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Sociology in Education and Science Laboratory on an International Conference

The Fifth International Conference on contemporary problems of migrations has been held in Moscow on September 26 and 27, 2019. SESL has attended the conference as an invited participant: Ksenia Tenisheva has presented work on Migrant children in Russian Schools and came back with interesting news.

The conference was organized by the Russian International Affairs Council, Centre of Theoretical and Applied Political Science of RANEPA, and the International Committee of the Red Cross. The topic of the conference was quite broad: «Migration, population displacement, and urban development»; as a result, the sections were dedicated to some diverse aspects, from «Migration and ethnical entrepreneurship» to « Migrational mega-trends and their consequences for global cities». The International Committee of the Red Cross presented the topic of "Migrants and internally displaced persons in urban settings: a humanitarian approach».

Ksenia Tenisheva said, «This conference is not considered entirely scientifically-oriented. I was told that in the last years it was visited by Ministry of Internal Affairs representatives. Practitioners that have to deal with migration come to the conference to share what is happening with different migration right now in Russia, who studies it and how, and which results they get. To somehow consolidate this knowledge».

Ksenia has presented her work in the section of «Intergenerational integration of migrants in urban settings: Russia in an international context». She shares how it went:

«There were three of us. The first to present was an invited researcher from Holland, Maurice Krul, a very famous and remarkable sociologist. He studies generational migration. Now he works on a big project about refugees because all the Europe is worried about this subject. Then I presented, and after me was Evgeny Varshaver, Senior Researcher at Regional studies and Urbanization Centre of RANEPA under the President of Russia. He made this section along with Anna Rocheva and invited all of us».

«Everything went well, it was probably the most scientific section because everything was accompanied by a presentation, strictly following the «Introduction, Results, Conclusion» principle. There were a lot of questions, and overall the audience was very invested. And afterward, we talked to Krul and our colleagues from Saint Petersburg. They were interested in organizing events or seminars together with us, European University, and the Centre for Independent Social Research, where we would discuss our different but overlapping migration studies because it is really important. We all are gathering different pieces of the same puzzle, and it would be nice to arrange some site where we could share everything: our experiences and findings.

Our section had another debater, Jens Schneider. He familiarized himself with our notes beforehand and prepared questions for each presenter, his comments were very interesting. Among his other points, he has pointed out a thing, quite an obvious one, that we shouldn’t use the term «second-generation migration», as these people never migrated. They were born from migrant parents. Then we talked a lot about the questions of distinguishing between different ethnicities in migration.

Many people were interested in the concept of visible minorities that came up in our research. Perhaps we should articulate this concept better in our works. 

The work was about the success of migrants and ethnic minorities in schools, and the main result is that neither migration nor ethnicity is the main factor linked with success. The economical background is, and overall it was also confirmed in other studies that were presented. It is good to know that».

Ksenia Tenisheva also shared a curious finding of Maurice Krul, «Krul also spoke about the success of migrants and what factors influence it. But the fun fact is, 30% of Turkish migrants get into university in Sweden while in Germany it’s 5%. It turns out that the difference is because in Germany people seldom put children in daycare. If there is no daycare, children don’t have a chance to learn the language from an early age, don’t learn to communicate in this society. Also, all schools in Germany start in the morning and end in the afternoon, which takes a toll on parents’ schedules. And the third thing is that they have to choose their educational track very early on. In Germany, a 10-year old child has to choose a gymnasium or two other tracks, and, mind you, the other two don’t allow for further higher education. To sum up, they learn language late and have to pick their track early, which makes getting a higher education close to impossible. In Sweden, it’s the opposite, daycare and unbounded schools. Their system is like Russian, they pick their track at 15 and still can get into an academic track from a non-academic one. This makes a difference in the overall rate of people getting a higher education and overall in educational chances».