Dropout is defined as the total number of students either leaving school early or having to repeat years. Dropout levels are currently unacceptable and constitute a major social and individual cost. In Tuscany, restricting the phenomenon to early school leaving alone, the percentage is between 17.6% and 18.6% as against an EU average of 12.8%.
In Tuscany the number of students dropping out of school every year is between 72,000 and 80,000. This is equivalent to 2% of the entire population of the Region across all age brackets. Young people qualified as NEET – Not in Education, Employment or Training – cost the State 70 billion euro a year, amounting to 4% of the GDP. Early school leaving impacts employment opportunities, income levels and health.
ORIENTADROPOUT is an innovative project for remediation, integration and the development of skills that has been conceived by the Ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze in liaison with two educational agencies, the Universities of Perugia and Arezzo, the Ministry of Education and two associations working in the educational field.
It schedules over 2,500 hours of classroom lessons over the span of 12 months in addition to a total of 8,000 hours of work. It is based on close interaction and collaboration between teachers and experts, an approach of very strict control and of dialogue pivoting on the evidence of performance and research. The direct beneficiaries are 6 school institutes, 24 classes (+ 24 classes for the respective control groups), 500 students, 500 teachers, 500 families and 150 youngsters who have already dropped out of the educational system.
The strategies of intervention include the organisation of activities and training itineraries with styles of teaching oriented towards a laboratory approach and towards life skills, aligned with different modes of learning. Systems of control, monitoring, ex ante and ex post evaluation are crucial parts of the process. The project is currently in progress and has already been recognised as best practice at the International Conference on Social Sciences in Athens. (www.dispersione.it)