Panel G.12 — Preventing and combating early school leaving since early childhood. Towards a dynamic, situated and eco-systemic approch to promote equality, social cohesion and justice

Convenors Luisa Zecca (University of Milano Bicocca, Italy); Chiara Bove (University of Milano Bicocca, Italy)

Keywords ELET, Social Justice Education, Teacher Education, School Families Communities, School segrgation


The latest analyses by AGIA (2022), the OECD and literature (Pandolfi, 2016; Zecca & Cotza, 2022; Zecca, Fredella, & Cotza, 2023) reveals that a multi-leveled and multi-dimensional approach is the most effective strategy to prevent and oppose the drop out phenomenon. It appears that addressing the complicated nature of the early school leaving problem requires studying different aspects.

This involves not only analysing the individual factors but also delving into the broader living environment. In the Italian context, this phenomenon is defined as the sum of different factors and conditions, such as marginalized or poor families, lack of access to early childhood services, early school leaving (occurring both within the school year and between consecutive years: MIUR, 2021), repetition rates, interruptions and irregularities of various kinds (MIUR, 2018). The vast literature on this subject (see two research reports outlining the state of the art: Cingolani & Premazzi, 2016; Rumberger & Lim, 2008), identifies a multiplicity of causes for school dropout, including factors within the school system in addition to ascribed and personal ones. Indeed, especially from the 2000s, studies have established a close correlation between the phenomenon and endogenous variables, such as the teacher training, the pedagogical horizon, the whole organizational design.

Supporting families with a variety of basic and cultural needs, providing teachers, educators, and social workers with proper training, and implementing inclusive teaching methods all together proved to be effective, if and when consistent.

The high ELET rates in Europe highlight the incapability of contemporary societies to ensure the right to education and upbringing from early childhood. Those most exposed to the risk of “cultural segregation” (Rogoff, 2003) are children with a migrant background living in socio-economic hardship. This is especially true for marginalized families and ethnic minorities living in suburban areas, facing social and cultural deprivation.

The panel aims at discussing teaching strategies and policies that could prevent or counteract early school leaving risks at the mesosystemic level of relationships in the school community. This includes promoting social cohesion processes such as accessible and quality childcare services, improving family-school relationship, and supporting young newcomers in their integration process. Furthermore, the panel will engage in a discussion on multicultural and multilingual alternative teaching strategies, as well as integrated and inter-institutional actions (welfare policies, education policies, school policies, urban policies, job policies, home policies).

We welcome studies that address educational, learning and teaching challenges in multiethnic/multilingual communities and that take into account the complexity of the super-diversity approach outlined by Vertovec (2007).

The abstracts can be either empirical (qualitative, quantitative, mixed- or multi-methods studies) or non-empirical. They should present an in-depth analysis of the chosen topic, accompanied by a clear description of the approach and methodologies (e.g., ethnographic and participatory methodologies, action research, case studies, etc.).


Guidelines and abstracts submission