Migrants making classroom progress in Germany | News | DW | 27.06.2012
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Migrants making classroom progress in Germany

A report has found that German migrants are integrating into society more effectively. An OECD study also reveals that Germany is an increasingly popular destination for migrants who are shunning poorer EU members.

Germany is making record progress in integrating its immigrants into society, especially those of the younger generation, according to the government's latest Integration Report.

The proportion of immigrants who attained a basic school-leaver's diploma before leaving the education system increased by 36 percent between 2005 and 2010, the report reveals. At the same time, the number of migrants without school education decreased by 39 percent. In addition, more immigrants are making use of state care facilities.

The opportunities for migrants to participate in society have improved considerably, said the Federal Government Commissioner for Integration, Maria Böhmer, commenting on the findings. Böhmer, a member of Chancellor Merkel's Christian Democrats, said that government policy had been turned on its head, changing from a "catch-up to a forward-looking [approach to] integration policy."

But the disparity between immigrant children and German pupils according to various other indicators is still considerable, according to Böhmer. Whereas one third of German students enrol in university, for pupils from an immigrant background that figure is only one sixth (15 percent). Moreover, the dropout rate for foreign students, at nearly 13 percent, is more than twice as high as that of German students, which is just over five percent.

OECD report

The findings coincided with the publication of an OECD report on Wednesday. The study found that, in stark contrast to international trends, immigration to Germany is booming. The researchers revealed that ten percent more foreigners settled in Germany in 2010 compared to the previous year, while OECD member countries averaged a reduction of 2.5 percent. The majority of new arrivals in Germany are reported to derive from Eastern Europe; the proportion of immigrants from outside the EU choosing to settle in Germany is substantially lower.

The trend reflects the improved employment opportunities for immigrants in Germany, which the report also indicated. Since 2008, the employment rate for immigrants in Germany has increased by four percentage points to 66.5 percent, OECD expert Thomas Liebig said on Wednesday in Berlin.

"This is the highest growth in the OECD, with a three percent global decline in the proportion of migrants in employment having been recorded," said Liebig.

The OECD report painted a far different picture for immigrants in other economically-troubled European countries, such as Greece and Spain, where emigration rather than immigration seems to be the overwhelming trend. Spain in 2011 registered more departures than arrivals for the first time since records began. The hemorrhaging of people is mostly attributed to the departure of immigrants from a country beset by unemployment. In Ireland, the population has also decreased since 2009.

sej/msh (dpa, AFP, AP)