Fundació Bofill

Zero Drop-Out Platform


A Catalonia-wide mission: Zero Drop-Out

Why do we need a platform of challenges and solutions for early drop-out?

In 2022, a total of 97,062 young people between the ages of 18 and 25 years dropped out of the educational system early. To be more precise, 1 in every 10 young people did not come to graduate from compulsory secondary education; this was the case of 1 in every 4 young people on the upper secondary school pathway, and of 4 in every 10 on the intermediate vocational training pathway.

With the alarming figure of 16.9% early drop-out, Catalonia has a higher average than both Spain (13.9%) and Europe at large (9.7% in 2021). This phenomenon, which has a greater impact on the educational transitions, is especially predominant among some specific groups of children and young people: early drop-out registers higher rates among boys whose parents have low levels of studies and whose households have low income levels.

Although early drop-out has indeed been reduced in the last 20 years (from 32% to 16.9%), the fight against early drop-out is still underway and it has become a matter of the utmost importance with very serious consequences for young people’s lives. Leaving the educational system early places thousands of adolescents in a precarious position in the job market. It is an unquestioned fact that the wages of people without post-compulsory secondary education are only half those of people with such education, that they register higher unemployment rates, and that they hold more precarious jobs. If we do not take measures, in 10 years the loss of talent, job insecurity and low income levels will be marking the destinies of thousands of Catalans.

The good news is that in Catalonia we have hundreds of effective programmes underway for reducing early drop-out, led by committed players who are struggling, sometimes without the necessary resources and with a tremendous overload of responsibilities, to keep from losing any young people. To a large extent, these solutions require a public administration that is close to the various realities, that is acquainted with the existing resources (and with the lack of them), and that is determined to improve the situation in our territory for everyone. Consequently, the local public administrations play a role that is crucial to the success of a large part of the initiatives that are combatting early drop-out with unstinting efforts.

What initiatives are these? City councils (through their different departments – education, economic promotion, social services, etc.), educational centres, third-sector organisations, second-chance schools, companies, etc. All these players cooperate by setting up and promoting measures for the early detection of drop-out; for organising the local resources and for making them available to pupils; for the development of curriculum diversification actions and initial experiences with different professions that can help to awaken pupils’ wish to follow them; for the proactive accompaniment and orientation of young people during the educational transitions; for the provision of stable referents in the educational decision-making process based on mentoring and school and emotional support models; for the promotion of scholarship and grant models that help to deactivate the call of the labour market; and much more.

These initiatives make it evident that there are proven solutions throughout Catalonia which show that early school leaving is not inevitable. Now, how do these initiatives reduce drop-out? What can we learn about how to effectively detect and follow up the pupils who are at risk of dropping out? What solutions are available for recovering pupils that leave the educational system? What information is necessary to plan and to organise the local resources against early drop-out? What do these initiatives have to say about what works in orientation during educational transitions? What are the key factors that help to break the economic barriers that prevent pupils from continuing to study? Do scholarships suffice? Which of these initiatives or strategies can be transferred to other geographical areas? What conditions make them possible? Who are the players who are called to take part in the fight against early drop-out? Etc.

Convinced that we can learn from the successes and the challenges of the Catalan initiatives that do no waiver in their efforts and that offer second and third chances so that no young people will leave their studies, at Fundació Bofill we promote the Zero Drop-Out Platform: Challenges and Solutions for Early Drop-Out, a veritable laboratory in which to explore, learn and share initiatives against early drop-out that really work.

What is the Zero Drop-Out Platform: Challenges and Solutions for Early Drop-Out?

The Platform is a call to municipalities and to the whole educational community to reduce the scourge of early drop-out. It is a forum for sharing proposals and experiences about what works in our municipalities for the fight against early drop-out, and for collectively exploring and activating new strategies.

The Zero Drop-Out Platform seeks to offer social and educational players a forum for reflection and inspiration pivoting around six of the challenges that we are facing in Catalonia, with the aim of ensuring the continued presence of pupils in the post-compulsory educational system. Twelve experts from various spheres and sectors (municipalities, teachers, representatives of third-sector entities, young people, academics, etc.) have carried out the identification, definition and prioritisation of the six challenges.

What are the challenges that we seek to overcome with the involvement and commitment of the educational players?

CHALLENGE 1. #ZERO INVISIBILITY, for a system that identifies and follows up pupils at risk of early drop-out. How can we organise a system for the detection and follow-up of profiles under risk of early drop-out?

