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Exploring the Dropout Rates and Causes of Dropout in Upper-Secondary Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Schools in China

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International Journal of Education Development

April 2015

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Policymakers in many developing countries regard upper-secondary technical and vocational education and training (TVET) as a key element in economic growth and poverty reduction. Unfortunately, there is evidence that upper-secondary TVET programs in developing countries experience high rates of dropout. The overall goal of this study is to examine the dropout rates and reasons for dropout among uppersecondary TVET students in China. To meet this goal, we have three specific objectives. First, we seek to produce high-quality estimates of dropout rates among students in upper-secondary TVET schools in one coastal and one inland province of China. Second, we seek to identify which students drop out from upper-secondary TVET. Third, we test whether financial constraints, math and computer achievement, and parental education and migration status correlate with TVET dropout. Drawing on data from a survey of 7414 upper-secondary TVET students in two provinces of China, we find dropout rates of 10.7% across both provinces and as high as 22% in poorer inland areas, suggesting major gaps and disparities in Chinese TVET dropout rates. Furthermore, we find that baseline academic performance and maternal education and migration status are strong correlates for student dropout.

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