The Educational Migration of Sub-state Ethnic Minorities on the Outskirts of the EU
A Case Study of Serbia
The goal of this paper is to present an analysis of the status and career choices of Hungarian, Slovak, and Romanian ethnic minority high school graduates in the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, the northern province of Serbia. We implemented a purpose-built, paper-based-questionnaire process of data collection that involved 2,192 ethnic minority high school students who were finishing high school in their mother tongues in 16 municipalities in Vojvodina. The results of the analysis showed that almost 40 per cent of the sample of ethnic minority high school graduates planned to leave Serbia to study in their mother tongues in nearby European Union (EU) countries. While this brain drain is not a new trend, our research shows that there are new and different reasons for it and it was caused by the insufficiency of Serbian language skills of the ethnic minority studnets. The results of the research show that the main reason for this educational migration is thus the aspiration to obtain a diploma from an EU-based institution, which (1) grants immediate access to the EU’s integrated labor market, and (2) is perceived to improve social status compared to that of remaining in Serbia after graduating. Despite this new motive for educational migration, language barriers are still relevant determinants of the latter. A gender-sensitive analysis of the responses was undertaken that showed that there are gender-based differences in terms of which students continue their studies after high school, and in the reasons for staying in Serbia.
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