What are the benefits of dropping out of school

Early drop out of school and training

Dropping out of school or training early is an individually and socially significant problem. Termination reduces later life and career opportunities and in the long term contributes to the fact that personal risks such as health hazards, social exclusion or unemployment are high over the life span.

Causes and backgrounds of early school dropout

According to research, dropping out of school usually has complex, intertwined causes on an individual, social and institutional level. Most of the time, there have been long-term problems with regard to learning success, acquisition of skills and motivation. Psychosocial problems and insufficient or late support for the young person also play a role.

The causes and backgrounds of early school leaving are therefore diverse and depend on numerous factors, not least on the early detection and resolution of incipient learning and career problems.

facts and dates

In terms of the EU benchmark for early school leaving, Austria ranks relatively well in a European comparison (7.8% in 2019 among 18 to 24-year-olds who have not completed upper secondary education or an apprenticeship or are currently not in any training). A more detailed analysis within the framework of BibEr (education-related employment career monitoring) shows that the drop-out rates are higher according to the register data (last data from 2015: share of early drop-outs is 12.7%, source: calculations by the IHS)

It should be remembered that not only the school leaving certificate counts, but also sufficient skills must be available in order to lead a professionally successful and privately successful life.

Activities of the BMBWF

In order to have the relevant data for an evidence based policy, the Ministry of Education commissioned several studies. These are available for download below. In addition, a number of national and international studies, documents and publications are presented for those interested.

The national strategy against early school leaving shows the importance of taking effective measures in the area of ​​prevention and intervention as well as in the area of ​​compensation. Youth coaching is the central measure against dropping out of school and is one of the services of the Professional Assistance Network (NEBA). Numerous reform measures of the BMBWF as well as the advisory activities of the school support systems (pupil and educational counseling, school social work, school psychology) help to keep the number of dropouts as low as possible.

Psychosocial counseling in and for schools

Current data

Current ESL data 2004-2019 (PDF, 634 KB) (national data on the EU benchmark)

National strategy to prevent early drop-out in education

In July 2016, the Austrian federal government passed the Compulsory Training Act (APflG). The law obliges all under-18s to pursue an educational or training measure or a measure in preparation for this. This is to prevent dropping out of school and reduce youth unemployment.

Compulsory Training Act; Federal Constitutional Act, Labor Market Service Act, etc., amendment (Youth Education Act)

The BMBWF has revised its strategy against dropping out of education, developed in 2012 and revised in 2016, along the three areas of prevention, intervention and compensation and through numerous measures is helping to ensure that young people can successfully complete their education.

National strategy to prevent early drop-out (PDF)

Information on training until 18

Folder on apprenticeships up to 18 (BMSGPK)

German | Arabic | Bosnian / Croatian / Serbian | English | Farsi | Russian | Turkish

Measure youth coaching

Youth coaching is a cooperation project between the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Ministry of Education, which advises school dropouts and those at risk of exclusion at the end of compulsory school through so-called youth coaches and, if necessary, supports them for longer. It is implemented by supporting institutions commissioned by the Ministry of Social Affairs.

Youth coaching

National: reports and studies

  • Selection, dropout and early dropout - Article by Mario Steiner, Lorenz Lassnigg, Policy Brief No. 2/2019
  • Under Pressure!?: Integration opportunities and risks of exclusion of formally low qualifications - Mario Steiner, Gabriele Pessl, Andrea Kulhanek
  • National Education Report 2015 - Focused analyzes of key educational policy issues - Early drop-out in education - New findings on the extent and causes (Mario Steiner, Gabriele Pessl & Michael Bruneforth)
  • Lost in Transition - Macro-structural requirements for ESL and NEET rates in European countries (PDF) - Study by the Institute for Children's Rights and Parent Education, 2014
  • Equal opportunities and guaranteed minimum education in Austria - Article by Michael Bruneforth, Christoph Weber & Johann Bacher in the National Education Report 2012
  • “Quo Vadis Education? - A qualitative longitudinal study on the habitus of Early School Leavers (PDF) - Scientific director: ao.Univ.-Prof.inDr.in Erna Nairz-Wirth
  • Professionalization of teachers in the field of prevention and intervention of school and apprenticeship drop-out (PDF) - Scientific management: ao.Univ.-Prof.inDr.in Erna Nairz-Wirth
  • Recommendations for action for teachers, school management and parents for the successful prevention of school absenteeism and early school leaving (PDF) - Scientific director: ao.Univ.-Prof.inDr.in Erna Nairz-Wirth
  • B1: Early School Leaving and School Failure in the Austrian Education System (Mario Steiner) (PDF) - Expert article in the National Education Report 2009


Are European policies effective in tackling early school leaving? Yes they are!

VET toolkit for tackling early leaving - source of support to policy makers and education and training providers
Tool case for dealing with early school leaving in vocational training

VET took it for tackling early leaving

European Toolkit for Schools: Promoting inclusive education and tackling early school leaving

This platform was created by the European working group on early school leaving and offers examples, concrete ideas and materials for schools to prevent early school leaving with the help of a holistic approach.

Video on Early School Leaving (EU Commission)

Video tackling early school leaving

Neset II Report "Structural Indicators for Inclusive Systems in and around Schools"

NESET II Analytical Report 2/2016, 2017

Recommendations of the European working group on early school leaving

Reducing early school leaving: Key messages and policy support

Equal Opportunities and Quality in Education. Promotion of disadvantaged pupils and schools

German translation of the OECD publication "Equity and Quality in Education" (PDF)

Examples of current preventive measures in education

The school measures to combat truancy, truancy and dropping out of school at an early stage are - due to the complexity of the causes - often not explicitly aimed at preventing early school leaving and are only used in the long term at different system levels inside the school, in the school as a system and effective in the environment:



Dr.in Andrea Fraundorfer
BMBWF, Dept. I / 2
Freyung 1
1010 Vienna
T +43 1 53120-4723
[email protected]