DESCRIPTION OF THE SUCCESS STORY
As a headmistress, I often deal with parents living in villages that come and ask for their children withdrawal from, with their refusal to make sure that their children attend classes, even if they are in the compulsory education system.
I noticed the fact that a noticeable risk of rural students’ school drop out is caused by the economic difficulties, and that if the parents and students are granted facilities, their attitude changes completely.
During the school year 2010-2011, “Alexandru cel Bun” High School became a partner, through the County School Inspectorate of Botosani, of a project initiated by the “Al. I. Cuza” University from Iaşi, called “Save Children from Abandonment and Lack of Integration”, with financial help from European funds,. Within this project, there are students that were previously and who benefit from monthly scholarships. They are not offered money but they are paid for accommodation, meals, outdoor activities, school aids, textbooks, tickets to go to shows and to the theatre, or to contests and camps.
Except for one student, everybody else made progress, some of them even got scholarships for great results and others are involved in cultural and artistic activities that enable them to enter different competitions. At present, our high school, the County School Inspectorate and the project project initiator are looking for economic agents willing to finance further studies of the best students from the target group, based on a similar contract. This contract is supposed to grant a monthly allowance if the student attends school and gets involved in the instructive and educational activities.
Under such conditions, none of the students recorded absences and according to the questionnaires administered 70 % of them wouldn’t have graduated the compulsory education, as the Romanian law asks for. Instead, they would have got involved in activities to ensure means of survival, together with the other members of the family. Some of them had abandoned school after graduating the VIII th class, falling into the approximately 600 students that fail to attend and graduate compulsory education, especially that here are no means to make the parents more responsible or to punish them.
The monthly scholarships were granted for 2 academic, 2011-2013, and the coming end of this project raises the problem of the impossibility graduate high school, because the students’ families still deal with financial problems. This could stop them from ensuring the transport, accommodation and meals expenses. Although, almost 50% of the parents are willing to make great efforts for their children to graduate high school. They benefit from counseling programs, during the project development, and they managed to find work and to change their opinion about school in so much that they came to appreciate its benefits upon their own children’s future.
It is obvious that the student’s school success and school drop out is directly related to the ensuring the necessary material resources, because most of the students state that they would not have attended school if they had not got this project scholarships. Their parents could not have ensured the necessary resources though they would have wanted to. They wouldn’t have got involved in their children’s further education because they themselves hadn’t gone to school too much.
The project asked for the joint efforts, those of the school and of the coordinating, the parents, students and teachers’. Mention must be made that the teachers benefited from training courses, thus developing work competences with students on the verge of school drop out. Consequently, they motivated the students to learn, they made use of the newest and most efficient strategies to improve educational services quality. A good practices guide was drawn up for students at drop out risk, taking action not only in terms of providing livelihoods.
I strongly believe that such a project should be included in the area of national and regional governmental measures as it is necessary for the authorities to get involved to avoid school drop out by children: counseling and professional retraining programs, and providing jobs for parents in order for them to be able to support their children to go to school; students’ school guidance according to their professional dreams, different models and abilities.
The implementation of some national programs to financially the students at risk of drop out because of financial reasons could ensure the decline of school drop out when passing from one school level to another.