Online information system for career guidance
A unique information system has been developed in the Czech Republic with the aim to provide career information and guidance. It includes support for pupils with low educational aspirations, learning difficulties or at risk of dropping out of education. The system can also be used by adults (including people who have left school without a qualification) in search of opportunities in further education and their professional lives.
The information system www.infoabsolvent.cz has been developed by the VIP II project, which provides career information and guidance. The system contains four main thematic sections with information about education and the labour market and assists young people in making critical decisions. The portal offers a complex supporting platform, which can be used to solve various issues during the course of education and training pathways and also while making career choices. As a whole, it represents the necessary facility not only for pupils and parents, but also for counsellors and teachers who use it as a guidance tool. The system is designed as a self-help mechanism in a manner that enables comfortable use for individuals with little experience of searching on the internet. In order to understand expert information, the text is stylistically adapted into simple forms. The key element, from the prevention of early school leaving (ESL) point of view is the “How To” advice and recommendations section. The “How To” section provides recommendations on how to proceed when faced with various problematic situations in the course of study and beyond. It also includes support for pupils with low educational aspirations, learning difficulties or at risk of dropping out of education. Likewise, it can be used by adults (including people who have left school without a qualification) in search of opportunities in further education and their professional lives.
To help pupils with learning difficulties, the information system offers the “School to labour market transition without barriers“ section. Although the issue of ESL concerns the entire student population, research has shown that a significant correlation exists between social disadvantage and the risk of ESL. This relationship is reflected in the activities of the project. Examples of good practice are collected in the long term, regarding the prevention of ESL. The texts are available in full at www.infoabsolvent.cz, in the “School to labour market transition without barriers“ section. These examples of good practice have been used to create a list of individual prevention and intervention measures in the field of ESL. They include measures for more effective cooperation between lower and upper secondary schools; facilitating the transitions to upper secondary schools and their adaptation to the new school environment; and, measures for improving communication with parents, as well as those aimed at motivating students to remain in education. These measures can be divided into the following categories:
- Prevention before starting school, aimed at raising awareness of lower secondary school pupils (measures aimed at supporting school pupils in choosing a school and area of study, communication with students and parents before entering upper secondary school, etc.).
- Transfer of students from one school to another and prevention during entrance to upper secondary school (this includes measures supporting pupils switching from one school or one area of study to another, but also communication measures between lower and upper secondary schools in order to pass on information in the area of educational needs of individual pupils, in order to effectively support the transition to upper secondary school and successful adaptation to the new environment).
- Intervention measures aimed at enhancing students' motivation to study (this includes measures related to contact with the extracurricular environment, emphasis on practical results and linking education with practice, the use of grants and particularly the measures aimed at integrating socially disadvantaged pupils into school events).
- Individual intervention measures during the course of study (individual measures aimed at a particular pupil and his/her parents, e.g. educational committee, online system for checking attendance, methodology and plans to identify vulnerable pupils, etc.).
- Support of teaching staff in working with pupils at risk of ESL.
The extent to which these measures are utilised in upper secondary schools was explored by a monitoring survey. Based on the results of this survey, measures which the schools found the most interesting have been selected. Subsequently, methodologies for these measures have been prepared and evaluated in practice by 12 upper secondary schools. Currently, an evaluation report of this investigation is being prepared, which will include a list of all prevention and intervention measures and the results of the monitoring survey, as well as the corresponding methodology and the results of their evaluation in upper secondary schools.