Reporters on the Job

Immigrants Excel: Correspondent Isabelle DePommereau was struck by how thoroughly "German" a girl whose family had fled the war in Kosovo 13 years ago had become. "She spoke German as well as any German," she says. Even more impressive, says Isabelle, is that Aferdite Hasanaj, was on the "university track."

The German education system has three tracks. In fifth grade, students are slotted into the university track, the standard track that ends in high school, and the vocational-training track that begins after middle school.

"It's rare for immigrants in Germany to make the university track," she says. "Socioeconomic background is often a determining factor in who lands in the university track," says Isabelle. "But Afredite did and she is totally integrated."

The family of one of her high school classmates has offered to support her financially so that she can stay and complete her schooling in Germany.

Similarly, staff writer Peter Ford made note of the "extraordinary leap in social and economic standing" made by the couple in his story about Islamic banking in Britain.

"Both of their fathers came from Bangladesh 40 years ago as unskilled, almost illiterate laborers. They went to work in the garment factories in the midlands. Later, they brought their wives over and put their children in school," says Peter.

Today, Shalina Begum has a master's degree in education and Abul Rahman is a community policeman. They've just purchased their own home. "Their living room is lined floor-to-ceiling with religious and nonfiction books," notes Peter. "They, like many younger, educated Bangladeshi, are more overtly devout than their parents. They are more educated about the tenets of their religion."

David Clark Scott
World editor

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