Early School Leaving in Portugal – How It is Prevented


ESL (early school leaving) is a complex political issue with a layered framework – before applying any solutions, the problem needs to be properly assessed and understood. Numerous studies have been done on the subject, so viable policies might be put in place, and today Portugal can say that they are efficiently battling the ESL issue. Bear in mind, that an official statistic shows that 25% of young adults between the age of 18 and 24, leave school. Let’s take a look at how the government decides to combat this problem.

Setting Early Projections

The 2020 strategy for Portugal has set a 10% rate reduction in the ESL statistic. Making this happen is by no means an easy task, and a number of new policies are implemented in order to make it happen. One of the things that are slowly changing, is the increase of the quality of teaching. Retaining the interest of young people towards any subject is no small task, and it needs to be done very carefully.

The Process to Reducing ESL

As it is a complicated issue, it will require complex solutions. ESL is a multi-layered social process, that reflects personal, social, economic, educational, and family-related factors. Previous experiences show us that some ESL measures have proven to be inefficient or have failed from the start, which only resulted in the loss of valuable resources. Today, different education and training policies have been taken to establish successful learning.

Prevention Measures

Some of the topics in this category include the creation of: a relevant and engaging curriculum, flexible educational pathways, smooth transition between educational levels, and strong guidance systems. In addition, high-quality VET involvement of pupils in decision-making and teacher education are imperative in making sure that young people won’t be turned away from the education system.

Intervention is Key

Usually, student behavioral patterns are giving an early indication of their decision to leave school for good. This gives the need for effective and evidence-based early warning systems. Intervention protocols focus on individual needs and also provide systematic support frameworks. Out of school activities and the empowerment of families and parents will also give a valuable sense of belonging to students that feel like they are wasting their time at school.

Compensation as an Achievement

Young people feel like they don’t deserve redemption once they made the bad decision to leave school. Accessibility and relevance of second-chance education are important in such cases. Teacher involvement and support is imperative in such moments and flexibility of curriculum will help students who are feeling like they’ve fallen behind too much. Luckily, links to mainstream education will help many to catch up quickly, without having to lose large amounts of time.

A Unified Sense of Accomplishment

Young people usually get upset when they are deemed “worthless” by society and can easily fall into a downward spiral of regret, leading them to a toxic way of life. A better educational system will not only help them stay in school but develop their own sense of accomplishment – this will turn them into qualified specialists who will have a lot more job opportunities available for them. Minimizing ESL is one of Portugal’s current main objectives, and currently things are going well!