Even to this day, the European Union has high levels of school drop-outs. In 2010, the Europe 2020 strategy set among its priority objectives the need to reduce early school leaving below 10 % in all the EU countries.
Due to the high dropout rates in Spain, our specific objective was to reduce the rate to below 15%. Unfortunately, this has not been achieved yet: in 2020, Spain’s early school leaving rate is 16%.
Despite a decrease of 1.24 points compared to the previous year, Spain continues to be the European country with the highest rate of early school leavers.
This is a complex issue, not only associated with learning difficulties, but also closely related to social, motivational, and even family factors that surpass a merely educational area.
Early leaving from education and training is linked to unemployment, social exclusion, poverty and poor health. There are many reasons why some young people drop out of education and training early, including the way the education system is designed, the school environment and the relationships between teachers and students.
This situation is more frequent at the initial stages of vocational training, as this educational level often picks up a type of student that comes from failed studies, and suffer from other burdens like low motivation, drug consumption, violence, bullying… Immigration and the lack of inclusive actions are also factors that should be considered. In Spain, for example, early school drop-outs that derive from a foreign background go up to an astonishing 35%. The data is equally alarming in the case of local students, rising up to 15.3%.
What can be done?
Strategies to reduce school failure and drop out must be comprehensive and encompass the entire educational spectrum, going beyond addressing the development of conflict and problematic behaviours in students.
To be considered comprehensive, this strategies must include a 3-level approach with prevention, intervention and compensation measures. This triple approach is included in most of the official recommendations to fight against ELET (Early Leaving from Education and Training), including the Spanish LOMCE (Legislation for the improvement of the education quality), and also in the guidelines designed by the European Commission’s Early Abandonment Thematic Group (2013).
This approach is also the one the INVET project takes to addresses the issue of early leaving of education and training.
The main objective of the InVet project is to respond to the need for a systemic approach to address conflict and school dropout in vocational training centres. An approach that, including measures at 3 levels, allows the creation of integrating spaces based in respect, inclusion and civism, in order to fight against the exclusion factors that lead young people in Initial Vocational Training to drop out of school.
Media Creativa is working on this Erasmus+ project under the coordination of Maristak Ikastetxea, as part of a partnership with organisations from 5 European countries, all of them with extensive experience in the field of conflict prevention in VET centres and youth groups: BLICK (Austria), Alfa-College – Regional Education Centre (Netherlands), C.N.I.P.A. PUGLIA (Italy) and INCSMPS (Romania).
As Media Creativa, we contribute to the project with our experience in the support, training and professional guidance of young people, as well as in the development of the so-called soft-skills: skills that improve the employability and social integration of young people, as well as their teamwork and communication skills, among others.