Addressing Early School Leaving an alternative approach

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1 Addressing Early School Leaving an alternative approach ΔΙΕΥΘΥΝΣΗ ΠΕ ΔΥΤΙΚΗΣ ΘΕΣΣΑΛΟΝΙΚΗΣ

2 Who we are Directorate of Primary Education of Western Thessaloniki We are the second biggest directorate of primary education in Greece, since we are responsible for: 445 schools of primary education More than 4000 teachers of all faculties And more than students. Director of all the above is Mr. Konstantinos Kontogiannidis. His directorate is divided in three major departments: the financial department, the department responsible for Educational Issues and the human resources department. At RECIPE program we cooperate with the following schools 3nd & 13th Primary School of Ampelokipous 1st &14th Primary School of Stauroupoli 5th Primary School of Menemeni (pure Roma School) 1 st primary school of Diavata and many moooooore

3

4 Greek Educational System Structure The Hellenic educational system is divided into three different levels: a) Primary Education, which includes Kindergarten and Elementary School b) Secondary Education, which includes Middle School (Junior High Schools) and High Schools (General and Technical-Vocational) and c) Higher Education, which includes Universities and Technical Educational Institutions. Education in Greece is compulsory for all children aged 5-15, (Elementary School & Lower Secondary Education). Student school life, however, may begin at the age of 2,5 years (pre-school education) in institutions (private and public) called Nursery Schools. Some Nursery Schools also include Kindergarten Schools. Non-classified Post-compulsory Secondary Education also includes Institutions of Vocational Training (IEK), which offer official but not classified education. These Institutions are characterized as non-classified, because they accept both Middle School graduates and High School graduates, depending on their areas of specialty.

5 Administrative organization of Primary and Secondary Education 4 levels national regional (1) regional (2) local MINISTRY OF CULTURE EDUCATION & RELIGION REGIONAL DIRECTORATES OF PRIMARY & SECONDARY EDUCATION (each in every prefecture) DIRECTORATE OF PRIMARY SECONDARY EDUCATION (SEPARATE) PRINCIPAL+ TEACHERS ASSOCIATONS COMMUNICATION

6 Rec S in Greece What are REC s in Greece? How do they operate? What do they have to offer and how can they influence early school leaving? How do they cooperate, help schools, teachers and students?

7 What are REC s in Greece REC s in Greece are not a center but a number of various institutions and/ or people with different: (a) responsibilities (b) role (c) authority Depending on the administration level REC s vary from abstract, impersonal, and indirect to more specific, personal and direct

8 About REC s Are not typical centers Are various institutions or persons carrying various levels of responsibility They support schools in all aspects such as early school leaving

9 Categories of REC s: Institutions persons with educational / training role Offices / persons with supportive, guiding and advisory role Institutions with supportive/ administrative role

10 (a) Institutions with educational / training role Regional Teaching Centers (RTC s):centers that operate independently but are sponsored by the Ministry of Education. They cooperate with all education bodies and provide training to teachers, updated knowledge on educational and teaching issues and practices. Institution of Educational Policy (IEP): an independent, leading scientific institution which supports the Ministry of Education in the faculty of educational research. They are also responsible for the curriculum, the school books, constant training of teachers, principals, school advisors Teachers Training Organization (OEPEK): main duties to provide high quality educational seminars / training to all teachers and everyone education- related

11 (b) People with supportive, guiding, advisory role 1. School advisors : teachers with increased qualifications specializations and adequate education experience. They offer advisory services to class teachers regarding education, scientific and pedagogic guidance and support inside the classroom and outside. Among others they are also responsible for: 1. Teacher training regarding education, innovative actions and activities which contribute to the improvement of educational and teaching procedures. 2. Updating educational and teaching knowledge 3. The conformation of weekly class schedule in cooperation with the teachers association and the principal of each school unit 4. The evaluation of the educational process and of teacher s. PECIPE COURSE PORTUGAL 2015

12 (b) Institutions with supportive role DDSC: Differential Diagnostic and Supportive Centers (multidisciplinary scientific groups ) Primary duties: 1. To provide diagnosis, evaluation and support services for students with special education needs. 2. To support, inform and train teachers on special education. 3. To oversee and evaluate the progress in the classroom of students with special education needs. 4. To suggest the formation of adapted personalized or group programs of psycho-pedagogic and teaching support, creative activities and every kind of supporting measures for children with special education needs at schools, at their own facilities or at home. There is one DDS Center in each directorate

13 (c) Institutions with supportive / administrative role Department for educational affairs of the directorate (ONE IN EVERY DIRECTORATE): among others its role is i. to reassure the smooth operation of all school units in its area. ii. To support and intervene in the communication between school- teachers parents Ministry- other authorities with the Director of Education. iii. To support every citizen - parent teacher principal regarding educational issues.

