Preventing Early School Leaving

Preventing Early School Leaving

Early School Leaving (ESL) is a serious issue that affects many young people across the globe. It is closely connected to unemployment, social exclusion, poverty and poor health, so has serious repercussions not just for the concerned individuals but society as a whole. The “Early Digital Diagnosis and Intervention (EDDI)” project aims to help improve student retention rates by helping teachers, families and students better understand the causes and consequences of ‘Early School Leaving’. The project will also develop effective digital solutions aimed at combatting the problem.

EDDI Project
EDDI Project

Holistic Approach

This project is the first step towards developing a clear, holistic community-wide action plan for providing robust diagnostic tools that are capable of detecting problems early. This will enable educational institutions to offer support to vulnerable students early, thus reducing the risk of Early School Leaving. The students involved in the project are 14-18 years old and are from mixed international groups. The project target groups are teachers, students who are at risk of early school leaving, and their families. The student target group will include students from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds, forming a representative sample of 300 young people from 5 countries. The EDDI project will benefit from the support of local social agencies, educational authorities and ICT solution partners.

Reduction of Early School Leaving and its negative affect on societies, economies and higher education is one of the UNESCO Sustainable Development Goals.[1] With some schools struggling with a significant number of students who give up on education before finishing secondary school, the aim of the EDDI consortium is to find ways of keeping students in education and/or in training.

For Students, Families and Teachers

The project will undertake a comparative review of national ESL practices and interventions, which will include countries that have low ESL statistics and those at the opposite end of the scale. This will help deliver a sustainable solution to the ESL problem.

The project will endeavor to answer the following questions:

  • It is clear that students vulnerable to Early School Leaving are not fully engaged in either education or the labour market. But why? What are their experiences? What are the needs of this target group?
  • It is necessary to find out the reasons for drop-outs. What factors influence particular personal attitudes and behaviours? Why isn’t enough action being taken to address drop-outs? Why do existing school digital services and programmes fall short of delivering the warning indicators? The power of technology and artificial intelligence should play a crucial role in diagnosing and taking precautions for possible drop-out cases.
  • What would make programmes and/or digital services that support early school leavers successful? How do students’ personal experiences affect subsequent behaviour?
  • What type of digital services would meet the needs of early school leavers? What actions are needed to make programmes and digital services more effective?

EDDI Solutions

The EDDI project brings together innovative methods, digital interventions and pedagogies that are looking to identify and to address the reasons for early school leaving, and proposes approaches to early ESL diagnosis, prevention and intervention. The project will develop a digital EDDI e-platform, an EDDI Guidebook and an EDDI Android Application.

Did you know that…?

  • There are many reasons why some young people give up education and training prematurely, such as personal or family problems, learning difficulties, and a vulnerable socio-economic situation.
  • Besides the economic and social mobility impacts, Early School Leaving has been linked to bullying, violence or micro criminality.
  • Early School Leaving is a threat to the successful future development of the workforce and community prospects.
  • In 2019, the share of children living in a household at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU ranged from 11.7 % in Slovenia to 33.9 % in Bulgaria and 35.8 % in Romania; the average for the EU was 22.5 %.


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

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