The meeting, held at the Ermesinde Cultural Forum, was attended by 17 speakers, including researchers, representatives of second chance education initiatives, teachers, associations, representatives of public bodies and the Portuguese government.
In addition to sharing experiences and studies on school dropout in Portugal and initiatives aimed at tackling it, the meeting also celebrated the publication of 6th August’s Order 6954/2019, which establishes the legal framework for second opportunity schools and education initiatives by setting up an intervention program called 'Second Opportunity', for young dropouts at risk of social exclusion. The fact was underlined by the Assistant Secretary of State and Education, João Costa, and by several other speakers, namely E2C Europe President Michel Haudry, who praised "movement" as "necessary" in contemporary societies.
The necessary space was also given to the artistic talents of the youngsters attending the Second Chance School of Matosinhos, illustrating the importance of Arts education in the training programs of second chance schools.
The meeting, expected to happen annually, ended with the first General Assembly of the National Network of Second Opportunity Education Initiatives that approved the operating model, action plan and coordination team of the E2O Portugal Network, currently composed of 33 members from all over the country.
E2O Portugal is now better prepared to bring together the common efforts of so many initiatives fighting early abandonment and the stigma that is usually comes along with it, helping to improve the qualifications of Portuguese youngsters, which continue to be represented by unacceptable values (30% don’t finish high school), and to reduce youth unemployment (25%), being that the percentages regarding both are among the highest in Europe.
The effort is now increasingly a common one!