14 per cent of pupils in Flanders leave school without adequate qualifications

Almost one in seven pupils left secondary education without adequate qualifications in the 2021-22 school year, according to data from the Flemish Education ministry. 14.1 per cent left without obtaining a vocational qualification or the possibility of moving on to higher education.

The early leaving rate increased from 9.7 to 12.1 per cent between the 2014-15 and 2018-19 school years. In 2019-20, the first year affected by the pandemic, the rate dropped to 9.4 per cent. In 2020-21, it rose to 12 per cent and in 2021-22 to 14.1 per cent.

In 2021-22, 3.6 per cent of pupils in general secondary education left school early, compared with 10.7 per cent in technical education. In arts and vocational education, the figures were 12.9 and 22.7 per cent respectively. In DBSOs, centres where pupils combine work and vocational study, 59.2 per cent of pupils left education early.

"We must consider how we can provide a separate learning pathway for the most vulnerable pupils"

17.3 per cent of boys left school early, compared to 10.7 per cent of girls. Among young people who do not speak any Dutch at home, early leaving rates were more than three times higher than among those who speak only Dutch at home, at 27.2 and 8.5 per cent respectively.

Flemish MP Loes Vandromme of Christian democrats CD&V calls the figures a wake-up call. "There is no time to lose," she said. "We must consider how we can provide a separate learning pathway for the most vulnerable pupils."

In December, the Flemish government decided to award financial support to the Netwerk Samen tegen Schooluituitval project, which aims to prevent young people leaving school without a diploma. The network was established in 2016 at provincial level but will now be managed by the region.


#FlandersNewsService | File picture © BELGA PHOTO HATIM KAGHAT

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