What do we mean by school dropout? Early School Leaving and the shifting of paradigms in school dropout measurement.
Portuguese Journal of Social Science
The audit, evaluation and regulation of education systems is becoming the rule inEurope, strongly increasing demand for data production and even considered by some as a major policy-development in itself. Data production and its use produce changes in the governing of the education and training systems throughout Europe,contributing to the Europeanization of the national educational systems and to the empowerment of some international organizations, like the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). In the moment that European and global goals around quantified goals related to education are being drawn, thereare some warnings regarding excessive focus on measurable results and thus the risk of losing sight of what is truly important in education and promotion of educationalsuccess. Early School Leaving (ESL) is the indicator used by Eurostat to measureschool dropout and by the European Union to establish targets for education policies.It is an indicator that holds as reference the schooling-level certification and,as such, a measure of school achievement based on a comprehensive perspective ofeducational/training activities, including informal and non-formal learning. Until the adoption of this indicator, the yardstick for measuring school dropout in Portugal was the legally-established age for compulsory education. As such,it was a measure of access, not of school success. On the one hand, it does not consider the degree of schooling reached; on the other it does not recognize informal and non-formal learning as integral parts of education in general. We believe that these are very relevant differences that imply distinct conceptions of education and training and their role in society, with important consequences both forscientific research and for public policies in the field of education. This change of paradigm implies a series of challenges for research on school drop out and as well for the devising and tuning of public policy aimed at combating it. Also it introduces some complexity to the analysis of the effects of Europeanization in education in countries like Portugal, which was recovering from significant delays in the development of its education system, suggesting the establishment of benchmarks and quantification of educational outcomes resulting from Portuguese participation in the international-institutions set, induced transformations in the paradigm of dropout and school retention, facilitated by the process of convergence with European Union (EU) centre countries.
Early school leaving; School dropout; ESL indicator;
Classificação Fields of Science and Technology
- Outras Ciências Sociais - Ciências Sociais
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