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Monitoring Drop Outs. Albania, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Mongolia, Slovakia, and Tajikistan Virginija Budiene Education Policy Center, Vilnius University, Lithuania 50th Anniversary Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) Hawaii, March 14-18, 2006.

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Monitoring Drop Outs

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Monitoring Drop Outs

Albania, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Mongolia, Slovakia, and Tajikistan

Virginija Budiene

Education Policy Center, Vilnius University, Lithuania50th Anniversary Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES)Hawaii, March 14-18, 2006

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Monitoring Drop Outs

Monitoring Initiative of the Network of Education Policy Centers

Supported by Education Support Program of the Open Society Institute

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  • Central Europe (Latvia, Slovakia)

  • South East Europe (Albania)

  • Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Tajikistan)

  • Mongolia

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  • To identify the depth of the problem

  • To raise awareness about the issue of school dropouts

  • To assess the actual influence of different factors

  • To assess the content and implementation of existing regulations / legislation

  • To develop recommendations based on the findings

  • To provide background for advocacy activities on DO issue

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“Cabinet” research:

  • Analysis of regulations and legislation

  • Review of the official and other sources of statistics on DO

  • International overview of DO issues

    Field research:

  • Questionnaires

  • Individual interviews

  • Focus-groups

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The scope, factors, challenges

The study indicated:

  • the true scope of not-enrolled, not attending and dropped out children is not known.

  • Country studies signaled a rising trend among schools to manipulate their enrolment and attendance figures.

  • The study indicated that the most frequent cause of dropping out is poverty, and the second most frequent cause is a lack of motivation.

  • This suggests that policy advocacy in relation to dropouts should focus on making school cultures supportive rather than punitive, and should promote initiatives that mitigate the effects of poverty in communities and families.

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Dropouts: Common pitfalls

  • Definitions – they differ among and within countries

  • Statistics – no reliable, comparable and consistent data

  • Misreporting – “blame culture” or school funding depends on the enrollment

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Albania: figures on drop-out rate

  • according to the Ministry of Education and Science, school drop-out numbers were highest in 1991-92 (6.31%) and decreased to 2.3% by 2001.

  • according to UNICEF, only 82% of children who enrol in grade 1 continue to grade 5;

  • other Albanian sources state that more than 35% of students between the ages of 10-14 drop out, mostly because of poverty but also – and this is significant! – because of poor school quality

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Mongolia, Comparative Figures on Drop-Out Rate, 2003-2004

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Kazakhstan: figures on drop-out rate

  • According to the Kazakhstan MES (2003-2004), 2,943 students were detected who didn’t attend school for more than 10 days without a valid reason (rate of non-attendance and quitting the school is 0,095%= 0.1%).

  • The Kazakhstan Statistical Agency shows that in 2002-2003, there were 1,120,005 children of primary school age, whereas the MES data for the same year show 1,103,675 children actually in primary schools. The difference is more than 16,000 or about 1.4% of the age group.

  • Have the “missing” children ever enrolled in school at all, and therefore do not show up in MES non-attendance and drop-out figures?

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DO Survey Samples

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Limitations of the survey

There were three main limitations to the survey:

  • small sample size (if at all possible representative DO sample),

  • no standard definition of dropouts in each country,

  • semi-standardised survey instruments.

    Consequently, this cannot be considered a rigorous comparative survey.

    However, it has value as an exploratory study and it provides insights into an under-explored phenomenon from a perspective closer to those who feel it most.

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Dropouts: common reasons

  • Poverty

  • Lack of motivation

  • Family factors

  • School “climate”

  • Poor academic achievements

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Do you believe school guarantees a better future?

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Would you prefer to attend school again?

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International overview ( by Johanna Crighton) and country reports by each of the six NGO Policy Centres that include recommendations for local policy makers can be found at:

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It is not enough to measure the size of the problem of non-attendance or drop-out, or to count – however accurately – how many youngsters of compulsory education age are not in school.

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The key point is that all these children should be in school; and if they are not, where are they? And who are they?

Why are they not where society intends them to be, for their own good as well as for the good of society?

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Once we have a clearer understanding of these questions, we can start to think about answers:

answers that go beyond the simple responses of compulsory schooling laws, enforcement, and data collection on school attendance.

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Policy Challenges

  • Study suggests that policy advocacy in relation to dropouts should focus on making school cultures supportive rather than punitive, and should promote initiatives that mitigate the effects of poverty in communities and families.

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School Dropouts:

Different Faces in Different Countries

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A child who has dropped out from school:

  • believe that school is no good for future;

  • be employed to help family;

  • have poorly motivated teachers;

  • have unemployed parents;

  • has a large family and have communication problems among members.

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  • drop-out is a hidden problem in Kazakhstan (according to the official statistic there are only 0.2 percent children dropping out from the school system). Thus it is not considered on the national level and it is not a topic for broad discussion in society.

  • For years of independence new groups of children “at risk” appeared: street children, children from disadvantages families and “oralmans” (Kazakh families repatriate from China, Iran, Mongolia, Uzbekistan, etc), social orphans.

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  • Compulsory schooling is 9 Grades, but students, if not graduating, must sit at school until age of 18;

  • Most dropouts have problems in these subjects: Math, Sciences, English, Latvian lng, and History.

  • Parents of dropouts have low level of education.

  • Parents are employed, but have low income.

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  • The Slovak term for “dropout” relates just to children who finish compulsory education without finishing their primary education. Children registered but absent excessively are referred to as notorious truants.

  • Transition from primary(9 years) to secondary school is the “risky” period for children who tend to leave school early. At risk children and children from socially disadvantaged family environments, especially Roma children, rarely reach secondary school and often finish compulsory schooling in lower grades of primary school.

  • The issue of school dropouts is discussed very little, there is also a lack of data and insufficient school statistics related to the issue and factors leading to school dropouts.

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Based on the results of the survey, the following are the most common reasons why children drop out. They are broadly categorized into reasons that are considered as policy focus areas and understudied areas.

  • Policy Focus Areas:

  • Poverty/low income or lack of means of subsistence;

  • Child-labor related reasons such as herding, need to earn a living to help support the family, and need to take care of siblings or older members of the family;

  • Migration;

  • Lack of dormitories;

  • Teacher discrimination

  • Systemic problems of the education system.

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  • Based on the results of the survey, the main reasons why students drop out of school are the effects of poor economic conditions, which drive children to work at an early age and therefore quit school. An external circumstance considered as another reason on why students drop out was the 1992-1997 civil war, which caused forced migration and rendered those who migrated as refugees.

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