School drop-out rate
At the Lisbon European Council held in March 2000, the Heads of State and Government acknowledged that " the European Union is confronted with a quantum shift resulting from globalisation and the challenges of a new knowledge-driven economy " and set the Union a major strategic goal for 2010 " to become the most
competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion ". It stressed that this would require not only a " radical transformation of the European economy ", but also a " challenging programme for the modernisation of social welfare and education systems ". Never before had the European Council acknowledged to this extent the role played by education and training systems in the economic and social strategy and the future of the Union. [Source : COM(2003) 685 final, 11.11.2003]
In March 2001, the European Council adopted three strategic goals (and 13 associated concrete objectives) to be attained by 2010: education and training systems should be organised around quality, access, and openness to the world. A year later, it approved a detailed work programme ("Education & Training 2010") for the attainment of these goals and supported the ambition of the Ministers for Education to make education and training systems in Europe " a worldwide quality reference by 2010 ".
The Union has made tackling the problem of early school leavers one of its priorities .
In 2002, almost 20% of young people aged 18–24 in the EU prematurely dropped out of school and were on the fringes of the knowledge society. The Ministers of Education have agreed on a target to bring this rate down to 9% by 2010. A big effort will be needed in most Member States, even if the arrival of the acceding countries will substantially improve the European average.
Countries with best “performances” are Sweden, Finland and Austria: 10.3% average
Countries with most worrying data are Portugal (45%), Spain (29%) and Italy (26%)
School drop-out is a global emergency. Unicef data confirm this; indeed, one of its recent surveys (L'ecole mon droit! – 2004), is extremely clear on the matter:
700 millions children should go to school
120 millions out of them do not
School drop-out statistics:
As to EC data, May 1998, DG Education and Culture, 10% - 20% of the youth leave school without qualifications in the UE; 45.5% of the young aged 15 -24 have a low-level qualification, equal to the level of the Italian “Terza Media” (secondaire inferieur, basic second level).
School drop-out data in Europe
The current average rate of young school dropouts (aged 18 – 24) in the UE is 18.8%.
In the Candidate Countries, only approx 8.4% of 18 – 24-year-olds drop out of school once they have completed the 1 st level of secondary school. These countries show better achievements than the Member Countries as far as the percentage of school dropouts. In some countries, the percentage has been decreasing since the early ‘90s: Greece, France and Luxemburg. In Denmark and Portugal the decreasing trend of the early ‘90s reversed in the middle of the present decade; as a result, the school dropouts' rate is almost that of the early ‘90s.