ERG SES C 06, Vocational Training and Education
The phenomenon of ESL in Italy is a priority question within Agenda 2020 (European Commission, 2013). According to Eurostat in 2013 the rate of ESL in Italy was around 17%, but a recent research has shown that the overall rate is 30%, very far from the aim of Lisbon in 2020, set at 15% (Checchi, 2014).
Early school leavers increase the proportion of NEET (Not in Education, Employement and Training) that has a high social cost, in addition to the effects of marginalization of an active part of the population.
Many white papers emphasize the role of the VET to prevention and compensation of school dropouts (European Parliament 2011, European Commission 2013). This educational sector is considered a valid contrast to the drop out, due to learning by doing and work-oriented, more close to the feel of young dropouts (CEDEFOP, 2012). In Italy, over the time, the VET has become as a school of second chance for many of those who have experienced a previous period of drop out (ISFOL, 2013).
Reserch question 1: Are VET paths effective in re-engagement of young italian ESL?
Research question 2: What role does play the personal agency in school re-engagement?
The study aims to investigate the relationship between school achievement, school investment and agency, as central capability in individual life, in students of VET schools. Specifically we will test the hypothesis that the educational success in school re-engagement is associated with agency of young people, that is, the ability of students to act according to aims and perspectives to which they themselves give value.
The exclusion from education is a cumulative disadvantage that makes marginal those who are affected, putting them at risk of social exclusion.Amartya Sen has conceptualized a framework for the evaluation and assessment of individual and society well-being (Sen, 1980, 1999, 2009). The core charateristic of theC.A. is its focus on what people are able to do and be. The quality of life is assessed in term of the person’s freedom to choose and achieve valuable functioning: the lack of capabilities affects the freedom of action and choice of individuals and causes exclusion from active participation into society (Sen, 1999).
Agency is a central capability for a person: it is defined, in relation to goals that a person value or has reason to value, as the ability to act congruently with her/his values. It is exercised with respect to multiple aims (Sen, 1980; Alkire, 2008). Even if this approach focuses on what individual agents are able to do and be, it considers the individual socially and culturally situated.
Studies in psychology show how the agency is operating both individual and environmental factors; it increases the sense of self-efficacy and active participation in a change process (Bandura, 2000).
An increased application ofC.A. in educational field (Otto, Ziegler, 2006; Robeyns, 2006; Unterhalter, 2008) highlights the importance to consider the range of valued opportunities and the freedom that supports the connection between valued opportunities and outcomes or capabilities and functionings. In the specific case of our study, this means understand how the choice to undertake VET course, following a school failure, is the result of student interests and not rather an adaptive preference.
In studies about ESL we have to analyse a wide range of their functionings, from what they are actually able to be and do, their aspirations, their current achievements and educational experience, to the potential and real opportunities available for them (Galliott, Graham, 2014).
Alkire, S. (2008). Concepts and measures of agency. OPHI Working Papers n° 9. Oxford poverty & Human Development Initiative. in: http: //www.ophi.org.uk. Bandura, A. (2001). Social Cognitive Theory: an Agentic Perspective. Annual Review of Psychology, 52, 1-26. CEDEFOP, (2012). Trends in VET policy in Europe 2010-12. Progress towards the Bruges communiqué. Working paper 16. Luxembourg. Publications Office of the European Union. Checchi, D. (2014). Qual è la misura corretta dell’abbandono scolastico in Italia? in LOST DISPERSIONE SCOLASTICA: il costo per la collettività e il ruolo di scuole e Terzo settore. in: http://www.weworld.it. EUROPEAN COMMISSION (2013). Europa 2020: una strategia per una crescita intelligente, sostenibile e inclusiva (2010) 2020. Bruxelles. in: http://ec.europa.eu/eu2020 /targets/ eu-targets/index it.htm. EUROPEAN COMMISSION (2013). Reducing early school leaving: Key messages and policy support. Final Report of the Thematic Working Group on Early School Leaving. Bruxelles. European Parliament, (2011). STUDY ON REDUCING EARLY SCHOOL LEAVING IN THE EU. Brussels. in: http://www.europarl.europa.eu Galliott, N., Graham, L.J. (2014). A question of agency: applying Sen’s theory of human capability to the concept of secondary school student career choice. International Journal of Research & Method in Education, vol.37, n°3, 270-284. ISFOL. (2013). Percorsi di qualificazione: l’Istruzione e la Formazione Professionale oltre la seconda opportunità. Research Paper, 8. Roma. in: www.isfol.it. Pastorelli, C., Picconi, L., (2001). Autoefficacia scolastica, sociale e regolatoria. in (a cura di) Caprara, G.V. La valutazione dell’autoefficacia. Trento: Erickson. Otto, H. and Ziegler, H. (2006). Capability and education. Social Work & Society. Vol. 4:2, 269-287 Peetsma, T., van der Veen, I. (2011). Relations between the development of future time perspective in three life domains,investment in learning,and academic achievement. Learning and Instruction, 21 ,481-494. Pepe, S.J., Fanese, M.L., et al., (2010). Work self-efficacy scale and search for work self-efficacy scale: a validation study in Spanish and Italian cultural contexts. Revista de psicologia del Trabajo y de las Organicaciones. Vol.36, n. 3, 201-210. Robeyns, I. (2006). Three models of education Right, capabilities and human capital. Theory and Research in Education. 4: 1, 69-84 Sen, A. (1980). Equality of what?. Tanner Lectures on Human Values,1, 195-220. Sen,A. (1999).Development as Freedom. New York: Oxford University Press. Sen, A. (2009). The idea of Justice. London: Allen Lane
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