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, socio-economic 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 which indicate 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. By working with the target groups, this project 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.
The project 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. The project will provide an international and competitive training programme, specially designed for VET teachers, relevant professionals and families, based on international experiences.
The project 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.
The project 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. The project 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.
Curriculum on ELVET
Toolkit on ELVET for VET teachers and educational staff
Toolkit on ELVET for families
Guidelines for course and online facilitators of Moodle
ICT delivery framework
International initial pilot course
National pilot courses (Romanian, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Lithuanian, Spanish)
Introduction and Context
The Early School Leaving (ESL) or Early Leaving from Education and Training (ELET), has been defined as “the percentage of youth 18-24 years old who did not finalize the upper-secondary education (corresponding to the 8 grade) and who are not following any other educational path or are not enrolled in any other vocational training”. “Early leavers from education and training” is a Europe 2020 Indicators, part of the Sustainable Development Indicators, according to EUROSTAT.
The factors related to early leaving school are closely linked with other educational and social issues. The young people who leave early education and training are, usually, migrant students, students coming from marginalized areas, or disadvantaged families, often both socially and economically. By leaving early from school, they lose the possibility to gain the necessary qualifications to help them succeed in life. Consequently, it is essential to recognize that although early school leaving is a problem on the surface of education and training systems, its root causes are embedded in wider social and political contexts.
At the individual level, the consequences of ELET affect people throughout their lives and reduce their chances of participating in the social, cultural and economic dimensions of society. ELET increase the individual risk of unemployment, poverty and social exclusion. It affects their lifetime earnings, their welfare and health, and their children. Also, it reduces their children’s chances of succeeding at school.
In 2009, 52% of early school leavers in the EU were unemployed or outside the labour market. Even when they work, they earn less, they tend to be in precarious jobs and are more dependent on social assistance. They participate less in lifelong learning and therefore in re-training. Their educational disadvantage can create a growing
handicap for them (Tackling early school leaving: A key contribution to the Europe 2020 Agenda, Brussels, 31.1.2011 COM(2011) 18 final).
Several signs are indicating that students may be at risk. Warning signs can still occur from primary school and may be related to individual factors (e.g. educational performance, behavior, attitudes), or factors within individuals’ families, their schools and communities. Understanding the ELET phenomenon as a complex process, detecting early signs and identifying students at risk of leaving education and training early is, therefore, a prerequisite for developing targeted and effective measures to prevent it.
Understanding the role of VET in reducing school drop out involves analysing the phenomenon of school dropout and the potential of VET to attract, retain and reintegrate young people into education and training. Both aspects are innovative and challenging areas of investigation. Cedefop estimates based on the OECD-PIAAC, that VET can play a key role in facilitating alternative pathways and re-entry into education and training.
There is no common measure against of early leaving from vocational education and training (ELVET) currently available across Europe. But there is evidence of insufficient investment in VET, especially in relation to the general education sector, even if the VET sector in most countries hosts a much larger share of students from disadvantaged backgrounds (European Commission/ EACEA/Eurydice/Cedefop,2014). The fact that VET attracts students from disadvantaged backgrounds suggests the importance of investing in the field and improving the skills and capabilities of VET teachers and trainers to identify students at risk.
Cedefop, after a consultation of the European and international specific literature from 2010 onwards, presents a map of measures to address ELVET phenomenon, according to the timing of the intervention: prevention, intervention and compensation.
As can be seen, preventative measures are predominant and among them, there is also the need to train the teachers and all those involved to reduce ELVET.
The RELiVET project aims to offer such an opportunity, by providing an international and competitive training programme, specially designed for VET teachers, professionals, and families, that to meet current needs and to provide new and modern supportive strategies and tools which prevent and reduce early leaving from educational and vocational training system. The curriculum of this course will be based on a needs analysis developed in all consortium countries.
The needs analysis is carried out through two types of researches:
- a background research, in fact, a desktop and internet research, and
- a small-scale research, based on answers to the questionnaires completed by the teachers, educators or scientific staff in VET, followed by a feedback analysis of the questionnaires.
The background research aims are to collect any useful information about ELVET phenomenon, all existing training programmes for professionals, their content and toolkits used, the factors that lead to ELVET, strategies, previous projects, articles and guides in the field in the countries involved in the project.
