Since March 2017, the State Education Quality Service has been implementing the project ‘Support for the Reduction of Early School Leaving’ (ESF 188.8.131.52/16/I/001) involving more than 95% of municipalities and 584 general and vocational education and training (VET) providers.
The project promotes the development of a system of sustainable cooperation between municipalities, education institutions, teachers, support staff and parents to timely identify learners who are at risk of dropping out and provide them with personalised support. It will run until end-2023 but the results are already visible.
Teachers engage in professional development to improve their skills to work with learners. They are supported with methodological tools created within the project.
The database was also developed that ensures regular exchange of information at national, local and institutional level about learners at risk of dropping out. It also records the preventive measures taken, their outcome as well as provides complete statistics allowing for long-term evaluation of the effectiveness of measures.
The project also supports youth non-governmental organisations’ (NGO) initiatives addressing young people directly or through their peers and offering solutions mitigating the risk of dropping out from education and training, including VET.
Individual support is provided to learners who may drop out due to lack of finances covering their travel costs, meals, accommodation, etc. However, the focus of the project is not the temporary financial support but the design of a sustainable, comprehensive mechanism that creates a supportive and inclusive environment for every learner.
What do learners gain?
At the beginning of the semester, an educator creates an individual support plan (IAP) for each learner involved in the project in which the risks of early school leaving are evaluated, as well as the necessary support measures for the reduction of these risks are provided:
- counselling and support by teachers, psychologists, social workers, teacher’s assistants, special education teachers, sign language interpreters, assistants, ergo therapists);
- reimbursement of expenses for public transport, accommodation, catering, learning materials and items for personal use;
- opportunity to get involved in youth NGO projects in municipalities.
What do the teachers gain?
- resources for individual work with at-risk learners;
- development of professional competence;
- information through seminars, workshops and conferences;
- methodological support;
- a system for identification and prevention of the risks of early school leaving.