Differential attainment between ethnic minority and homeland students has been described in many countries. Lately, this has also been confirmed in Cyprus, a recent member of the European Union. This qualitative study aims to investigate the perceptions of teachers as regards the reasons behind the low academic achievement of ethnic minorities in Cyprus. It further hopes to provide clues for the lower attainment observed in theoretical subjects. Interviews were conducted with teachers from four secondary schools in different cities of Cyprus. A variety of factors relating to the child, parents, home environment, teachers, schools and society were identified as relevant by the participants, in agreement with findings from both the international and the limited local literature. Interrelationship of the findings suggests that the socio-economic status of the family and characteristics of the Cypriot educational system are the main influences on attainment levels.
ethnic minorities, attainment gap, interview-study, Cyprus
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