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

Key Area:
Racism, Discrimination
24/01/2013 - 13:33
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 [3, pp. 390, 392, 404], thus, school segregation is rather caused by social segregation of certain neighbourhoods. 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.].
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].

Results of studies show, that there are some obstacles for Sinti and Roma children to gain access to the education system. Concerning kindergartens/pre-schooling their legal status can hinder Sinti and Roma children accessing the education system. Being classified as “tolerated” or asylum-seeker they have either no or just a limited access to kindergartens. Furthermore the families have to pay a part of the fee themselves as just a certain proportion of the costs is paid by the municipalities. The compulsory school attendance (which starts at the primary schools) is not in every single Land obligatory for asylum seekers’ or refugees’ children. In some Länder they have to attend school in others they just have the right to do so. It is further argued that Sinti and Roma children are overrepresented in special supportive schools and promoting schools. Reasons supposed are their lack of German language skills and the deficiency of parental or governmental support.


  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. Strauß, D. (2011), Studie zur aktuellen Bildungssituation deutscher Sinti und Roma. Dokumentation und Forschungsbericht, Marburg: und RomnoKher.
  6. Zentrum für Antisemitismusforschung der Technischen Universität Berlin (2007), Zur Lage von Kindern aus Roma-Familien in Deutschland: Zusammenfassung der Ergebnisse, Berlin: UNICEF Deutschland.
  7. Presse- und Informationsamt der Bundesregierung 2010.
  8. Knaus, V. and Widmann, P. (2010), Integration unter Vorbehalt: Zur Situation von Kindern kosovarischer Roma, Ashkali und Ägypter in Deutschland und nach ihrer Rückführung in den Kosovo, Köln: Deutsches Komitee für UNICEF e.V.
Groups affected/interested Ethnic minorities, National minorities
Type (R/D)
Key socio-economic / Institutional Areas Education
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