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Szilvia Schmitsek

Szilvia Profile Photo

Szilvia Schmitsek graduated with her PhD in Employment Research in July 2018. Details of her thesis, ‘Who are you to know who I am?’: a comprehensive study of youth at risk, can be viewed on the Warwick Research Archive Portal (WRAP) 

Szilvia started her PhD at the IER in October 2013, investigating dropout-rate reducing strategies, using a mixed-method approach. She was supervised by Professor Jenny Bimrose and Dr Sally-Anne Barnes. Szilvia ’was awarded a Warwick Chancellor’s Scholarship for the duration of her studies. The focus of her research was to investigate which of the dropout-rate reducing strategies actually help the population concerned to reintegrate into the education system and/or the world of work and above all into society in England, Denmark and Hungary. The target group she focused on was young people in need of intensified guidance efforts aged 15-24 years.

Prior to coming to the IER, Szilvia completed a doctoral training programme in Education in 2011 at the Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest and worked for the university as a lecturer from 2008 to 2013 teaching courses at the Department of Special Education and the Department of Speech and Language Therapy. As a visiting scholar she became a member of the European Academic Network of Romany Studies at the Central European University, Budapest and had a chance to carry out a research on dropout issues at the Danske Paedagogiske Universiteit, Copenhagen. Besides her academic career she was professionally involved in an internationally recognized, nation-wide pilot programme called ‘Springboard’ (Dobbantó), which reduced the drop-out rate in 15 Hungarian secondary schools. ‘Springboard’ cooperated with international partner organizations such as APS International (Centre for School Improvement) and E2C (The European Association of Cities and Second Chance Schools), through the programme she had an overview of the E2C network, sharing good practices with experts on dropout issues.

Previously she had completed her Masters in Education at the University of Debrecen and gained significant work experience as a social worker and SEN teacher not only in Hungary but abroad; in the Netherlands and in the UK. She holds a BA in Special Education and Speech and Language Therapy and another BA in Social Sciences from the Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest.

Her decision to pursue a PhD on dropout-rate reducing strategies was strongly influenced by her commitment to disadvantaged youth, which had been her main field of interest for more than 16 years.

Research interests

Disadvantaged youth, minority groups, social inclusion, alternative education, special education, further education colleges, higher education, lifelong learning, curriculum reform, support systems for schools, policy making strategies.


Szilvia Schmitsek (2013): Dropout rate reducing strategies, Sanbun Publishers, New Delhi (ISBN 978-93-82393-31-3)

Szilvia Schmitsek (2013): Dropout rate reducing strategies in Hungary and in Denmark, In: Practice and Theory in Systems of Education, Volume 8 Number 1 (ISSN 1788-2591/Online), (ISSN 1788-2583/Printed)

Szilvia Schmitsek (2013): Dropout-rate reducing strategies in Denmark and in Hungary. In: Educational Research (ISSN: 2141-5161)-

Szilvia Schmitsek (2012): SEA: Samsø Energy Academy, In: CB Magazine/I, Humlebaek,

Szilvia Schmitsek (2011): Spring into vocational training with ‘Springboard’(Dobbantó)- realization of personalised pedagogy in vocational training for reducing drop-out rate In: Freedom of learning in Hungary . Edited by Sándor Klein, EDGE 2000, p.587-596, Budapest, ( ISBN: 9789639760158)

Szilvia Schmitsek (2011):Second chance in Europe, E2C- good practices from Denmark In: ÚPSZ 2011/1, Budapest

Csilla Szauer, Szilvia Schmitsek (2011): Inovativna odborná príprava a komplexné služ by pre ludí s posthnutím v madarsku podla medzinárodnych skúseností/ Vocational trainings for persons with SEN and the good practices of the related complex services in Hungary EFETA, 1, rocnik XXI, Bratislava

Szauer,Cs.,Fehér, I.,Schüttler V and Schmitsek, Sz.(2010):The EU2020 Strategy and vocational school innovations accessible for persons with disabilities in Hungary In: Gyógypedagógiai Szemle 2010/3, Budapest

Schmitsek Szilvia(2010): If you miss it you miss out: Springboard (Dobbantó) Programme, one possible way of social and educational integration for students at the risk of drop-out In: Annual Survey 2010, E2C Europe, November 2010, Heerlen

Szilvia Schmitsek (2010):Spectrum- an organisation dealing with people with autism In : Fejlesztő Pedagógia 2010/III., Budapest

Szilvia Schmitsek (2010): If you miss it you miss out- Springboard (Dobbantó Programme), In: Fejlesztő Pedagógia 2010/I., Budapest

Szilvia Schmitsek (2009): Meeting of different cultures somewhere in Europe, In: Hírlevél, 2009/III., Budapest

Szilvia Schmitsek (2005): The adventures of a speech and language therapist in the misty Albion, In: Beszédgyógyítás 2005/1., Budapest


Dropout-rate reducing strategies in Hungary and in Denmark. European Sociological Association Mid-term Conference, Ghent, Belgium, 13-14 September 2012

Dropout-rate reducing strategies in Hungary and Denmark. 5th International Conference for Theory and Practice in Education: Information and Education. Miskolc, Hungary, 14- 16 June 2012

Inclusion- reality or illusion? Ways of educational and social integration of vocational school students with SEN at the risk of drop-out. 2nd International Conference- Education for all, Warsaw, Poland, 22-25 September 2009

Ways of educational and social integration of vocational school students with SEN at the risk of drop-out. Advantages and disadvantages in education. Budapest, Hungary, 17-19 July 2009

Springboard (Dobbantó) Programme. Youth Event. Matoshinos, Portugal, 25-30 August 2009

Springboard Programme School development and action research. 8th National Educational Conference, MTA, Budapest, Hungary, 13-15 November 2008