Indicator B7. How do vocational education systems differ around the world?

The organisation and structure of vocational education varies considerably from one country to another, both in terms of the opportunities available to students to enrol in it, the content of the programmes and the possibilities for further study and employment. On average across OECD countries, about one in three students from lower secondary to short-cycle tertiary level are enrolled in a VET programme. However, there are wide variations between countries, ranging from less than 20% of students in Brazil, Colombia and Lithuania to more than 40% in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Finland and Slovenia (Figure B7.1).

These relatively low figures are largely explained by the fact that lower secondary vocational programmes exist in only half of the countries with available data, which explains why only 6% of lower secondary students enrol in vocational programmes on average across OECD countries. VET programmes at this level are often designed for adults and are not part of initial education. The share of students enrolled in VET at lower secondary level exceeds 10% only in Australia, Belgium, Costa Rica, Ireland, Mexico and the United Kingdom. Most VET students enrolled in lower secondary vocational education can directly access upper secondary vocational programmes except in Estonia, Mexico and the Slovak Republic. The other exceptions include the few students enrolled in special education in Belgium and students in the Netherlands enrolled in practical training designed for students who do not have the skills needed to go on into further education. Vocational lower secondary programmes generally offer options for young people wishing to prepare for direct entry to the labour market in low- or semi-skilled jobs, or provide adults and students with special educational needs with the basic skills necessary for further learning (Table B7.1, Figure B7.1 and (OECD/Eurostat/UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2015[8])).

Upper secondary education is the most common level at which VET programmes are provided across countries. All countries except the United States have some students enrolled in vocational upper secondary education. In the United States, there is no distinct vocational path at upper secondary level, although optional vocational courses are offered within the general track and VET programmes start at the post-secondary level. On average across OECD countries, more than two-thirds of all VET students are enrolled in upper secondary education and 42% of all upper secondary students are in vocational programmes. However, the importance of VET systems within the educational landscape varies widely across countries. In some, VET plays a central role in the initial education of young people whereas in other systems most students follow a general education programme. In more than one-quarter of countries with available data, more than half of upper secondary students participate in vocational programmes. In Austria, the Czech Republic, Finland, the Netherlands, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia, more than 65% of upper secondary students follow this track. In Finland, the high proportion of students enrolled in vocational education at this level is partly explained by the large number of adults participating in VET. In contrast, over 80% of upper secondary students are enrolled in general programmes in Brazil, Canada, Chile, Korea and Saudi Arabia. In Canada, the proportion of young people expected to enrol in an upper secondary vocational programme is considerably smaller because vocational programmes are often provided within the post-secondary system, and in Quebec (Canada), vocational training at the secondary level is largely through second-chance programmes for older students (Table B7.1).

For students looking to continue their vocational education, the two most common options after upper secondary are post-secondary non-tertiary and short-cycle tertiary programmes. But these programmes are also for students who come from the general education path. Just over one-quarter of all students in any kind of VET programme are enrolled in one of these two levels. Specifically, 10% of these students are enrolled in post-secondary non-tertiary level programmes and 17% in short-cycle tertiary programmes. Two observations can be made. First, the countries with the most students enrolled in vocational short-cycle tertiary programmes – Chile, Colombia, Korea, Spain, the Russian Federation and Turkey – either have no post-secondary non-tertiary options, or, for example in the Russian Federation and Spain, have few students enrolled at this level. In these countries, short-cycle tertiary programmes are the best option for further education. Similarly, those with the most students in post-secondary non-tertiary programmes are those with no or few short-cycle tertiary programmes (e.g. Brazil, Greece and Lithuania). Second, there are some countries – Chile, Colombia, Korea and Turkey – where a larger share of VET students are enrolled at short-cycle tertiary level than at upper secondary level (Table B7.1 and Figure B7.1). This might be explained by the fact that even though short-cycle tertiary programmes are often vocational, they also enrol students from upper secondary general programmes, which may create a shortage of places for students graduating from vocational tracks. As a result, some countries have recently implemented reforms to improve upper secondary vocational graduates’ access to short-cycle tertiary programmes. For example, Chile and Portugal have strengthened networking and co-ordination with higher education institutions to help students with the transition from upper secondary VET to tertiary education. Similarly, Chile, Italy and Japan have opened new technical institutes to increase the opportunities for vocational upper secondary graduates to undertake further studies in short-cycle tertiary education while France has introduced quotas to ensure graduates from upper secondary vocational education have more places in short-cycle tertiary programmes (OECD, 2018[5]).

