Lifelong Learning Programme

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
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Lifelong Learning Project - School Inclusion - Preventing Early School Leaving

Database delle pubblicazioni


Scholastic dropout and effective educational policies – From the research on early school leavers to the innovative proposals


Maddalena Colombo


Centro Studi Erickson


October, 2010






This book analyzes the problem of scholastic dropout in the international context, the European and the Italian ones in particular. The author Colombo pays attention on the causes, the origins and the pathways that characterize this phenomenon and she develops a detailed historical-conceptual analysis, going over the changes that affected this issue over time, both at literal level and in the “modus operandi” of related social policies. Through a qualitative approach the author identifies three kinds of causes at the basis of the early school leaving problem: the “direct” causes, related to the individual’s biography and to the past negative experience that he passed through; the “latent” causes, that is the will of students looking for jobs with low demand in the labor market and the remote causes linked to socioeconomic and familiar difficulties. Understanding these factors means to adopt the right perspective in the elaboration of social policies preventing scholastic dropouts. In the second part of the book the author presents the results of an empirical study that took place in the province of Brescia regarding the major factors that often lead to the dropout’s decision. In the end, the author makes some proposals with the objective of promoting the formative success. The final thesis of this book considers that only social policies adopted at local level can get rid of the early school leaving problem and the main actors to be involved in the preventive project are essentially three: the family, the enterprises and the school itself.


This book presents an interesting analysis of the scholastic dropout phenomenon, looking at it from the point of view of its fundamental causes. Identifying the origins of this problem is, according to the author Colombo, an essential step towards concrete and effective social policies. The long literal reflection is really interesting, the author makes reference to the recent historical evolution of the concept of early leaving. To give an idea of what the problem of the scholastic dropout means to the Italian context the author reports some examples of empirical studies concluded in this issue and shows how far Italy is from the goals defined in Lisbon with the approval of the “Europe 2020” strategy. This part of the book seems to be really useful to the reader to understand how this kind of works are organized from the methodological point of view and which are the results that have to be observed to help students “at risk”. The idea that local policies are essential to prevent this problem is sharable, although, because of the multiplicity of actors involved, a joint multilevel intervention would permit to use more resources and useful collaborations. In the end the author suggests some innovative ideas and invites the reader and all the citizens to reflect upon the long term consequences of every policy in the field of education and schooling: it is important to underline that the scholastic dropout problem has not a simple solution to be reached in short time, but it requires the collaboration of several actors who should work for the future society.


Sara Ciabattini


Pixel Association


Project Assistant

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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

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