6.3 Preventing early leaving from education and training (ELET)
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Lowering drop-outs from education (with the identical definition as the Eurostat, meaning 'The proportion of persons in the age of 18–24 years, who reached education in the maximum level of ISCED 2 and are not in the process of formal education or vocational training.') was one of the indicators of the fulfilment of the Strategy for Education Policy of the Czech Republic until 2020 (in the responsibility of the MEYS).
This figure is surveyed by the Czech Statistical Office by the annual Labour Force Sample Survey. The goal is to have less than 5.5% of persons fall into the aforementioned definition by the year 2020. This goal has already been reached. This goal was fully in line with the Europe 2020 strategy, which states that there should be less than 10% of individuals leaving the educational system early, in the year 2020.
The average drop-out rate in the Czech Republic (6.7%), although lower than in the EU (10.6%), has been increasing recently. Moreover, in some regions (Ústí nad Karlovy Vary) it is multiplied (15%).
In the project Support to Regional Action Planning (P-KAP) implemented by the National Institute of Education of the Czech Republic, the document "Early Leavers from Education in Relation to the Areas of Intervention of Regional Action Planning" was produced in 2020, which seeks to unravel the causes of early departures in secondary and higher vocational education and also offers examples of good practice.
Earlier in 2015, a manual was also published for schools and interested persons called Prevention and intervention of early school leaving. Manual of Measures. Drop-outs are one of the topics in the awareness of guidance teachers and school services.
Early leaving is still one of the aspects monitored and important on the policy level within the Education Strategy 2030+.
There are no real specific policy measures directly targeting ELET. Within the EU Policy set the Czech Republic goal hold the level of school dropouts below 5.5 per cent. In past years, however, the level of school dropouts has risen slightly.
The issue of early leavings is partially tackled by the Education and career guidance which is considered as a prevention and intervention measure to tackle early leaving, as specified in the 2004 Education Act and Decree 72/2005 on providing guidance in schools and school guidance facilities. However, it is not explicitly considered as a compensation measure to tackle early leaving.
National financial support of schools and the services tackling early school leaving is provided by the financial support of the MEYS, financed by the European Social Fund. It focuses on the resources for schools and teachers, which among other things also target 'the tutoring of pupils endangered by a school failure'.
The state is also trying to fight the lower participation of Roma youth in education and their leaching school early with the Grant programme Support of socially disadvantaged Romani pupils from secondary schools and students of Secondary Vocational Schools and Conservatories. The programme can support schools and individual young Roma students in studying and maintaining their studies. Schools can apply for national support, and it can be provided to individuals via schools. According to the results of the 2017 call for applications, around 132 000 EUR (3 417 260 CZK) was allocated to applied projects with a direct impact on 686 pupils.
There are no specific measures at the state level addressing ELET through non-formal and informal learning and quality youth work.
Young people who left education can use other parts of the social possibilities for requalification by the Employment offices or use the experience from the non-formal and informal learning and youth work to reach some qualifications from the National Register of Qualifications according to the Act on the Verification and Recognition of Further Education Outcomes Nr. 179/2006 Sb.
Supporting ELET is also part of the interventions of social services supported by the Ministry of social affairs.
More on validation and recognition in Chapter 6.4.
The policy areas of education, youth and sports (within one single ministry) cooperate with the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and the Ministry of the Interior on policy issues related to tackling early leaving. We can see the outcomes of the cooperation, for example, since 2010 leaving education has been monitored, which is part of the systemic project VIP Kariéra II – KP (follow-up of VIP Kariéra (2005-2008) as a joint initiative of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and the National Institute for Education. The projects' objectives include prevention of early leaving and identification of groups at risk. The project also aimed at enhancing, rationalising and further improving the quality of career counselling, providing training and methodological support (e.g. e-learning training for career counsellors).
The outcome of the project is the ISA+ informational portal known as Infoabsolvent.cz, supporting young people and adults in education, dealing with problems in education and with transfer to working-life or further education.
Multi-agency partnerships at the local/institutional level are a legal obligation in order to provide support to students who require specific additional support and their parents. They involve professionals such as school heads, teachers (including teachers specifically trained for guidance and those specifically trained as school-leaving prevention specialists), psychologists, social workers and labour officer workers. The involvement of speech therapists mainly concerns primary education.
There is no national way of monitoring and evaluating this multi-agency partnership cooperation on a local level: some local authorities may apply some, but it is not under state coordination.
No special link to National Youth Guarantee was found, however, the ESF calls supporting projects targeting young people and their support, integration and further education and qualification put emphasis on young people out of school, employment or education with clear aim to work out the impacts of early leaving on their future working and educational path.