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ERIC Number: EJ773348
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Sep
Pages: 16
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 24
ISSN: ISSN-0013-1881
"Education Is Important, but..." Young People outside of Schooling and the Finnish Policy of "Education Guarantee"
Ahola, Sakari; Kivela, Suvi
Educational Research, v49 n3 p243-258 Sep 2007
Background: Early school leaving and dropout are widely recognized as problems, leading to further marginalization and exclusion of young people from society at large. The Finnish government has set a target that, by the year 2008, 96% of those who complete compulsory education will continue without interruption in secondary education or in the 10th grade. This policy is known as "the education guarantee." Purpose: The purpose is to present preliminary results from a research project in progress, which is part of an ESF/EQUAL II funded development project called "VaSkooli." The project aims at a regional model of education guarantee by which a place of study and other forms of support can be offered for every young person finishing compulsory education. Target group: The target groups of the project consist of: (1) students in the final years of comprehensive school who have various kinds of difficulties at school; (2) students who do not apply for a place in secondary education after finishing comprehensive school; (3) those who apply for secondary education but do not find a study place; and (4) students who have dropped out of secondary education or who are in danger of doing so. It was estimated that in the region where this project is being carried out (Turku and Salo regions in south-west Finland), there were some 310 youngsters outside of education. This paper reports findings from the first round of data collection during summer and autumn 2005, including 124 returned questionnaires and 15 interviews based on an opportunity sample. Design and methods: In the first round of data collection the target population was contacted mainly through other participating sub-projects and their resource centres. In addition, a larger survey was mailed to all those who applied but did not gain a study place at the Turku Vocational Institute (N = 174). The questionnaire was also distributed through various project workers. In-depth interviews were conducted on a voluntary basis. Results: The situation of the respondents was relatively good, indicating the difficulties in reaching the most vulnerable youth. One-third had enrolled in the 10th grade and 24% were studying in regular upper secondary education. Fifteen youngsters with an immigrant background were in special preparatory education, 14 had regular jobs or were in practical or apprenticeship training, and three had enrolled in some other short courses. The number of those without any study place or work was 22 (18%). The respondents valued education relatively highly; 90% said that they would need education in order to realize their dreams. Two subgroups can be identified: those for whom education/work is relatively important and those who value free time/friends/hobbies more than others. The interviews highlight the various social problems and disaffection from school that are behind exclusion. Conclusions: At this point, the conclusions of this research in progress remain on a quite general level. Proposed measures in breaking the vicious circle of school exclusion include the redefinition of "at-risk" youth and their social problems, reallocation of blame, investing in measures which prove to work and applying empowering inclusive policies. It should be recognized that learning at school does not suit everybody. Instead of being an institution that "disciplines and punishes," the school should act as an agency of empowerment, allowing each young person to develop their strengths and find their "own thing" ("oma juttu"). (Contains 3 tables, 1 figure and 6 notes.)
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Publication Type: Information Analyses; Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Finland