Bulgaria had 12.8 per cent early school leavers in 2020, the fifth-highest proportion in the European Union, according to figures released on June 24 by EU statistics agency Eurostat.
Eurostat said that the indicator “early leavers from education and training” is defined as the percentage of the population aged 18-24 with at most a lower secondary education and who were not in further (formal or non-formal) education or training during the four weeks preceding the survey.
The share of early school leavers has steadily decreased in the EU over the past 10 years from 13.8 per cent in 2010 to 9.9 per cent in 2020, Eurostat said.
More young men left education and training early than women in 2020 – 11.8 per cent of men compared to eight per cent of women. Compared to 2019, the share of male early school leavers remained the same, while the share of female dropped slightly (by 0.4 percentage points).
The EU member states have set themselves a target to reduce the rates of early school leavers to below nine per cent at the EU level by 2030.
Compared with 2010, nearly all EU countries reported a smaller proportion of early leavers in 2020, except for Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Sweden, Luxembourg and Bulgaria which all reported a small increase (below three percentage points).
In 2020, the EU countries that reported the lowest shares of early leavers from education and training were Croatia (2.2 per cent), Greece (3.8 per cent), Slovenia (4.1 per cent), Ireland (five per cent) and Poland (5.4 per cent).
In contrast, the highest shares were recorded in Malta (16.7 per cent), Spain (16 per cent), Romania (15.6 per cent), Italy (13.1 per cent) and Bulgaria (12.8 per cent).
Eighteen EU countries have already met the EU-level target for 2030 for this indicator: Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, France, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland and Sweden.
In 2020, the share of early leavers from education and training was lower for young women than for young men across all EU member states apart from Romania and Czech Republic, Eurostat said.
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