Maddalena Colombo

Contrasting School Leaving through Local Policies: From Investigation to Networked Intervention

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This essay aims to show how Italy is embedded within the frame of Eu Lisbon strategy 2020 in contrasting school leaving. Unfortunately the education performance of «Sistema Italia», if compared with other Eu members, is still under the averages although recent improvements has been achieved in terms of Early school leavers (Esl) ratio. There are traditional drop-outs (young people in disadvantaged conditions, as those with migrant background and those living in the South-Island) along with a new kind of drop outs, youth employed in low-qualified jobs - especially males - and living in more developed regions of Italy. Everywhere is increasing a sort of disengagement of young people towards school. The national policy of prevention, based on the enlargement of compulsory education (form 14 to 16 years), has shortly reduced dropout ratio but the risk of an increasing in school leaving is still present. For an efficient prevention, a local approach of intervention is suggested in the essay, which must involve all social actors implied in this frame: schools (teachers in prominent position) - who must co-ordinate the field action because is within the school experience of youngsters that lie the most direct push factors; families (parents and students together); enterprises; municipalities and local welfare (public and no-public services) in a networked action. In order to avoid the (non infrequent) risk of a bureaucratic commitment of social institutions, a preliminary negotiation is needed among different local stakeholders, as regards the real interests at stake, that is, how everyone considers the lost of human capital that would be occur if prevention of Esl will fail.


  • Early school leavers
  • Lisbon Strategy 2020
  • disengagement from school
  • local approach to school leaving prevention
  • italian dropouts


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