Young people are the future
Yet judging by the figures the perspectives are rather gloomy: according to Eurostats, one sixth of all young people were neither in employment nor in education or training in the EU-28 in 2014.
In this context early school leaving is a major issue and a threat to social and economic cohesion. AER members regions have been working on this topic via the working group on school dropouts. In this context the JET-CD project held its final conference on 21-22 June in Hampshire. 27 participants from the partner organisations and from different organisations from the region attended the event.
Early school leaving: long term impacts
Early school leaving (ESL) is predictive of a range of economic and social outcomes. Early leavers experience considerable disadvantages in relation to adult-life chances: higher rates of unemployment, poorer health status…
Exclusion from education is also a strong determinant of ending up NEET and may lead to further social exclusion. The term NEET (not in education, employment or training), is commonly used to capture disengagement and social exclusion, as well as levels of unemployment among young people.
Exclusion is expensive
According to Eurofound, the consequences of long-term disengagement of young people from the labour market are dramatic at the economic, societal and individual level (Eurofound, 2012a). The European agency estimated the economic cost that Europe is paying for having a large cohort of young people in a NEET situation at €162 billion in 2013.
The ability to combat school dropout is therefore directly linked to long term economic development potential. Sustainable development goes hand in hand with youth participation and inclusion.
Share, learn, do
AER member regions Catalunya (ES), Västernorrland (SE), Hampshire (GB), Tulcea (RO) and Østfold (NO) analysed the whole chain of early school leaving: prevention, intervention and compensation. This was done in the framework of an Erasmus+ project called Joint Efforts to Combat School Dropout, or JET-CD.
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.
The final conference was an opportunity to present good practices implemented in the different regions. For instance in Catalunya, the Adapted Curriculum Programme allows to prevent the dropout of young people. It is implemented in partnership with El Llindar, a second chance school, which provides prevocational training courses and personal guiding.
In Tulcea, AMN Insight is an online evaluation platform, which provides specialists support to prevent dropouts as well as educational and vocational guidance to students on the basis of psycho-pedagogical testing.
Intervention & Compensation
Within the category “intervention” the project sought to collect good practices aimed at detecting and re-motivating early school-leavers for education. The region of Västernorrland and Hampshire presented their experience and good practices which involve actions led by diverse stakeholders such as social services, youth counselling and the employment agency. Health receives major attention in Västernorrland in particular. In Hampshire cross-sectoral collaboration, tenders specifying the importance of social value and jobs for young people, and a focus on data rich analysis prove extremely successful: the level of NEET was reduced by 1000 individuals in 3 years. The category “compensation” included good practices aimed at re-entering early school leavers in the education system. The region of Østfold stressed the need to have a early intervention, an individual plan and close follow-up. It is essential to focus on the needs of students and not on what they have failed at!
Photos of the Final Conference are published on the AER Facebook Page