Transitions and Re-engagement Through Second Chance Education
Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences
School of Education / Fogarty Learning Centre
The issue of school non-completion continues to be a matter of concern for policy makers and practitioners in Australia today. Despite the efforts of governments and school systems to improve participation and retention rates, often one in three students drop out of school before completing Year 12. Major factors influence non-completion and militate against young people remaining at school. Findings from recent research indicate that some non-completers choose to re-enter education through second chance programs outside the school environment. The argument for second chance education presented in this paper is developed within the context of the ‘risk’ society and in relation to recent theories of youth transitions. The need for a ‘second chance’ is justified in relation to recent theories of youth transitions, which suggest that re-entry into second chance education is a personal act of agency through which young people struggle to reclaim successful personal and educational identities amidst the constraints and hazards in their daily lives. Based on the findings that increasing numbers of non-completers are enrolling in TAFE second chance programs, these enabling programs are considered as a means of addressing the needs of this cohort. Educational policy in Australia related to second chance education is critically examined in light of international programs and recommendations for change are made.