Annual ROA research on early school dropouts16 July 2012
Many dropouts believe no one tried to help them
Of the total number of secondary school dropouts, 45% feel that no one tried to prevent them from leaving school prematurely. More than half of the dropouts from intermediate vocational education (MBO level 1/2) believe this to be the case, with 19% claiming they never discussed their decision before quitting their programme. These were the results of the ‘Premature Dropout’ factsheet drafted by the Maastricht University Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
The annual ROA study, conducted in late 2011, surveyed 2,145 young people who prematurely quit school during the 2009/10 academic year. The results pertain to students who quit their intermediate vocational education (MBO) or secondary education (lower vocational education (VMBO), higher secondary general education (HAVO), pre-university education (VWO)) without obtaining a diploma or certificate.
Key conclusions at a glance:
Primary reason for quitting
• At 45%, school-related motivations were the main reason for the premature dropout rate. The students listed dissatisfaction with the programme contents and its organisation as the main reason for quitting their study. Other reasons included the programme being too difficult and/or failing an exam.
Early warning signs
• Looking back, poor attendance proved to be a key warning sign for premature dropouts, particularly those who skipped class due to school-related problems or personal problems.
• Dropouts indicated having been bullied more often than students at the same academic level who did graduate. This is particularly true for VMBO students.
• One in three dropouts return to school after 18 months. Dropouts from the VMBO and general secondary education in particular are more likely to return to school.
• Only 28% of dropouts are unemployed or out of school 18 months after quitting, and are not looking for work.
• Just below 40% are actively looking for work, but of this group, an average of one in five is unemployed.
Future plans and regrets
• Nearly one-quarter of the dropouts not currently in school or registered to start a new programme indicated that school costs were a major reason.
• Factors that could contribute to their return to school included financial support, the opportunity to combine school and work, and more support with academic choices and during the programme itself.
• Only 13% regretted quitting school prematurely and claimed they would not make the same decision again. Roughly 35% said they regretted their decision, but had no other choice given the circumstances.