A snapshot of early school leavers in education and formation in Spain

School Dropout. Summary of the intervention of Luis Abad Merino, Deputy Director General of Educational Inspection of the Community of Madrid, during the ENDING project “Digital Health and Safety in the face of school dropout”.


In Spain, early school leaving is a major concern. Early school leaving refers to the early abandonment of education and training, not only of school (school drop-out), but, in general, of education and training. It is measured as the percentage of the population between 18 and 24 years old who do not complete their secondary education and do not follow any other type of education, i.e. not only are they not in school, but they do not follow any type of education at all.



The current situation of educational dropout in Spain (data from the link, year 2021) is very improvable, as we are in second place, only behind Romania, as the country with the highest dropout rate in the EU. While the EU average is 9.7%, Spain far exceeds this figure.


In 2011, the average dropout rate in Spain was 26.3 %, with one third of the male population aged 18-24 in this situation. However, over the years, this percentage has been brought down to 16 % today, i.e. the current trend is positive.


When analysing the dropout rates by Autonomous Community, the Basque Country is the one with the lowest dropout rate, with less than 5 %. On the other hand, Madrid is one of the regions with the largest population (more than 3 million inhabitants) and the best dropout data, with 10.7 %, while the average for Spain is around 14 %.


Currently, more than 75 % of people in Spain have completed compulsory education or have finished intermediate cycles, although dropping out of education is still a problem, where the majority of people are men. Once again, the statistics show that in the 20-24 age group, the Basque Country continues to have the best results, and Madrid one of the best among the most populated regions. In the specific case of the Community of Madrid, it is above the Spanish average in all educational indicators.


The causes of educational dropout are complex and varied, but there are two studies that provide information and analysis. One of them, the report published by the “Alto Comisionado para la lucha contra la Pobreza Infantil”, shows that the family’s level of education is a determining factor in educational dropout, especially that of the mother. For example, when the mother has a primary education or lower, the dropout rate is 31 %, while with compulsory secondary education it drops to 8.2 % and with university education it is almost negligible, around 2.5 %.


Another study from 2018 shows that the economic capacity of the family also influences dropout. It found that dropout increases the more difficult it is for the family to make ends meet, reaching 30 %. When it is more difficult to make ends meet, the decrease is very noticeable, with dropout at around 20 %. For families who can make ends meet, dropout is already much lower, at 10 %, and for those who can make ends meet very easily, it is even halved, to around 5 %.

He closed the presentation with a few words on the lines of action in the Madrid region: “The Madrid region has a cybersecurity plan for protection and coexistence. We have our lines of action there, some of the actions we carry out at the Behavioural Addictions Centre. We have a service for technological addictions and in some of our projects we collaborate with the National Police, the Government Delegation, the Samsung Foundation, for example, and some of the other initiatives that we carry out on behalf of the Community of Madrid, such as the “alumnos ayudantes TIC” or “Tú Decides en Internet”, with the Data Protection Agency of the Community of Madrid”.

Comments are closed.