School dropout in the magnifying glass: Two experts linked to education and youth analyze the phenomenon

Dropping out of school has been in the spotlight in recent weeks. According to him Study Center of the Ministry of Education (Mineduc)between 2021 and 2022 there have been 50,529 disengaged students, that is, they were enrolled in 2021 and did not appear this year.

According to Present Educational Foundationprior to the pandemic, 1 in 3 students missed classes for at least one month per year, a situation that as of 2020 only worsened.

“If we take this figure to 10 years of schooling, for example, From first grade to second grade, we are talking about a student with recurring chronic absenteeism that can lose up to 10 months of classes, which is equivalent to a full year”, underlines The nation Rebeca Molina, Executive Director of the Present Educational Foundation. This entity promotes the involvement of students with their learning and confronts school absenteeism, through accompaniment to school teams.

The phenomenon is worrying. In fact this Monday, the Unión Demócrata Independiente (UDI) gave an ultimatum to the Minister of Education, Marco Antonio Ávila, to take action on the matter and warned that they could accuse him constitutionally.

“We demand and we also give the Minister of Education an ultimatum, because otherwise he is not exercising his powers and it is susceptible to a constitutional accusation to the extent that it does not take care of the young people and children who have to go back to the classroom”, remarked the party general secretary, María José Hoffmann.

The Children’s defender, Patricia MuñozMeanwhile, this Tuesday, in conversation with Radio Universe, called absenteeism a “national tragedy”.


Marcelo Trivelli, president of the Semilla Foundation and former mayor of the Metropolitan Region, analyzes absenteeism in the classroom with concern. The Semilla Foundation is an instance that believes that by “opening new paths or ways of doing things” through training or workshops focused on topics of interest to them, it is “possible to empower young people as positive leaders.”

“Absenteeism is the main cause of deficits in learning content and developing socio-emotional skills”he emphasizes.

“The three main causes that explain desertion and absenteeism are feeling or being attacked by their peers (bullying) or devalued by one or more teachers, not having the conditions to attend classes (being caregivers for a relative, having to work, etc.) or lack of appreciation of education on the part of the student and/or his family”, details the also columnist for La Nación.

The Minister of Education said that “more than 25% are registered to take free exams, so they are out of school but registered to validate their studies.” Why do you think there are families, even if they don’t have financial problems, that don’t send their children to school?

-Free tests are an alternative, surely they are young students who do not want to be part of a system that they consider boring and of little value. Education was the best legacy that one could leave to his daughters and sons. For many it is still valid. Those families that do not consider it so do not encourage them to attend school.

The future of these students looks worrisome. What can happen to them in ten more years?

-The biggest problem is now. School dropouts are a source of cheap labor for criminal gangs. They are young people who see in these groups a sense of belonging and income that they do not achieve in the short term by staying in formal education.

You, who have experience in education and are president of Fundación Semilla, what do you think should be done in the short and medium term?

-The crisis in education is not only about teaching and learning, there is also a disaffection with the institutional framework. The most important thing is to get students to identify with their institution, and for this they need to feel part of it and have an impact on the school community. For Fundación Semilla, participation and citizenship are the new coexistence.

“The Minister of Education has placed emphasis on the well-being of the students and that is going in the right direction, but there is still a lack of a comprehensive view that allows more and better participation.”, he emphasizes.

“Those of us who work in education have the challenge of revaluing, redefining, and dignifying the school again as the place where one learns to live together and also learns subjects. For the best interest of the boy, girl and young person, the school must be strengthened as a place of coexistence and well-being of the educational communities”, points out Trivelli.


Rebeca Molina, Executive Director of the Present Educational Foundation, stresses that “it is essential that as a school system we achieve meaningful experiences for students until the last day, and that we are able to convey the importance of this stage to families. Let’s not forget that we are training for life, and not for the end-of-semester exam”.

How is the future projected for children and adolescents who stop going to school?

-International evidence tells us that chronic absenteeism causes significant damage in the well-being and development of students. Among them, we can mention lag in learning and greater difficulties in learning language and mathematics, as well as fewer opportunities for the development of social-emotional skills. At the same time, chronic absenteeism increases the probability among schoolchildren of presenting adolescent pregnancy, of falling into addictive behaviors, even in delinquency. Various investigations have shown that students with chronic absenteeism also become adults with a higher probability of having lower salaries, worse jobs and longer periods of unemployment.

What should the Government do in the short and medium term?

-We should expect the Government to take immediate and urgent measures in such a way that students, if they are enrolled in a school, but are not attending classes, are contacted as soon as possible and we prevent them from joining the group of students who have left the school. school system. Among other strategies, there are awareness campaigns, direct support for school teams, tutorials, etc.

School dropout in the magnifying glass: Two experts linked to education and youth analyze the phenomenon – La Nación