Second-Generation Immigrants and Higher Education: The Italian Case Study

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 16:15
Oral Presentation
Alessandro BOZZETTI, University of Bologna, Italy
The interest for young people of "second generation" in Italy (a country characterized by the "Mediterranean immigration model") is quite recent: this growing population needs different interpretative frameworks than those used for early migrants. Starting from the segmented assimilation theory, the analysis focuses on their educational path, a "privileged observatory" and, at the same time, a key place for their identity and cultural development, as well as a fundamental turning point for the delicate transition to the labor market.

Studies and research followed the demographic growth of the reference population, stopping at the secondary education. However, these young people have more and more visibility to the highest educational levels, up to the university level: according to ministerial data, in the a.y.2015/16 were slightly less than 31,000 (estimated by default, as these data do not take into account those who have acquired Italian citizenship).

Such silent disinterest can be partially explained by the successful biographies of these young people: if on the one hand it can be considered synonymous with a successful integration, at the same time it prevents any anticipatory analysis of the phenomenon. Indeed, the barriers encountered in access to post-secondary education may be various, some similar to those encountered by native students, some typical of students with a migratory background.

Starting from the ministerial data, a descriptive analysis will be carried out to highlight some significant aspects (gender, age and pre-university formation) of the target population. The paper will also refer to the empirical research carried out at the University of Bologna, realized with the mixed methods approach, in order to meet the multiple research objectives pursued (exploratory value and deepening of individual biographical paths). The reasons, the support, the success in their studies and the plans for the future are the aspects deepened in the analysis.