School Dropout Prevention Pilot Program

In Timor Leste, students are more than twice as likely to drop out in grades four, five and six as they are later in their academic careers. Nearly one in five sixth-grade students will never reach the seventh grade. Children are needed at home or in the fields to help their families generate income, while some drop out due to academic reasons.

Although one in three at-risk students have missed more than 15 consecutive days of school, parents are not often contacted regarding their child’s absenteeism.

Creative’s School Dropout Prevention Pilot program designs, implements and assesses interventions in Timor Leste, Cambodia, India and Tajikistan. It is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development.

In Timor-Leste, it uses two interventions in 97 schools to determine the best way to keep children in class. An Early Warning System uses school data to identify students who are at-risk of dropping out. It improves the ability of schools to address the needs of at-risk students through case management. It also strengthens the school-household partnership by showing teachers and parents how valuable staying in school can be for their children, thus improving both attendance and performance.

An after-school support program offers structured extra-curricular activities that foster cooperative learning, self-confidence and skill development. It engages teachers and community members to lead the enrichment activities and take active roles in their children’s education.

Nearly 500 teachers and school directors, as well as more than 900 community group members, have been trained to implement the program, which now reaches 11,700 students in 97 schools. Ninety-four schools that did not receive the intervention will serve as a control group for assessing the program’s impact.

To visit the School Dropout Prevention Lab, click here.


In Timor-Leste, students are more than twice as likely to drop out in Grades 4-6 as they are later in their academic careers. The School Dropout Prevention Pilot, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, aims to reduce that trend through an Early Warning System and extra-curricular activities. Engagement of students, educators, parents and community members are at the heart of the program.

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