The EU objective of reducing the share of early leavers to below 10% of young people aged 18 to 24 is one of the Europe 2020 headline targets. According to the 2018 Eurostat, the ESL rate was 10.6 %. The rates are still high and over the target in some of the EU countries by 2019 (for instance, Spain (17%), Romania (15%) Italy (13%) as a program country Turkey (29%)).On the other hand, 16.5 % of the 20-34-year-old people in the EU were neither in employment nor in education and training (‘NEETs') by 2018 while the races are 28.9% in Italy, 26,8% Greece, 33.2 % in Turkey, 11.1% in Slovenia, 13.6% in the UK, 8.4% in the Netherlands. While employment races of recent graduates were 75.9% in the EU by 2018, they were 55.7% in Turkey, 52% in Italy, 79.9% in the UK, 82.2% in Slovenia, and 92.0 % in the Netherlands. All these data show us the goals in EU Strategy 2020 will be achieved at the end of 2020 in the EU level. But, when we look at the statistics in terms of countries, there are serious differences in EU countries. In our opinion, as much as the goals were achieved in general terms, this unbalanced situation in the EU shows us there are still much work to do in these topics.


Another important problem is a skills mismatch in the labor market which is defined as the gap between an individual’s job skills and the demands of the job market (ECDVT, 2014). A research study (Cedefop, 2016) focuses on the contribution that VET can make to reduce ESL. In the study, it is cited that " ESL can lead to a vicious cycle of unemployment, social exclusion, and poverty." EU statistics give us only overall rates. We do not know "How many early leavers come specifically from VET pathways? Why? How many of them return to education? How many choose VET as a second chance option? And how many graduates eventually? (Cedefop, 2016) According to the result of the study "in most cases, VET appears to result in higher shares of early leaving than general education." and "VET is not only part of the problem, it can also be a solution, helping retain or return learners and young people to education and training."

The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsi­ble for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

There are many reasons that students choose to leave school early, or they live skills mismatch problems, or they become NEET in VET. By focusing on reasons we describe them as passive members of the process by giving the active roles to the schools' system, teachers to understand their needs and take action. But if we want them to be an active part of the society we should build the possibilities with them. Our aim is not only defining the causes but also exploring solutions and resolutions. In fact, we can say that who live ESL, NEET or SM situations share common ways to approach the education and labor market. All of them show limited competences in making functional choices for their future, imagine and projecting a functional idea about their professional career, mapping and orienting themself in all the possibilities that the world offers. Thus, the OECD learning framework 2030 requires "co-agency with peers, teachers, parents, and communities", and it aims to "orient students in a world of uncertainty and rapid change and helps them navigate towards the future we want. Future-ready students need to exercise agency, in their own education and throughout life. To help enable agency, educators must not only recognize learners’ individuality but also acknowledge the wider set of relationships that influence their learning. A concept underlying the learning framework is “co-agency” the interactive, mutually supportive relationships that help learners to progress towards their valued goals. In this context, everyone should be considered as a learner, not only students but also teachers, school managers, parents, and communities."

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