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Session Overview
RN10_01a_IC: Drop-out of School
Wednesday, 30/Aug/2017:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Vasiliki Kantzara, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences
Location: Intercontinental - Athenaeum CC I
Athenaeum Intercontinental Hotel Syngrou Avenue 89-93 Athens, Greece Floor: Lobby Level

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Long and winding roads: the educational trajectories of youngsters at risk of early school leaving in Flanders

Lore Van Praag, Rut Van Caudenberg, Ward Nouwen, Christiane Timmerman

University of Antwerp, Belgium

While the education has become more important in European societies, increasingly more youngsters are at risk of missing this opportunity to achieve an educational qualification. Combining insights of the fields of study on early school leaving and educational trajectories, in this study, we aim to understand the educational choice making of young people at risk of early school leaving. In doing so, we examine how the educational trajectories of these youngsters are shaped and how these trajectories, on their turn, contribute to the decision to leave school without educational qualification. Making use of qualitative interviews with 34 youngsters in Flanders (northern part of Belgium), who were repeatedly interviewed as part of the European research project, our findings show that the educational trajectories of these youngsters were – in terms of educational choices – very diverse, characterized by frequent, not so logical changes across fields of study, institutions and type of educational programs. These educational trajectories can be seen as the result of a series of short-term inconsistent decisions made during the school career, in which youngsters relied on the information available within their social networks. These social networks were characterized by a lack of knowledge about the existing educational opportunities and with no tradition to search for all information about these options and the consequences hereof. Additionally, choice making seemed heavily influenced by the often insecure living conditions in which these youngsters live. The consequences of such inconsistent educational trajectories are manifold and were found to relate to early school leaving.

Between conflict and consensus: school and family negotiating educational trajectories and post-school destinations of students at risk of dropping out school

Marta Curran

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain

The relation between parental involvement and school success has been a central research theme in the field of sociology of education. In this sense, there is a vast literature that has extensively demonstrated how parental involvement and school-family interactions are highly influenced by social class. There is, however, less research on the actual mechanisms and factors that explain this relation. The aim of this article is to analyze the role of parents in explaining educational trajectories among students at risk of dropping out school at the end of secondary compulsory education. In particular the paper analyses two main issues: firstly, the different parental attitudes, practices and expectations of parents from different social backgrounds, secondly, it explores school-family interactions in negotiating educational trajectories (i.e. grade retention, participating in lower tracks groups) and choice-making processes to post-school destinations. To discuss this, the paper draws on data from a qualitative study based on in-depth interviews with students, teachers and families in four secondary compulsory schools in Barcelona. As a result, a typology of different patterns of school-family interactions is elaborated. This typology demonstrates the effect of class in school-family interactions but also the heterogeneity of attitudes and school-family relationship among families within the same social background.

Vocational and training programs to face early school leaving: representations form young people and policy makers

Judith Jacovkis

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain

Facilitate the return to education to young people with low educational levels is of crucial importance for enlarging social cohesion and economic development in Europe. The objective of this paper is to focus on Early School Leavers (from 18 to 29 years old) that are currently enrolled in vocational or training programmes. The aim of the proposal is to address the following questions: What do young people expect (in educational, labour and social terms) from their participation in vocational or training programmes? What are the expectations of policy makers involved in the provision of these programmes? What is the impact of gender, ethnicity and social class in shaping young people representations regarding these programmes? In order to answer these questions two theoretical perspectives are articulated: Cultural Political Economy helps us to understand the logics and assumptions behind these programmes and the way they may be affecting the expectations of different agents. Life Course Research provides theoretical tools to analyse the changes and continuities in the subjective interpretation of life courses shaping young people expectations. A qualitative field work has been carried out in Girona (Spain) consisting in life stories with young people enrolled in vocational and training programmes and interviews with policy makers in charge of their design and implementation. Policy documents at regional and European level have been also analysed to frame the political context in with these programmes are implemented. The results point our critical questions regarding social inequalities framing the provision, development and representations of these programmes.

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