About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 4366-4374
Publication year: 2012
ISBN: 978-84-695-3491-5
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2012
Location: Barcelona, Spain

THE SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST? INFLUENCING EDUCATIONAL POLICY TO ENHANCE ACADEMIC SUCCESS OF ETHNIC MINORITY STUDENTS

K. De Bruyn

Ghent University (BELGIUM)
This paper session presents the results of a 2011 qualitative study concerning ethnic minority students’ experiences within an academic learning environment. Furthermore, it relates how research can be used to influence diversity policy and offer opportunities to change institutional educational culture.

Over the past decades the number of first-year students at Ghent University has increased steadily, while student diversity has remained limited. Ethnic minority students are underrepresented and their chances of attaining academic success are significantly lower than those of the average student. This results in an important educational policy question: how can Ghent University enhance study success of ethnic minority students?

Previous research has shown that academic success is not only determined by individual factors but also by learning environment characteristics. These findings served as a starting point for a qualitative research project that was set up at Ghent University to examine how its learning environment is experienced by ethnic minority students. Additionally, this research was meant to identify features of the learning environment that are perceived as stimulating or impeding academic proficiency. Both successful students and drop out students were questioned through in-depth interviews and focus groups.

Our research shows that crucial success factors are mainly set outside the learning environment (e.g. parent support and preparatory training in secondary education). Additionally, even though external factors appear to contribute to academic success, both ethnic minority students and majority students stress the need for a stimulating and motivating learning environment. This study has identified a number of concrete policy suggestions to achieve this.

By formulating research-based policy suggestions, this study has contributed to the debate on educational quality at Ghent University. Therefore, this presentation will include the steps that have been taken to influence the debate on the university’s diversity and educational policy to ensure that not only the fittest survive.
@InProceedings{DEBRUYN2012SUR,
author = {De Bruyn, K.},
title = {THE SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST? INFLUENCING EDUCATIONAL POLICY TO ENHANCE ACADEMIC SUCCESS OF ETHNIC MINORITY STUDENTS},
series = {4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN12 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-695-3491-5},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {2-4 July, 2012},
year = {2012},
pages = {4366-4374}}
TY - CONF
AU - K. De Bruyn
TI - THE SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST? INFLUENCING EDUCATIONAL POLICY TO ENHANCE ACADEMIC SUCCESS OF ETHNIC MINORITY STUDENTS
SN - 978-84-695-3491-5/2340-1117
PY - 2012
Y1 - 2-4 July, 2012
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN12 Proceedings
SP - 4366
EP - 4374
ER -
K. De Bruyn (2012) THE SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST? INFLUENCING EDUCATIONAL POLICY TO ENHANCE ACADEMIC SUCCESS OF ETHNIC MINORITY STUDENTS, EDULEARN12 Proceedings, pp. 4366-4374.
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