Refugees in transition to Dutch education: The role of social contacts. An exploratory study on transition programs that prepare refugees for vocational or higher education in the Netherlands

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This study looks at the role of social capital in transition programs. Transition programs prepare refugees for vocational or higher education in the Netherlands. Their main emphasis is on enhancing refugees’ human capital. Social capital plays an important role in the development of human capital. I distinguish between horizontal and vertical social capital. Horizontal refers to relations between individuals who have a similar socio-economic status, while vertical refers to relation between individuals with a different socio-economic status. This study addresses the research question: (1) In what way can social capital contribute to the development of the knowledge and skills that are required for refugees to start with regular education programs in the Netherlands, and (2) how does this take shape in the transition programs? I find that participants’ social contacts yield four types of support: informational, instrumental, emotional and companionship. These types of support contribute to the development of human capital. Social capital can not only contribute to education and labor market perspectives, but also to social integration as a whole. This is especially relevant with a view to upcoming legislation amendments, in which transition programs get a more prominent role in civic integration.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen