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Finland has set a national target to decrease the rate of early leavers to below eight per cent by 2020. Based on Statistics Finland’s ‘Education Statistics’ in March 2017 the target was already reached during the 2014/2015 academic year, when the rate was found to be 5.1 per cent (9.3 per cent in 2013, 9.9 in 2009). Early leavers include students attending education leading to a qualification or degree, which they discontinue and have not resumed their studies in any education leading to a qualification or degree.
Compared to the year before, discontinuation decreased in upper secondary general, university of applies sciences and university education and remained unchanged in vocational education. (See also Youth Wiki/Finland 4.1 General context of Social Inclusion).
Finland does not have a comprehensive strategy to tackle early leaving, see National Information Sheets/Finland (2017, the pages 200-202) in “Tackling Early Leaving from Education and Training in Europe: Strategies, Policies and Measures”.
As mentioned in see the National Information Sheets/Finland (2017, the pages 200-202) in 'Tackling Early Leaving from Education and Training in Europe: Strategies, Policies and Measures': in national level measures that have been recently developed to tackle early leaving include for example:
- Increasing flexibility and permeability of educational pathways
- Enhancing support for low achievers, including student welfare services offered for all (see also Youth Wiki/Finland 7.6 Mechanisms of early detection and signposting of young people facing health risks.)
- Networking with parents and other actors outside school, including bodies organising youth workshops and outreach youth work
- Identifying students who drop out and encouraging them to re-enter education and training.
Specific targeted measures for groups at risk are focused on students with migrant and minority/Roma backgrounds.
One well-known example of increasing flexibility in schooling is called ‘Flexible basic education’; see more in "Structural Indicators for Monitoring Education and Training Systems in Europe" (2016, p. 47) and National Core Curriculum for Basic Education 2014, p. 42.
Based on the Youth Act; outreach youth work, youth workshop activities and youth work in general mean the efforts to support the growth, independence and social inclusion of young people in society. The purpose of the Act is to facilitate the acquisition of knowledge and adoption of skills necessary for it, especially during the free-time. The mission of outreach youth work is to reach young people in need of assistance and provide access to services and other support designed to promote their growth, independence, social inclusion and life management skills as well as to improve access to education and facilitate entry into the labour market. In youth workshop activities young people acquire skills and capabilities by working or engaging in rehabilitative activities according to their ability. The purpose is to improve young people’s capabilities to access and complete education and training, enter the open labour market or access some other service needed.
‘Everyone goes to school’ is as an example of educational partnership between the youth work, school and social work where pupils having challenges with school or with life general participate in a peer-support groups during school time for helping others and receiving help for themselves under the supervision of a multi-professional leader team. See more about Finnish youth work Youth Wiki/ Finland 10. Youth Work (not yet published).
In Finland the co-operation mechanisms on early leaving is recently being developed within the framework of the Youth Guarantee (see also Youth Wiki/Finland 3.1 General context). It involves the following ministries: Economic Affairs and Employment; Education and Culture and Social Affairs and Health. Other national authorities and ones from the local level (meaning municipalities, see Glossary) monitor are also taking part in its implementation and evaluating the development needs of the services. Based on the Youth Act cross-sectoral co-operation at the local level is coordinated by a body established for the general planning and implementation of co-operation amongst local authorities. It includes representatives from education, social, health and youth services, and can also include labour and police administrations. Labour market partners and employers may also contribute, especially regarding cooperation organised in relation to the Youth Guarantee scheme.
At the level of schools and educational institutions there is also an own co-operation structure. Based on the Act on Pupil and Student Welfare (Oppilas- ja opiskelijahuoltolaki), the multi-agency partnerships at the local/institutional level involve school principals, teachers, guidance specialists, psychologists, social workers and youth workers. As described in the National Core Curriculum for Basic Education 2014, the education provider ensures that a school welfare plan is prepared to guide the implementation, evaluation and development of pupil welfare.