Early leaving from education and training (ELET) is a serious issue in many EU countries and has attracted the attention of many researchers, policy-makers and educators. Although the situation varies across countries and the underlying reasons for students leaving early are highly individual, the process leading up to it includes a number of common elements: learning difficulties, socioeconomic problems, or a lack of motivation, guidance or support.
Early leaving is highly challenging, not only for young people, but also for societies. For many, Early Leaving Education or Training will lead to reduced opportunities in the labour market and an increased likelihood of unemployment, poverty, health problems and reduced participation in political, social and cultural activities. Furthermore, these negative consequences have an impact on the next generation and may perpetuate the occurrence of early leaving. Youth unemployment in the EU is currently running at 20% and ELET contributes directly to it as employability depends strongly on the level of qualification achieved.
In order to understand why young people leave education and training early, it is moreover important to see ELET not only as a status or educational outcome but as a process of disengagement that occurs over time (Lyche, 2010). Chronic absenteeism and exclusion from school can be among the symptoms, or may even be the cause of students leaving early (Neild et al., 2007). However, there are more signs indicating that students may be at risk.
Warning signs may occur as early as in primary school and may be related to individual factors (e.g. educational performance, behaviour, attitudes) or to factors within individuals’ families, their schools, and communities. Understanding early leaving from education and training as a complex process, detecting early signals and identifying students who are at risk of leaving education and training early is therefore a prerequisite for developing targeted and effective measures to prevent it.
Continuing training for VET school staff should be thus enriched with training curriculums tailored to enable trainers to acquire key competencies regarding the early detection of students that are in risk and on strategies to prevent dropouts in VET. At present, the training programmes in the field are not adequate to meet current needs of VET trainers working in schools in decentralized regions.
What does RELiVET aim to do?
By working with the target groups, RELiVET will produce a tailor-made training material that is grounded in the VET school staff needs, and also grounded in the factors that leading to ELET.
RELiVET seeks through national research, the use of EU, national and regional statistic reports, data from public educational authorities, and interviews with education professionals and students, to identify the factors that lead to early leaving from education and training in the geographical regions that the programme will cover. By identifying the real current factors that lead to ELET in VET schools, it will also proceed to the implementation of a comparative study on survey findings among participating countries.
The conduction of the comparative study, according to the research outcomes, will provide the basis upon which the training curriculum for teachers and scientific staff on effective strategies that increase graduation rates will be designed. RELiVET will provide an international and competitive training programme, specially designed for VET teachers, relevant professionals and families, based on international experiences.
RELiVET contributes to the development of further training of VET staff – a necessity not covered in many EU countries- and the general development and upgrading of Vocational Educational and Training, as it will provide new supportive strategies which prevent ELET and keep students in education. The training seminar will support VET professionals in developing knowledge and competencies on strategies that help distinguish students at risk of ELET, prevent ELET and thus reduce the number of the students that abandon VET.
RELiVET addresses the constantly changing educational aspects of VET and contributes to the increase of attainment levels, through its emphasis on lifelong learning and the value of education on individual development and social cohesion. RELiVET supports through its activities and outcomes, the successful completion of studies in initial and continuing VET – focusing on areas with high ELET national levels- and it will do so by taking into account the factors that influence VET trainees when deciding to abandon studies. The programme aims to create and promote the appropriate conditions which help students overcome these factors and lead to graduation, certification and better career opportunities.
What will we accomplish?
All consortium countries will participate in the research through data collection and analysis on factors lead to ELET in VET. This need analysis could be the basis for further research on the analysis of ELVET in EU countries.
Partners will also search for existing training programmes for professionals regarding prevention techniques on VET and their contents.
Based on the needs analysis completed in Activity 2, a curriculum on supportive strategies to prevent ELVET and keep students in Vocational Education and Training will be developed.
Consortium partners will develop a highly innovative, internationally competitive modularized training curriculum in effective strategies to prevent ELVET, with qualification standards specialized for educators in VET.
This curriculum also aims at integrating further teaching material development activities. The curriculum will be broad enough to provide teachers and trainers with an adequate overview of the field.
A very important result of the project will be the development of Toolkits. Toolkit for VET teachers and educational staff will include important aspects, strategies, and good practice examples on reducing early leaving in VET targeted for teachers and educational staff.
Toolkit for families will include important aspects and good practice examples on reducing early leaving and preventing it.
To provide the ICT framework of the project and the pilot course. The Output leader will construct an easy-to use ICT system using Moodle, a package of on-line course management and communication tools, to support the both the project and quality management aspects of the project and the distance learning aspects of the course.
Although this ICT package is primarily intended as a means of accomplishing some concrete tasks associated with the project, it also represents one of the project’s main outcomes, because the Moodle-based communication platform developed to this end will have applications that extend far beyond the bounds of this one project.
The international initial pilot course will be organised in frame of a train-the trainer component, in order trainers of the national pilot course to receive a five-day technical
orientation and introduction to the course provided by partner Inercia Digital in Alijaraque, Spain.
The initial pilot course will be delivered in English and to an international group of 14 trainers (two of them per partner). Furthermore, the trainers participating in the initial train-the trainer course will immediately run the experiment nationally in each of the six participating countries in the national languages.
Each country will hold a multiplier event to inform the interested parties about the productions of RELiVET.
Reducing Early Leaving in VET
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