« Drop out » in English is when a young person stops following his or her studies completely and disconnects from the school system. Everybody has already heard about this phenomenon, which affects up to one in ten young people in Europe (sources(link is external)) and is often the first step towards new difficulties: finding a job, supporting oneself or keeping a social life.
Faced with this observation, the "Drop-In" project led by Pistes Solidaires, in partnership with four other European organisations, wishes to prevent rather than cure. Instead of helping young people who have experienced a break-up to reintegrate into the school system, which is often very difficult, the idea is to "hang them" in school before they break up. How can this be done? By putting non-formal education tools at the heart of the school curriculum in order to awaken motivation and interest in the classroom.
The project brings together five European organisations and schools from Latvia, Bulgaria, Italy and Belgium. For thirty months, between October 2018 and February 2021, the structures will work together during the five stages of the project. Firstly, the realisation of a European state of the art on the problem of early school leaving. Then, the creation of a guide of non-formal education techniques for teachers, which implies a third step: training these teachers in these techniques. Once trained, these teachers in turn become trainers of their colleagues.
The teachers will then be asked to put their learning into practice in the classroom and give their opinion, via an online platform, on the effectiveness of the new methods. At this stage, around 50 European teachers and therefore thousands of pupils are already aware of non-formal education. Finally, with all this research, the last stage of the Drop-In project is the drafting of a report, accompanied by recommendations for policy makers, so that the knowledge acquired can be disseminated at European level.
The Drop-In project thus offers not only a precise analysis of the situation and the initiatives already put in place by European countries to fight against early school leaving, but also new solutions. The meeting of formal and non-formal education, through teacher training, will be able to arouse the curiosity, dynamism and interest of pupils in their education and will certainly help to wake up sleeping classes.