Early school leavers

In 2018, in Belgium 8.6% of the population aged 18 to 24 left school early. To achieve the sustainable development goal by 2030, this figure must be reduced to zero percent. This objective will not be reached by continuing the trend since 2000. The number of early school leavers is therefore developing unfavourably.

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Early school leavers - Belgium - trend assessment

percentage of population aged 18-24

 2000200520102015201620172018202020252030
observations13.812.911.910.18.88.98.6------
trend and extrapolation14.313.011.69.89.49.08.78.17.26.7
objective 20300.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.0

break in time series: 1999 BE, 2003 UE, 2004 BE, 2006, 2013 UE, 2017 BE, provisional data for 2018

Statistics Belgium; Eurostat (2019), European Union Labour Force Survey (EU-LFS), edat_lfse_14, https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (consulted on 02/04/2019).

Early school leavers - Belgium and international comparison

percentage of population aged 18-24

 199220002010201320152016201720182018//19922018//2013
Belgium18.113.811.911.010.18.88.98.6-2.8-4.8
EU28--17.613.911.911.010.710.610.6---2.3
//: Average Growth Rates

break in time series: 1999 BE, 2003 UE, 2004 BE, 2006, 2013 UE, 2017 BE, provisional data for 2018

Statistics Belgium; Eurostat (2019), European Union Labour Force Survey (EU-LFS), edat_lfse_14, https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (consulted on 02/04/2019).

Early school leavers by sex - Belgium

percentage of population aged 18-24

 199220002010201320152016201720182018//19922018//2013
females16.511.010.08.78.67.47.37.0-3.2-4.3
males19.816.413.813.211.610.210.410.1-2.6-5.2
//: Average Growth Rates

break in time series: 1999 BE, 2003 UE, 2004 BE, 2006, 2013 UE, 2017 BE, provisional data for 2018

Statistics Belgium; Eurostat (2019), European Union Labour Force Survey (EU-LFS), edat_lfse_14, https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat (consulted on 02/04/2019).

Definition: share of young people aged 18 to 24 with at most a lower secondary school degree who did not receive any education or training during the 4 weeks preceding the interview. This education level corresponds to the levels 0-2 of the 2011 ISCED (International Standard Classification of Education) for data from 2014 onwards and to the levels 0-3C of the 1997 ISCED for data up to 2013. The data come from the Labour Force Survey (LFS). Statbel organises this EU-harmonised survey in Belgium and makes the results available, in particular to Eurostat. The survey methodology was reviewed in 2017. Comparison of the 2017 data with previous years should be done with caution. The data used here come from Eurostat, which publishes detailed and comparable results between EU Member States. Since these data are based on surveys, a margin of uncertainty should be taken into account. The confidence intervals for these data are available on request from Statbel.

Goal: zero percent early school leavers by 2030.

The Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs adopted by the UN in 2015 include target 4.1: "By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes". This goal seeks to ensure that all girls and boys complete free and quality primary and secondary education is interpreted as aiming at 0% early school leavers by 2030.

The 2011 National Reform Programme of Belgium, adopted by Belgium in April 2011 (Federal Government, 2011) as a result of the Europe 2020 Strategy (European Commission, 2010) includes the following education and training objective: reduce the proportion of young people aged 18 to 24 whose education level does not exceed lower secondary education and who do not attend education or training to 9.5% in 2020.

International comparison: early school leaving has decreased in Belgium as in the EU28. On the other hand, early school leaving in Belgium was below that of the EU28 throughout this period. When Member States are divided into three groups, Belgium is part of the group with average performance and performs better than the European average in 2018.

UN indicator: the selected indicator is related to indicator 4.1.1 - Proportion of children and young people: (a) in grades 2/3; (b) at the end of primary; and (c) at the end of lower secondary achieving at least a minimum proficiency level in (i) reading and (ii) mathematics, by sex. It was chosen because it provides information on the number of students leaving secondary education with a degree from lower secondary education at most.

Sources

  • SDGs, Sustainable Development Goals: United Nations (2015), Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 25 September 2015, document A/RES/70/1.

  • Indicators: United Nations (2017), Work of the Statistical Commission pertaining to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 6 July 2017, document A/RES/71/313.

  • UN Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/ (consulted on 26/04/2019).

  • Sustainable Development Goal indicators website: https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/ (consulted on 26/04/2019).

More information is available in FR (French) and NL (Dutch).