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The Fight Against School Dropouts

In 2012, a new programme was announced to halve the number of school dropouts by 2017. The French Ministry of Education is carrying out a vast programme to prevent teenagers dropping out of school and to help young people without qualifications return to education. In five years (2012-2017), the number of young dropouts has fallen from 136,000 to 110,000.

The Fight Against School Dropouts

In 2012, a plan to tackle the problem of school dropouts was made a priority. The French Ministry of Education is carrying out a vast programme to prevent teenagers dropping out of school and to help young people without qualifications return to education. In five years (2012-2017), the number of dropouts has fallen from 136,000 to 110,000.

Stated Aims

Today, France is making progress towards this goal of halving school dropouts. The French early school leaving rate (9%) is 1 point below the Europe 2020 Strategy target (10%) and 2 points below the European average (11%).

Following publication in November 2014 of the assessment of France's anti-dropout strategy (Évaluation partenariale de la politique de lutte contre le décrochage scolaire), the Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research is spearheading a major national campaign against early school leaving. 

Under the slogan "Tous mobilisés pour vaincre le décrochage"  - ‘All together to beat school dropout' - the plan coordinates action between the ministries in charge of education, employment, towns, health, agriculture and overseas departments, together with regional authorities, associations, researchers, and other interested parties including youngsters and their parents. Combined with other education ministry programmes, especially at primary level and in priority education, it has three key themes:

1. Everyone concerned - schools, national and regional authorities, and parents - is acting together against early school leaving. Awareness activities include:

  • a special week, organised by education authorities under the slogan ‘Ensemble on s'accroche!' (‘Together we hang in here'), to highlight successful initiatives;
  • schools and authorities collaborating to devise ‘anti-dropout' policies; 
  • parents' involvement, especially at crucial times when their kids are changing school or choosing their specialist subjects; 
  • a dedicated helpline for pupils and parents to consult specialised counsellors on alternative education streams and support.  

2. Emphasis on prevention, with measures to identify pupils' problems and find solutions from early childhood education and care onwards - such as: 

  • specialised training for all staff; 
  • collaboration between teachers, other educational workers and outside specialists.

3. A new chance for teenagers who fall behind at school, or have left empty-handed, to gain qualifications.  Among measures are: 

  • a more flexible, module-based education system; 
  • improved monitoring of pupils during their schooling; 
  • advice for teens about the world of work and opportunities for work experience; 
  • setting up innovative remedial education services, such as ‘micro-lycées'; 
  • the right for all dropouts to return to initial training, backed by the law
  • new initiatives for early school leavers such as voluntary military and civic service, and work
  • experience in partnership with the ministry of defence, voluntary associations and public bodies.

School Dropout Key Figures

  • the number of school dropouts has fallen from 136,000 five years ago to 110,000
  • the number of 18-24 year olds without qualifications has dropped from 620,000 to 494,000
  • in 2016, 26,000 young people returned to education, and following an inter-ministerial campaign on social networks, more than 10,000 have expressed their interest in doing so

 Specialised anti-dropout Services

  • The Mission de Lutte Contre le Décrochage Scolaire (MLDS) acts to prevent early school leaving, help youngsters back into education to gain qualifications and support them during their studies. 
  • The SIEI, the Interministerial System of Information Exchanges, identifies early school leavers through cross-referencing national and ministry databases; 
  • Nationwide monitoring and support offices advise and help early school leavers to return to education or prepare for a working life. They coordinate local education, guidance and youth employment services, such as schools, the MLDS, Centres d'information et d'orientation (COIs), local initiatives, agricultural establishments, the adult education system Greta, youth information bureaux and regional authorities.
  • Fo-QualE (Formation Qualification Emploi) networks are a collaboration between the MLDS and COIs to advise and support young people in finding appropriate educational avenues and advice; they are part of the ‘New chance' networks established in 2012. 

To learn more about the Fight Against School Dropouts, click here.

For a copy of the French government's Plan to Halve School Dropouts, click here.

To learn more en français, click here.

What is éduscol?

Eduscol, the website of the Directorate-general for Schools of the French Ministry for National Education, is aimed at education professionals and, primarily, teachers. Its purpose is to provide them with information by presenting official texts and offering resources to support their implementation on the ground.

Mis à jour le 10 mai 2017
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