Positive youth development and resilience amongst early school leavers
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Early School Leaving (ESL) represents a massive loss of potential to individuals who leave school and can have a much wider social and economic cost. This study examines Early School Leaving (ESL) and resilience among young people aged 15 – 20 in the Republic of Ireland. The research explores negative internalised stereotypes and how they affect Early School Leavers (ESLs). Three Positive Youth Development (PYD) programmes were used to challenge these stereotypes. Youth Participatory Action Research was used as a methodology to identify the problems faced by ESLs and to take action on the issues identified. 19 participants were recruited from a Youthreach centre and they participated in three PYD Programmes including; Research Action Project (RAP), GAISCE, and Canoeing Skills. Qualitative data were collected through notes taken on informal conversations with participants, and the reflections of the participants. Quantitative data were collected through the Child and Youth Resilience Measure before and after their participation in the programmes. A regional survey of forty Youthreach centres was used to identify issues relating to ESL. A cycle of discrimination, depression and drug use were important issues affecting the lives of ESLs. Mentorship was determined to be important in combating internalised stereotypes. The evidence suggests that PYD programmes can increase resilience in ESLs. Keywords: Early School Leaving, Resilience, Positive Youth Development, Youthreach.
KeywordsEarly school leavers