More and more Estonian youths are dropping out of school without reaching the level of basic education. Taking the international experience into account, there is no single solution to prevent dropping out, but knowing the reasons behind the numbers might help solve this problem.
The study concluded that while it is almost impossible to pin it down why exactly young people discontinue their studies at basic school, a few major reasons seem to be the pupil’s inappropriate behaviour or poor achievements, reaching the age of compulsory school age (17 ys, especially prevalent among students repeating grades) and reasons related to personal life (e.g. getting pregnant). According to the statistics, the dropout rate of pupils with diagnosis of medical or developmental disabilities is higher than the overall dropout rate.
Preconditions for a situation where basic education for each individual is guaranteed:
- Every Estonian must realize that the prosperity of the future depends on educated young people.
- Teacher training and retraining are crucial factors to create better relationships in classrooms.
- Schools must have necessary and sufficient resources to provide high quality teaching.
- Close attention and monitoring of the evidences of expulsion from school at compulsory age level must ensure that the reasons of dropping out wouldn’t be caused by the structural weakness of educational system.
For the year 2004/2005, the international team of the study has proposed the following agenda:
- Round tables for city and county leaders to raise awareness on the drop-out issue and ensure everyone the opportunity to acquire at least basic education.
- Work with already existing statistics and compare different sources.
- Proposals for joint programmes for general and vocational streams of secondary education to support pupils with low achievements.
- Training for educational statisticians to create a coherent infosystem on education.
- Teacher training to learn prevention methods and raise awareness of noticing children with problems.
- Partnership programmes within communities.
- Schools for parents.
- Establishing a system to monitore fulfilling the regulations of compulsory education.
The implementation of positive programmes that would prevent dropping out from school depends on the support given by school leaders to local governments and other experts. For Praxis it is recommended to observe and support fulfilling the agenda and start systematic analyses on the problems of compulsory education.
rMinistry of Education and Researchy of Education and Research