14 All the above are independent, free to take initiatives, to make decisions, suggestions, implementations, innovations.among others they deal with Early School Leaving each from a different but interconnected point of view. And they all work always by the law and the legally authorities that the state and the Ministry of Education assigns them

15 EDUCATIONAL SUPERVISION 2 LEVELs National Educational Policy Institute Regional School Advisors Department for Educational issues

16 Basic actions measures of balancing education in the school environment Reception classes I & II Integration Classes Collateral support Repatriates. Emigrants Roma Target: learning, understanding Greek and if necessary Math s in a parallel supportive way. Special educational programs Special educated personnel Co teaching Special teacher for children with special needs in the classroom

17 Some notes The Greek educational system is Centralized National orientated But also Flexible Innovative despite the economical problems Democratic despite the bureaucracy Creates very well qualified educators Allows creativity and initiatives in every level

18 Preventing Early School Leaving TILL BASIC MINORITIES IN GREECE ROMA (east/central Macedonia, Thrace, West Greece, Thessalia) MUSLIMS: Prefecture of east Macedonia (county of Rhodope and Thrace)

19 since 1980 Greece become a welcome country for many emigrants especially from Albania, Romania, former Yugoslavia and Bulgaria (Balkan) Greece become a multicultural society and schools, multicultural schools Need for re-imagine re-form education

20 back to Roma Understanding Roma and the reason they leave school early 1998: pupils 2008: pupils families Biggest minority in Europe presupposes the awareness of the way they live, their culture, their socioeconomical background, their habits, their values And we ought to do that cause:

21 Basic problems in Roma s life Living conditions Job - occupation education

22 Education Even today most Roma adults are illiterate. The school attendance still not satisfactory. Most Students leave school after the end of compulsory education in order to work and financially support their families (15 Years old)

23 Things to be done Whoever wants to help Roma people has to learn and deal with their problems cause these social economic problems are the basic reason they leave school early. The sooner, the best!!! So early intervention is an answer one answer to the problem To solve a problem means to deal with it. To fight social exclusion means to fight the reasons which cause it.

24 Sooooo We as a primary institution have the duty to change students attitude towards school To direct or redirect the dominant school culture so as 1. to caltivate values such as solidarity 2. To endorse the multiculturalism and reject ethnocentrism 3. To serve the idea of an antiracist pedagogy with characteristics: (a) The creative participation of all children (b) The critical consciousness (Freire 1976) & enhancement of factors that lead to exclusion and ( c) shaping perceptions, attitudes and behaviors based on solidarity from everyone Involved in the educational process

25 In order to reduce/ prevent early school leaving now and in the future activities methods procedures measures Learning styles efforts strategies Lesson plans aims programs

26 Researches Early School Leaving can be noticed at schools in urban, semi-urban and rural areas. Boys leave school more often than girls. Early School Leaving is strongly related to students who derive from particular ethno cultural minority groups such as Roma people, immigrants and Muslims. The low socioeconomic status of the family seems to conduce to early school leaving. The opposite should be an issue for further research. Roma people s customs (e.g. early get married or to work for the family s income) reinforce pupils, especially girls, to leave school. Early School Leaving seems to be related to not regular/systematic school attendance. Acculturation (not only integration ) is necessary for the transition to our school. That means to make use of each student s cultural capital and promote school culture as a Multicultural hall.

27 However, measures adapted to the specific needs of each school are important for confronting effectively early school leaving The enrichment of every day school life with new various activities which can abstract all children s interest and cultivate different skills is strongly suggested by educators and scientists. Cultural competence is necessary characteristic for school principals, which means ability to communicate and empathize with students who derive from different ethno cultural environments. The role of the school principals is important in order to confront early school leaving However, principals don t believe that their role is as serious as students family or personal characteristics. This attitude should be further investigated. Inclusive Education concerns special needs in general and not only children with special educational needs after all, all children have special needs cause each of them is special and unique.

28 Early School Leaving according to recent data students in Primary schools: ,417 left school of which 952 Foreign Students 1,898 Roma, 49 Repatriates 525 other s The dropout rate for Western Attica amounted to 5.86% while 2.51% students left school in Rhodopi the same ,598 students 3,646 students left school, 1,317 Roma, 1,668 foreigners, 47 repatriated and 611 students classified as others

29 The total percentage of early school leaving in compulsory Education (Elementary Lower Secondary Schools) is estimated to be approximately 12%. This practically means that more than young people aged years have not completed the nine year compulsory education.

