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.
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.