This project aims to join different actors within the education and guidance field in response to recommendations by the OECD and European Communities (Career Guidance: A handbook for policy makers, 2004) to map and create a model of the current diverse guidance actions taken and present the complex structural needs in the field of education and guidance to promote coherent policy and strategic planning of communities in the fight against Early School Leaving.
It is said that a country’s future depends largely on its young people and one of the headline targets of the European Commission is the reduction of the number of early school leavers to less than 10%. Based on the 2013 Labour Force Survey (Eurostat, 2013) the Early School Leaving rate in Spain is the highest in the European Union at 23.6%(2013) while Italy (17,0%), Romania (17.3%) and Greece (10.1%) also have high rates. It is clear from these ESL rates that there is a need for action and that in this context career guidance has a crucial role. These figures show that within the countries represented by the Guiding Cities project consortium Early School Leaving is a serious issue and challenge, which needs to be faced with coordination and strategy from the diverse stakeholders in the field.
The fight against Early School Leaving (ESL) is not only fought by schools. Other actors in the community also play a crucial role in reducing early school leaving and improving learning and career choice. Currently there is a plurality of guidance actions and providers, both public and private. Guiding Cities seeks to improve guidance and therefore reduce ESL by defining the model or map of possible guidance services/activities a community could offer, with services differentiated for distinct targets, such as early school leavers, or young people in general. The Model and Checklist will be developed and test to better articulate, harmonize and strengthen these actions to improve quality and effectiveness. All levels of stakeholders in school education and guidance from decision and policy makers to individual, local technicians or guidance practitioners can use the Guiding Cities Model and Checklist to evaluate their services and also find new solutions. The Guiding Cities Model and Checklist aspire to be benchmarking and planning tools for communities in order to improve the quality, innovation and access to guidance services in the prevention of Early School Leaving.
The high rates of early school leavers and youth unemployment and the inadequacy of professional qualifications to labour market demands are problems that affect municipalities and communities. This proposal aims to provide decision-makers, guidance practitioners, teachers and local technicians, with useful, online benchmarking tools and resources of reference in order to target groups, like Early School Leavers.
This project aims to improve the professional development of both local technicians delivering municipal services and guidance practitioners working in the school education sector. It also aims to develop strategies and to improve the quality of careers education and careers development in the classroom through the analysis of existing activities and resources, and developing a model of guidance and materials for a community with a checklist to benchmark, evaluate, plan and adjust to each target’s and community’s needs.