The article deals with the theme of the relations between youth and schooling, proposing a discussion of the reasons for the attendance and dropout within the technical professional secondary education. Initially, it presents a conceptual discussion about youth, school and work, and then it puts forward the results of two empirical researches that analyzed the reasons why youngsters drop out from, or remain at, the school. The two courses investigated were chosen because they were both in high demand, with one of them displaying a high level of dropout, whereas the other presents a rate of attendance above the average of other secondary schools. The analysis signals to the fact that the reasons for the high demand for technical courses in the areas investigated here are that youngsters look for high quality education, seek professionalization in areas that are associated with high status and, still, that they aim at guaranteed employability. In one of these situations, when attending school the initial illusions vanish, problems to keep up with the course appear, and the relation between the school and the youngsters remains distant, bringing with it the dropout. In the other situation, attendance is explained by the degree of positive experiences that youngsters have while they are enrolled in a full-time, well structured, boarding school.
Youth and education; School attendance and school dropout; Secondary education; Technical professional secondary education