The educational aspirations of children of immigrants in Italy
The general aim of this paper is to investigate the educational aspirations of the children of immigrants living in Italy and attending the last year of primary school (8th grade). We look at the educational aspirations both as a predictor of educational choice and as a measure of social integration. We consider both secondary school track and university aspirations as indicators of educational preferences in the short and long run. Data have been collected during the 2005-2006 school year and they come from the ITAGEN survey: the first Italian nation-wide extensive survey on children with at least one foreign-born parent. First, we analyze association between aspirations and structural characteristics (e.g. migration status and country of origin) and social aspects such as family socioeconomic status, and friendship ties. These aspects seem to be determinants in defining both short and long time aspirations, while long-term aspirations are not associated with migration status. Second, we investigate the relevance of context in delineating educational aspirations. To develop this second aspect we perform multilevel analysis that takes into account both individual and school level variables. Our hypothesis, confirmed both for short and long aspirations, is that attending a school where most of the Italian pupils have high educational aspirations may lead children of immigrants to enhance their own aspirations.
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