Difficulty of re-entry into the education system for persons without basic education

7/10/2003 | 12:00 AM

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TALLINN, 10 July 2003 - The SAO pooled the data on persons without basic education, and studied the steps that the state is taking to bring them back into the education system. The audit showed that the problem is extensive, and although some learning opportunities have been created, the state does not have an activity plan to find persons who have dropped out of basic school, bring them back to school, and motivate them during their studies.

Every year about 1,000 young persons interrupt their basic school studies. According to the census of 2000, the number of persons aged 17 to 49 (i.e., persons in their best working age) without basic education was 12,000. However, the responses by the local governments to the SAO’s inquiries revealed that the number of such persons may reach up to 20,000.

The audit showed that persons without basic education experience great difficulties in order to cope in the society. More than half of the 17 to 24-year-olds without basic education are unemployed, which is a somewhat lower figure than that of the persons aged 25 to 49 (24 %), but still twice as high as the average for the active population. Also, the income of such persons is very low. In 2001, it was on the average 1,581 kroons per month, whereas persons with vocational education earned twice as much. The high unemployment of persons without basic education suggests that they are a great burden to the national support system. In addition, a significant number of persons without basic education have committed offences – 13 % of them are prisoners or probationers.

All facts indicate that the state would gain by helping to raise the competitiveness of persons without basic education. The audit of the SAO showed that unfortunately there is no information about the number and location of the persons without basic education; also the question who should deal with the problems of persons without basic education – schools, local governments, the Ministry of Education and Research, or some other institutions – has not been determined. A questionnaire by the SAO indicates that persons without basic education receive information about learning opportunities mainly from their friends, parents, or previous schools, but not from local governments or employment offices.

Interrupted basic education can be continued in adult upper secondary schools and vocational schools offering pre-vocational training, which provide vocational education together with basic education in adult upper secondary schools. Nevertheless, the use of these possibilities is limited, especially in pre-vocational training which was provided by only three vocational schools at the time of the audit. Another problem concerns the economic situation of such adult students during their studies. Unemployed persons are paid unemployment benefits and stipends while in employment training, but adults acquiring basic education do not receive any support from the state.

The SAO recommended that in co-operation with the Ministry of Social Affairs and local governments, the Ministry of Education and Research develop an activity plan on how to find and re-enter persons without basic education into the education system. The situation would definitely be improved also if the state would enable vocational schools to offer basic education to adults, and improve the economic situation of adult students at the time of acquiring basic education.

Sven Soiver
Press Representative of State Audit Office
Telephone: (372) 640 0787
GSM: (372) 53 414464
E-mail: [email protected]

  • Posted: 7/10/2003 12:00 AM
  • Last Update: 10/2/2015 5:13 PM
  • Last Review: 10/2/2015 5:13 PM

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