From early childhood curiosity to early school leaving Conference: with the participation of Katerina Batzeli, Member of the EP and Ján Figel'
End production: 15/05/2008 First transmission: 15/05/2008
The "From early childhood curiosity to early school leaving" Conference, organised on 15 May 2008 at the European Parliament in Brussels, addressed one of the five benchmarks of the EU's "Education and Training 2010 work Programme", namely the problem of early school leavers. One in six young people aged 18 to 24 in the 27 Member States of the European Union leaves school with no more than lower secondary education and participates in no kind of education or training after this point. On the one hand, the statistic suggests that those young people have somehow lost interest in learning or at least in formal learning. On the other hand, it is known that children are born learners and are keen to find out new things. So at some time during their school career something happens that obstructs this curiosity and impedes their willingness to learn within traditional school structures and subject areas. Evidence from international surveys (PISA, TIMSS and PIRLS) shows that family background, for example parental education, parental occupation, family structure or migrant background, are factors which significantly influence the achievement of pupils in schools in the EU. However, there is also evidence that some education and training systems manage to counteract factors such as social background and thereby positively influence pupil performance. Surveys also indicate that over a third of the variation in pupil performance is attributable to differences between schools. It shows that the quality of the context in which pupils are educated has a bearing on their progress, especially the weakest. Disaffection is not just a problem with teenagers; it can start in the early years. It is also not just a problem of State schools. Independent schools may have more freedom to respond individually and help more directly in cases of disaffected young people. But they are also more able to select or reject children and young people. The conference concentrated on how schools should be organised to give all pupils an equal chance - regardless of family or migration background - to maintain their natural interest in learning. The conference followed the progression of compulsory education, reflecting on the following questions: At what point do children stop being eager to learn and why?; How can curiosity be developed so as to encourage the child to become a lifelong learner; is the school system organised in the best way to foster children's natural curiosity?; what changes to the school system are needed?.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Exterior view of the European Parliament in Brussels
||Arrival of Ján Figel', Member of the EC in charge of Education, Training, Culture and Youth, with Katerina Batzeli, Member of the EP
||Ján Figel' (in ENGLISH) saying that they need to dispel the idea that people are either born creative or will never become so; this is not the case; creativity can and should be taught and nurtured in schools;
second, another important step is to understand the relation between innovation and creativity because it is very much linked; creative societies combine three "T": Talent, Technology and Tolerance;
basic responsibility is on national level; the system and the content of studies is a national issue; so their role is to support Member States in seeking quality and better cooperation in their education and training policies;
he strongly recommends to Member States to use more and more social and human capital; to invest into people and education is one of the best answers, it is one of the best equalizers in life
||Ján Figel' (in ENGLISH) on the five recommendations to fight early school leaving and drop outs;
saying that first, early intervention prevents the young person from dropping out of school, but it also prevents future lack of self confidence or lack of participation in learning;
second, partnerships are necessary to prevent early school leaving; schools alone might not be able to succeed; other actors, agencies, are needed such as social services and representatives of the local community; and of course work should not be limited to the children, but they should also address the needs of the parents of children at risk;
third, the quality of education is essential; quality education does not allow pupils to fall behind; more learner centred teaching; schools should be constantly evaluated and monitored; they also need to receive the resources they need to meet the challenges;
fourth, teachers need support; they are really at the front line of the common efforts to prevent early school leaving;
fifth, they need an ethos of respect; schools need to foster a sense of well being and respect in all directions; all forms of prejudice and discrimination need to be eradicated among pupils, teachers, parents
||Cutaways of participants and poster of the conference (5 shots)