Dropping in and hanging on
in a military-inspired boarding school
The case of school dropouts who sign up
to join Epide
The Public Establishment for Social Integration of the Military (Epide) is one of the support schemes for young adults without recognised educational or vocational qualifications. It aims to put them in an educational setting and prepare them for employability with the help of a socio-educational programme based on a military-inspired boarding school. The purpose of this article is to understand, first, the reasons that lead to educational dropouts signing up to this system despite the constraints of the boarding school and its military form, and secondly the reasons why they hang on within it. To do this, we base our explanation on direct observation in two Epide centers, combined with interviews with young people and senior staff. We firstly present the general principles of Epide and then assess the role of time and the decisive event in the process of reconnection. We then identify the impulse behind dropping back in, which cannot be reduced to career plans because it comes from causes that are extrinsic and intrinsic to the scheme. Revealing these causes is done in such a way as to locate the engagement of young unqualified adult people within a sequence that begins before their recourse to the scheme, continues with the act of engagement (“signing up”) and is extended through their state of engagement (“hanging on”).
Key words. EDUCATIONAL DROPOUT – SIGNING UP – HANGING ON – EPIDE – MILITARY-INSPIRED BOARDING SCHOOL