30 The School Leaving in Elementary school mainly concerns the ethno cultural groups of Roma, immigrants and the Muslims of Thrace. A significant number of foreign students and Roma children do not attain at all the Secondary education ,734 Roma students were in primary education and the same time only 2,141 in high schools. Similarly the same school year the foreign students in elementary school were 98,010 and in Lower Secondary Education. Nationwide the Rate of dropout in primary schools is 0.6 % in the last three years. First is Athens with 2.9%,followed by Xanthi with 2.3% and Rhodopi with 1.6%. In Thessaloniki the percentage is limited to 0.3% Increased Early School Leaving rate is noted in Gymnasium And Lyceum. In Terms of Schools,Lyceum (daytime and evening) 24% have less than 100 active students, 53 % is from 100 to 299 active students and only 23% have 300 students and more. Respectively, Technical Schools, appears to have 27% less than 50 active students, 24% have from 55 to 99 active students and only 13% have more than 200 students. According to the quantitative research data 75% of the pupil population chooses the Lyceum and 25% technical education

31 But are they the only??? Unfortunately not only Roma or Muslims or emigrants leave school early. Children with special educational needs is also a high risk category Reasons: 1. Incapability of educational system to meet their needs (especially secondary education) 2. Racist treatment of other students and parents (!!!)

32 No official figures at least in Greece But experience from school life shows that this children usually leave school early cause they feel isolated, helpless, frustrated, incapable (most times their parents share the same feelings too) So they also need a more hospitable, tolerant warm school environment that will increase the feeling of belonging to them & will help them remain at school longer a really inclusive environment

33 reforms strategies Lesson plans measures Inclusive education is always a challenge and it requires

34 Back to RECIPE PROGRAM During the RECIPE program we decided to reclaim REC s in order to make an effort to decrease or prevent (if possible) early school leaving of high - risk groups. We chose 2 different categories of high risk children: ROMA and Students with Special Educational Needs and two different approaches: Changing - improving the daily routine Showing a different face of school learning activities another face of school life

35 2 case studies. 2 different stories Schoolyard games Robotic s

36 Schoolyard games Development of communication skills Development of positive relationships and experiences Improvement of school life Improvement of school climate Increasing the feeling of belonging Decreasing early school leaving

37 With this prospects We took educational actions, in which students with low selfesteem and problems with school integration played an important role. The story: During the school year, among the students from the Integration Class there were two 6th-grade students, Vassilis and Constantine their evaluation records mentioned dyslexia and ADHD - who showed relatively low self-esteem, social hesitation (one of them stuttered slightly when having to speak to teachers or in class, while in other situations his speech was uninterrupted and exceptionally clear) and, according to the implemented sociogram, were not popular among their peers. However, both were persons of exceptional character, mildmannered, kind, with good judgment, and love for their classmates.

38 The idea we thought - in order for them to feel more confident and interested in school programs - to provide them with the opportunity to lead a peer education program which would be implemented during class breaks and would focus on acquainting younger students with schoolyard games and learning the rules of said games. The trainees would be students of 1st and 2nd grade. Instructors would be students of 6th grade.

39 The first reactions The whole plan was presented & discussed with the school advisor and the head officer of the department for educational issues (REC s). They were positive too and gave us some useful advises on the pro cedure. Then it was presented to the students of 6th-grade. They loved the idea and most of them wanted to be Instructors. The candidates first went through an interview (in order to evaluate if and to what degree they were calm, patient, disciplined, and polite) and, since too many children asked to participate, the first instructors were chosen by lottery. Those who were not chosen at first but did meet the requirements became instructors the second time (a month later). The game selection was conducted by the instructors themselves. More specifically, Vassilis and Constantine were responsible to ask the younger students and creat a list with the preferred games. The final games list was this:

40 Jump-rope Bomb Ball-tag Football Lice

41 Students signed up for the game they preferred. In the meantime the instructors, during their breaks or towards the end of the school day (6th or 7th period), were also trained and advised by their teachers on how to train the younger students, which methods to follow, what to avoid, etc.. Emphasis was given to: the sensitivity towards the issue of marginalization of students (also known as "students with their backs against the wall") and The integration of these students in the schoolyard team in the school community. The training program of younger students by the older ones was implemented quite successfully until shortly before Christmas, at which time it was ended due to the upcoming holiday. It was later continued from late February on, since the weather had improved and allowed for schoolyard games.

42 The young students who excelled in discipline, mutual respect, following the rules and patiently waiting for their turn during the week, were awarded a medal at the end of the week by the 6th grade students, and their names were announced on the school loudspeaker:

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