Secondary School Vs. Vocational Education

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Although most secondary school systems maintain a distinction between academic and vocational education, to vocationalize or not to vocationalize the secondary school has been a persistent question in many educational systems, especially in developing countries (Holsinger & Cowell, 2000; Lauglo & Maclean, 2006; Psacharopoulos, 1987). On the one hand, from a developmental perspective, the advocates of vocational secondary education perceive it as a way to develop human capital for economic development and provide students with better chances to compete in the labour market (Brunello & Checci, 2007; Gallart, 2001; Meer, 2007; Miranda, 2005; Shavit & Muller, 2000). On the other hand, the stratification of educational systems between a ‘higher’ curriculum (general secondary school) and a ‘lower’ curriculum (vocational secondary school) has been deemed to be a source of inequality in the distribution of education opportunities (Kerckhoff, 2001). Students in the vocational schools typically come from low socio-economic strata (Larrañaga, Cabezas, & Dussaillant, 2014; Psacharopoulos & Loxley, 1985). At the same time, studies show that vocational secondary schools may prevent low-income students from further training beyond secondary education because they do not develop the skills required for tertiary education (Brunello & Checci, 2007; Farías & Carrasco, 2012; Holm, Meier, Bernt-Karlson, & Reimer, 2013; Malamud & Pop-Eleches, 2008; Shavit & Muller, 2000). In addition, scholars
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