Short-cycle tertiary programmes are often designed to prepare students to enter the labour market. However, these programmes may also provide a pathway to other tertiary education programmes (see Indicator B4). The absence of or very low enrolment levels in vocational short-cycle tertiary programmes, as seen for instance in Estonia, Finland and Germany, does not mean that these countries’ VET systems do not offer students the opportunity to continue their studies at other tertiary levels. On the contrary, in about two-thirds of OECD member and partner countries with data, students who have completed upper secondary vocational education have the opportunity to enrol directly in bachelor's (or equivalent) programmes (ISCED 6). However, the lack of internationally agreed definitions to distinguish between "academic" and "professional" programmes at the bachelor's (or equivalent) level make it impossible to measure the importance of professional programmes at this level in OECD countries to date (Table B7.2 and Figure B7.1).

Upper secondary education builds on students’ basic skills and knowledge to prepare them for tertiary education or the labour market. In many countries, this level of education is not compulsory and it can last from two to five years. Most education systems provide different types of programmes at this level to cater to students’ different interests and competencies, which will prepare them to contribute fully to society. Developing and strengthening both general and vocational programmes in upper secondary education can make education more inclusive, and strengthen the transition from school to work (OECD, 2019[1]; OECD/Eurostat/UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2015[8]).

Pathways to higher levels of learning are likely to be particularly important in the near future. VET students may be particularly at risk here. The OECD predicts that 14% of jobs are at high risk of automation and a further 32% are likely to change radically in the coming years (OECD, 2019[9]). Recognising the importance of creating opportunities for further learning, many countries have created (or are in the process to create) pathways to higher levels of education for VET graduates. For instance, as part of the Portuguese Higher Education Admission Process 2020/2021, a new special competition for the admission to higher education of graduates of specialised vocational and artistic education will be introduced. Pathways between upper secondary VET, post-secondary non-tertiary and tertiary education can be either through direct access or through bridging programmes.

The number of students enrolled in upper secondary vocational education varies widely across countries. The type of upper secondary vocational programmes also differs greatly, as do the opportunities they offer young people to continue their studies in tertiary education. Even if upper secondary VET programmes are not academically oriented, they still provide eligibility to tertiary education for many students in most countries. On average, about two-thirds of students enrolled in upper secondary vocational education are receiving an education that theoretically provides them with the opportunity to directly enter a higher education level, often short-cycle tertiary but also at bachelor’s or equivalent level (Table B7.2 and Figure B7.2).

Despite these opportunities, they are more limited than those offered to general upper secondary students in more than two-thirds of the countries with available data. On average across countries, more than 90% of students in general upper secondary education are enrolled in programmes that provide, in theory, eligibility to tertiary education. Only Austria, Israel, Switzerland and the United Kingdom have a larger share of vocational upper secondary students enrolled in a programme leading directly to tertiary education than the share of general upper secondary students. Among these countries, Austria, Israel and the United Kingdom offer many opportunities for young upper secondary vocational graduates to continue their studies in vocational programmes at the short-cycle tertiary level. Switzerland is one of the few countries with Germany where a large proportion of upper secondary vocational students directly go on to enter tertiary institutions that award qualifications equivalent to bachelor's level (Table B7.2).

However, starting tertiary education does not guarantee completion, particularly for upper secondary vocational graduates. Students with a general upper secondary qualification have higher completion rates (within the theoretical duration of the programme plus three years) at bachelor’s or equivalent level (70%) than students with a vocational upper secondary qualification (58%). Only in one country – Austria – are bachelor’s students from vocational upper secondary programmes more likely to graduate than their peers who attended general programmes (OECD, 2019[10]).