CHALLENGE 2. #ZERO INCOORDINATION when organising and planning local resources with the aim of reducing early drop-out. How can we promote and lead a local ecosystem that cooperates on and undertakes a commitment to the fight against early school drop-out?

CHALLENGE 3. #ZERO ECONOMIC BARRIERS in order to ensure that pupils at risk have their needs covered. How can we ensure a system of scholarships and grants so that no pupils are forced to break off their educational pathways because of economic reasons?

CHALLENGE 4. #ZERO LEARNING DIFFICULTIES for the purpose of improving both school success and the motivation to study. How can we ensure that all the young people of our municipalities receive the support required to have a successful educational experience that motivates them to continue studying?

CHALLENGE 5. #ZERO DISORIENTATION so that young people will be aware of their own potential and of their educational needs. How can we ensure equal opportunity of access to academic-occupational orientation and accompaniment adapted to the needs of all pupils?

CHALLENGE 6. #ZERO IMPEDIMENTS TO RETURNING in order to ensure that everyone will really have the same opportunities to continue studying. Through our municipalities, how can we promote new social and educational opportunities for young people who have left the educational system and require innovative and restorative methodologies?

This is just a preliminary list of challenges, a list that we can expand with your proposals and suggestions.

How will the Zero Drop-Out Platform work?
  • The Platform will be organised around 6 working groups: one for each of the 6 challenges that we are proposing to you.
  • Each working group will be formed by between 15 and 20 professionals with diverse experiences and expertise in connection with early drop-out. In order to ensure the desirable wealth of knowledge and the exchange of views and initiatives, we will seek to ensure a heterogeneous composition of the groups (plurality of professional profiles, territorial diversity, city councils with a long history of fighting against early drop-out, city councils with less experience, etc.)
  • Registration for the challenge will be on an individual basis. In order to take part, you have to complete the form that can be found by following this link.
  • Each challenge group will be assigned a knowledgeable expert and a person in charge of facilitating the group’s activity. These two figures will accompany the group during three working sessions (for a total of 9 hours) with participative and analytical methodologies that will help to give rise to effective ideas and proposals against early drop-out. The three working sessions will be held between 26th April and 2nd June. The challenge group may decide to increase the number of sessions if this is considered appropriate.
  • Likewise, visits will be made to inspiring experiences in the month of June. This will be a good occasion for becoming acquainted with some emblematic experiences and for talking with their promoters about the challenges and opportunities marking each case. On these visits we will also get the chance to share the challenges posed by the initiatives that are promoted by you as participants.
  • Lastly, in the month of October a closing session will be held, in which the six groups will have the chance to share the process and the conclusions of the work carried out with the rest of the educational community interested in this subject.
Why should you register for the Platform?

We offer you a learning process in which to share initiatives, challenges, dilemmas and opportunities in relation to the measures that are effective in combatting early school drop-out. Through this process we seek to generate connections between the various promoters, to favour the transference of challenges and solutions, and to contribute resources and knowledge.

Specifically, we offer you the following:

  • A forum in which to progress in a determined and cooperative way towards reducing early school drop-out.
  • Participation in a forum for learning and getting advice and accompaniment among peers with respect to the six priority challenges against early school drop-out.
  • The opportunity to gain an acquaintance with, share and learn about effective measures that reduce early school drop-out in municipalities.
  • Visits to initiatives and analysis of their successes and challenges in conjunction with their promoters.
  • Access to resources, materials and expert knowledge.
Who can participate in the Platform?

We are looking for...

  • Professionals linked to municipal projects and services (municipal experts, teachers, social third sector professionals, etc.) committed to educational equality and to the fight against early school drop-out in their local area.
  • People who want to explore, learn about and share initiatives for combatting early school drop-out and who are willing to face difficult challenges by a collective approach.
  • Professionals who wish to improve their practices against early school drop-out or to develop new practices, sharing experiences with other professionals and municipalities.

Would you like to register for one of the challenges? To do so, complete the form

How will the participants in the groups be selected?

Each person should choose two challenge groups for registration.

The first choice will be given priority whenever possible. If some groups are already very full, however, and on the basis of criteria of internal heterogeneity, applicants may be assigned to their second choice.

By registering, you undertake the commitment to participate in the group’s three working sessions and in the closing session.

The registration period for the Zero Drop-Out Platform will be from 8th March to 21st April, both inclusive.

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