- ESL prevention and handling is an issue that directly concerns all schools in every education region or EU member-state and, especially, those that are heavily affected and have to deal with a large number of students that drop out of school or have observed an increase in ESL rates. Statistical data at a local level needs to be closely monitored on an annual basis and the results ought to be evaluated before and after specific measures have been taken to prevent or handle ESL.
- Schools where ESL is barely an issue or the problem does not appear at all should share the special educational practices they are currently implementing or have implemented in the past with neighboring schools or other schools at a regional level in order to help them prevent or handle ESL incidents.
- Every school should independently plan ahead and keep their personnel informed and updated on the latest developments in ESL prevention issues. In-school training by teaching staff that have a special expertise in the field should be a priority but cooperation and training should also be pursued with external organizations and experts that could provide relevant counseling, guidance, and training opportunities.
- Administrative and teaching personnel alike should attempt to strike closer cooperation with the parents and guardians of students through the local Association of Parents and Guardians or directly on a personal level especially if the school needs to handle issues pertaining to everyday school life that might affect ESL rates.
- The closer cooperation among schools, local authorities, and the local community is also a sine qua non when dealing with issues pertaining to high ESL rates, promoting and disseminating school practices that strengthen the ties the bind all parties involved and benefit all members of the school community.
- It is important for the administrative and teaching personnel in every school to deal swiftly and effectively with any and all bullying incidents or disciplinary issues that appear from time to time. Cooperation with experts and relevant institutions as well as the students themselves along with their parents or guardians is also important as it can help safeguard the eradication of the actual problem that caused the incident at hand rather than a superficial handling of the issue that could deteriorate and reemerge in the future.
- As labor market dynamics are volatile and differ from country to country and/or from region to region, every school should be capable of linking the education opportunities offered to students to the employment opportunities that are available locally, nationally, and internationally. Students who view educational within a broader context in connection with their actual needs and prospects after school are less likely to fall victims to ESL.
Associations of Parents and Guardians
Parents and guardians could contribute to combatting ESL in the following ways:
- Systematic visits to school and cooperation with the school teachers not only in order to be updated on the students’ school achievements but also to be informed about all the issues that pertain to the operation and the mentality of the school and its members.
- Support for activities organized by the students in cooperation with the teachers. Parents and guardians should not limit themselves to the observing role but they should also participate actively whenever possible.
- Timely communication with the school teachers to keep them updated on relevant issues and problems the students face and coordinated effort to solve them within the framework of day-to-day school activities.
- Financial support for students and families that are in dire straits moneywise whenever possible. The support provided should not necessary involve money infusions. Instead, local authorities and social support services could be alerted and brought in contact with the families that require assistance.
Central Government and Local Authorities
As each country's education system and support services are mainly controlled by the central government and local authorities, they could play a pivotal role in combatting ESL:
- They could provide appropriate, relevant, and quality training programs to school teachers to help them bring their knowledge and expertise up to date. Priority should be given to teachers working in schools or regions that already face a serious ESL problem or display signs of rising ESL rates. The quality of the training programs should be safeguarded with the help of external evaluators and feedback provided by the participating teachers themselves.
- Support networks could be created systematically on a local (wherever possible), national, and European level with the participation of teachers and students alike as well as Significant Others, such as parents, educational institutions, etc.
- Promotion of the educational work done at school and provision of incentives to teachers and students involved to expand and build on it (e.g. through participation in events and activities, awards, etc).
- Modification of the centrally planned education policy in such a way that schools are given the freedom to shape and adapt educational programs in order to satisfy the special learning needs of their own students.
- Joint formulation of the overall internal policy implemented in each school as far as ESL is concerned with the participation of teachers.
- Financial support for the economically disadvantaged families and implementation of relevant psychological support programs for parents that face socio-economic problems.
- Reintegration initiatives and practices that aim to bring young men and women back to education. These initiatives should be based on “good practices” that have been implemented and evaluated in other European countries.
- Counseling and support to social groups and/or families that have a nomadic lifestyle or opt to keep their children away from school even though they have not completed compulsory education.
- Systematic national and European wide surveys and studies and effective dissemination of their results among educational and social institutions. These results should be used to reshape school curriculum independently, taking into account local differences and regional needs and requirements.