One of the biggest nationwide workers unions, the Comisiones Obreras, has proposed raising the school-leaving age to 18 in order combat unemployment.
This solution, they consider, will both bring down the rampant unemployment figure for school leavers and young people in general, as well as, improve the high statistics for youngsters abandoning their schooling at the earliest opportunity.
There are three other European countries that obligate pupils to stay at school until the reach the age of adulthood; 18 years of age: Holland, Portugal and Hungary.
Not unsurprisingly this suggestion has met with both skepticism from some and scorn from others, mainly because how will it be paid for, especially when regional educational boards are cutting back all over the country.
In most European countries, a child’s schooling lasts ten years; from six to sixteen, but countries like Germany, Denmark and Belgium use a system where 18 is the minimum school-leaving age, but pupils can combine their education on a part time basis, holding part-time jobs.
What is undeniable is that Spain has a terrible level of premature abandonment of school on the part of its youngster, “enjoying” twice the percentage than the European average, standing at just under 25%. On top of that, Spain has 58% unemployment amongst under 25-year-olds.
The fact of the matter is that schooling was more efficient when the minimum leaving age was only 14, meaning that from that point on, only those willing and capable of studying remained, so that the system worked with motivated pupils, instead of reluctant and surly 15-year-olds that don’t want to be at school and who are not only determined not to learn in class, but are also equally determined to prevent those that are willing from doing so.
If a pupil is willing to work and progress, then the state should provide free education all the way up to higher education, but it is counterproductive to waste money and resources on teenagers who neither appreciate nor take advantage of quality free education.