Sozialpolitische Studienreihe

Studienreihe Bd 20 Abstract

To introduce an obliging education and training up to the age of 18 (‚E&T up to 18‘) is a

fundamental innovation, as in Austria compulsory education has for several decades been completed after the ninth school year. In that context, with ‘E&T up to 18’ a large scale national program of high significance is pushed. The goal is to increase the share of qualifications at upper secondary level. Concurrently it is the main national initiative to combat Early School Leaving (ESL).

In the report, the findings of the baseline study that has been conducted on behalf of the Ministries of Social Affairs, of Education and of Economic Affairs are presented. The study encompasses quantitative analyses of the extent and origins of ESL, qualitative analyses of the backgrounds, problems and resources of early leavers as well as an analysis of preventive and remedial measures to tackle ESL.

About 16.000 young persons between 15 and 17 constitute the target group of ‘E&T up to 18’. Their situations in life, the degree to which they are excluded from the education system – and therefore their needs for support – differ widely. Given a range of causes for ESL, one common link can be found anyway: Educational success and failure are connected with the absence of problems and the existence of support in the youth’s out-of-school environment. One driver in this context is an education and training system that is fundamentally based on selection.

As far as remedial activities to compensate for a missing qualification and measures to help youths to re-integrate into the education system are concerned, efforts are being made all over Austria. Still, to implement the large-scale ‘E&T up to 18’ it will be necessary to put more effort into preventive measures: Prevention in this sense means a general reduction of the selectivity of the E&T system, the extension of in-school support systems as well as to channel resources to those schools that have to face problems above the average.