WHILE some local schools have pupils of more than 25 different nationalities, a recent survey among primary school children shows that 36 per cent would rather attend a school with just pupils of their own nationality. The survey was conducted by the Balearic University which has analysed the effects of immigration in the classroom.
The report showed that the negative attitude towards immigration increased with age, and very often the groups of foreign children show rejection towards other immigrant groups. The survey was conducted among 1'193 pupils at 54 of the 284 primary schools on the island and the questionnaires were aimed not just at pupils but their teachers and parents. The most positive attitude to immigration was in schools which have a large number of immigrant children. But 47 per cent of the teachers said that they were not equipped to deal with such diversity in the classroom and 72 per cent said that they did not have sufficient resources to do a good job in a multi-cultural atmosphere. More than 40 per cent of the teachers said that pupils from ethnic minorities produced greater stress for the teacher.
One in four teachers said that immigration should be firmly controlled because “it is a threat for our society” and 24 per cent said that the arrival of foreigners “has a negative effect on the workplace, such as an increase in unemployment or a worsening of working conditions.” As to parents, only 11 per cent would like their child to bring home friends from other countries, while 78 per cent were indifferent to the possibility. This is despite the fact that 70 per cent of the parents said that contact with children from other cultures was positive for their child's education and only three per cent felt that it was negative. One in four of the children felt that the arrival of foreigners was not positive for society while 34 per cent said that they “create problems.”