Project stories

GOAL against school dropout in the province of Bolzano

The project in brief

GOAL against school dropout in the province of Bolzano

The story of the project

The phenomenon of school dropout is gaining increasing prominence, and no territory is immune to it. To address this issue, cohesion policies fund social inclusion initiatives that encompass actions aimed at promoting vocational training, career guidance, the integration of young people into the workforce through supportive employment measures, the establishment of partnerships between local institutions, businesses, and other organizations to stimulate the connection between demand and supply, and other targeted actions to combat the social challenges often associated with the phenomenon of school dropout.

Empty chairs in a school classroomAmong the territories where school dropout is most significant is the Autonomous Province of Bolzano, where the number of young people leaving educational and vocational training paths prematurely is slightly higher than the national average.

The GOAL project, promoted by the Autonomous Province of Bolzan- South Tyrol as part of the Regional Operational Programme ESF 2014-2020, is precisely aimed in this direction. Launched in 2019 and continued in the subsequent years with interventions funded by cohesion – totaling approximately 3.25 million euros (excluding the recently activated "GOAL 2025" project segment) – the initiative targets Italian-speaking students enrolled in secondary schools or vocational training programs in the South Tyrol province. So far, it has involved around 270 students.

The management of the project is entrusted, as the lead organization, to the social cooperative Irecoop Alto Adige Südtirol, engaged in activities and services aimed at promoting social inclusion and skills development among disadvantaged individuals or those in situations of social distress in the territory. Within the framework of GOAL, the cooperative's operators, in partnership with the associations La Strada – der Weg and Arciragazzi Bolzano Aps, and in collaboration with the network of school principals and administrators, have implemented actions and pathways for prevention, support, and assistance using an integrated approach. This approach brings together various educational types and disciplines, teachers, educators, and experts from the local socio-cultural, creative, and economic sectors, as well as public entities, businesses, and nonprofit organizations.

The support methodology leverages the development of greater self-awareness and awareness of one's own abilities in constructing one's educational and professional path. This is done to ensure that students attend educational institutions at least until the fulfillment of compulsory education and the attainment of a qualification that enhances their future employability. Additionally, it provides school communities with tools to address, prevent, and counteract factors contributing to school dropout.

Students on school desksTo achieve these objectives, GOAL – which is part of the broader "Successo formativo" initiative launched by the Province of Bolzano to combat school dropout at all levels of education – relies on multiple actions: individual activities to enhance basic skills, aimed at improving performance in all subjects and achieving a positive final evaluation. These activities are conducted by educators within schools during regular school hours. Group activities are also implemented to strengthen basic skills, encouraging the sharing of challenges and contributing to addressing gaps in curricular subjects and multilingual competence. Social-pedagogical support activities are carried out individually and in groups to assist students facing difficulties, involving specialized professionals such as psychologists, mediators, educators, sociologists, and pedagogists. Group prevention activities focus on enhancing social relationships and talents among diverse students. Furthermore, training and empowerment activities are provided for all professionals involved in the project.

The stated intention is to "leave no one behind," thus reaffirming the school as the ultimate inclusive space where everyone can actively participate in effective learning processes, engage in open discussions, and acquire the skills to build their own future.