The conclusions are contained in the preliminary results of the study “Inclusion or discrimination? From the analysis of school results to strategies for the success of students with migrant students”, developed by the Faculty of Economics of Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Nova SBE, and the Interdisciplinary Center for Social Sciences of the same university, at the request of Associação EPIS – Entrepreneurs For Social Inclusion.

Luís Catela Nunes, professor at Nova SBE and one of the researchers who coordinate the study, said in an interview with Lusa News Agency that there are clear differences between native students and migrant students.

“We may not be able to call it discrimination yet, but more segregation. What we try in our study is to understand where this segregation and these inequalities come from. And inequalities are at two levels, not only in the way students are distributed across schools and classes, but there are also great inequalities in terms of performance”, he said.

The researcher stressed that even in terms of segregation, it is not possible to speak of “a problem of national context”, referring that it exists and is more visible in regions where migrants have a greater presence: the metropolitan areas of Lisbon and Porto, Algarve and district of Setúbal.

However, geographical inequalities do not explain everything.

“When we look inside schools, there is usually segregation, these are decisions that have to do with the schools themselves and the way the school decides to form classes”, said Luís Catela Nunes, referring that the study found cases from schools where this segregation is around 50 percent.

“The conclusion we reached is that the segregation that exists is not so much at economic levels, but more associated with the fact that students have repeated years in the past. For example, some schools have classes with more students than in other classes and for me it is linked to segregation”, said the professor at Nova SBE.

The study was based on official statistics and focused on the school results of 9th grade students in 2016-2017. At the national level, he identified differences of 20 points (on a scale of 0 to 100) in the results of Mathematics in the 9th grade exam between native students and immigrant students from African Portuguese speaking countries (PALOP), to the detriment of the students of migrant origin.