According to Eurostat’s recent research, in 2017, 12,5 percent of young people aged 18-24 were early leavers from education and training in Hungary.
The fresh statistics show that the number of young people having only completed lower secondary education is the highest it’s been in 11 years (at 12,4 percent in 2016). Hungary falls low on the list, followed only by Portugal (12.6 percent), Bulgaria (12.7 percent), Italy (14 percent), Malta (17.7 percent), Iceland (17.8 percent), Romania (18.1 percent) and Spain (18.3 percent).
The highest proportions of early leavers were reported in rural areas. The proportion was lower for young men than for young women (1,0 points difference). The country also reported a higher proportion of young women who were early leavers in 2017 than in 2007. Hungary also has one of the largest gender gaps (4.3 points) among early leavers not wanting to work.
Hungary is lagging behind the other Visegrád countries as well: The Czech Republic reports 6,7 percent and Poland only five. Meanwhile, in Slovakia, 9,3 percent of young people between the ages of 18-24 were early education leavers in 2017.
(According to a fresh survey by KSH, two-thirds of young Roma students are dropping out of school, which causes major labour market problems.)
As part of the Europe 2020 strategy, nearly all of the EU Member States adopted national targets for this indicator, and fourteen of them are behind, including Hungary. In 2012, the Hungarian government lowered the age limit of compulsory education to 16 years from 18. This certainly played a major role in the increase.
According to Hungary’s target, the rate should be lowered to 10%. The fact that this number has been increasing since 2014 makes it all the more doubtful whether Hungary can reach its goal in the next two years.