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About the project

EARS is intended to be an anti-school dropout programme with a high social inclusive attitude. The project will be implemented not only by improving the experience of the participating partners outreaching TG groups living in rural and remote areas and facing socio-economic difficulties but furtherly supporting the outreach to people with fewer opportunities, including people with disabilities, people with a migrant background, or any other potential source of discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.

EARS is a pilot endeavour designed to develop and standardize a set of school-level procedures for social inclusion of young people at risk with guidance, psycho-pedagogical support, after-school activities and listening services in critical areas of Europe. The project idea draws extensively from a set of integrated actions to tackle early school leaving which were developed, piloted and executed within the “Community Educational Pact” ( of the South-Eastern District of Basso Ferrarese, in northern Italy. This first, regional-scale project was originally financed by the Emilia-Romagna Region with ESF, with the same lead partner. This first set of measures was identified by the National D.D. Forum on Inequality and Diversity as one of the 15 most significant national initiatives to tackle educational poverty, and is included in the Italian National Strategy for Inner Areas. 


Overall objective of the project is to produce a set of procedures that can be actionable at the single school level. A structured interaction with the full range of actors usually involved in school dispersion issues, in each specific administrative context (i.e. the local health authorities, local councils, social cooperatives and volunteer associations, labour-market operators, mutual assistance entities, community police, NGOs, etc. according to the context) and throughout each partner’s territory will allow us to develop deeply integrated procedures to support the young people with significant school-dispersion risks, also considering those associated with the pandemic. The project will reach its main scope through the following specific objectives:

1. Co-design of a common action protocol between the partnering entities, summarizing and improving the single regional practices already in place. This “enhanced” best practice exchange will produce a set of spaces, initiatives and activities through which to offer first and second level guidance and information services to all piloting school users, as well as counseling and psychopedagogical support services empowered by the support of a digital profiling tool to inform, raise awareness and contrast drop-outs and potential drop-outs.

2. Improve the effectiveness of the digital profiling tools to inform about life and career possibilities within and outside the territory. Building and validation of a fully working prototype of the profiling tool will be subsequent to a full year of project’s piloting, with a long observation phase by the partner in charge of the digital work, in order to build a tool that actually matches the needs of the target groups.

3. Training on the procedures, tools and competences needed by teachers and administrative staff to closely follow up on high risk students, leaning on the three pillars of the programme: 1. Learn the Future; 2. Local and EU Labour-Market; 3. Family Involvement. Materialization of stimulating workplace environments as well as widespread interventions, in the form of seminars / workshops. 4. To advocate the results in dialogue with major sectoral stakeholders, promoting it at a European level, synergically with the new standardization tools developed by CEDEFOP.



Here follows a list of project’s outcomes, tagged according to the specific action they belong (R / C) when connected to the project results, and projected over a 3 years period: Quantitative measurable outcomes - Increase in the number of students who remain in education or training channels to acquire appreciable skills from the labour market in the piloting
school / area, quantified upon the average of the last 5 years (internal data); - Increase in the number of students who make choices consistent with the professional vocations of the geographical NUTS2 or NUTS3 area in the piloting MS; - Decrease in the school dropout rate in terms of number of returns/walkways in the different educational segments, in the piloting school/area, and quantified upon average of the last 5 years (internal data); Qualitative outcomes - (Connected to R.5) Better consistency of choice for children who complete the education cycle; - (Connected to R.5) Greater participation and support of families in the "school" life of boys and girls; - (Connected to R.5) Improved participation in STEM laboratories carried out as part of the operation; - (Connected to R.5) Increase in the total number of students who choose to deepen courses related to STEAM disciplines; - (Connected to R.5) Reduction of the gender gap in education and training courses related to STEAM disciplines - (Connected to R.5) Increase of ICT and STEM skills on the labour market.

Project Results:

R1- EARS Standardized 4-Countries Anti-Dropout Protocol

R2- EARS Guidance Tool

R3- EARS Impact Research

R4- Scheme of training for Teachers and Admin Staff

R5- Pilot Anti-dropout Program 1-Y

R6- Experimental Micro-pilot for Younger TG: Antidropout Prevention

Furthermore, a specific advocacy activity will be pursued, in order to enhance the impact of the project result at the institutional level. ADV.1 - Production of a “EARS” Green Paper, targeted at all relevant DGs, Parl. Committee and agencies of the European Union, as well as to key players in Brussels; ADV.2 - advocacy across main educational networks (e.g. School Education Gateway) to reach schools and relevant stakeholders, as well enrollment in selected associations / collective bodies at the EU level.

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