Early school leavers often have a long “career” of refusal: homework is not done, lessons are disrupted, school is cut short. The notes go to the cellar; At some point, dropping out of school is just the logical consequence of this process. It is often not due to lack of intelligence. Often, the basic conditions at home are not right. If the student is then bullied because of his otherness, the dropout is seen as salvation. But that often starts with the difficulties. What you can do if you leave school early …

Early school leavers in Europe: difficult start to professional life

In Europe it is as difficult as anywhere else in the international comparison to find a training place or even a job without a school leaving certificate. Here great importance is attached to a sound education. Many countries envy us for our dual system of education, which gives us a job both in practice and in theory.

At the same time, it ensures a certain standard that can be expected from new entrants who have completed such training. Among other things, this standard is already being promoted through compulsory education. This means that no student is allowed to leave school before completing this compulsory education.

Depending on the federal state, these are nine or ten years (sitting down is one of them), which are supplemented by compulsory vocational training or a preparatory year. These measures should ensure that everyone has a chance to take up a job after leaving school: the higher and more extensive the education, the greater the job prospects.

Reasons: How does someone drop out?

Psychologists and social workers observe a number of social risk factors that favor dropping out of school. The parental home plays a big role. The lifeworld of early school leavers often looks like this at home:

  • Single parent
  • Precarious living conditions
  • Alcohol or drug problems
  • Mental problems

This means that the parent (often the mother), who is actually instrumental in caring for the physical well-being, through education to convey values and norms, to motivate the child accordingly, is completely overwhelmed with their own life situation.

How can someone who is struggling with unemployment and hopelessness also be able to present his child with a positive view of the future? How should he convey that it is worthwhile to make an effort in school in order to realize one’s own goals?

Above all, the American psychologist Daniel Goleman observes a lack of emotional and social competence. Many early school leavers are loners or outsiders.

And who experiences exclusion by others on a daily basis, it is logically difficult to motivate themselves. Why go to the hated school when the content is boring anyway or even not understood.

No “good reason” to rash the school prematurely, however, should be short periods of discomfort or frustration, for example, because you have a topic is not or you have quarreled with the best friend. Such phases are normal and pass by again.

Statistics: Number of school dropouts of varying degrees

Nearly 50,000 school dropouts are shown in the Federal Education Report 2016. That is six percent of the same age population who have not earned at least the Hauptschulabschluss. The numbers vary significantly from state to state.

Only recently, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research published a study that according to 2018 7.3 percent of all citizens of European countries  could not read and write properly. Early school leavers are way ahead of the illiterate. What is comprehensible on the one hand then avenges itself on the job market.

Without a decent diploma and with no will to change, early school leavers are heading straight for jobs as a laborer or ALG II.

Reasons for further qualification and possibilities

For the sake of completeness, however, it should also be said that even if careers for early school leavers are possible, such successful CVs without a school leaving qualification are the exception. Especially as the above examples show that most are at least visionaries (company creation for new demand) or artists.

For four decades, a summary of analyzes and data on education commissioned by the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) has been published. The Vocational Training Report 2019 (PDF) refers to a recent analysis by the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (WZB) of 2018. It is clear that early school leavers benefit greatly from measures that facilitate the transition to training.

In concrete terms, this means that early school leavers increase their chances of finding a training place by 32 percentage points after a measure. For former students, chances even increase by 50 percentage points.

The main argument for such measures is better access to attractive training occupations and thus better opportunities for social advancement. You can do that:

They go to school.

They take the so-called second chance education, that is, early school leavers, who may have kept afloat with casual jobs for a while after school, but now realize that this may not have been everything in life, catch up their graduation:

  • High
  • Middle school leaving certificate
  • University student
  • High School

For a good ten years, early school leavers even have a legal right to support in obtaining a subsequent school leaving certificate.

They attend pre-vocational training courses.

These are usually addressed to young school dropouts immediately after leaving school. These measures usually take ten months and are arranged by the Employment Agency.

In it, young adults gain insight into various occupational fields and are introduced to the contents of the first year of training in a practice-oriented manner. There is no minimum or maximum funding period; rather, these measures are geared to the individual needs of early school leavers.

An extensive competence analysis identifies the strengths and weaknesses so that the funding can be tailored precisely to the participant of the training measure. The participants receive support from educational guides, who are equally responsible for the professional integration as well as for personal difficulties.

You are taking part in an introductory qualification.

This is aimed primarily at young disadvantaged people who have found a training place until 30 September. While preparation for vocational training focuses on socio-pedagogical measures and is carried out by a training provider, the initial qualification is designed as a long-term internship. This means that it must be at least 70 percent in one operation.

Anyone who wants to offer a chance to a school drop-out by an introductory qualification as an employer, this can be compensated by monthly grants in the amount of 231 euros. In addition, a lump sum is paid on the average total social security contribution for the trainee.