Recommendation on an active qualification policy (01/26/2012)

The Vlor published this recommendation at its own initiative. It goes back to the Memorandum of 2009, when the Vlor pinpointed that there was a need for a policy framework aiming for an enhancement of the number of qualified young people. The present recommendation has to do with the recent recommendation of the European Council in Spring 2011 to reduce the number of early school leavers in each Member State. Member States will have to report each year on the realisation of this objective, and the Council can make country specific recommendations on this topic.

In Flanders, ambitious goals have been formulated, after consultation with the social partners and civil society, in Pact 2020 and in the ‘Vlaanderen in Actie’ programme: the objective is to reduce the number of early school leavers by 2020.

Although reducing early school leaving is an implicit objective in several policy measures, Flanders does not seem to have an encompassing project. The Vlor thus asks for a more active policy: the government has to provide a concrete action plan, including an encompassing vision. Policy measures need to distinguish different types of early school leavers: some of them lack a lot of competences, some of them were very close to qualification. Each type deserves specific strategies, which are not only the responsibility of education, but also of social and youth policy, labour market, local governments.

The Vlor formulates some suggestions. The emphasis of a global policy has to be on prevention. Young people need to have the opportunity to make mistakes and to try again. In this respect, the second degree of secondary education is crucial. If prevention fails, there has to be room for remediation, with, again, an adapted strategy for each type of pupils at risk. The Vlor asks for the continuation of ‘time out’ projects.