RAPPORT PROJECT: BRINGING LIFE TO SCHOOL TO REDUCE EARLY SCHOOL LEAVING
Keeping students within the educational system during transitions between different stages of their education is extremely important: the challenges of transitions (e.g., from secondary education to vocational education) interact with individual and social factors that can cause early school leaving. For example, pupils from a low socio-economical background, or who experienced difficulties in primary school, are more likely to leave school early, especially if not adequately supported during moments of transition (European Commission, 2011). In particular, the main reason why young people leave school early has been identified as failing to perceive the relevance of school education for their everyday life, interests and career perspective. Therefore, boredom and the desire for change in life play a pivotal role in deciding to leave school (Byrne and Smyth, 2010).
Lowering early school leaving should be an objective of all countries and public authorities, both at national and local levels. Early school leavers generate costs by increasing the number of people experiencing unemployment or earning low wages (GHK consulting Ltd et al, 2011). Moreover, early school leavers experience more difficulties in accessing later educational opportunities.
Lowering ESL is among the priorities of the European Commission, which aims at improving the quality of schools’ resources in support of students and teachers approaching the end of compulsory education. The project Rapport (Building Rapport to prevent early school leaving - rapport-llp.eu), funded under the Comenius action of the Lifelong Learning Programme, aims at increasing the quality of teaching and educational resources in European mandatory education. The project is being implemented by a consortium of 8 partner organisations based in Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The general objective of Rapport is lowering early school leaving in partner countries by providing middle and lower secondary school teachers and students with an innovative and informal educational resources, aimed at increasing pupils’ perception of the importance of studying and of its relevance for everyday life and professional perspective.
Linking learning with external and attractive experiences was identified as a possible effective approach to be implemented against early school leaving (Ferguson, 2005). Consequently, the Rapport project brings into schools real-life experiences of possible students’ role models, showing different possible choices and consequences, with respect to education and training.
The main project’s product consists of a set of short video interviews showing the story and experience of people who left school early, completed an educational path, or left school and had a second chance to reach the end of their (often unexpected or not fully planned) training path. The interviews stress the importance of the role played by school learning in the interviewees lives, or the way in which its lack influenced their experience. The videos will be produced by all partner countries, in local language with English subtitles, and made available to schools, to be included in ordinary educational activities or initiatives aimed at supporting pupils’ choice with respect to their future.
The presentation will illustrate the project, focusing on its design, on the production of the video interviews and on their integration in class activities.