Article

Why are there more early school leavers among migrant-background young people?

Silvia Carrasco, Jordi Pàmies, Laia Narciso and Angelina Sánchez, (EMIGRA – CER-Migracions, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

In Spain, 75% of migrant-background young people aspire to further education. However, even with support from their families, one in three leaves his or her studies early. One of the main causes for this early leaving is the lack of confidence they perceive from their teachers. Early leaving from education and training renders these young people more vulnerable to unemployment and they run a higher risk of social exclusion than their Spanish-background peers.
Key points
  • 1
       In Spain, young people have the highest academic aspirations in the European Union. However, Spain also has the highest rate of early leaving from education and training in the EU and the largest difference between native and non-native early leavers.
  • 2
       The Spanish study of the European project Reducing Early School Leaving in the EU (RESL.eu) analyses the difference in the early leaving rate between native and non-native pupils, as well as differences by social class and sex. The participants in the study were 3,731 young people taking final year of compulsory secondary education, pre-university baccalaureate, intermediate and higher training cycles, and occupational training programmes. Twenty percent of the sample were from a migrant background.
  • 3
       By sex and origin, those most affected by early school leaving are young men born abroad. Only young women with Spanish nationality fulfil the EU objective for Spain in 2020: to not exceed 15% early school leaving.
  • 4
       Perceived support from teachers is the most important factor for preventing the risk of early school leaving, along with pupils’ academic aspirations, school engagement and perceived support from their families.
Percentage of early school leaving, by nationality, of pupils aged 18 to 24
Percentage of early school leaving, by nationality, of pupils aged 18 to 24

In Spain, 75% of migrant-background young people aspire to further education. However, even with support from their families, one in three leaves his or her studies early.
One of the main causes for this early leaving is the lack of confidence they perceive from their teachers, to whom they attribute educational expectations that are lower than those conveyed to them by their parents, and much lower still than their own aspirations.
Early school leaving decreased after the crisis and levelled off in 2017. Collectively, foreign pupils consistently show early school leaving rates between 15 and 20 points higher than those of Spanish pupils.
 

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