23 SES 07 C, Early School Leaving in Malta, Portugal and Spain: Social Problems and Policy Challenges
Since the reduction of early school leaving (ESL) is a key benchmark of the Education and Training 2020 Strategy (2010-20), EUROSTAT has produced an indicator that tracks actual trends in all the countries. For years this indicator has scored particularly high in Malta, Portugal and Spain. This Round Table gathers researchers from the three countries in order to discuss the policies implemented to tackle ESL in these countries.
The Round Table includes four papers that outline some issues for research that inform on the crucial policy challenges (60 minutes) as well as a space for debate (30 minutes). In this abstract we can tentatively state that their theoretical references revolve around realist policy evaluation, governmentality, youth studies, knowledge and education policy, studies on policy transfer, and the causal complexity of ESL.
Helena C Araújo, António Magalhães, Cristina Rocha and Eunice Macedo “Rereading Early school Leaving in Portugal after the Lisbon Agenda” (15 minutes). The focus in this paper is on policies and measures in Portugal produced by the state (and other education stakeholders), in the last twenty years, related to Early School Leaving (ESL). During the last 20 years, it may be said that there has been a growing investment in education and changes have reshaped the field of education The adhesion to European Educational Policies and to a discourse on European Union has been probably clearer until recently. The current period after the European crisis appears to be focused on early tracking to vocational education and a vivid concern and measures on equal opportunities has almost evaporated. The analysis will focus educational documents during the period 2000-2013 related to ESL. This research received funding from EC 7th Progr RESL.eu.
Marilyn Clark (15 minutes): “A Discourse Analysis of the 2012 publication An early school leaving Strategy for Malta.” In response to the higher rates of early school leavers in Malta, the country responded by preparing a report that identifies and analyses the causes of the phenomenon and proposes a number of measures to respond to the issue. Drawing on Foucault’s ideas of discourse and power, especially in relation to educational processes, as well as social representations theory in relation to young people and problem youth more specifically, this paper will explore within what discourses on youth the strategy frames its attempts to extend possibility and opportunity for young people.
Xavier Rambla, Clara Fontdevila and Eloi Sendrós (15 minutes): “Tracking students in order to prevent ESL? Evaluating the design of the undergoing educational reform in Spain”. In 2013 the Gov. of Spain passed an education reform act envisaging to substitute the current comprehensive structure of lower secondary education by a new system of multiple, interlinked tracks defined in terms of students' ability. This paper will analyse how policy-makers borrowed the “policy framework” defined by the European Commission Thematic Working Group on Early School Leaving in order to argue that the reform will allegedly curb ESL.
Aina Tarabini, Marta Curran, Alejandro Montes, Lluís Parcerisa (15 minutes). “The politics of educational success in Catalonia”. The objective of the paper is to analyze the different meanings and implications of the concept “educational success” hidden in the discourses, practices and policies of the Educational Administration in Catalonia (Spain). The results of the analysis show two main perspectives from which to address educational success: one based on academic results and another based on educational engagement.
Fernández Enguita, M., Mena Martínez, L. & Riviére Gómez, J., (2010). Fracaso y abandono escolar en España, Fundación La Caixa. Colección Estudios Sociales, 29. Lange, B., & Alexiadou, N. (2010) «Policy learning and governance of education policy in the EU». Journal of Education Policy 25 (4): 443–463. Leask, I (2012) Beyond Subjection: Notes on the later Foucalt and education. Educational Philosophy and Theory, Vol 44. Macedo, Eunice, & Araújo, Helena C. (2013) Young Portuguese construction of educational citizenship: Commitments and conflicts in semi-disadvantaged secondary schools. Journal of Youth Studies. Doi:10.1080/13676261.2013.825707 Ministry of Education and Employment (2012) An early School leaving Strategy for Malta. Salesian Press Malta. NESSE Network of experts in social sciences of education ant training, (2009) Early school leaving. Lessons from research for policy makers, pp.1–60. Report commissioned by the European Comission Directorate General for Education and Culture. Ozga, J.; Dahler-Larsen, P.; Segerholm; Ch. & Simola, H. (2011) Fabricating Quality in Education. Data and governance in Europe, London and New York: Routledge. Pawson, R. (2006) Evidence-based policy. A Realist Perspective. London: Sage.
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