Social Guarantee Schemes in Spain 
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 Comment (in Finnish)
Issue Through the introduction of the 1990 Education Act (LOGSE, Ley de Ordenación General del Sistema Educativo) and the extension it implied of compulsory schooling to the age of 16, the expected failure rate would increase, specially at the secondary level (ages 12 to 16). This was already reckoned by the Law itself, which provided the basis (article 23.1 and 23.2 of the Law) for the launching of schemes, at the postcompulsory level, addressed to those who had not been awarded the Graduate of Secondary Schooling, the official accreditation of satisfactory compulsory schooling. These schemes, named differently accross different Autonomic Territories (Programas de Garantía Social, Garantía Formativa, Programes d’Iniciació al Treball, etc.) are vocational education at the Level 1 of qualification. PGS (Social Guarantee Schemes) were first launched in the academic year 1994-1995. (F.M. 30/11/99) Education and training seem to be a constant focus of societal interest because education is both the process through which individuals are selected for various social positions and a means of solving many social problems with a view to improving the status of badly-off children and preventing crime and idleness. Unemployment rates have been considerably higher among the under-25s than among adults. Unemployment, which may lead to social exclusion, can be the result of inadequate education or of difficulties with the transition from education to working life. The risk that young people will become socially excluded has been a concern in Spain, Finland and also elsewhere in Europe. One set of measures undertaken to prevent it is  the European Transitional System. (J.L. 08/05/01)
Measure PGS are not a grade nor a level neither a stage of the formal education system, neither at the compulsory not at the post-compulsory level; neither at the academic nor at the vocational pathways. PGS were the only novelty of the new system not experienced any earlier than 1990. The process of reform of the educational system in Spain driving to the LOGSE started in 1984.
Despite the above, they are partly under control of the educational administration. This means that the regulations on PGS are stated by the educational administration, though together with the labour administration. But it is the Inspection services of the educational administration who must control PGS. Therefore, PGS are the only non-formal vocational scheme in which the educational administration takes part. All other vocational schemes are fully run by the administration of labour.
    PGS are to be voluntarily run by local administrations, non-profit organizations and, since 1996, Vocational Education Schools of the educational system. PGS are intented for young people over 16 and below 23 who: (a) have not achieved the Graduate of Schooling (the successful leaving certification after completion of compulsory schooling); (b) are “special needs” students; (c) are already out of school and without the leaving certificate; and (d) young offenders imprisoned.
    The curriculum is structured as follows:
# 15-18 hours of Specific Vocational Training.
#  6-9 hours of  Basic Academic Training (Maths and Language).
#  2-3 hours of Jobs and Careers (“core skills”).
#  1-2 hours of tutorials.
#  1-3 hours of extra-curricular activities.
    PGS can have three different shapes, depending on how the module of Specific Vocational Training is organized and delivered:
(1) Training and working. Young people have an apprenticeship contract with a firm, and they receive their Specific Vocational Training there.
(2) Training and work-experience. Young people receive their Specific Vocational Training in the PGS, but they have some form of work-experience at a placement in companies.
(3) Training withour work-experience. Young people receive all their training at the PGS location, and they don’t have any alternative experience, but do only workshop practice.
    The aims of PGS are to facilitate entry into the labour market and re-entry into the educational system, at the vocational post-compulsory pathways. (F.M. 30/11/99)
Social exclusion involves the gradual severing of the social and symbolic ties that integrate a young person into society. Such ties can be institutional, economic or otherwise important. In order to prevent social exclusion we should pinpoint ways in which and processes through which individuals and groups become marginalised, and identify outcomes of such processes. There have been many special educational, labour, social and youth policy measures to help socially excluded young. Such measures vary greatly in their scope, term and impact. The Spanish Social Guarantee Schemes (PGS) project and the Finnish Bridge project contrast in many ways. The Bridge project  targeted on  young people under 25  who did not finish their vocational qualification when training programmes were extended from two to three years and who were unemployed or at  risk of becoming unemployed. Most of the young trained in the project came under the Objective 3 programme of the European Social Fund. Unlike in the Spanish project, the training provision of the Bridge project was integrated into the educational system as a part of formal education and with a view to developing formal education. While most of the training was delivered at the workplace, learning was supervised and assessed on the basis of the curricula of vocational education establishments. The Bridge project was implemented by educational establishments and teachers which had joined the project on a voluntary basis and were paid for their contribution. (J.L. 08/05/01)
Impact There is the usual imbalance in regard to gender division of labour. Attendance is not compulsory, but based on the attractiveness of the schemes, of the activities which the young person undertakes while in the scheme.
    Dropout rates are no larger than in any other form of secondary education, be it formal or not. Dropout reasons are the usual ones: sometimes personal, sometimes the chance to get a paid job -often in the company in which the youngsters have their work experience placements (one should take into account here the pretty bad labour market conditions in Spain, with the highest unemployment rates in Europe).
    In April 1998 a new National Plan for Vocational Education has been launched, one of its main aims being the erection of an Institute for the recognition and homologation of vocational accreditations. This might bring interesting consequences in terms of allowing for better chances of progression for students after attending a scheme. (F.M. 30/11/99)
In Finland, good practices found worth attention in efforts to persuade young people at risk of social exclusion or already socially excluded to return to education include vocationally and practically oriented instruction delivered within the compulsory education system, apprenticeship training, and other types of vocational education grounded on a combination of school-based and work-based education. Sufficiently long work-based learning periods spent in authentic environment can promote a young person's social integration. (J.L. 08/05/01)
Reference Research undertaken on PGS has been published in Spanish: Aparisi et al 1998a on the psychosocial development in the educational context of the Social Guarantee Schemes and Marhuenda & Martínez 1998a on the educational experience of the Social Guarantee Schemes. (F.M. 30/11/99 - S.M. ed.) Lasonen, J. (2001a); Puustelli, P. (1999)
Author Fernando Marhuenda Johanna Lasonen

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