key Area:
Racism, Discrimination
24/01/2013 - 13:28
Short Answer


Qualitative Info

There are no policies of separate schooling of migrants in place. However, due to the fact that some city districts hold a high percentage of persons with a migration background, schools close or within these districts also hold a high percentage of pupils with a migration background. Disadvantaged neighbourhoods are rather caused by social segregation than by ethnic segregation, thus, school segregation is rather caused by social segregation of certain neighbourhoods [3, p. 390, 392, 404]. Another factor which decisively contributes to the fact that some schools hold a very low proportion of pupils with a migration background compared to others is the so called “Sprengelpflicht”. This means that pupils are supposed to visit the school which is located in the school district they live in. This applies to primary school, not to secondary school [4, p. 142].
Subsequently, the proportion of pupils with migration background in schools reflects the social segregation of the neighbourhoods and thus the social segregation of the schools [1, p. 84].
Additionally, as nationals and non-nationals are concerned about their children’s education which they assume to be better in schools with fewer migrants, they try to move to other more favourable districts [2, p. 58 ff.).

A study on segregation at primary schools examined  the parents’ choice concerning where to enrol their children (as was already stated above, pupils are supposed to visit the school which is located in the school district they live in but there are also possibilities for parents to avoid it when they suppose other schools to offer better educational conditions). This selective choice of the parents causes a bias (according to the district distribution) in the proportion of children with and without a migration background [5].

The German education system lacks to deal adequately with the social and ethnical heterogeneity. Even with the same social status, pupils with a migration background are less represented in higher secondary education and more in lower secondary education compared to pupils without migration background [1, p. 87].


  1. Federal Office for Migration, Refugees and Integration (Bundesamt für Migration, Flüchtlinge und Integration) (2010), 8. Bericht der Beauftragten der Bundesregierung für Migration, Flüchtlinge und Integration über die Lage der Ausländerinnen und Ausländer in Deutschland, June 2010,, Accessed on 9 February 2012.
  2. Häußermann, Hartmut /Siebel, Walter (2001). Soziale Integration und ethnische Schichtung: Zusammenhänge zwischen räumlicher und sozialer Integration,, Accessed on 23.01.2012.
  3. Friedrichs, Jürgen (2008), Ethnische Segregation, in: Kalter, Frank (ed.): Migration und Integration. VS Verlag: Wiesbaden, 380-411.
  4. Link, Judith (2011), Schichttypische Benachteiligung im allgemeinen Bildungswesen: Ein Vergleich zwischen Kanada und Deutschland. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag.
  5. Segregation an Grundschulen – Der Einfluss der elterlichen Schulwahl (2012):, Accessed on 11.01.2013.
Groups affected/interested Migrants
Type (R/D)
Key socio-economic / Institutional Areas Education
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