The School Drop Out Phenomena

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In Uruguay, between one out of three and one out of four children that enroll in secondary school do not graduate. For a country that used to exhibit high education levels and more than tripled its education expenditure per student in the last ten years, being just above Latin American standards appears as anything but a success. Several studies dug in the cause and nature of such an evolution. One particular finding called for the attention of researchers: the probability of an adolescent leaving their studies exhibit two peaks, one at 15 years old and the other at 18. There seems to be a period of relative calm between ages 15 and 18 in terms of school dropping. (1) Quite an odd shape for that process. Why is it that student feelings about education along the adolescence present this U shape? Are subjects being taught in those particular years less interesting than others? Are them more difficult? Why such an important and long term decision goes back and forth during adolescence? The school drop-out phenomena has been widely researched but it still remains in the shades. Pouring money into the education system does not seem enough to solve the issue. Despite efforts of teachers some children still underestimate the benefits of studying. Or at least they do not feel the payoff big enough for the effort they do. A humongous amount of hard data proves that for teens it is not a wise decision to abandon their studies. Nevertheless, simply telling them that, does not change
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