Sunday, September 6, 2009

Investing in young people and school drop out rates

september 6 2009



Yesterday we got a letter stating our son has to pay back a tuitionfee of 900 euros, because he stopped his studies.

He didn't.
It was not his intention.
He needed a new place to work for 4 days, so he could practice what he learns at school about selling and running shops, but there was no place to find.
Now it's recession shopowners are not willing to take on further responsibilities than to keep things going at the lowest cost.

The letter meant that the school has unsubscribed him. We never got something from the school to state that, so last week I asked a tutor from the school for help for my son. He referred me to someone else, who didn't reply. No wonder.

I was rather irritated: how can they unsubscribe someone without investing in keeping him there? Having a job is part of the curriculum, not having one is something this young man can't help.

We signalled the problem in may.
All the support he got were a few talks to tell him he should visit shops and ask.
They didn't use their contacts to find out which shops would be able to take him, they just send him on his way.

We expected more support, knowing he comes from a school for special education. Especially after we had such a nice meeting with the support department at the beginning of the year.
I guess they'd conveniently forgotten he's got ADHD and mild autism and that this is the most difficult things to do: asking something for yourself at a place you don't know at all.

When I look back to the past schoolyear I'm amazed how little the school did for their pupils.
OK, he got some lessons.
But the assignments needed to be submitted by email or at the schoolsite, and the feedback came that way too.
His practical work at the shop was controlled by a few phonecalls, and when things went completely wrong because he asked for some normal teaching at the workingplace, he was considered a bother and was bullied by his supervisor.
It was nice in time when the healthproblems came and the visits to the hospital and he was told not to work for a while.
But no-one from school took an interest.

So all in all I'm not amazed by the high number of drops outs.
Kids are just thrown aside and told to find everything out themselves.
It's kind of OK when it's university level, but not OK at all. Especially not when kids come from a school for kids with special needs.


So we had a good talk yesterday and he wants to go into care. Hoping to find a place to work at a hospital or old peoples' home, or something like that.
A revival of an old dream.
Maybe that's the best we can do now.

I fear he'll be confronted by motivational problems and by a lack of workingplaces too.
But when he find a workingplace, I'm sure he'll enjoy the work.
He's very kind for people who need support and care.

Let's hope this time things will work out well for him.
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