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ERIC Number: ED562993
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
The Impact of Vocational Schooling on Human Capital Development in Developing Countries: Evidence from China
Loyalka, Prashant; Huang, Xiaoting; Zhang, Linxiu; Wei, Jianguo; Yi, Hongmei; Song, Yingquan; Ren, Baoping; Shi, Yaojiang; Chu, James; Maani, May; Rozelle, Scott
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness
A number of developing countries currently identify vocational education and training (VET) as a key approach to building human capital. For example, the promotion of VET at the high school level ("vocational high school", which is used here interchangeably with VET throughout the paper) has become a policy priority among emerging economies such as Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico and China (Newhouse and Suryadarma, 2011; National Congress of Brazil, 2011; Ministry of National Education of Indonesia, 2006; China State Council, 2010). The rationale underlying these policies is that increases in the proportion of vocational--as opposed to academic--high school enrollments can more effectively build human capital. For VET to successfully build human capital in these countries, however, it must meet two prerequisites. The first prerequisite is that VET must help students learn specific (vocational) skills. Vocational high school, in particular, must help youth acquire specific, medium-level skills that can either directly be used in the labor market after graduation or serve as a foundation for vocational college (Kuczera et al., 2008). Second, in addition to specific skills, for VET to be considered successful, it must help students acquire general skills (Kuczera et al., 2008; Chiswick, Lee and Miller, 2002). Despite the increasing interest in VET among policymakers, there is surprisingly little evidence from developing countries as to whether vocational high school, especially in comparison to academic high school, actually helps students acquire specific and general skills. The authors aim to begin to fill what appears to be a gap in the literature on VET in developing countries by examining whether vocational high school students are, in fact, learning specific and/or general skills. Toward this overall aim, they seek to accomplish three goals: (1) to assess the impact of attending vocational versus academic high school on the dropout rates, specific skills and general skills of the "average" student that is attending academic and vocational high schools; (2) to estimate the "heterogeneous impacts" of attending vocational versus academic high school on the dropout rates and skill levels of disadvantaged (low-income or low-ability) students; and (3) to establish whether vocational high school leads to any absolute gains in specific and general skills. Results indicate that attending vocational (relative to academic high school) substantially reduces general skills without improving specific skills. Attending vocational high school also increases dropout, especially among disadvantaged (low-income and low-ability) students.
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness. 2040 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208. Tel: 202-495-0920; Fax: 202-640-4401; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE)
Identifiers - Location: China