Supporting students' transitions after graduation from upper secondary education into post-secondary education is an important challenge for countries. A small group of countries including Belgium, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden present a different pattern for the transition between upper secondary and post-secondary education (Figure B7.2). In these countries, upper secondary vocational programmes are not designed to provide to students eligibility to tertiary education, but rather to offer them either direct entry to the labour market, or the option to pursue their studies in post-secondary non-tertiary education before entering tertiary education or the labour market (Figure B7.3 and Table B7.2). Among these countries, Norway has recently changed its policy and most of the upper secondary vocational programmes provide access to tertiary education from 2018. Sweden is also a special case. The country abolished certain mandatory academic content in VET programmes and the automatic eligibility of VET students for tertiary education through the 2011 reforms. However, despite this change, students enrolled in upper secondary vocational programmes have the right to choose, if they wish, to add more academic courses to their timetable in order to access higher education.

Interestingly, these countries have common characteristics. Young adults with upper secondary vocational attainment have excellent employment and earnings prospects in all of them, significantly higher than those with general qualifications, but also higher than OECD average employment rates. For example, three of these countries (Iceland, Norway and Sweden) have the highest employment rates for young adults with an upper secondary vocational qualification, all over 90% (see Indicator A3). Another common feature of all these countries, with the exception of Hungary, is that upper secondary VET programmes offer their graduates opportunities to continue their education at the post-secondary non-tertiary level (ISCED 4), often in the form of one-year training courses that allow them to deepen their technical skills to specialise in occupations in fields as diverse as health and welfare, agriculture, crafts, and building and construction (Figure B7.2, Table B7.2 and (OECD/Eurostat/UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2015[8])).

Well-established VET systems can aid in the transition to the labour market by giving young people opportunities to gain professional experience, and by providing them with a combination of specific and general skills that will help them to evolve professionally as their own interests and labour-market requirements change. Italy, New Zealand and Slovenia reported examples of policies aiming to strengthen these synergies. Italy has implemented a major labour-market reform which includes measures to support more effective transitions and support the labour market. New Zealand introduced in 2020 a major Reform of Vocational Education legislation designed to bring together industry and educators into a single vocational education system for developing the skills of the current and future workforce. In Slovenia, following the reform of vocational education (2008-11), 20% of the curriculum can now be designed in co-operation with social partners, particularly local companies. More globally, more than one-third of the 31 countries with available data – Belgium, Chile, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Korea, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain, and the United Kingdom – declared that their curricula have been reviewed and improved since 2013 (often in co-operation with enterprises) to align the skills and certification of VET systems with labour-market demands (INES ad-hoc survey on VET and (OECD, 2018[5])).

Not all countries offer students a choice between attending a post-secondary non-tertiary education programme or entering tertiary education after they complete upper secondary vocational education. For example, post-secondary non-tertiary programmes do not exist in about one-third of OECD and partner countries with data, preventing students in these countries from accessing programmes that could build on their upper secondary education. This also limits their choices to entering the labour market or continuing their studies at the tertiary level. The other 24 countries with available data do have such programmes. They are mainly vocationally oriented: on average, 92% of all post-secondary non-tertiary students enrol in vocational programmes (Table B7.1). However, in a few countries there are general programmes at post-secondary non-tertiary level which are aimed at students who completed a vocational upper secondary programme and want to increase their chances of entering tertiary education. For instance, in Switzerland, a one-year general programme – Programme Passerelle DUBS – prepares graduates from vocational upper secondary education to enter general programmes at the tertiary level. In the same vein, a large proportion of students enrolled at this level in the Czech Republic take one-year general courses that help them prepare for university entrance. These courses are also delivered by universities (OECD/Eurostat/UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2015[8]).

Although post-secondary non-tertiary vocational education is designed to prepare students for entry into the labour market, it should not lock participants out of further learning options. Thus, in half of the 24 countries with data on this level, all or most students are enrolled in post-secondary non-tertiary vocational education that theoretically gives them the opportunity to access tertiary education if they wish or if the requirement for accessing tertiary education is completion of upper-secondary education. In nine other countries, a majority of students are enrolled in post-secondary non-tertiary programmes that are theoretically designed for direct entry into the labour market by taking advantage of one or two years training courses that allow them to deepen their technical skills. Among these countries, Germany is an interesting case. The majority of students are enrolled in programmes that are theoretically designed for direct entry into the labour market. However, students have eligibility to tertiary academic programmes by the given university entrance qualification obtained at upper secondary level of education. The few remaining countries offer a more mixed profile of programmes, some of which are designed to lead to further study and some of which do not (Figure B7.3).

