Fahim Imam-Sadeque Discusses How Children of Immigrants Are More Likely to Get Higher Education in the UK

Group Of College Student Friends Meeting And Talking In Busy Communal Campus Building

By Fahim Imam-Sadeque

A study conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development had some interesting results, according to Fahim Imam-Sadeque.

The study found that children living in England born to immigrants were more likely to get a higher education degree than those who didn’t come from an immigrant background.

The OECD report showed that of people between the ages of 25 to 44 who had parents born in another country, 58% went into higher education. However, people of that same age group whose parents were born in England, only 46% went into higher education.

It’s an interesting case study and contrast of different backgrounds. Here are some reasons why this might be the case.


While the study revealed no clear-cut reason why children of immigrants were more likely to attend higher education and get a degree than others, one contributing factor is likely to be motivation.

Immigrants often move to a new country for the opportunity for a better life. For parents, better life comes through better job opportunities, safer living conditions, etc.

Many of these parents also believe that education is the path to greater success for their children. As a result, they stress the importance of education to their children, who seem more motivated than many peers.

This isn’t just conjecture, though. Other studies also back it up.

In 2018, a study of students between 15 and 16 years old in schools throughout England found that immigration status was a key driver of attitude.

The study, conducted by the University of Bristol and the London School of Economics and Political Science, showed that first-generation immigrants were 60% more optimistic about the benefits of education than the average student who was native to England.

A better attitude toward education leads to more motivation to do well and perform well. 


A key to higher education success, as Fahim Imam-Sadeque explains, is one’s aspiration. One must have the desire to continue through schooling at the highest level to achieve a degree.

People who are born to immigrants grow up around aspiration. Their parents took a significant risk by moving to a new country, and they worked extremely hard to prepare to do that and make a new life for themselves and their family in a new country.

Their children observed the determination and grit that these parents showed in doing so, who then saw the actual value in aspiration throughout their lives.

This could indeed be another contributing factor to why people born to immigrants are more likely to achieve a higher education degree than their peers who were born to parents from England.

The study also found seemingly no influence of the parents’ jobs, school policies, gender, or socio-economic background on students’ success.

Similar Results in Northern Ireland

The OECD study also found that the “risk of downward mobility” was higher for British-born people than for people born to immigrants. Again, this may be in contrast to what most people would tend to believe, but it’s a result seen in other parts of the UK, too.

In Northern Ireland, for example, 53% of people born to immigrant parents attained a higher education degree compared to only 38% of those born to native parents.

In the UK, people born to immigrant parents are more motivated and inspired to achieve academically.


About the Author

Fahim Imam-Sadeque is a business development professional with proven experience in the asset management industry. He has a Bachelor of Science in Actuarial Science from the City University of London and is a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries. Fahim’s top skills include asset management, hedge funds, investment management, sales, and consultant & client relationship management.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.