Lifelong Learning Programme

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This material reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein

Lifelong Learning Project - School Inclusion - Preventing Early School Leaving

Database delle pubblicazioni


The Cost of Early School-leaving and School Failure


Clive Belfield


Economics Department, Queens College


City University of New York, June 2008






This report deals with the theme of the negative consequences of the early school leaving problem in terms of costs for individuals, taxpayers and society. The method used by the author is a comparative research that combines and analyzes eight different countries (such as Mexico, Chile, Ukraine, Ghana, Kenya, Egypt, Indonesia and Pakistan). The data provided by each nation have been compared in order to see the differences with regard to the costs of inadequate education. The thesis supported by the present report ends with a negative assumption: the lower the educational level is the higher the costs for the whole society are. On the other hand, the author points out the benefits that every country could meet if the investment in education would be a priority. A great importance is given to the positive effects associated with an higher educational level: the participation to the market would increase and the earnings too, the poverty rate would decrease and there would be an improvement in family decision-making. This report cares about the methodological approach with which to study the early school leaving problem and explicitly gives the reader the tools to calculate the costs of “school failure” in different national contexts.


The present article provides an interesting and unconventional point of view in analyzing the early school leaving problem. The research method used and the countries selected as the sample by the author are representative in this regard. Mexico, Chile, Ukraine, Ghana, Kenya, Egypt, Indonesia and Pakistan all are different states with different educational systems. The data collected from each national research reflect these differences and this helps the reader to see how many cases have to be explored in order to deeply go inside the problem. The aim of the research is to seek out the roots of the early school leaving problem and to show the negative effects that it has on society. This kind of approach has a great impact on people’s mind, because it explicitly addresses the theme of the material costs of inadequate education. The present report is also useful because it develops the tools for estimating these costs and makes them available for further research on this issue. The conclusions provided in the document are to be seen as a strong stimulus for those countries that are in trouble with their students: these societies should recognize the importance of education in social and private life and they should also make a real effort in order not to let school fail. This would represent, as the author stresses in his report, an enormous gain for the future of a society.


Sara Ciabattini


Pixel Association


Project Assistant

Login Area

15 November 2012

Stay@School at the Future of Education Conference

The Stay@School projet will be presented at the third edition of the “Future of Education” international conference, held in Florence, Italy, on 13 - 14 June 2013. Over 250 participants from all over the world will attend the conference. The conference participants belong to the sectors of higher education, school education, vocational education and training as well as adult education, therefore representing all of the target groups of the Stay@School project.

School Inclusion - Copyright 2008 - This project has been funded with support from the European Commission

Valid XHTML 1.1Valid CSS!  Comunicazione grafica: - Programmazione & Web Marketing: - Hosting by: Connectis s.r.l.
Materiale fotografico: © Yuri Arcurs |