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Integration of Refugee Children and Adolescents in and out of School: Evidence of Success but Still Room for Improvement

DIW Weekly Report 34 / 2020, S. 345-354

Ludovica Gambaro, Daniel Kemptner, Lisa Pagel, Laura Schmitz, C. Katharina Spieß

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Germany has seen the arrival of a large number of displaced children and adolescents in recent years. Integration is vital for their lives today and in the future. Key indicators of successful integration are a sense of belonging to school, participation in extracurricular activities, both within school and outside it, and social contacts. The present report examines these indicators based on data from the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), the IAB-SOEP Migration Samples, and the IAB-BAMF-SOEP Survey of Refugees. The findings show that the integration of 12-, 14-, and 17-year-old refugees who came to Germany with their families is essentially moving in the right direction: These young people feel a sense of belonging to their school community and are increasingly attending after-school programs (provided by the school). This gives them the opportunity to spend the whole day with peers who have lived in Germany for longer. The relatively low levels of participation in schoolbased extracurricular activities among young refugees, however, shows that these programs are not being fully exploited. In this context, further efforts should be made to increase participation. Similarly, there is also untapped potential when it comes to organized leisure and sport activities outside school. Sports clubs, for example, should actively reach out to refugee children and adolescents encouraging them to participate

Laura Schmitz

Research Associate in the Energy, Transportation, Environment Department

JEL-Classification: I24;I28;J15;Z18
Keywords: refugees, children, youth, social integration, non-formal activities

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