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Reflection tool for policy makers

Is the approach to tackling early leaving from VET in your country, region or municipality comprehensive? Check here!

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The tool proposes evidence-based strategies for tackling early leaving from VET. You will be asked if these are in place in your country, region or municipality. Having all strategies in place is an ideal situation. It is likely that some, or many elements, are missing or are not fully implemented in practice. Based on your answers, the tool will help you design an action plan to develop the strategies for tackling early leaving from VET in your country, region or municipality.

The tool covers the following topics:

  • Identification of learners at risk of early leaving
  • Monitoring of early leavers
  • The VET system and other learning pathways
  • Guidance, counselling and support
  • Individual learning pathways
  • Skills development
  • School-based learning environments
  • Work-based learning environments

You can use the tool as many times as you want. Cedefop  the answers submitted to the tool. It is a self-service tool – you only can see your answers and final results.

You may also download a pdf version of the list of strategies in English, Spanish or German. A pdf version of the action plan to implement these strategies is available in English.

A tool based on structural indicators

The tool is based on a matrix of structural indicators. These indicators refer to relatively enduring features of VET systems that can be modified such as structures, mechanisms, roles and responsibilities, etc. Whether a strategy exists or not, should be answered on the basis of information usually available at the central level.

Some strategies may be implemented only partially in your country, region or municipality. For instance, a mechanism may be used by some VET providers but not others. The questions ask you about what happens in the majority of cases.

It is possible that you do not have all the information needed to know whether some of the strategies are in place or not. To have a better understanding of the comprehensiveness of your approach to reducing early leaving, it may be advisable to use the tool as part of a group exercise involving different government departments, services and/or experts knowledgeable about the different policies to tackle early leaving from VET.

Cedefop has developed a guide for planning and conducting a workshop intended to help bring together government representatives at national, regional or local level and stakeholders in the field of VET. It provides a method and structure to involve them in the development of an action plan to improve the national, regional or local strategy to tackle early leaving from VET, using the Reflection tool.

The development of this tool

The development of the tool was done under the responsibility of Irene Psifidou, Cedefop expert at the Department for learning and employability, headed by Antonio Ranieri.

The tool is based on a matrix of structural indicators developed by Paul Downes through a literature review on the topic, including Cedefop’s research study ‘Leaving education early: putting vocational education and training centre stage’. The structural indicators were discussed, refined and validated by an expert panel composed of six members bringing together research and practical knowledge of early leaving and VET: Béatrix Charlier, Paul Downes, Marie Gitschthaler, Erna Nairz-Wirth, Becci Newton and Ward Nouwen.

Cedefop piloted the tool in October and November 2016 with professionals involved in the design and implementation of VET and youth policies, measures and tools. These included representatives of national, regional and local authorities, training providers, youth services, and researchers from a variety of EU Member States.

The tool was launched at Cedefop ‘Policy Learning Forum: VET as a solution to leaving education early’ in May 2017, and has since been presented in a variety of regional, national and international events. These events have allowed Cedefop to test the tool and use the feedback to improve it. The tool was last updated in mid-2019.

If you would like to share with us your experience using this tool, please contact us.

The reflection tool for policy makers is designed for government officers at national, regional or local level in charge of policies that tackle early leaving from VET. These include departments in charge of a variety of policies such as:

  • The organisation and structure of the education system and the VET system
  • VET curricula
  • Teaching methods in VET
  • Apprenticeships
  • Educational support and guidance
  • Validation of non-formal and informal learning
  • Teacher education
  • Second chance measures
  • Youth policies

The tool may also be of interest to VET providers and civil society organisations (e.g. social partners, NGOs in the field of youth, universities) to increase their understanding of VET policies to tackle early leaving.

The tool can help government representatives to give comprehensive direction on what strategies need to be implemented, and trigger reflection among VET providers and other relevant organisations on how to implement them.

This tool is an instrument to promote reflection on the national, regional or local strategy to tackle early leaving from VET, and it can be a starting point for institutional change.

It can be used to carry out regular reviews of the strategy to tackle early leaving from VET, in order to monitor changes over time. It also provides a method and structure to develop a national, regional or local action plan to improve this strategy.

The tool can be completed individually or as part of a group exercise involving different government representatives, services and/or experts knowledgeable about the different policies to tackle early leaving from VET. Cedefop has developed a guide for planning and conducting a workshop that provides a method and structure to use the Reflection tool to involve government representatives and stakeholders in the development of an action plan.