For RELiVET project, the background research means a desktop and internet-based research, using data, elements, and statistics derived from public and private educational institutions, VET providers, and other national and regional educational authorities. It serves the following purposes:
- research regarding existing training programmes for professionals on ELET prevention techniques and their contents;
- identifying the factors that lead to early leaving from vocational education and training in the geographical regions that it covers.
Analysis of the ELET phenomenon
According to the latest Eurostat update of 14.02.2019, with respect to Early leavers from education and training (% of the population aged 18-24 with at most, lower secondary education and not in further education or training), the situation is:
In the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020) is stipulated that the rate of early leavers from education and training aged 18-24 should be below 10 % at European level by 2020. As can be seen, Spain, Romania and Italy are still far from this target, while Portugal is very close, after a very good evolution in recent years. At the same time, we can see that Greece and Lithuania are already in 2018 at half of the European target set for 2020.
The EU statistics show that the average percent of the young Europeans between 15 and 19 years participating in I-VET (initial vocational education and training) is 50%, with large geographical differences, from less than 15% to more than 70%, and the average percent of the participants in C-VET (continuing education and training) courses (% of persons employed in all enterprises) is 40.8%.
Share of VET students in EU28 and consortium countries, 2015-2016 (%)
|Lower secondary||Upper secondary||Post-secondary non-tertiary||Participants in C-VET courses|
These differences can be attributed, among others, to the differences between the structure of the National Educational Systems (mainstream education and also vocational education and training) in consortium countries, as can be seen in the following figure (Source: Eurydice: The Structure of the European Education Systems 2018/19: Schematic Diagrams).
In order to achieve the target set up for ELET in the strategic framework ET2020, the European Commission established some structural indicatorsfor monitoring the Education and Training Systems and that provide information on national policies and structures. In the latest Eurydice Report, “Structural Indicators for Monitoring Education and Training Systems in Europe – 2018”, the structural indicators on ELET are focus on school education: primary education and general secondary as well as school based initial vocational education (I-VET):
- Collecting national data on ELET based on a student register
- Increasing the flexibility and permeability of education pathways
- Providing alternative education & training pathways
- Facilitating transitions within education & training systems
- Recognising skills and/or qualifications
- Providing language support for students with a different mother tongue
- Addressing ELET in initial teacher education and continuing professional development
- Offering education and career guidance in schools
- Providing support for early leavers to re-enter the education and training system
- Second chance education
- Education and career guidance
- Youth guarantee.
Structural indicators on ELET in consortium countries, 2017-2018
As can be seen in the table above, the situation of monitoring and reporting indicators varies from one country to another. Portugal is the only country in the partner countries in our project, which monitors all ten indicators. In conjunction with the significant decrease of ELET, we can say that it is a direct correlation between the application of the measures envisaged, the monitoring of indicators and the decrease of ELET in Portugal.
Existing strategies to prevent or reduce ELET
According to the recommendation of the EU Council 2011/C 191/01from 28 June 2011 on policies to reduce early school leaving, the member states have to “ensure that comprehensive strategies on early school leaving are in place by the end of 2012, and that they are implemented in line with national priorities and the Europe 2020 objectives. Comprehensive strategies are taken to include prevention measures, intervention measures and compensation measures, the latter being aimed at re-engaging people who have dropped out of education.”
In the “2015 Joint Report of the Council and the Commission on the implementation of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020), New priorities for European cooperation in education and training (2015/C 417/04)”, it was noted that the majority of the member states have put in place comprehensive strategies on early school leaving and on lifelong learning. In continuation, all countries should develop such strategies and ensure the permeability between various forms and levels of learning and from education and training to work.
In the same year, in Eurydice Brief – Tackling Early Leaving from Education and Training, regarding the strategies to combat ELET, it was stipulated that:
- while not all European countries have a national strategy, they all have policies and measures to combat early leaving
- Spain and Romania have comprehensive national strategies in place that aim to reduce early leaving from education or training
- Portugal and Romania have policies in place that aim to tackle early leaving by reducing grade retention
- all countries also have policies/measures targeting groups at high risk of early leaving, in line with the Recommendations of the Education Council on early leaving.
