The drop-out rate in Portugal’s schools and training courses rose slightly last year for the first time since 2011, with 14 percent of youths aged between 18 and 24 who had not finished high school and were neither in full-time education nor training, according to figures made public by the National Statistics Institute (INE).
The INE figures show the drop-out rate as higher among men, at 17.4 percent, while for women the rate was 10.5 percent.
In 2015 the overall rate had been 13.7 percent, with last year’s “slight fluctuation” - although not statistically significant – “tending to reflect” an increase in recent years in the number of pupils who fail a school year, so setting themselves up for dropping out later on, the Ministry of Education said in a statement.
The drop-out rate had been falling since 2011, when it was 23 percent.
Portugal has committed itself to achieving a target of 10 percent by 2020, under the European Union programme Horizon 2020.
The ministry noted that “Portugal continues to record worrying levels of school drop-outs, reinforcing the need to continue ... investment in policies to improve qualifications.” It cited measures such as the Qualifica adult education and qualification programme and other initiatives aimed at encouraging school success.