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Early School Leaving

Early leavers in education
Early school leaving is an urgent and serious problem, both for individuals and society as a whole. The EU Member States work together to reduce the number of pupils who drop out before the end of secondary education. There are many reasons – often highly individual – why some young people give up education and training prematurely: learning difficulties, social problems or a lack of motivation, guidance or support.
Although the situation varies in different EU countries, the social phenomenon of early school leaving follows certain patterns. Early school leavers are more likely to have a lower socio-economic status or to belong to vulnerable social groups. On average, the rate of early school leaving in Europe is double for youth from migrant backgrounds compared to native youth. In addition, male students are more likely to drop out of school education.
However, the impacts of individual and social conditions are also affected by the set-up of the educational system and the environment in individual schools. Since there is not a single reason for leaving education or vocational training, there are no easy answers.

Relevant projects:
ETUCE, the European Teachers Union has been working with key stake holders to research and advise on: “Preventing Early School Leaving through the use of Informatio n and Communicat ion Technology in Education”. The findings are published on their project site
ESHA is involved in the project Preventing Early School Leaving+; sponsored by the European Commission. For more details go to

Good practices
There are many good practices tha taim to prevent Early School Leaving. The Good practices page includes an overview of some very interesting cases.

Background information:
The CEDEFOP report on Early School Leaving is over at this page

Statistical data on ESL in most European countries

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