14 SES 14 A, Early School Leaving and the Feasibility of Re-Entry in Education in Malta, Poland and Canada
Malta’s National Statistics Office (NSO) defines early school leaving (ESL) in Malta as those persons between 18 and 24 years of age who have not achieved at least the equivalent of Secondary Education Certificate (SEC) passes (grades 1 to 7) in five different subjects and are not in education or training (MEDE, 2014). The ESL rate for Malta decreased from 27.1% in 2009 to 20.9% in 2013. However, Malta’s rate of ESL in 2013 was still the second highest in the EU and well above the EU average of 11.8% (European Comission, 2014, p. 24). As a policy maker and a community activist, I will provide an evidence-based analysis of the implementation of the strategy that aims to tackle ESL in Malta. This will be based on administrative data and the analysis of large-scale international surveys included in this symposium. The presentation will unfold against a background of ongoing research and data generated as a part of the ESL implementation of the strategy. The ‘Strategy for the Prevention of Early School Leaving in Malta’ is committed to reaching the ambitious target of reducing ESL to 10% by 2020 (MEDE, 2012, 2014). In the words of the aforementioned document, the strategy is informed by: an awareness that the problem has to be tackled through a strategic alliance between policy makers, educators, employers, trade unions and civil society; schools need to reach out and build bridges with communities in order to create solutions to ESL that respond to student diversity and learning needs; early warning systems are necessary to identify potential early school leavers with a view to intervene as early as possible in supporting the achievement of children at risk; schools need to be pro-active and creative in addressing ESL issues and in making educational institutions relevant and effective; schools must be supported by policy makers and administrators through effective communication channels; actions need to take place at school, community, sectoral and national levels; lifelong learning is an attitude that needs to be inculcated in students from an early age; vocational education plays a crucial role in providing a more comprehensive and varied learning programme that responds to students’ diversity of interest and learning patterns (NCFHE, 2014); and, all educational attainment should be recorded through a proper accreditation and certification system that will enable early school leavers to return back to education and training with the least possible difficulty (MEDE, 2014).
European Comission (European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice/Cedefop). (2014). Tackling Early Leaving from Education and Training in Europe: Strategies, Policies and Measures. Eurydice and Cedefop Report. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. MEDE (Ministry of Education and Employment). (2012). An early school leaving strategy for Malta. Malta: Office of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education and Employment. MEDE (Ministry of Education and Employment). (2014). A strategic plan for the prevention of early school leaving in Malta. Floriana, MT: Ministry of Education and Employment. NCFHE (National Commission for Further and Higher Education). (2014). Early leaving from vocational education and training. Malta: National Commission for Further and Higher Education.
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