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Preventing Dropping Out in Post-Secondary Education (focusing on lower levels at ICS)

Authors: Marilyn Pace Mintoff, ,
  • Institute: Institute of Community Services
  • Symposium: Quality Pedagogy and Effective Learning
  • Day: 1 , Session: 1 , Location: Conference Hall 3
  • Session Type: Medium 15 min (Presentation of ongoing research developments and findings) , Start: 10:40 , End: 11:00


Dropping out of school at post- secondary level is an issue which requires attention not only in Malta, but globally (Early School Leaving Unit, 2017; Writers, 2021). The research, which is in its second year of studies, focuses on students who attend levels 1-3 at the Institute of Community Services within MCAST.

During the first year of this research, data was gathered via questionnaires with the participation of both educators and students, as well through focus groups with students. Results obtained shed light on MCAST as a post-secondary institution when compared to secondary education and other post-secondary institutions. Data also showed insights on reasons as to why students choose to complete their studies and conversely why some students may decide to terminate their studies during the scholastic year.

The social role of post-secondary education, mentoring services and course relevance were amongst the factors shown to encourage students to complete their studies. Also, decreased travelling time to and from MCAST was also a positive influence for students to complete their studies during the past scholastic year. Conversely, financial instability, lack of financial support, bullying and few practical sessions/opportunities carried out during the past scholastic year may have lead students dropping out from the chosen course. Insufficient/Incomplete information given to students prior to application for specific courses may also influence dropping out. This is particularly related to certain courses which require students to buy tools/kits to work with which are beyond their financial means (including stipend allocation).

Along this second year of this research, a similar approach is adopted. Yet, new factors which are influencing students dropping out might be identified when comparing two scholastic years. The latter will be predominantly investigated in the light that different teaching/learning methods were/are adopted (online vs learning physically in class) along scholastic years 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 respectively.


Early School Leaving Unit, M., 2017. A Study focusing on Students dropping out from Post-Secondary Education in Malta Scholastic Year 2015-16. [Online]

Available at: https://researchandinnovation.gov.mt/en/Documents/ESLU%20%E2%80%93%20Study%20on%20Dropouts%202015-16.pdf

[Accessed 14 November 2021].

Writers, S., 2021. How to Prevent Students from Dropping Out. [Online]

Available at: https://www.accreditedschoolsonline.org/resources/preventing-students-dropping-out/

[Accessed 14 November 2021].