One of the main challenges for all educational systems is to reduce the rate of the Early School Leavers (ESL): according to recent researches, one out of five students leaves school before completing a regular curriculum. The E.U has set the target of reducing ESL to 10% across member states by 2020. ESL is a multi-faceted and complex problem that is a result of personal, social, economic and family-related reasons: in many cases ESL is a process of progressive disengagement from education whose roots lie in early years. ESL is a central topic in the European and National educational policies because it represents an obstacle to economic growth and employment. All European States are concerned about this problem because it hampers productivity and fuels poverty and social exclusion.
The purpose of education in modern society is to prepare students for the challenges of life. For this reason rather than inculcating a set list of competencies or ideas, schools must prepare students to think critically in order to choose their careers.
In spite of different educational systems, the factors leading students to drop-out from school do not vary that much from country to country. The causes of the ineffective policies fighting this problem are the lack of comprehensive strategies that can involve different parts of the modern society starting from the school. An integrated school approach to reduce ESL is also needed: the entire community (teachers, staff, parents) must participate in approaching this problem. The teachers have a prominent role because they spend most of their working time with their students. They are aware of the problem but they need to feel supported to develop specific skills and competencies dealing with the students at risk of drop-out. A good approach to this problem should include strategies to identify these students, to manage diversity, to improve their motivation. Cooperation represents a fundamental component in teachers’ practice and professional development because it promotes reflections on practices and therefore can be very useful in order to approach this topic.
The aim of this project is sharing experiences among teachers coming from different countries, and working in different educational background, in order to find solutions and strategies that can be used in everyday school life. Sharing issues within the group implies opportunities for mutual support and for the exchange of competencies and experiences that may enrich and make the work of everyone easier. The participation of the students in the activities of the project, increases their self-sufficiency and self-esteem.