The Influence of Social Networks on Decision Making for Education Pathways

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 09:30
Location: Hörsaal 47 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Manfred ZENTNER, Donau-Universität Krems, Austria
The research project analyses differences regarding the influence of families and peer groups on decision making processes for further education pathways of young people with and without migration background at the end of mandatory schooling.

The Austrian education system is strongly differentiated: After four years of a common primary school the secondary education is conducted in two different forms, followed by opportunities for a dual vocational training, for middle and higher vocational, and for higher general schools. The OECD highlights the strong correlation between familial background of individuals and their educational achievement.  Furthermore data of the Austrian education system and the labour market indicate that young people with a migration background are more likely a) to attend lower education, b) to end their educational career sooner and c) to be in the group of NEET than peers without such migration history.

Based on existing data an interpretation as well as a survey on support offers is done, furthermore young people’s perception of the experienced influences were analysed (quantitative and qualitative).

While schools and support systems (e.g. social work, information, youth work) try to empower young migrants also to choose promising educational pathways for quite some time now, the success is still not very high. It seems that the social environment of young people is primarily responsible for these differences in decisions regarding the education and vocational career. The influence of the family on decision making is stronger among young people with migrant background, but at the same time the knowledge of existing possibilities for training and education is less pronounced in these families. Furthermore, peer groups play an important role in decision making, especially in those cases where the young people have no concrete individual career plans themselves.