Education Changes Everything? a Comparative Analysis of Young Educational Migrants from Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan

Tuesday, 12 July 2016
Location: Hörsaal I (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Distributed Paper
Jessica SCHWITTEK, University of Wuppertal, Germany
Muhammad ZAMAN, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan
"Education changes everything" – this is a claim that is frequently voiced in the developing as well as developed world in daily conversations, posters, news and scholarly literature. Especially for educational migrants, a group that is rapidly increasing in number, this promise is made by receiving and sending countries alike. However, there is need to scrutinize this notion and check if this notion is valid and reliable. In order to understand the impact of education, migration and their role in the real change of biographies, qualitative comparative research was conducted in Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan. Our data show that upon return, educational migrants oftentimes face conditions which make it difficult for them to apply their accomplished skills and knowledge in a professional context. That may be the case because the job market in the home countries don’t offer appropriate employment opportunities. But reasons also lie in generationally and gendered demands and expectations which are held towards young returnees from the side of families, backed up by broader social norms and discourses. Case stories from Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan reveal, that young educational migrants enter into multifaceted negotiations with significant others regarding their further educational and professional perspectives, but also regarding choices in private life such as marriage and family planning. Among others, ideas of ‘collective responsibility’ as well as ‘individualized’ happiness make part of such negotiations which will be presented in this paper