Five European organisations join forces to develop a programme to help reduce school dropout rates

Five European organisations have launched a project, called ENDING (ICT & Early School Leaving. Developing a New Methodology to Empower Children in Digital WellbeIng and Critical ThiNkinG), to help reduce early school dropouts. Various studies have identified that addiction to and misuse of technology are among the factors that lead to early school leaving. 

Date 2022-08-22 Author Portuguese Safer Internet Centre Section awareness Topic media literacy/education Audience children and young people, parents and carers, teachers, educators and professionals
Photo of a computer on a desk

The aim of this educational initiative, funded by the European Union through the Erasmus+ programme, is to help reduce early school dropout, one of the main problems facing the education system in Europe and which is influenced by factors such as the misuse of new technologies and the risks associated with the digital environment. A total of five European organisations (the Spanish National Police, PantallasAmigas and Fundación MAPFRE, as well as the German Stiftung Digitale Chancen, and the Portuguese Instituto Politécnico de Porto) have joined forces to develop the ENDING project. 

So far, ENDING has resulted in the development of two guides in which renowned specialists have participated, as well as teenagers aged between 13 and 15. These guides are available in Spanish, Portuguese, and English. A third guide aimed at students is being developed this academic year. 

The teachers' guide proposes solutions to help young people in their personal and academic lives, including ways to limit the time they spend online. These entertainment alternatives include sports tournaments and cultural activities, encouraging children to fulfil their responsibilities before using their cell phones, explaining the risks of talking online to strangers, and teaching them how to protect their privacy. The guide also includes teaching sheets with activities to be carried out in the classroom. 

The project partners have also prepared a guide for families. Families can suffer directly from the problem of early school leaving, and especially those families who have fewer resources or are at risk of social exclusion. The guide includes a chapter dedicated to explaining the importance of knowing the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and its adaptation to the digital world in which children live. The aim is to provide parents and carers with information and advice on how to detect possible problems occurring from the excessive use of digital technology by minors, as well as the risks involved in their exposure to the internet and social networks. 

The schools that participated in the implementation and testing of the method were Colegio Aquila (in Parla, Madrid), C.E. Santa María la Nueva and San José Artesano (Burgos), and two Portuguese schools, Agrupamento de Escolas Eugenio de Andrade and Escola Secundaria da Boa Nova-Leca da Palmeira (both in Oporto). 

During the next school year, workshops will be held with the students of these centres and work will be carried out on the content of the final guide. The participating teenagers will play a special role in the preparation of the guides, which will use their language and experiences to develop the advice they will give to their peers. The final aim is to design and test a methodology that will allow the educational centres to implement the programme independently. 

Further information about the project is available on the website

Find out more about the work of the Portuguese Safer Internet Centre, including its awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services – or find similar information for Safer Internet Centres throughout Europe.   

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