Extending compulsory education up to 18 years old, what benefits could it bring?

Together with the home, the educational centers represent the environment of developing most important of children. Knowledge, values ​​and other lessons are learned throughout school, college or university. Given the importance of these locations it is not surprising that the political powers ensure a mandatory stage in which young people must be present in the classrooms to receive these teachings.

Currently education is mandatory up to 16 years old, age from which it is free to continue improving the academic curriculum. But there are those who believe that it should be extended until the age of 18, a way to avoid high school dropout rates and the educational gap among young people.


Improvement of annual income

Francisco López Rupérez, former president of the State School Board, is one of the defenders of compulsory and free education up to 18 years. His reasons are detailed in the report "The extension of basic education up to 18. Benefits and costs." Throughout these pages it is proposed that the Government ensure another two years of training for students to curb school dropout rates by retaining more time for students.

But it is not simply sought to force the students to stay more years in school. This report highlights how the expansion of the training would imply a higher probability of employment among students. The data suggest that an extra year of teaching in the Baccalaureate or Middle Grade FP ensures a greater chance of finding a job and produces an average increase in the individual's annual income close to 12%.


This proposal is not only based on theoretical teaching in the classroom. This report also aims to implement an internship program in this academic curriculum. Ensure the possibility that from the age of 16, students can begin to acquire the skills they will need in the future within their jobs.

The cost of the measure

Of course, expanding compulsory education up to 18 years would have costs, especially at the economic level. Taking this initiative forward would have a cost of 1,000 million euros that they would have to be divided over three legislatures and that they would not be the only change in this area. The report also states that there must be a change in the education system.


The rulers should value the introduction of a new educational system with greater flexibility to organize education. This means giving more ease at the time that students can balance their daytime or evening assistance to the centers and at the same time be able to be present in the internship programs to which they are enrolled.

The sociologist Rafael Feito also collects in Notebooks of Pedagogy Some drawbacks in the extension of compulsory education up to 18 years:

- Not all skills are learned in an academic school, but there are other places where they could be acquired.

- There are students and families who prefer employment to study. This extension would mean closing a door to several young people

- The budgetary cost of schooling the entire population between the ages of 16 and 18 may be excessively high. Something especially complicated in the current economic context.

Damián Montero

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