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Early leavers from education and training reflect social inequalities

Maribel García Gracia and Albert Sánchez-Gelabert, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Proyect selected in the Call to support social research projects: vocational training, early school leaving and job insecurity

Early leavers from education and training, in Spain, are young people who do not continue with their stud-ies, whether at the end of compulsory education, or at the end of either the Baccalaureate or middle-grade vocational training. The early leaving from education and training rate is calculated based on young people aged between 18 and 24 years who have not achieved any upper secondary certification and who do not continue studying, and it expresses deep social inequalities and inequities in schooling conditions. The study upon which this article is based was produced using pupil registration data provided by the Cata-lan Government’s Department of Education and the Evaluation Council for the Education System, and it has enabled monitoring of the learning itineraries of 73,947 pupils born in the year 2001 in Catalonia. Those pupils who obtained the highest grades at the end of compulsory secondary education (ESO) have a higher presence among those itineraries with completed post-compulsory studies, whereas those still tak-ing post-compulsory courses obtained lower grades, and even more so those who left school early. De-spite the relationship between grades and itineraries, poor performance does not completely explain early leaving from education and training: the probabilities of early leaving from education and training for many young people are related, furthermore, with the economic and social precarity of their parents and the concentration of vulnerable pupils and those of foreign nationality at high-complexity schools.
Key points
  • 1
       Early leaving from education and training takes place mainly at the end of compulsory secondary education (14%), but also over the course of post-compulsory education (7%), particularly in middle-grade vocational training.
  • 2
       Two out of every three pupils who leave compulsory secondary education early have accumulated an educational delay, understood as not being in the academic year corresponding to their age.
  • 3
       Low grades do not wholly explain early leaving from education and training: six out of every ten young people who left education early had passed their ESO.
  • 4
       Pupils with special educational needs, either due to social reasons or to late incorporation into the education system, have a greater presence in itineraries involving early leaving from education and training than the rest of the population studied.
  • 5
       Pupils educated at high-complexity schools have double the probabilities of leaving education early than those educated at other schools.
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