6.3 Preventing early leaving from education and training (ELET)
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Belgium has established a national target of decreasing the rate of early leavers to 9.5 % by 2020, as also mentioned in the Eurydice and Cedefop Report "Tackling Early Leaving from Education and Training in Europe" of 2014. There is no information available yet whether this target has been reached.
The main strategic document for shaping the future of the German-speaking Community, the so-called Regional Development Concept (Regionales Entwicklungskonzept, REK) doesn't specifically define a regional target for the German-speaking Community of Belgium to tackle early leaving from school. The different volumes of the Regional Development Concept do, however, deal with this topic indirectly.
In the second implementation phase of the Regional Development Concept (volume 4), the legislative period 2014-2019, the education system in the German-speaking Community was committing itself more strongly to personalised pupils support via the project "Personalised pupils support".
In the third implementation phase of the Regional Development Concept (volume 5), the legislative period 2019-2024, this project is being followed up by the project "Future of remedial education". This project aims at enabling children and young people to shape their own individual future path in establishing new remedial education structures in schools. It is intended to eventually pass an according decree.
To promote school success and reduce the number of pupils dropping out early, the projects "personalised pupil support" and "enhancing technical vocational training" have been developed as part of the Regional Development Concept.
The Regional Development Concept "Ostbelgien Leben 2025" is being implemented since 2011. It integrates some of the following specific policies and measures related to early school-leaving among others:
- Time-out' projects, designed as a full-time school for students excluded from their usual learning environment or in cases of drop-out. They aim at reducing early leaving by facilitating the reintegration to the education system of students at risk of early leaving. Specific targeted measures for groups at risk are focused on students with migrant background.
Education and career guidance is explicitly considered as a prevention, intervention and compensation measure to tackle early leaving. Guidance is embedded in the primary and secondary education curricula as a compulsory cross-curricular topic.
The German-speaking Community of Belgium has adopted in 2011 a 'Skill Guide to Career Choice Preparation and Career Guidance' (Rahmenplan Schulische Berufswahlvorbereitung und -orientierung), which is aimed at preparing career choices and career guidance for primary and secondary education. According to the guide, schools are required to inform and advise students and their guardians about studies, training and career possibilities. Career guidance is part of school education and a crucial link between school and the world of work. The professionals involved at school are teachers with no specific training in early leaving or in dealing with groups at risk. Students may also directly contact Kaleido Ostbelgien to receive advice about education and career guidance.
There are currently no initiatives addressing ELET throug non-formal and informal learning and quality youth work.
Long-time cooperation exists between policy areas of employment, youth, social affairs and family.
Multi-agency partnerships at local/institutional level exist within projects (for instance in the 'Time-out' project, the case management team is comprised of the school leader, Kaleido, the project coordinator and other institutions. Teachers may also be involved in the cooperation.