A comprehensive situation on the Strategies and policy measures to tackle early leaving from education and training (ELET), was made in 2014, by the Center for Economic Studies CESifo Group, Database for Institutional Comparisons in Europe (DICE). According with it, and with the last findings in our background researches, the actual situation is presented below:
|Comprehensive ELET strategy in consortium countries||Policies and measures for tackling ELET|
||-there are measures and policies related to ELET|
|Romania||In present, the strategic framework for education and professional training in Romania includes five sectorial strategies:
Existing training programmes for professionals regarding prevention techniques on ELVET
According to the Eurydice Report 2018, “Teaching Careers in Europe: Access, Progression and Support”, the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is available to teachers in most European countries, in addition, teachers having the obligation to take part to it. There are in all European countries supporting measures in order to facilitate teachers’ participation in CPD, develop their skills and make progress in their careers, that includes teachers’ learning needs, support structures, career paths, competence levels and school cultures. In the context in which the role of teachers becomes more and more important, and the profession of professor becomes less attractive as a career choice, ET 2020 proposes to identify the challenges and explore the best ways to provide effective support for teachers, enhance their professionalism, and raise their status.
One of the EU priorities for VET, for the period 2015-2020 is “to introduce systematic approaches and opportunities for initial and continuing professional development of VET teachers, trainers and mentors both in the school environment and in the work environment.”
“Addressing ELET in initial teacher education and continuing professional development” is one of the structural indicators on ELET, which “examines policies and measures for improving teachers’ understanding of the challenge of early leaving through initial teacher education (ITE) and continuing professional development (CPD). This implies increasing teachers’ awareness of the underlying causes, the main triggers and early warning signs, as well as strengthening teachers’ capacity to take action in both preventing early leaving and supporting students who are at risk.”
Spain, Italy and Portugal monitories and report this indicator, while Greece, Lithuania and Romania are not doing so yet.
In the background research, in the consortium countries in RELiVET project was found some training offered by different institutions or in some projects on the prevention techniques on ELET. Here we present a synthetic situation, and the detailed information can be found in the Annexes accompanying this report.
|Training programmes for professionals regarding prevention techniques on ELVET in consortium countries|
Factors leading to ELVET
In the specialised literature, there are several explanatory mechanisms for early school leaving phenomenon: individual effects, family effects, peer effects, school effects, community effects.
In the study “Theoretical and methodological considerations when studying early school leaving in Europe”, conducted within the project “Reducing Early School Leaving in Europe”, project funded by the European Union under the 7th Framework Programme, it is presented a model with three main levels commonly distinguished influencing ESL, but that interact with and influence each other:
- the macro-level of the structural and systemic features and policies: education and social policies; socio-economic context; social imaginaries
- the meso-level of the institutional context such as the policies and capital resources in school, the alternative learning arenas and the family
- the micro-level, which focuses on the individual.
Based on some reports, studies or research papers published concerning the factors leading to ELVET, found and consulted in our background research, we have been identified and hierarchized the following factors conducting to the school dropout or early leaving from VET in participating countries:
|Factors leading to ELVET in consortium countries|
|Greece||Family factors: low socioeconomic level of the family, different racial or ethnic background, minority or migrant background, low school performance of the siblings, family mobility, lack of parental support, low educational expectations, negative attitude or lack of interest from the parents, instability of the family environment, single parent family, unemployed parents.
School factors: low performance/ poor grades, frequent unexcused absences, discipline and behavior problems, not positive relations with teachers and classmates, lack of interest and involvement of the students in their education, school punishments etc.
Individual factors: student’s lack of individual competences and interests, his/her personal characteristics, personal learning style, their internal conflicts etc.
Other factors: grade-centered and teacher-centered learning; not interesting educational programs and curricula; high number of students per class; additional training for teachers; violence and bullying at schools; health problems/ Illnesses; marriage; teenage pregnancy; problems with the law; subcultures; low level of competences in the official language of the host country (for migrants); gender differences; difficulties in integration of families of immigrants or of religious minorities; distrust of educational policy.
|Spain||Family factors; economic situation; disinterest towards the studied field; the lack of confidence that education helps to find a job.|
|Italy||Socio-economic factors: poverty, a fragile family background and a history and an educational very irregular, which starts from the middle school
Education system factors: type of school; differences or divergences between the educational offer and the needs of training, lack of student orientation
Factors specific to the children with special educational needs
|Lithuania||Personal qualities and the situation in the family: inability to learn learning material and lack of timely education aid, psychological personality peculiarities, emotional and behavioral disorders, conflict situations with teachers and peers, unsatisfactory social economic conditions of the pupil or his / her family
School factors: inadequate teachers’ competence to work with unmotivated pupils with learning disabilities, departure to live and work abroad, lack of motivation to learn, employment and inability to reconcile work and learning, inadequate organization of the educational process, forced school change and the absence of alternative forms of learning.
|Portugal||Educational factors linked to student (delays in cognitive development; instability in adolescence), family, teachers (management of the discipline in the classroom; teaching methods; didactic resources; communication techniques) and school (low expectations of teachers and students in relation to school; the high number of pupils per school and class).
