What's the problem?
Early school leaving is linked to unemployment, social exclusion, poverty and poor health. There are many reasons why some young people give up education and training prematurely: personal or family problems, learning difficulties, or a fragile socio-economic situation. The way the education system is set up, school climate and teacher-pupil relations are also important factors.
Since there is not a single reason for early school leaving, there are no easy answers. Policies to reduce early school leaving must address a range of triggers and combine education and social policy, youth work and health related aspects such as drug use or mental and emotional problems.
What has been done so far?
- EU countries have committed themselves to reducing the average share of early school leavers to less than 10% by 2020; the annual Education and Training Monitor provides data and analysis of early school leaving trends in the EU and all the Member States;
- In June 2011 education ministers adopted a Recommendation on policies to reduce early school leaving, which set out a framework for coherent, comprehensive, and evidence-based policies. They agreed to work together and exchange best-practices and knowledge on effective ways to address early school leaving;
- Between 2011 and 2013 a working group on early school leaving looked at good practice examples in Europe and exchanged experiences in reducing early school leaving. The final report outlines 12 key messages for policy makers and translates them into practical tools through a checklist on comprehensive policies and an annex with practice examples from several EU countries;
- In March 2012 the Commission organised a conference on policies to reduce early school leaving. One year later, policy developments on early school leaving in eight EU countries were reviewed;
- The Working Group on Schools Policy (2014-2015), created Policy messages identifying key conditions for implementing a whole school approach to tackling early school leaving (see video below), as well as an online European Toolkit for Schools;
- In 2015, the Council adopted conclusions on reducing early school leaving and promoting success in school.
European Toolkit for Schools
The European Toolkit for Schools offers policy makers and practitioners a wealth of resources and practical examples of effective practices to promote educational success and prevent early school leaving. The Toolkit is organized around five thematic areas which are key conditions for a “whole school approach” to early school leaving. Each area is further elaborated in the Toolkit and complemented with practical examples and measures.