Education and training are vital assets for the welfare of European citizens and therefore the European Union (EU). They are important tools in the promotion of equity, social cohesion and active citizenship on the one hand; and in the stimulation of economic growth and the creation of new skills, competencies and jobs on the other. However, due to global social and economic dynamics, the need for innovative learning- and training methods arises. Traditional education systems seem unable to adapt to these new realities, which is illustrated by a symptomatic high rate of early school leaving (ESL) in the EU. The basic assumption of the RESL.eu project therefore is that in the processes leading to a pupil’s decision to leave school or training early, many relevant features of structural/systemic, institutional and individual features of resistance to change, and failure to adapt to and overcome these social transformations will become visible.
For these reasons, this project aims to provide insights into the mechanisms and processes that influence a pupil’s decision to leave school or training early; as well as into the decision of school leavers to enroll in alternative learning arena’s unrelated to a regular school. These alternative locations of knowledge and skill transfer could provide us with creative or innovative methods of learning or training. In addition to this, RESL.eu will also focus on the pupils that left education or training early, and are identified as NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training), for these are the most vulnerable among European youngsters.
Furthermore, the RESL.eu project aims to identify and analyze the intervention and compensation measures that did succeed in transferring knowledge and in keeping pupils in education or training, although they showed high (theoretical) risk of ESL. Where the available research data on ESL only explains isolated aspects of the evolution towards ESL, the project will analyse ESL from a holistic perspective.
By framing the complex and often subtle interplay of factors influencing ESL on a macro, meso and micro level; and by deconstructing these different configurations of influencing factors in the specific contexts where they occur, we expect to uncover specific configurations of variables and contexts influencing the processes related to ESL. This will allow us to formulate conceptual models useful for the development and implementation of policies and specific measures to influence ESL, making the project not only relevant to academics, but also to policy makers, school staff and representatives from the civil society.