Lack of career orientation and counselling
Socio economic problems: poverty; high economic and social inequality
Labour market and social policy issues
Others: family instability; ethnicity; life on the street; young people who abuse illegal psychotropic substances; the consumption of narcotic drugs’ students living in environments where violence is common; students with learning disabilities.
|Romania||Family factors: the material situation; family relationships; parents’ disinterest; the level of low education of parents; quality house; the family environment; lack of aid to learning; reluctant parents.
School factors: organization and teaching methods; inadequate attitude of teachers; the material basis of the school; school disinterest.
Individual factors: psychological state; personality characteristics; attitude towards education; limited potential.
The RELiVET project main aim is to design and provide an international and competitive training programme, specially designed for VET teachers, professionals, and families, that to meet current needs and to provide new and modern supportive strategies and tools which prevent and reduce early leaving from educational and vocational training system. In order to accomplish this goal a needs analysis was developed in all consortium countries, in fact a small-scale research, based on answers to a semi-structured questionnaire completed by the teachers, educators or scientific staff in VET.
The main aim of the questionnaire is to receive the information regarding the ELVET phenomenon directly from the teachers/ educators/ professionals working in VET institutions.
The questionnaire was developed in cooperation by all partners and the questions were structured in order to allow the equal comparison of the data collected from the partner countries. The questionnaire includes also some open questions, in order for the interviewees to be able to integrate their selected choice with an open answer or to add a key activity/ knowledge/ skill/ output.
The questionnaire contain four main parts:
- Background and experience of the respondents
- School/organization characteristics
- Factors leading to ELVET
- Training needs of the teachers/ educators/ professionals in VET
Here you can see the questionnaire.
FEEDBACK ANALYSIS OF THE QUESTIONNAIRES
All partners in RELiVET project sent the questionnaires to the VET schools or other institutions involved in VET in their region/ country, in electronic format or/ and printed format.
Following the distribution of questionnaires, the partners received back a number of completed questionnaires and then they proceeded to the analysis of the information gathered from the received questionnaires.
This chapter presents a synthesis of all the questionnaires received and a comparative analysis between the six partner countries in the RELiVET project.
Detailed information about the analysis of the questionnaires in each participating country can be found in the Annexes accompanying this report.
A total of 275 questionnaires were completed, received and analysed, distributed as follows:
- Greece 26
- Spain 20
- Italy 24
- Lithuania 81
- Portugal 57
- Romania 67
BACKGROUND AND EXPERIENCE OF THE RESPONDENTS
The background and experience of the respondents are relevant for our research, because:
- 80% of the respondents are teachers in a state-funded VET school, some are teachers in a private VET school, and others are working in other kinds of institutions, direct implicated in VET
- 45 % have Master’s degree
- they are part of all age groups
- majority of the respondents have more than 10 years experience in teaching/ training/ working with VET students, but, at the same time, we have respondents with less experience
- they teach a diversity of subjects or are involved in different areas in VET
On the other hand, only 16% from the respondents attended an educational program or training on intervention methods to prevent early leaving from education and training.
SCHOOL/ ORGANISATION CHARACTERISTICS
- 82% of the respondents are from the schools/ organisations located in urban areas, and 18% in rural areas
- our research covers schools/ organisations of different sizes, ranging from at least 20 students to over 2000
- regarding the number of students which dropped out of school/ organisation in the last 3 years, we encounter different situations, ranging from none to 30%
- majority of the respondents claimed to monitor dropout rates often, some even permanently
- majority of the respondents recognise that exist in their school/ organisation strategies to prevent dropping out of the students being at risk and they usually use several such strategies, combined
20% of the respondents declare that they are very satisfied with their institution’s approach to ELVET phenomenon, 37% are satisfied, and 23% are neither satisfied nor dissatisfied.
