Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The kids who say 'ni-ni'

On the radio there was a feature the latest sociologic trend in Spain: The ni-ni generation. It stands for neither-nor, as in neither in a job nor in at school.

There was a study back in 2009 that found that 54% of Spaniards between 18 and 34 have no hope for the career prospects. Considering that the unemployment rate for youth is now 39% (EU27 average is 19%), this isn't all the surprising.

The high school dropout rate in Spain is around 30% (vs 12% in Europe), so it's pretty easy to guess where those unemployed kids are coming from.

Why are they dropping out? Here's a clue:

Repetition rates in lower secondary education across OECD countries


Jeremy Holland said...

What do you think is the cause?

santcugat said...

I think the high drop out rate means that there's a large amount of non-educated young people looking for work (since kids in school don't count as unemployed). Most of this work was in the construction industry (especially black market), but that's pretty much dead now, except for government contracts.

Not having school nor work to keep teenagers busy, drugs, pregnancy, crime etc that are going to make their situation even worse.

Jeremy Holland said...

I agree. I guess I was wondering what's causing the high repetition and drop out rates. Is it a lack of importance being placed on education in the family, the form of teaching or some combination of the two?

santcugat said...

There was a study that suggested that the social-economic background of the parents is a leading factor in Spain (but not in Catalunya interestingly enough). Given that most of Spain was basically a 3rd world country a generation ago, it's not surprising.

I also think the tradition of holding kids back who underperform is one of the reasons for the dropout rate.

It's humiliating and doesn't necessarily deal with the problem, which could be a learning disability, motivation, etc. Instead, they have the kid do the exact same thing again, which leads to the same failure yet again.

Jeremy Holland said...

You know I was looking for that study when I was involved in one of my various spats with catalan nationialists i've been picking lately! i think seven years here has made me assimilate the love of self-flagellation.

I can see you point about not dealing with disabilities and motivation. There seems to be little self-examination and willingness to look at problems differently here. who knows, maybe there'll be some soon. one has to hope, right?

santcugat said...

Yeah, we had a friend here who has a kid with learning disabilities. They were going to put him in a class full of severely mentally retarded kids and gypsies. Luckily the parents had enough money to afford a good private school.

There are actually some really innovative educational opportunities here, but none of them are through the public schools, since they spend all their effort obsessing about language instead of trying to improve education.