02 SES 05 A, Drop-Out, Pathways and Later Educational Outcomes
In the Nordic universalistic regime, which is dominant in Finland, education and training pathways are planned to be inclusive and flexible to individual choice (Walther 2006, 2009). Young people are not regarded just as a future resource but they are supported in their individual choices and transitions, and the purpose is to provide everyone with a secondary level education at least (Sweet, 2009; Walther, 2006). The Finnish model encourages lifelong education, so that transitions between educational levels and to work would be as flexible as possible (Stenström, Virolainen, Vuorinen-Lampila & Valkonen, 2012).
According to annual statistics for post-compulsory education in Finland, nearly all comprehensive school graduates apply for further studies, as barely 2% do not do so. Respective admission statistics show that a total of 91% go on for further studies aiming at a qualification or degree after comprehensive school (Statistics Finland 2012, Myrskylä 2011). However, the proportion of untrained young people is higher than these figures would suggest, because of dropping out from upper secondary education. During the academic year 2009/2010, a total of 6% of students attending a qualification or degree programme discontinued their studies and did not resume them in any other education leading to a qualification or degree (Statistics Finland, 2012). Drop-out rates in VET seem to be increasing; in 2010 it was 9%.
To tackle the exclusion of young people, the Finnish Youth Guarantee (Nuorten yhteiskuntatakuu 2013; Ministry of Education and Culture, 2013) was launched in the beginning of 2013. Its intention is to ensure that young people have access to education, training and employment and to prevent them from being excluded from society. For the engagement and inclusion of youth in our education-driven society, a major categorisation is based on their attainment or non-attainment of secondary education.
In society where the significance of education and qualifications is highlighted, young people without such attainments have less choice of jobs available so that they often end up to low pay jobs with little educational demands and poor prospects for career advancement (Christle, Jolivette & Nelson, 2007). For this reason dropping out is associated with a risk of exclusion (Komonen, 2012; Stenström et al., 2012).
The present study investigates dropping out from vocational secondary education and the factors involved therein during a five-year survey period. Here, dropping out refers to totally discontinued studies in a qualification or degree programme.
The research questions are as follows:
- What factors would explain drop outs in VET?
- What kind of differences are there in employment (unemployment) status between the drop out students and graduated students?
Christle, C.A., Jolivette, K. & Nelson, C.M. (2007). School characteristics related to high school dropout rates. Remedial and Special Education 28(6), 325-229. Komonen K. (2012). Paha pudokas? Koulutuksellisen syrjäytymisen tarkastelu yhteiskunnallisessa keskustelussa. [The bad drop- out? A review of educational exclusion in social discussion] Ammattikasvatuksen aikakauskirja Mehtäläinen, J. 2001. Joustavat koulutusväylät ja uranvalinta. Osaraportti 1. Koulutusväylän valinta ja ensimmäinen lukuvuosi toisella asteella. [Flexible educational pathways and career choice. Report Part 1. The choice of educational pathway and the first year in secondary education] (Helsingin kaupungin opetusviraston julkaisusarja No. A12). Helsinki. Ministry of Education. (2013). The youth guarantee in Finland. Helsinki: Author. Myrskylä, P. (2011). Nuoret työmarkkinoiden ja opiskelun ulkopuolella [Young people outside the labour market and education]. (Työ- ja elinkeinoministeriön julkaisuja No. 12). Helsinki: Edita Publishing Oy. Nuorten yhteiskuntatakuu 2013. [The Finnish Youth Guarantee 2013]. (TEM raportteja No. 8). Helsinki: Työ- ja elinkeinoministeriö. Statistics Finland. (2012). Discontinuation of education 2010. Helsinki: Author. Stenström, M.-L., Virolainen, M., Vuorinen-Lampila, P., & Lampila, P. (2012). Ammatillisen koulutuksen ja korkeakoulutuksen opiskelijoiden opintourat [Educational pathways of VET and higher education students]. The Finnish Institute for Educational Research. University of Jyväskylä. Sweet, R. (2009). Apprenticeship, pathways and career guidance: A cautionary tale. In F. Rauner, E. Smith, U. Hauschildt & H. Zelloth (Eds.), Innovative apprenticeships. Promoting successful school-to-work transitions. Conference Proceedings, 17–18 September 2009 Turin, Italy. http://www.inap.uni-bremen.de/ Walther, A. (2006). Regimes of youth transitions. Choice, flexibility and security in young people´s experiences across different European contexts. Young 14(2), 119-139. Walther, A. (2009). ´It was not my choice, you know?´Young people´s subjective views and decision-making processes in biographical transitions. In Schoon, I. & Silbereisen, R. K. (Ed.), Transitions from school to work. globalisation, individualisation and patterns of diversity. (1st ed., pp. 121-144). New York: Cambridge University Press.
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