Migrant students 'outperforming Australian-born classmates'

A new OECD report has found migrant children have the academic edge in Australia.

Migrant children, particularly those from India, China and the Philippines, are achieving better academic results than their Australian-born classmates, according to a new OECD report.

The Resilience of Students with an Immigrant Background report also showed students who've recently settled into the country have more ambitious career aspirations and a strong sense of belonging at school.

Yousif Barbo, who recently settled in Sydney after coming from Iraq with his parents, is one such student.

"The (education) system here is a lot more supportive to the people who are going to be the future. So they give a big amount of support for them whereas in (my) past there was some support but not as much as here," Yousif told SBS News.

Peter Wade is the principal of Patrician Brothers' College, a Sydney school that has students from over 38 different nationalities.

Mr Wade said the school works to make sure those who've recently arrived in Australia are well-integrated into the school and feel a sense of belonging.

"Many of their parents are coming with academic backgrounds from overseas and they're certainly wanting their boys to find their direction and their way."

In the report, Australia ranked 7th out of 64 nations assessed, based on the academic performance of migrant students.

It's ahead of New Zealand, Britain and the United States.

CEO of the Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils of Australia Emma Campbell said it's an example of the positive impact migrants have on Australian society.

"We should just use this to celebrate the contribution that migrants bring to Australia. These kind of statistics are reflected in the other areas of our economy and society."

The report also found children from certain migrant groups performed better than others.

Those from China, India and the Philippines significantly outperformed their Australia-born classmates while those from New Zealand and the United Kingdom were less likely to reach baseline standards.

Migrant students are also 11 per cent more likely to have ambitious career expectations to become managers, professionals or technicians.

Dr Campbell says she's not surprised, given most migrant parents want the best future for their children.

"Migrants are very determined and their children (are) very determined to make the most of the opportunities that they have from the great education system that Australia provides."

Published 20 March 2018 at 9:21pm, updated 21 March 2018 at 6:32am
By Lydia Feng