23 SES 12 A, Nordic Educational Programmes to Assure Transition and Prevent Dropout
Access to training and education is seen as key to ensuring social inclusion and labour market participation (Glaesser, 2006) while school failure has repeatedly been shown to dramatically increase the risk of unemployment and labour market exclusion (Lakes, 2006; Bäckman et al., 2011). But achieving and guaranteeing transition into secondary education and continued training turn out to be an immense challenge. High numbers of students leaving school with no formal qualifications, commonly addressed as a dropout problem, raise political and public concerns (Markussen, 2010). Some change to another educational programme that they then finish, but substantial proportions of them give up after trying several educational strands (Jørgensen, 2011). Many of these youth have negative experiences with school and leave it with insufficient knowledge, lacking self-esteem to pursue further education, and often bad relations with fellow students (Humlum & Jensen, 2010).
The policies and reports surrounding this issue have been actively constructing a dropout phenomenon where youth who do not complete their schooling are portrayed as a residual group, youth at risk, and school failures (Fine, 1990). Thus, policy makers regard the problem in terms of dropout, wasted time and money because of lacking income and tax revenues; those working in schools often understand it in terms of increasing diversity transition challenges; the youth are likely to see it as a call to measure up in a competition that tends to favour groups who already have access to material, cultural, and social capital (Ball, 2003; Catts & Allan, 2012).
In correspondence with EU principles of benchmarks (Lawn & Grek, 2012), education policies state that 95% of every youth cohort must complete a programme of secondary education and training. Over the years, special institutions, guidance initiatives, and programmes have been set up to prevent or remedy problems of educational failure and to facilitate transitions from one level in education to the next. These programmes are the focus of this symposium, which addresses the terminology as well as selected institutions of the special intervention programmes that are set up in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark to constitute places of transition for this group of youth.
Ball, S.J. (2003): Class Strategies and the Education Market. London: Routledge. Bäckman, O., V. Jakobsen, T. Lorentsen, E. Österbacka & E. Dahl (2011): Dropping Out in Scandinavia. Stockholm: Institutet för Framtidsstudier. Catts, R. & Allan, J. (2012): Social capital for young people in educational and social policy, practice and research. In: Allan, J. and Catts, R. (eds.): Social capital, children and young people. Implications for practice, policy and research. Bristol: Policy Press. Fine, M. (1990): Making controversy: who’s at risk? Journal of Urban and Cultural Studies, 1(1): 55–68. Humlum, M.K. & T. P. Jensen (2010): Frafald på de erhvervsfaglige uddannelser. Copenhagen: AKF. Jørgensen, C. H. (2011): En historie om hvordan frafald blev et problem. In C. H. Jørgensen (ed.): Frafald i erhvervsuddannelserne. Roskilde: Roskilde Universitetsforlag. Lakes, R.D. (2006): Unemployed youth and vocational pathways. In: Mjelde, L. & R. Daly (eds.): Working Knowledge in a Globalizing World. Bern: Peter Lang. Lawn, M. & S. Grek (2012): Europeanising Education: Governing a New Policy Space. Oxford: Symposium Books. Markussen, E. (2010): Frafall i utdanning for 16–20 åringer i Norden. TemaNord 2010:517. Copenhagen: Nordic Council of Ministers.
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