8 municipal authority measures to reduce school drop-out in Catalonia


Catalonia is one of the nations of the European Union with the highest rate of early school drop-out (16.9%), exceeded only by Romania. Despite a reduction in drop-out in recent years, there are still many young people who leave their education too early. In 2022, 97,062 young people dropped out of the education system in Catalonia early, equal to a town almost the size of Sant Cugat del Vallès.

Related: Fundació Bofill calls for an ambitious plan of action to drastically reduce school drop-out

In four years, the same timeframe as a term of office, it is possible to get the figures for early school drop-out in Catalonia down to the European target of 10%. To do this, we have drawn up an urgent agenda to combat school drop-out in Catalonia with 20 specific measures to address this Catalonia-wide challenge.

The Catalan Ministry of Education needs to lead these actions, which are mainly addressed to the most vulnerable groups; but what can local authorities do? As a more local administration connected to the range of care services for people, local authorities are called upon to play a vital role in identifying, assisting and monitoring young people who have dropped out of their education or are on the brink of doing so from school, for instance, due to extended periods of school absenteeism.

Related: 20 measures to combat early school drop-out in Catalonia

What measures can local councils adopt to combat school drop-out?

  1. A local system for the identification, monitoring and return to school of young people who have dropped out of the education system in all towns with more than 50,000 inhabitants. The aim is to use a combination of data from the Register of Pupils (RALC), from the local population register, Social Security and Social Services as a basis to develop an identification and monitoring system on a local level that will make it possible to locate, contact and follow up on young people who leave the education system early in order to offer them educational guidance and the opportunity to receive educational resources.
  2. Transport grants for young people with fewer resources who need to travel to receive post-compulsory education in their field of interest in conjunction with regional councils. In addition to this measure, guidance protocols at schools and other municipal resources must include the range of education options available in the area, including information about travel routes and grants for transport.
  3. Financial aids so that all children and young people from the ages of 12 to 17 from families on low incomes can take part free of charge in extracurricular activities aimed at improving their education in cooperation with the Government of Catalonia. These activities will be offered on one, two or three days per week outside class times and will comprise activities related to at least one of the following four fields: artistic activities, technological activities, bodily expression and or educational support (including languages).
  4. A guidance service in all municipalities with more than 10,000 inhabitants that provides specific resources and tools to schools, young people and their families. These actions must be coordinated with the guidance teams from the relevant schools, and with adult education centres, second chance schools and other social organisations.
  5. Local educational support programmes in all municipalities with more than 10,000 inhabitants including a broad range of tutoring resources and devices adapted to the learning needs of children and adolescents.
  6. Local plans to prevent and combat school absenteeism with effective care and identification schemes in all municipalities with more than 10,000 inhabitants. These plans must guarantee a swift, consolidated procedure to identify, detect and categorise cases and situations of school absenteeism and a scheme for assistance and treatment tailored to the needs and the situations observed.
  7. Local mentoring programmes in all municipalities with more than 10,000 inhabitants for children and young people from the ages of 10 to 18 identified as (occasional or chronic) truants or at risk of becoming truant. These programmes should be delivered by specialist mentors and must, at least in the medium term, offer full coverage for all cases of school absenteeism or any risks of it identified among children between these ages.
  8. A map of new educational opportunity resources in all municipalities with more than 10,000 inhabitants adapted to suit the numbers and profiles of young people who have dropped out early (according to age, education level reached, key skills, time out of education, interests, etc.). This offering must compile and coordinate the resources and devices established by the key stakeholders involved: local councils, schools, third sector organisations.

In municipalities with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants, a local system or one shared with others may be planned on the basis of pooling or cooperation with provincial or regional councils.

Related: 11 measures that must be promoted by the Catalan Ministry of Education to combat school drop-out

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