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Children of a foreign background: Aspirations after compulsory education in Iceland

Sigurðardóttir, Eva Dögg (2021) Children of a foreign background: Aspirations after compulsory education in Iceland. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.93184) (KAR id:93184)

Language: English

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The foreign population in Iceland has changed rapidly over the past few decades, moving from a homogenous to a more diverse population. These changes have posed new challenges in the Icelandic educational system. Unfortunately, Icelandic studies suggest that some schools are not fully equipped to respond to these challenges. Furthermore, children of foreign background seem to fare worse in school, are more likely to discontinue with their studies after compulsory education and are less likely to graduate from upper secondary school than their Icelandic counterparts. To better understand the openness of the Icelandic school system, this thesis addresses the question: How do we explain the differential educational aspirations, if any, between children of foreign background and native background in Iceland in the last 3 years of compulsory school in Iceland?

This is a mixed methods study, based on a survey distributed in 17 schools in Iceland among students of Icelandic and foreign background, and interviews with 32 students of foreign background. The data was specifically gathered for the purpose of this study. This thesis sets out to understand how educational aspirations are formed, in order to recognise the barriers that may hinder students of foreign background in Iceland in reaching their educational goals and dreams. The study has established that although students of foreign background may be less certain about going to upper secondary school, this difference disappeared once other factors were controlled for. Rather, the main hindrances are revealed by the qualitative data. Finally, this research calls for a shift in focus from the schools and extend the conversation to societal factors and how the system as a whole can support a truly equitable educational system.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Song, Miri
Thesis advisor: Haux, Tina
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.93184
Additional information: Holder of the Quantitative Social Science PhD scholarship, and recipient of a grant from the Development Fund of Immigrant Affairs in Iceland which funded the qualitative part of this study.
Uncontrolled keywords: education, aspirations, immigration, Iceland
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2022 07:30 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 10:04 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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