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Currently, there is no comprehensive strategy to prevent early leaving from education and training (ELET) (European Commission, EACEA, Eurydice, & Cedefop, 2014), but a strategy is in preparation (see: 6.10 Current debates and reforms). Reducing ELET is a major objective of the National Reform Programme of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, 2019). According to this programme, Luxembourg is aiming at the European benchmark criteria and has set a national objective of sustainably maintaining the dropout rate below 10%. The policy approach can be divided into three domains: (1) prevention, (2) intervention and (3) compensation measures or reintegration programmes (ICF/GHK, 2013):
- In the field of prevention, the focus on learning outcomes and key competences to be acquired at each level of the education system aims to support individual progress and acquisition of qualifications by all pupils
- Intervention approaches aim to improve the overall quality of education and training and provide support to groups of pupils at risk. This includes various services and centres specialising in the early detection of hearing, speaking, reading and writing difficulties, the provision of psychological support and attention to pupils with special educational needs
- Concerning compensation measures or reintegration programmes, the development of specific structures to reintegrate early school leavers is relatively recent in Luxembourg and, until now, some young people have relied on schooling abroad as an alternative.
Monitoring of the policy in the field of ELET is realised by a report on ELET which is published every year and monitors the number of school dropouts, the characteristics of the pupils and also the reasons for dropout. Luxembourg has carried out an annual systematic survey of all early school leavers since 2003 where every ELET is contacted by the local action for youth (ALJ; Antenne Locale pour Jeunes).
The most recently published survey reveals different reasons for ELET: 21.7% of the respondents report school failure and a share of 17.3% not to have found vocational training. The survey also shows that 15.6% left education or training because of poor motivation and 11.5% report they have chosen the wrong training programme (MENJE, 2018).
There are various policy measures on ELET in the field of formal education. The target group of all policy measures are young people who need support and who have dropped out or are at risk to drop out. Since male pupils from a migrant background are affected most frequently, measures are particularly oriented towards this group. Policy measures and projects are provided by different public bodies. The 2017 law by which the local action for youth (ALJ; Antenne Locale pour Jeunes) was integrated into the National Youth Service defines the following objectives:
- Set up a network of local offices whose mission is to support young people in their transition to work by offering information, consultation and individual supervision
- Organise workshops, training programmes to develop social and technical competences, and internships to prepare young people for the labour market
- Offer extra-curricular activities to prevent school dropout, organise the exchange with secondary schools regarding pupils at risk for dropout and guarantee the supervision of early school leavers.
According to the 2017 law on secondary education, secondary schools are responsible for offering guidance to the pupils, namely by:
- Informing pupils about the educational system and training opportunities, and about offers of post-secondary education in Luxembourg and abroad
- Informing about the socio-economic world and the labour market in particular
- Developing pupils' competences in order to them to make decisions about their vocational pathways and to develop a personal study project.
Every secondary school has an established guidance unit (cellule d'orientation) composed of teachers and educational staff. Its purpose is to realise the school and vocational guidance at school according to the reference framework (cadre de référence). This reference framework defines:
- The objectives of the school and vocational guidance offers
- The measures which have to be realised in order to attain these objectives
- The specific services and external actors, that are need to inform about the socio-economic world
- The involvement of the school community in the guidance procedures.
The reference framework is elaborated by the coordination unit of the House of guidance (Maison de l'orientation) in cooperation with the Coordinating Service for Educational and Technological Research and Innovation (SCRIPT; Service de Coordination de la Recherche et de l'Innovation pédagogiques et technologiques); it is adapted by the minister in charge of education policy. With the 2017 law the Psychology and School Guidance Service (SPOS; service de psychologie et d'orientation scolaires) is replaced by the Psycho-social and Educational Support Service (SePAS; service psycho-social et d'accompagnement scolaires). The service is in charge of the psycho-social support and supervision and also educational and professional guidance in secondary schools. In secondary schools, specific programmes are available for pupils who are at risk for dropout:
- 'Guidance and professional initiation courses' (COIP) are available to young people under the age of 18 who have left school, lack the necessary skills to find a job and do not fulfil the requirements for entry into the lower cycle of the technical vocational education and training (TVET). The courses last one year and focus on the acquisition of key competences corresponding to the lower secondary education level (communication, numeracy, ICT, etc.) and the definition of an individual professional project. The pedagogy approach is primarily based on individualised training plans and coaching. Participants are supported in their preparation to access the vocational regime of TVET, or enter the labour market
- 'Mosaic Classes' (classes mosaïques) focus on those pupils with behavioural difficulties and identified as being at high risk of dropping out. In these classes, pupils are intensively monitored for a temporary length of time (between 6 to 12 weeks on average) in small groups and within alternative learning environments.
The national school for adults (ENAD; École Nationale pour Adultes) was established by the 2018 law (loi du 1er août 2018 modifiant la loi modifiée du 12 mai 2009 portant création d'une École de la 2e Chance). It is not a new structure but replaces the former 'Second Chance School' (E2C; École de la deuxième chance). The ENAD is an integral part of the public school system and is open to any young person or adult between the ages of 16 and 30 years who, as a result of failure or of bad orientation choices, has dropped out of school or has been unable to find a place as an apprentice. The ENAD teaches these learners in a specific way, giving priority to supervision and personal tutoring. It offers 'classic' secondary education and 'general' education and also sandwich training courses for social education workers leading to the social education worker's diploma and to the 'general' secondary school leaving diploma as well as preparatory modules providing access to higher studies. The House of guidance is a public institution that houses various career guidance and counselling services at one location (see: 3.4 Career Guidance and Counselling). Luxembourg is participating in the eTwinning project, the European Commission's eLearning Programme aimed at teachers. For staff working at a school in one of the European countries, eTwinning offers a platform to promote communication, school collaboration and development of projects in a transnational European learning community. In May 2015, Anefore organised an eTwinning workshop in Luxembourg with 50 participating teachers of secondary education from Germany, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Great Britain, which focussed on the theme 'Tackling lack of pupil motivation, risk of school dropout and low basic skill achievement through European projects'. The objective of the seminar was to set up quality eTwinning projects to fight the low competency levels and early school leaving (INFPC, 2016). Many of the measures described above also apply for VET. For example, Mosaic Classes have been established in four VET schools, and the national school for adults is available for VET students and utilise VET pedagogies.
The main programme addressing ELET in the field of non-formal and informal learning is the National Voluntary Service (SVN; service volontaire national). The service especially focuses on disadvantaged young people with fewer opportunities and aims at encouraging early school leavers to go back to school to successfully complete a degree (for further details, see: 2.4 Youth volunteering at national level). Furthermore, the Outreach Youth Work is a programme targeting inactive young people with low motivation and resources to manage their professional integration and who are classified with a 'NEET' (Not in Education, Employment, or Training) status. Even though it does not exclusively address early school leavers, a significant number belongs to this group (for further details, see: 2.4 Youth volunteering at national level).
The policy areas of employment, youth and family and the corresponding public authorities are involved in the implementation, coordination and monitoring of policies in the field of ELET. Multi-agency partnerships at the local/institutional level are already well established (e.g. House of Guidance). Every school in secondary education has a service for educational psychology and guidance, which cooperates with teachers and parents in identifying needs and priorities and contributes to the organisation of support activities outside school lessons, the cooperation with the school's medical service and with competent services and professional chambers in order to provide vocational guidance (European Commission, EACEA, Eurydice, & Cedefop, 2014). The ELET interventions are also linked with the Luxembourgish Youth Guarantee scheme insofar as it foresees a coordination of the so-called 'School-oriented trajectory' which consists of a systematic follow-up of early school leavers and the coaching of early school leavers in small groups to prepare and organise their return to school or apprenticeship.