The Handbook with regional good practices to combat school dropouts compiled by Västernorrland has just been published. It brings together examples from 11 regions to help young people evolve on a success path, whatever their own challenges may be.
A long-standing engagement
Back in September 2012 Västernorrland organised a conference on combatting early school leaving, which kick-started the work on this topic in AER.In April 2013, the AER Sub-committee on Education decided to establish a working group to share good practices on a challenge which is
In April 2013, the AER Sub-committee on Education decided to establish a working group to share good practices on early school leaving, a challenge which is plaguing several European regions.
In 2014 some members of the working group then decided to further engage in mutual learning and developed the ERASMUS+ project Joint Efforts To Combat School Dropout (JET-CD), which ended in June 2016. The JET-CD Erasmus+ project represented an opportunity for regions already involved in exchanging experiences and working together to improve policy making on the topic. The consortium pinpointed the different good practices in each region and shared challenges. Despite very different contexts, commonalities were identified both in terms of causes and in terms of processes. The project particularly highlighted the need for cross-sectoral collaboration.
Sharing to improve policies
The working group organised several workshops on school dropouts:
-in Gelderland, on the occasion of the joint plenary meeting of Committee 1 and Committee 2, Östergötland, SE shared their experience. the idea of sharing good practices is to help formulate policy recommendations that are effective.
-on the occasion of the joint Committee 2 and Committee 3 plenary meetings in 2015 in Nordjylland, DK, the group focused on prevention & intervention with a good practice from Alsace
-In Autumn 2015 in Hampshire, GB, the group discussed the findings from the region on the root causes of the problem and the formulation of solutions
-on the occasion of the Timis Spring plenaries, Catalunya, ES, shared their experience and the group decided to develop a handbook bringing together regional good practices
-in Izmir, TR, the working group developed the structure of the handbook and the types of inputs to be included
A practical tool for regions
Following the last AER Fall Plenary meeting in Izmir, 11 AER regions have been collaborating, coordinated by the leadership of the region Västernorrland, to compile a handbook on regional best practice, which today has been finalised. The Handbook – Combatting school dropout provides insight into the cause and effect process, which is also essential for the development of comprehensive policies covering the entire chain – prevention, intervention and compensation – in order to achieve sustainable results.
Addressing and reducing the early school leavers rate is one of the target of the Europe 2020 Strategy. It is indeed a growing problem, which is not only involving the education system but it impacts also the society, increasing unemployment, poverty, social exclusion.
The structure of the handbook is divided in three main sections. Prevention comprises measures to identify students in risk zone, define their needs, and prevent them from dropping out of school. Intervention considers measures to re-motivate and re-engage students to return to education. Compensation, gathers measures to re-enter early school leavers to education, with emphasis on cooperation between actors and stakeholders in the region.
The realisation of this handbook can be considered as a tool for regions to find best practices and help raising awareness on the need to implement actions to address early school leaving.
It is also a very concrete and inspiring example of how regions can work together on a specific priority, enhancing cooperation and sharing experiences for mutual learning. The upcoming Spring Plenary meeting in London, 21-23 March can be the perfect opportunity to start new collaborations between regions and work together on a specific issue.
The regions involved in the realization of the Handbook: