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Álvaro Balaguer, Professor of School of Education and Psychology at the University of Navarra.

Is this the beginning of the end of the withdrawal school?

Sat, 01 Dec 2018 10:07:00 +0000 Published in Navarra Newspaper

On the occasion of Universal Children's Day and since its establishment by the UN in 1954, cultural programs and events are offered every year in schools and universities. The goal of this commemoration aims to raise awareness and promote the rights and welfare of children status . Is there a reason to celebrate? Has there been a considerable evolution in our context?

The Geneva Declaration on the Rights of the Child was the first historic text on children's rights, a precursor to the adoption of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1989.

Spain was one of the 20 countries that signed the Convention into law in 1990. The last report monitoring of compliance with the CRC for Spain dates from May 2008, when two programs of cooperation with the Autonomous Communities (AC) were added, the "program to improve school success" and the "program to combat premature school withdrawal ". The latter had as goal to reduce what was one of the main problems of the system educational: the rate of withdrawal in the compulsory Education .

In fact, the programs proposed by the CAs were urged to identify such fees and make proposals for action specifically aimed at reducing them. This included measures aimed at retaining students in the system and programs aimed at those who wish to return to Education after dropping out of programs of study.

Since then, the Autonomous Community of Navarre established various policies to promote such commitments. According to the aforementioned follow-up report , in Navarra, different types of economic aid were provided to favor working families. In addition, work-life balance projects were implemented, together with the publication of guides on the role of the family and the school in the protection of children.

In May 2016, the Alliance for Childhood was reached, consisting of 28 measures for ten years down the road. These include the construction of a system for the effective protection of children's rights through the drafting of a new Foral Law on Children. In February 2018, the Government of Navarre approved the II Comprehensive Plan to Support the Family, Childhood and Adolescence, which reinforces the commitment to place the rights of children established in the CDE, in the diary of Navarre's institutions, whose implementation will last until 2023.

Progress in the commitments adopted has been remarkable result . In 2008, Navarre was one of the communities with the lowest school withdrawal rate (18.8% compared to 30% in average), but last year the rate dropped to 11.3%, only surpassed by the Basque Country (7%) and Cantabria (8.9%), according to Eurostat. In addition, Navarre is the second CA in Spain in terms of the cost invested per student and course, as indicated in a report the Chair of Educational Policies of the Camilo José Cela University.

Since the beginning of the current school year, 40 centers have been working to reduce this rate, among other objectives. The PROEDUCAR-HEZIGARRI program promotes the training to professionals and transforms the centers at an organizational and methodological level, promoting a Education open to its most direct social environment, as well as to the participation of families, and linking the student with its own learning process through social, emotional and cognitive competences. It is expected that the issue of centers will increase in the next courses.

At the state level, it is worth mentioning the improvement in interregional coordination, the need for more statistical data of children (especially in assessment programs), the status of foreign minors and in protection centers, and the fees of poverty. In view of the future Pact educational, the innovation in education and the programs at Education formal and non-formal planned to complement the reform, will focus mainly on the improvement of different emotional competencies, creativity and social involvement. The inclusion of these objectives, together with their linkage to the curriculum, intensity, duration, the preparation of professionals and the assessment of their impact, constitute the potential for increasing their quality.

After-school programs have provided evidence of improved academic outcomes in primary school, and improved individual, social and psycho-emotional competencies in secondary school, especially for children from disadvantaged or underachieving backgrounds. However, partnership approaches that involve more social systems have a ripple effect on more aspects of children's lives and environments. Are we at the beginning of the end of withdrawal school?