NEWS

Concern of rising drop-out rate from schools, as competition for jobs excludes the less educated

The need to tackle the student drop-out rate, concentrated among economically and socially weak pupils at risk of social exclusion, has become imperative, notes the EKKE report. At the same time, young people and women in Greece have the highest rates of unemployment. The young in particular (aged 15 to 24) have an unemployment rate of 29 percent, nearly three times the average. Women have double the unemployment rates of men – 16.3 percent to 7.2 percent, respectively. Generally speaking, the unemployment rate drops with increasing age. Another disturbing aspect of the problem that emerges from the report is that the majority – 52.35 percent in the first three months of 2001 – of the jobless are long-term unemployed, while 46 percent have just entered the job market. The overall figures conceal differences in education levels, with the highest unemployment rates observed in people with just a senior (9.6 percent ) or junior- (10.5 percent) high-school certificate. The drop-out rate from compulsory education is also a cause for concern. It is particularly noticeable in Greeks from abroad, immigrants or refugees, in children with disabilities or children from very poor families. The main reasons cited by pupils for leaving their studies were difficulties at school (29.6 percent), the family’s economic needs and their intention of working (24.4 percent), indifference to lessons or dislike of school, in combination with the lack of career counseling and professional orientation (16.8 percent). A few cited health reasons or family problems and other factors. Not finishing the compulsory nine years of education results in people ending up in manual jobs that are tiring, badly paid and in unhealthy work conditions.