What is Basic Vocational Training? The educational keys against school dropout


At the beginning of the 20th century, basic education became a human right. This implied that anyone in the defined age groups had the right and obligation to attend school. This is what was called the principle of universalization.

Finishing this basic stage of education was a guarantee of job placement by obtaining a job. Only 5% of the population continued studying to specialize professionally.

Today, basic education prepares people to live in society (with what are called citizenship skills ) and establishes the bases to be able to continue training and specializing at work.

School failure and dropout

In addition to these functions, basic education must help to overcome different personal and social barriers and allow ascending of sociocultural level.

According to data from the INE , the gross rate of graduates in ESO (Compulsory Secondary Education) in 2019 was 88.4% for women and 80% for men. 11.6% of women and 20% of men are therefore excluded from the achievements and advantages that are the basis of compulsory schooling.

People who fail and drop out of school before completing their compulsory training will not only not have a foundation of civic skills, but they will also not be able to stop the “inheritance of poverty” and grow professionally.

For this reason, it is important that we know the personal factors (such as the developmental moment) and the context (such as the family and the school) that can help explain school failure and dropout. Understanding these phenomena will make it possible to articulate different intervention strategies that can alleviate the problem.

Adolescence, experimentation stage

Among the personal factors to take into account is the evolutionary period of adolescence. This coincides with the completion of basic education, and can produce, and does produce, school dropouts.

Adolescence is often perceived as a problematic stage in which multiple risk behaviors develop. Adolescence is a stage of experimentation in which substance use or antisocial behaviors may appear. Also, harassment , violence in the first couple relationships or so-called addictions without substance (abusive use of screens and social networks).

But the investigations carried out confirm that this experimentation also ends, and that on very few occasions it becomes a serious and chronic problem.

Alternative qualifications

At the end of the 1980s, a series of programs were launched aimed at young people who left the formal educational system without official recognition. These programs (Workshop Schools, Professional Initiation, Initial Professional Qualification Programs, or Compensatory Education Programs) provided an alternative qualification, although not official, to access the world of work.

All these programs were thought of in an educational key, and worked on those personal, family, school or interpersonal risk factors that could hinder the itineraries of young people.

After successive modifications with the different education laws approved over the last decades, the previous initiatives have been, firstly, coming together in more structured programs and, secondly, becoming incorporated into the regulated educational system. Currently, they come together in Basic Vocational Training, created in 2013 with the LOMCE.

Good results and some gaps

The FPB achieves that 49% of the students and 50% of the students graduate. To judge their value, it is enough to remember that previously compulsory schooling had failed with 100% of this student body, and that these programs managed to avoid reproducing the gender gap that occurs in ESO graduation rates.

Despite the good results of these initiatives, differences persist in the graduation rate between autonomous communities, between professional branches, and, especially, between students of Spanish nationality (51.3% of whom graduated) and foreigners (with a 37.4% of graduates).

The new law and its practical approach

The new Organic Law 3/2022 on the organization and integration of Vocational Training was born with the aim of correcting some of the existing difficulties of access and adaptation to the world of work.

Its main focus is on qualification and access to the labor market, in order to reduce youth unemployment rates. That is, it prioritizes instruction over education as an integral process. It develops the FPB curriculum a bit more, although it is still early to see the impact, since it has been approved in the 2022-2023 academic year.

The educational stages through which the students pass begin with comprehensive educational approaches and progressively evolve towards academic and professional specialization. As we have seen, a significant part of the population “derails” in this specialization process. For this reason, it seems essential to recover more comprehensive educational approaches that provide personalized attention and restore confidence in their abilities. This is the objective of Basic Vocational Training, the FP cycle that can be accessed without having finished ESO.

The Edurisk project

Our EduRisk research project analyzes the performance of the adolescent group in Basic Vocational Training. Inquire about the keys to success, especially the socio-educational support mechanisms that FPB spaces provide to these most vulnerable adolescents.

Our results coincide with previous research that confirms the influence of basic professional training programs not only on the academic trajectory, but also on the personal and social realities of the students.

Thus, risk behaviors decrease and skills improve for future professional performance. They achieve this because they adapt the educational offer to the needs and job expectations of each student, offering them specialized training and personalized educational strategies (curricular adaptations to the needs and realities of the students) that enhance all the skills they have.

Author Bios: Rosa Santibanez Gruber is Professor of Social Pedagogy, Alvaro Moro Inchaurtieta is a PDI at the Faculty of Education and Sports, Janire Fonseca Weight is Professor of Social Education at the Faculty of Education and Sports, Javier Perez Hoyos is a PDI at the Faculty of Education and Sports, Josu Solabarrieta Eizaguirre is Professor. Educational Sciences and Martha Ruiz Narezo who is a Social Education Degree Coordinator all at the University of Deusto