The number of children from immigrant backgrounds taking Germany’s university entrance exams has doubled in just five years.
According to the federal government’s Commission for Immigration, Refugees, and Integration, 17 percent of children from immigrant backgrounds completed the Abitur exam, taken by 17 and 18 year olds, last year, compared with nine percent in 2010, the Independent has reported.
During the same period, the percentage of children from immigrant backgrounds obtaining a final school qualification also rose slightly, from 38 percent to 43 percent.
“In terms of participation and integration we’re on the right path in Germany,” said commission chair Aydan Özoguz MP.
Children with immigrant backgrounds are much more likely to go to kindergarten, more teenagers are getting higher school qualifications in comparison with five years ago, employment among immigrants is up.”
Approximately 21 percent of Germany’s population – some 17.2 million people – come from a migrant background. One in three under 18 year olds in Germany have foreign roots, and the number jumps to 36 per cent in the under five age group.
That includes the staggering 1.8 million people who have come to Germany in the last two years alone, the vast majority of whom arrived when Germany adopted an open door policy to asylum claims last year at the height of the migrant crisis. About 900,000 people have been granted refugee status since 2015.
School authorities warned at the time that they would need to employ a further 25,000 new teachers and support staff to meet the rising demand.
But Ms Özoguz, whose parents move to Germany from Turkey in the 1950s, warned that those from an immigrant background were still more likely to live in poverty.
“Children who move from another country to Germany, or who are born to parents from elsewhere, are still twice as likely to live in poverty, a fact which has remained unchanged for years,” she said.
“Even if the number of people with migration backgrounds in employment has risen from 7.54 million to 7.72 million, unemployment is now almost three times as high among immigrants as it is among German citizens.”
The journalist and historian Michael Paulwitz earlier this year predicted that changes in demographics will be the death of Germany’s welfare state.
He said there would be “hard struggles” over resources, and that native Germans “will inevitably lose out”.
Pointing to figures on unemployment and poverty, Mr Paulwitz said: “The social and redistributive state as we know it will no longer be affordable at its present level when the population is no longer dominated by ethnic Germans, and is a multicultural population mix.”