- setting up education priority zones in regions with low educational attendance and high percentage of early leavers in order to support students at risk;
The main policies and measures related to early leaving are:
- positive discrimination of schools aimed at fighting against school failure and drop-out of foreign repatriated and Roma students, as well as students from the Muslim minority. This includes training and support of teachers, in-school supportive interventions and coordination of school networks. Also, special curriculum arrangements are set up: in areas with high density of migrant, repatriated or Roma population; ‘crosscultural schools’ adapt the curriculum to the specific educational, social and cultural needs of students, with the teaching of the instruction language as a key priority; ‘minority schools’, that are bilingual Greek-Turkish, operate at Thrace, in areas with a population from the Muslim minority;
- supplementary income benefits are available for families with low income having children in compulsory education;
- introducing the All Day Primary School, with an extended timetable (in addition to the compulsory one) and extra activities (study, arts and cultural activities, English, a second foreign language and ICT);
- increasing the flexibility and permeability of educational pathways, such as all-day preprimary and primary schools, evening lower secondary schools and vocational upper secondary schools to help students at work attending classes, and initial vocational training for those who do not want to continue in general education;
- improving the quality and prestige of vocational education and training by offering two cycles of study: secondary and postsecondary (the so called ‘apprenticeship class’);
- language support for children with a different mother tongue through programmes such as ‘ODYSSEAS – Education of immigrants in the Greek language, history and culture’;
- identification of groups at risk of early leaving and development of early warning systems, particularly for students with special educational needs;
- setting up the ‘Observatory for the Prevention of School Violence and Bullying’.
Specific targeted measures for groups at risk are focused on students from socially disadvantaged, migrant and minority/Roma backgrounds.
Introduction of a new, optional fourth year of VET training which takes place in form of apprenticeship training. This additional year of apprenticeship training leads to a higher level VET qualification (EQF5) which is expected to be attractive to both employers and learners alike. The reform also improves the system to recognise prior learning, thereby in particular benefiting early leavers who are returning to VET with relevant work experience.
Cross sector cooperation
Cooperation on early leaving is being tested within projects. It involves the policy areas of employment, youth, social affairs, justice and health. Concerning multi-agency partnerships at local/institutional level, professionals are involved (school heads, teachers, guidance specialists, psychologists, social workers, as well as speech and language specialists) but partnership practice is not yet well established.
Education and career guidance
Education and career guidance is explicitly considered as a prevention, intervention and compensation measure to tackle early leaving. Educational and career guidance is part of the lower secondary education curriculum as a compulsory separate subject (‘School Career Guidance’). Moreover, since September 2011, 1st and 2nd years students in upper secondary education have the opportunity to be informed and deal with issues related to education and career guidance within a separate subject (‘Project’). The school staff in charge of guidance are both specifically and non-specifically trained teachers. Career guidance is also provided outside schools by Counselling and Guidance Centres (KESYP). Digital tools on career guidance are available through the National Organisation for the Certification of Qualifications and Vocational Guidance (EOPPEP), which belongs to the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs.
These are, for instance, an interactive web portal for career counselling of young people, a national database of educational opportunities and a vocational orientation test and basic skills self-assessment.