23 SES 08 A, Policy Reforms and Implementation Processes
Early school leaving is a substantial problem in a European educational context, and how European governments handle the problem is quite diversified. In this paper we would like to address the early school leaving problem within a discussion of how policy is framed and made doable at school level. Data from a research project from Norway will contribute with important insight into diversified programs that are taken into use at school level to address the early school leaving problem. The universalistic transition regime in Nordic countries, such as Sweden, Norway and Denmark, has a comprehensive school system. National framework set standards in education and training, but there is flexibility in the system to allow for individual learning and training plans. Young people not in employment are expected to be in education. Youth policies are developed to support the youths so that they can have the chance to become a potential resource for the society in the future (Walther 2006:127). The different programs and measures are especially organized to give a second change to re-enter education so the youths have the opportunity to complete a degree and thereafter aspire to take part in further education and/or employment. If the youth decides to follow a path after dropping out there is still a chance to better the life prospects, in contrast to the system in many other European countries, see for example Walther (2006). Despite this comprehensive school system there is a high dropout rate and problem with early school leaving during upper secondary school, and this is seen as a significant problem in Scandinavia (Markussen 2010). When one third of all youth between 16 and 21 do not complete secondary education, the education system is at risk to fail. It is a challenge for individuals and society because these young persons have more difficulties to enter the labour market and in turn the labour market misses their possible knowledge and competence (Arntzen & Grøgaard 2012, Bäckman et al. 2015, Lundahl & Olofsson 2014). There is existing knowledge on who dropout, where, and why they do not complete upper secondary school. Still there is little accumulated knowledge on which efforts are made and which measures is taken to prevent this undesirable characteristic of upper secondary education in Norway. How the different programs and measures are practised at school level is a crucial policy question. The aim with this paper is to explore the various experiences with policy measures expecting that the organizing together with different government tools will affect performance. Hence, our research questions are concerned with what actions are taken, how are these translated and experienced at school level?Research has shown that a multiple of programs has to be implemented to succeed fighting dropout, both at county level, school owner level and at school level (Buland and Havn 2007). The dropout problematic has to be one of the topics that are included in the plans of the school, the school owner, and at the county level to ensure that it is part of a general effort to plan different actions. Additionally, learning environment is a contextual factor that has proved to be influential to reduce dropout (Bakken and Seippel 2012). In what way does this effort materialize itself today for the students? Organizational implementation behaviour includes identifying the internal school adjustments to the new measures. The intra-organizational implementation concerns the relations between schools.
Arntsen, A & Grøgaard, J.B. (2012) Idealer og realiteter i samarbeidet mellom Nav og Oppfølgingstjenesten. Tidsskrift for velferdsforskning. 4/2012 Bakken, A. & Seippel, Ø. (2012) Framgangsrike skoler under Kunnskapsløftet. NOVA notat 10/12 Brodkin, E.Z. (1997) Inside the Welfare Contract: Discretion and Accountability in State Welfare Administration, Social Service Review, 71 (1): 1-33 Buland, T. & Havn, V. (2007) Intet menneske er en øy. Rapport fra evalueringen av tiltak i Satsing mot frafall. Sintef rapport 23/07. Bäckman, O., Jakobsen, V., Lorentzen, T., Österbacka, E. and Dahl, E. (2015), 'Early school leaving in Scandinavia: Extent and labour market effects', Journal of European Social Policy, 25: 3, 253-269. Lundahl, L & J. Olofsson (2014): Guarded transitions? Youth trajectories and school-to-work transition policies in Sweden. International Journal of Adolescence and Youth. 19, Supplement 1, p. 19-34. Markussen, E. (red.) (2010) Frafall i utdanning for 16–20 åringer i Norden, København: TemaNord 2010:517. Walther, A. (2006). Regimes of youth transitions. Choice, flexibility and decurity in young people’s experiences across different European contexts. Young Nordic Journal of Youth Research. Vol 14 (2): 119-139.
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