Early Leaving from Education and Training (ELET) has a negative impact on young peoples' opportunities in the labour market and therefore has high costs for the individual as well as for society and the economy. Completing education, on the other hand, can lead to a series of better employment opportunities and health related outcomes for the individual. The Highlights from the last Eurydice study: Tackling early leaving from Education and Training in Europe are the following ones:

Early leaving from education and training is strongly linked to socio-economic disadvantage; statistically, students who are born abroad have higher ELET rates in comparison to students born in the country in question. The latter is of particular importance as on average, six out of ten children in the EU-28 Member States whose parents have a low level of education are at risk of poverty and social exclusion, and because of this might also be at risk of educational disadvantage and early leaving.

Most countries use a student register to collect national data on early leavers; in an effort to understand the phenomenon of early leaving and develop policies and measures to tackle it, most European countries/regions have established national definitions that they use in the policy process. These definitions are closely linked to the data collection tools used to measure early leaving. All European countries/regions, except for Belgium (German-speaking Community), Czech Republic, Croatia, Cyprus, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and the United Kingdom (Northern Ireland), collect information on early leaving, in addition to data gathered for the European Labour Force Survey, mainly through a student register or database. Only around one third of all European countries have adopted a strategy for tackling early leaving.

Education and career guidance is one of the key measures against early leaving in many European countries Guidance is therefore an important element in prevention, intervention and compensation initiatives. Schools have been given the main responsibility for implementing education and career guidance. Most often, it is addressed to secondary students. In around one third of the countries guidance is not offered at primary level.

Countries implement a variety of measures to address early leaving from VET; Vocation Educational Training in itself is considered to be a measure in the ELET arena, not least because many early leavers from both general and vocational education choose VET if/when they return to learning. Thus VET systems accommodate large numbers of learners who have either dropped out or decided to change their studies from one course, provider or type of learning to another.

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Source: Eurydice