FACTORS LEADING TO ELVET
C1. The main reasons why students drop out of school
By making a synthetic analysis of the data collected from all applied questionnaires across all participating countries, we obtain the final result of our research on the factors leading to ELVET, ordered as follows:
Sense of belonging: Alienation and decreased levels of participation in school have been associated with increased likelihood of dropout (53% adequately)
Stressful life events: Increased levels of stress and the presence of stressors (e.g. financial difficulty, health problems, early parenthood) are associated with increased levels of dropout (52% adequately)
Grades: Students with poor grades are at greater risk of dropout (50% adequately)
Lack of motivation: Students without motivation to study are more likely to drop out of school (49% adequately)
Socio-economic background: Dropouts are more likely if the students come from low-income families or in which the parents are unemployed (47% adequately)
Educational support in the home: Students whose families provide higher levels of educational support for learning are less likely to dropout (46% adequately)
School climate: Positive school climate is associated with lower rates of dropout (42% adequately)
Parenting: Homes characterised by permissive parenting styles have been linked with higher rates of dropout (41% adequately)
Mobility: High levels of household mobility contribute to increased likelihood of dropping out (39% adequately)
School policies: Alterable school policies associated with dropout include raising academic standards without providing supports, tracking and frequent use of suspension (38% adequately)
Disability: Students with disabilities (especially those with emotional/ behavioural disabilities) are at greater risk of dropout (36% adequately)
Ethnicity: The rate of dropout is higher on average for minority groups (30% adequately)
Gender: Students who drop out are more likely to be male. Females who drop out often do so due to reasons associated with pregnancy (40% very little)
Family structure: Students who come from non traditional families (single-parent, unmarried, or blended families, tutor) are at greater risk of dropout (41% very little)
Region: Students are more likely to dropout if they live in urban settings as compared to suburban or non-metropolitan areas (46% very little)
School size and type: School factors that have been linked to dropout include school type and large school size (40% not at all)
The percentage values presented above represent the highest average of the values recorded, from all options (very much, adequately, very little, not at all), in the entire consortium. We mention, however, that by making a comparative analysis between countries, the options expressed by the respondents for some factors are sometimes almost similar, and sometimes they differ, less or more, to a situation where they are diametrically opposed.
Other factors leading to ELVET, presented by our respondents:
|Other factors leading to ELVET in consortium countries|
C2. Common characteristics of the families whose children drop out or of the schools that the students leave
Some of our respondents identified and presented the following common characteristics of the families whose children drop out or of the schools that the students leave:
|Common characteristics of the|
|• Poor living conditions, financial difficulties and a large number of children
• Lack of parents’ control, authority
• Bad relationship in families
• Emigrated parents (for work)
• Belong to social risk families, problematic families, alcoholic parents
• Uneducated family members, do not understand the importance of studies, negative attitude towards the studies
• Divorced parents
• Mono-parental families
• Children in family placement
• Parents do not cooperate with children
• Lack of communication with school
• Poor parenting, parents do not teach responsibility
|• Low quality of studies
• Some problems of the school curriculum in the practical relation and theory
• Disconnection, digital transformation delay, low digital literacy
• Poorly performed prevention work at school
• Lack of communication with parents
• Bad psychological microclimate
• Professions offered does not match the needs of the actual labour market
• Too much democracy and freedom at school
• Weak students’ admission for the studies criteria
• Ignorance to students’ bad attendance
C3. How early were identified the signs of the student who was likely to drop out of school before he/she actually left? What were those signs? The teacher reaction.
Regarding this aspect, some of our respondents said that the signs appear sometimes from the first weeks of the school year; anyway, with few weeks (2-4 weeks) before the students leave the school, when they are more absent, without a well-founded reason.
|SIGNS OF THE STUDENT LIKELY TO DROP OUT||TEACHERS REACTION|
TRAINING NEEDS OF THE TEACHERS/ EDUCATORS/ PROFESSIONALS IN VET
D1. The utility of a training on supportive strategies and intervention methods to prevent/ reduce ELVET
The majority of our respondents find very useful the possibility to follow a training programme in order to prevent ELVET. The global situation, at the level of the entire partnership, is presented in the next diagram:
D2. The skills needed to be enhanced to effectively intervene in countering the dropout phenomenon in the school
|Skills needed to be enhanced to reduce ELVET
in consortium countries
D3. Recommendations on the key focal points of the training programme and the relative weight of the curriculum elements
|Recommendations on the key focal points of the training programme
in consortium countries
D4. Recommendations on the best toolkits for the training program
|Recommendations on the best toolkits for the training program
in consortium countries
Today, “Developing strategic partnerships and joint courses, in particular through increasing internationalisation of vocational education and training” is a concrete issue at European level, according to “2015 Joint Report of the Council and the Commission on the implementation of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020). New priorities for European cooperation in education and training (2015/C 417/04)”.
