Dropout is a common term used in Latin America to refer to dropping out of school. This is the situation in which the student, after a cumulative process of separation or withdrawal, finally begins to withdraw before the age established by the educational system without obtaining a certificate.


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  • 1 Statistics
  • 2 Risk factors
  • 3 Personal domain
    • 1 Inherited personal characteristics
    • 2 Family Domain
  • 4 Signs of risk
  • 5 Prevention programs in Latin America
    • 1 Programs inspired by this principle are
  • 6 External links
  • 7 Source


School dropout is a phenomenon present both in the educational systems of less industrialized countries and in developing ones. In the case of industrialized countries, school dropout statistics are concentrated in tertiary studies, that is, post-secondary studies. In Latin America, the most alarming school dropout statistics are concentrated in middle education, both in basic secondary education, as well as in upper secondary or high school. According to recent studies by UNICEF (2012) and the Inter-American Development Bank (2012), one out of every two adolescents manages to complete high school. According to Unicef ​​there are 117 million children and youth in Latin America, of these 22.1 million are outside the educational system or are at risk of doing so. This data only includes students between 5 to 14 years old (basic education).

Risk factor’s

Dropout or dropping out of school has multiple causes. Therefore, school failure is not the only factor that determines it.

Personal domain

Inherited personal characteristics

  • You have a learning disability or an emotional disorder

Early adult responsibilities

  • A high number of working hours
  • Paternal or maternal responsibility

Social attitudes, values ​​and behaviors

  • High-risk peer groups
  • High social risk behavior
  • Very active social life outside of school

School performance

  • Low achievements
  • Retention / Over age

Commitment to the school

  • Low attendance
  • Low educational expectations
  • Lack of effort
  • Little identification with the school
  • Non-participation in extracurricular activities

School behavior

  • Misbehavior
  • Early assault

Family Domain

Family background features

  • High family mobility
  • Low level of parental education
  • A large number of brothers
  • Do not live with both birth parents
  • Family disruption

Family commitment to education

  • Low educational expectations
  • A brother has abandoned
  • Little contact with the school
  • Lack of conversation about school

Signs of risk

Since dropping out of school is a cumulative process, there are three signs to identify young people who are at risk of dropping out. Creating mechanisms to observe these three signals in time in a student allow a timely intervention. These signs are known as A, B, C (Absenteeism, Deviant Behaviors, and Performance)

Prevention programs in Latin America

Conditional Cash Transfers: These programs began in the 1990s in Brazil and Mexico . Monetary aid is conditional on children enrolling, attending class regularly, and remaining in the educational system.

Programs inspired by this principle are

  • Let’s move forward in Costa Rica
  • Opportunities in Mexico
  • Families in Action in Colombia
  • Tekopora in Paraguay
  • Bolsa Familia in Brazil
  • Human DevelopmentBond in Ecuador
  • Opportunity Network in Panama

In general, the few research studies done to evaluate these programs are positive in terms of their impact. However, its effect is indirectly on the issue of dropping out, indicators such as enrollment and attendance improve. Second Educational Opportunities: The concept was born in the Economic Community at the end of the nineties and its purpose “is to create experimental initiatives, adapted to the social and cultural environment to which young people belong, organizing flexible and motivating training alternatives”.

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