Academic journal article Cognitie, Creier, Comportament

Assessing Risk Factors and the Efficacy of a Preventive Program for School Dropout

Academic journal article Cognitie, Creier, Comportament

Assessing Risk Factors and the Efficacy of a Preventive Program for School Dropout

Article excerpt

Contemporary educational contexts are characterized by high versatility. In such conditions, the preoccupation for children's welfare, their integration in school and society, and the harmonious development of their personalities should represent a major focus for schools, parents, and the community, as factors involved in education (De Witte, Cabus, Thyssen, Groot, & van den Brink, 2013; Burrus & Roberts, 2012). Usually, when referring to education, we have in view specialised institutions (e.g., ministries, school inspectorates responsible for overseeing schools, schools, non-govemmental organizations, etc.), or qualified personnel with expertise in the domain (e.g., teachers, pedagogues, psychologists, social workers). Unfortunately, it is seldom that educational projects involve children's families, as well as the church as an important component of the communities, in which children grow up. Over the past decades, there has been a rise in preoccupations regarding parental education, and programs aimed at providing parents with support in raising their children have increased. Moreover, as the influence of parenting style on the quality of the children's mental health and school performance has been empirically backed up by several studies parenting programs have been developed worldwide. Lacunar or absent are however, the preoccupations regarding the systematic assessment of the role and importance of the church in children's education and healthy development, which have received less emphasis in psychological research. As part of the community, one of the main aims of the church is to support the educational needs of children from rural areas or from low-income families. In this regard, since as early as 2009, the Romanian Patriarchy has focused on reducing school dropout levels and its consequences.

A close analysis of the phenomenon and of its implications shows that dropout represents a problem not only for the individual, but also for the entire society. In Romania, as well as in other countries, the main negative effect of school dropout, with long-term implications is failure to become a productive member of the community, as these children do not acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to access jobs requiring qualified personnel. In our country, the dropout rate in the pre-university system, compared by educational level, shows a worrying increase in case of primary education, where even the enrolment rate has decreased (from 96% to 95%). Statistical data for Romania has revealed a relatively high rate of dropout in the case of professional and apprenticeship education, namely, at the level of post high-school and foreman training (Merce, Milin, Petroman, & Ciolac, 2011).

There are several reasons for which some young people give up on their education before finishing school: learning difficulties, social problems or lack of motivation, the absence of school orientation or qualified help. In fact, the scientific literature reveals that there is a great diversity of factors which interact and influence school dropout. Among these, some are psycho-individual (e.g., personality traits, cognitive, social and emotional dysfunctionalities); others are the expression of the culture and the environment in which the child lives (e.g., family, educational, socio-economic status, etc.). The scientific studies and the reality itself has indicated that a child with reduced social interaction skills, and exhibiting difficulties with emotional self-regulation is more predisposed to dropout, than a child with poor academic results, but who has well developed socio-emotional competencies.

To address these issues promptly and efficiently, a working partnership has been established between the Romanian Patriarchy, World Vision Romania Foundation, Babes-Bolyai University and Consult Plus Ltd. This is the formula within which the projects within "Choose School" have been carried out from 2010 until 2015. …

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