Navigation path

Themes
Agriculture & food
Energy
Environment
ERA-NET
Health & life sciences
Human resources & mobility
Industrial research
Information society
Innovation
International cooperation
Nanotechnology
Pure sciences
Research infrastructures
Research policy
Science & business
Science in society
Security
SMEs
Social sciences and humanities
Space
Special Collections
Transport

Countries
Countries
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czech Republic
  Denmark
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Finland
  France
  Georgia
  Germany
  Ghana
  Greece
  Hungary
  Iceland
  India
  Ireland
  Israel
  Italy
  Japan
  Kazakhstan
  Kenya
  Korea
  Latvia
  Lithuania
  Luxembourg
  Malta
  Mexico
  Montenegro
  Morocco
  Namibia
  Netherlands
  Nigeria
  Norway
  Peru
  Poland
  Portugal
  Romania
  Russia
  Senegal
  Serbia
  Slovakia
  Slovenia
  South Africa
  Spain
  Swaziland
  Sweden
  Switzerland
  Taiwan
  Tunisia
  Turkey
  Ukraine
  United Kingdom
  United States


   Infocentre

Last Update: 06-02-2014  
Related category(ies):
Social sciences and humanities  |  Science in society

 

Countries involved in the project described in the article:
Austria  |  Belgium  |  Hungary  |  Netherlands  |  Poland  |  Portugal  |  Spain  |  Sweden  |  United Kingdom
Add to PDF "basket"

Helping young students help themselves

In Europe, one in seven children will leave school or training early. Many subsequently struggle to find a job and end up psychologically stressed. Meanwhile, their unemployment also impacts society and carries economical costs. The European Union (EU) has set a benchmark to decrease early school leaving (ESL) rates to one in ten children by 2020 – and in February 2013, an EU-funded study was launched in nine countries to help achieve this goal.

Photo of a tired student
©Igor Mojzes fotolia

“We want to go further than previous studies,” says Christiane Timmerman, project coordinator and director of the Centre for Migration and Intercultural Studies (CeMis) at the University of Antwerp, Belgium. Previous research largely focused on identifying groups with high ESL risk, such as young students with lower socio-economic status, an immigration background or single-parent families.

However, not every individual in those high-risk groups will actually leave school early. Some stay until graduation and a few even excel within their secondary education system. “So we want to move research to the next level and explain those differences,” says Timmerman.

In its first stage, the project will establish a broad view of ESL in Europe, allowing for clear comparisons across regions, by gathering quantitative data through a survey. This survey will be coordinated by Middlesex University in the UK and distributed to approximately 14,000 pupils in seven EU Member States (Belgium, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, the UK, Poland and Sweden) in 2014. After two years, in 2016, the survey will be redistributed to the same students so that the research team can track changes over time and identify the possible risk factors at macro, meso and micro level. “Once collected, the data will form the statistical basis to make predictions based on our theoretical assumptions about who will leave school,” Timmerman explains.

But understanding the scope of the ESL problem does not explain how and why young people reach their decision to leave school. “That decision relies on the interplay of many factors,” Timmerman explains, including macro factors (such as socio-economic background), meso factors (such as the friend network surrounding a given student) and micro factors (such as motivation and engagement). Together, these variants make up what is referred to as mechanisms.

An example mechanism could be the extent to which a student feels respected in school, as previous research has shown that feeling respected is congruent with staying in school. RESL.eu researchers will carry out close to 800 in-depth interviews or focus group discussions with pupils, teachers and education policymakers over the next five years to understand how different mechanisms interact to influence ESL. “By combining qualitative and quantitative research across time we should be able to dig deeper into ESL and find some answers, which will also allow us to make recommendations about which practices or programmes actually work to keep people in schools,” adds Timmerman.

At present, ESL varies greatly between EU countries. In Spain, for instance – where youth unemployment is currently over 50 percent – ESL was 26.5 percent in 2011. In Sweden, on the other hand, it was only 6.6 percent, down from 13 percent in 2006. According to Timmerman, these different contexts pose a research challenge, but also make the RESL.eu project richer. “Because the range of contexts will allow us to identify which mechanisms influence decisions the most across different macro factors,” concludes Timmerman.

Having only started in February 2013, RESL.eu project is still in an early stage. Yet its research team has already gathered information on ESL statistics in its target countries as well as on how the educational systems there are dealing with the problem, and is currently finalising the survey design. Early results from the survey are expected to be available on the project’s website by May 2015.

 

Project details

  • Project acronym: RESL.EU
  • Participants: Belgium (Coordinator), Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, UK, Poland, Hungary, Spain, Austria
  • Project FP7 320223
  • Total costs: € 8 095 355
  • EU contribution: € 6 482 757
  • Duration: February 2013 - January 2018

Convert article(s) to PDF

No article selected


loading


Search articles

Notes:
To restrict search results to articles in the Information Centre, i.e. this site, use this search box rather than the one at the top of the page.

After searching, you can expand the results to include the whole Research and Innovation web site, or another section of it, or all Europa, afterwards without searching again.

Please note that new content may take a few days to be indexed by the search engine and therefore to appear in the results.

Print Version
Share this article
See also

Project web site
Project information on CORDIS





  Top   Research Information Center