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A Comparative Analysis of Bangladeshi and Pakistani Educational Attainment in London Secondary Schools


South Asian Muslims, i.e., Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, represent one of the fastest growing immigrant populations in the United Kingdom, particularly in the city of London. This paper analyzes the educational achievements and trends of each community and examines factors that may contribute to any observed differences. The research indicates that the educational attainment of Bangladeshi students is comparable to that of Pakistani students in London secondary schools, though the former group is improving at a faster rate despite the greater disadvantages Bangladeshi students face with respect to poverty and English proficiency levels.

One explanation for differential rates of educational improvement between these two communities may be the degree to which these communities are represented on the political level and how responsive schools are to the needs of these communities. Data on teacher ethnicity is limited, though the ethnic composition of local councils, which oversee schools, suggests that Bangladeshis are more involved in political decisions that affect education than Pakistanis.

Another explanation may involve detrimental effects of having multiple minority groups in one school, which Pakistani students face to a greater extent. Bangladeshi students are more isolated from all other minority groups, allowing schools to concentrate on the needs of one population rather than the diverse needs of several groups. To our knowledge, the multiple minority effect has not been examined to date. Given the influx of immigrants to the UK and US from all over the world, this area of exploration has vast opportunities for further research and demands such research to ensure that minority groups are adequately served by schools.

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