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The phenomenon is on the rise again: from 13.8% in 2016 to 14.5% in 2018. The worsening is due to the increase of early school leaving amongst girls

Eurostat has recently updated a crucial indicator about the status of education and training systems: the one regarding young adults who are 18 to 24 years old and have quit school without achieving a diploma or other qualification, so-called “early leavers from education and training”. This is the official statistic used at European level to assess and monitor over time the phenomenon of early school leaving.

The numbers for Italy are not good, and indeed represent a new warning sign for the country: early leavers are expected to increase sharply, in 2018, from 14 to 14.5%. Therefore, the small shift from 13.8% to 14% in 2017, which could have been chalked up to a simple adjustment, now appears to be a worrisome reversal, after decades of constant successes achieved by policies against early school leaving.

Furthermore, the indicator’s worsening can be entirely ascribed to the female student population (increasing from 11.2% to 12.1%), while male early school leavers remained unvaried at 16.6%.

Data divided by region are not yet available for 2018. However, previous years’ records point to a very diverse situation within the country, with some regions having already achieved Europe’s 2020 goal of a 10% rate (Trento, Emilia Romagna, Umbria and Abruzzo) in contrast to the island (Sicily and Sardinia) recording an early school leaving rate above 20%