- Reducing Early School Leaving in Europe

Type Research Project

Funding Bodies
  • EU - European Commission

Duration Feb. 1, 2013 - Feb. 1, 2018

  • Education Sciences Group AB (Details)


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  • Feldmann, Klaus (Former researcher)
  • Fraisl, Melanie (Former researcher)
  • Gitschthaler, Marie (Former researcher)
  • Nairz, Erna (Details) Project Head

Abstract (German)

In Europe Early School Leaving (ESL) affects more than 5.6 million young people between 18 and 24 years of age. This figure implies not only an immense waste of young people's potentials but also serious social and economic consequences: Early School Leavers are at a heightened risk of poor participation in the labour market and of social exclusion over their entire life course.

While the available research data on Early School Leaving explain some of its isolated aspects, the project will analyse the phenomenon from a holistic perspective. By framing the complex and often subtle interplay of factors that influence ESL on macro/meso/micro levels, and by deconstructing the configurations of the various factors in their specific contexts, aims at uncovering specific combinations of variables and the various contexts that influence the processes related to ESL.

In order to be able to compare the data gathered in the project's 9 partner countries (Belgium, United Kingdom, Sweden, Portugal, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Hungary and Austria), will develop and refine the theoretical framework for studying ESL, formulating a workable yet finely nuanced definition of ESL. Through a mixed-method design, a total of 28140 surveys and 1176 interviews/FGD will be conducted.

This allows to formulate conceptual models useful for the development and implementation of general policies and specific measures to combat ESL. Thus the project is not only relevant for the improvement of research tools but also wants to assist policy makers, school staff and civil society at large.


  • Stockholm University - Sweden
  • Autonomous University of Barcelona - Spain
  • Central European University Budapest - Hungary
  • Erasmus University Rotterdam - Netherlands
  • Middlesex University - United Kingdom
  • University of Antwerp - Belgium
  • University of Porto - Portugal
  • University of Warsaw - Poland


Paper presented at an academic conference or symposium

2018 Nairz-Wirth, Erna, Gitschthaler, Marie. 2018. A habitus typology on early school leaving. Reducing Early School Leaving in the EU: A Comparative Qualitative and Quantitative Research, Antwerpen, Belgien, 22.01.-24.01. (Details)
  Nairz-Wirth, Erna, Feldmann, Klaus, Gitschthaler, Marie. 2018. Qualitative Relational Analysis of Early School Leaving. European Conference on Educational Research (ECER), Bolzano, Italien, 03.09.-07.09. (Details)
2017 Gitschthaler, Marie, Nairz-Wirth, Erna. 2017. Education poverty and Exclusion: The effects of low qualification on the labour market transition and social participation of young people. European Conference on Educational Research (ECER), Kopenhagen, Dänemark, 25.08.-25.08. (Details)
2016 Nairz-Wirth, Erna. 2016. Drop-In statt Drop-Out: Was muss/kann/soll verbessert werden?" Tagung AK Linz, Linz, Österreich, 06.10.2016. (Details)
  Nairz-Wirth, Erna. 2016. Von der Vielfalt der Drop-Outs zur Vielfalt gegensteuernder Maßnahmen. VPA-Tagung, Klagenfurt, Bildungshaus Schloss Krastowitz, Österreich, 09.09.2016. Invited Talk (Details)
2014 Gitschthaler, Marie, Nairz-Wirth, Erna. 2014. Tackling Early School Leaving in Austria. Symposium: Education Policies Concerning Early School Leaving in European Countries: A Considerable Degree of Convergence (Part 2). European Conference on Educational Research (ECER), Porto, Portugal, 02.09.-05.09.. (Details)

Research report, expert opinion

2013 Gitschthaler, Marie, Müller Kmet, Bernadette, Nairz-Wirth, Erna. 2013. - Reducing Early School Leaving in the EU. Work Package 2, Part I. Intermediate Report I - Austria. Wien: Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien. (Details)