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INTERNATIONAL PANORAMA. Early school leaving: a holistic, differentiated and systemic perspective
Paul DOWNES, University of Dublin City, Ireland

To remember

  • It is possible to change the system that leads to early school leaving, rather than simply predicting and managing the problem.
  • If there is such a thing as a “silver bullet” for fighting early school leaving, it is in the form of social and emotional education that takes into account the needs of the entire educational community (students, parents, teachers, etc.).
  • The feeling of injustice at school plays a very important role in the school climate and in students’ well-being. The teacher can be a role model for students.

UNITED KINGDOM. Understanding and analysing policy to reduce the number of NEETs
Sue MAGUIRE, University of Bath, England

To remember

  • 57% of NEETs (Not in employment, education or training) in Europe are neither registered with employment services nor requesting monitoring or support. 
  • Differences between women and men, in terms of unemployment (unemployed but seeking work) versus inactivity (unemployed but not seeking work), are significant. More often than not, young men are unemployed, while young women are inactive (looking after children, parents…).
  • “Activity Agreements”, piloted in England and made policy in Scotland, attempt to re-engage young people by relying on three components : a financial incentive, intensive support and individualised learning. Three months after participation in the programme, 49% of participants were engaged in education and employment related activities (versus 36% in the control group).

ESTONIA. The cost of school failure
Janno JÄRVE, Estonian Center for Applied Research (CentAR), Estonia

To remember

  • The benefits of education go well beyond school. A more highly educated individual will generally be more productive on the labour market and therefore possess a higher salary, which in turn will increase the amount of taxes he or she pays to the State. Moreover, a well educated person will also generally be in better health and will be less likely to engage in criminal behaviour, which leads to fewer social costs.
  • In Estonia, it is estimated that the government would directly gain EUR 15 000 per for each person who completes secondary school, rather than dropping out. These savings would mostly be due to lower health care costs.

NETHERLANDS. A multidisciplinary view on early school leaving
Tanja TRAAG, Statistics Netherlands, Netherlands

To remember

  • In the Netherlands, there is both a mandatory schooling age (16 years old) and a mandatory level of qualification (upper secondary school) to ensure that as many young people as possible obtain a secondary school diploma.
  • Early school leaving in the Netherlands most often occurs due to a lack of motivation (for example when attendance is mandatory), a signfiicant change in circumstances (for example, when moving from a small to a large school), or a misguided choice of educational track. Students in professional education most often experience these issues.
  • Individualised tracking of students is carried out at the regional level. A system of accountability requires that local authorities provide a personalised response to every individual who is identified as being at risk.