WHAT FUTURE FOR VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING IN EUROPE?
(European Parliament – Cedefop, 2018. Briefing note.)
Vocational education and training system has to change their nature and role, in order to shape the future of Europe.
VET in 2035: three scenarios
Scenario 1: Lifelong learning at the heart – Pluralist VET
Scenario 2: Occupational and professional competence at heart – Distinctive VET
Scenario 3: Job-oriented training at the heart – Special purpose and/or marginalised VET
In this present and future context, the RELiVET project, with its assumed main aim – to design and provide an international and competitive training programme, specially designed for VET teachers, professionals, and families, that to meet current needs and to provide new and modern supportive strategies and tools which prevent and reduce early leaving from educational and vocational training system – is more than necessary and very useful.
In the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (‘ET 2020’) is stipulated that the rate of early leavers from education and training aged 18-24 should be below 10 % at European level by 2020. Spain, Romania and Italy are still far from this target, while Portugal is very close, after a very good evolution in recent years. At the same time, Greece and Lithuania are already in 2018 at half of the European target set for 2020.
The situation of monitoring and reporting the structural indicators on ELET varies from one country to another. Portugal is the only country in the partner countries in our project, which monitors all ten indicators. In conjunction with the significant decrease of ELET, we can say that it is a direct correlation between the application of the measures envisaged, the monitoring of indicators and the decrease of ELET in Portugal.
Regarding the structural indicators “Addressing ELET in initial teacher education and continuing professional development”, Spain, Italy and Portugal monitories and report this indicator, while Greece, Lithuania and Romania are not doing so yet.
The EU statistics show that the average percent of the young Europeans between 15 and 19 years participating in I-VET is 50%, with large geographical differences, from less than 15% to more than 70%. These differences can also be attributed to the differences between the structure of the National Educational Systems (mainstream education and also vocational education and training) in consortium countries.
In spite of different educational systems, the factors leading students to drop-out from school do not vary that much from country to country.
In our background research, we have been identified and hierarchized the following factors conducting to early leaving from VET: family factors, school factors, socio-economic factors, individual factors, others.
Following a synthetic analysis of the data collected from all applied questionnaires across all participating countries, we obtained the next order of the factors leading to ELVET: sense of belonging; stressful life events; grades; lack of motivation; socio-economic background; educational support in the home; school climate; parenting; mobility; school policies; disability; ethnicity; gender; family structure; region; school size and type
Some factors have sometimes almost similar values and preferences, and sometimes they differ, less or more, even till the situation they are diametrically opposed, from a participating country to another.
In our background research, in all consortium countries in RELiVET project was found some training programmes offered by different institutions or in some projects, on the prevention techniques on ELET. However, in our small-scale research, only 16% from the respondents attended an educational program or training on intervention methods to prevent early leaving from education and training.
Majority of the respondents claimed to monitor dropout rates often, some even permanently. Also, majority of the respondents recognise that exist in their school/ organisation strategies to prevent dropping out of the students being at risk and they usually use several such strategies, combined. 20% of the respondents declare that they are very satisfied with their institution’s approach to ELVET phenomenon, 37% are satisfied, and 23% are neither satisfied nor dissatisfied.
At the same time, the majority of our respondents find very useful the possibility to follow a training programme in order to prevent ELVET (41% very much and 47% adequately).
In addition, the majority of our respondents have given us recommendations on the key focal points of the training programme and on the best toolkits for it. Also, they have indicated to us the skills that themselves need to be enhanced to effectively intervene in countering the ELVET phenomenon.
In the next step in RELiVET project, we will develop an executive summary of the needs analysis, which will serve as a basis for the design and development of the Curriculum on our training programme on ELVET.
Reducing Early Leaving in VET
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