Analysis of the transition between upper secondary, post-secondary non-tertiary and tertiary education shows large differences between countries. In Hungary, for example, non-tertiary post-secondary education is a stepping stone to tertiary education and there is in general no direct access to tertiary education for graduates of upper secondary education. Conversely, in countries such as Ireland, Norway and Sweden, vocational programmes at the post-secondary non-tertiary level offer no more opportunities for further study at tertiary level than those at the upper secondary level (Figure B7.2 and Figure B7.3).

The proportion of students who are older than the typical enrolment age for their level of education tends to be higher in vocational education than in general education from lower secondary to post-secondary non-tertiary levels. In 10 of the 37 countries for which data are available, less than 10% of vocational upper secondary students are over 20 years old. However, in Australia, Denmark, Ireland and New Zealand, 70% or more are over the typical enrolment age, i.e. older than 20. Overall, the average age of enrolment is 21 years old for vocational upper secondary programmes and 17 years old for general programmes. The average age of enrolment in upper secondary vocational programmes is 25-29 years old in Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Spain while in Australia, Ireland and New Zealand it is over 30 years. In contrast, the country with the highest average age of enrolment in general education is Sweden, where it is 21 years of age (Table B7.2 and Figure B7.5).

There are two main reasons that might explain the higher average age of students in vocational programmes. First, vocational systems are often flexible enough to allow students who left the education system early to re-enter later on. Thus, VET systems from lower secondary to post-secondary non-tertiary education often have programmes designed to offer a second chance for some students to acquire basic skills and for others to re-enter a learning environment, developing skills that will subsequently increase their employability. This trend is particularly pronounced in lower secondary education where, except in Costa Rica and, to a lesser extent, Greece and the Netherlands, the majority of students enrolled in lower secondary VET programmes are over 16 years old, which is over the typical enrolment age at this level (Table B7.1 and Figure B7.5). VET systems in these countries are flexible and able to satisfy different needs at different stages of people’s lives, whether they are preparing for a first career, seeking additional skills to assist in their work or catching up on educational attainment (OECD/Eurostat/UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2015[8]).

A second reason for these differences is that VET programmes also tend to cater for students with greater difficulties who also graduate from earlier levels of education at a later age. Moreover, the completion rate of upper secondary education (within the theoretical duration of the programme) is lower among students enrolled in vocational education (62%) than among those in general education (76%). In this context, male students and/or those enrolled in upper secondary vocational programmes that do not give direct access to tertiary education are less likely to complete upper secondary education, even three years after the typical duration, than others (see Indicator B3 and Box B7.1).

Women have historically been under-represented in certain fields of study at upper secondary level such as engineering, manufacturing and construction or ICT, and continue to be so despite undeniable political efforts to reduce gender gaps (Box B7.1). Women's under-representation is not just limited to particular fields of study at upper secondary level; they are also clearly under-represented in vocational education overall. This may be a cause for concern in view of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of ensuring equal access for all women and men to high-quality and affordable technical and vocational education by 2030 (see SDG chapter). On average across OECD countries, women make up 45% of enrolment into upper secondary vocational programmes. Only in about one-quarter of the 40 countries for which data are available is the proportion of women above 50%. There is, however, significant variations among countries: the share of women ranges from less than 37% in Germany, Greece, Iceland and Lithuania to over 55% in Brazil, Costa Rica, Ireland and New Zealand (Table B7.1).

The pattern changes when focusing on post-secondary non-tertiary education. At that level, more than 55% of students are women. They account for more than half of enrolments in most of the countries for which data are available. The only exceptions are the Czech Republic, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal and the Russian Federation. The same applies to the short-cycle tertiary level, but the trend towards the over-representation of women is less pronounced. On average in OECD countries, women account for 52% of all students enrolled at this level and make up more than 50% in about two-thirds of countries for which data are available. However, there are wide variations between countries, with the share of female students ranging from less than 30% in Italy and Norway to 65% or more in Brazil, Germany, Poland and the Slovak Republic (Table B7.1). The proportion of women in VET programmes is closely related to differences between countries in the predominant fields of study at this level (Box B7.1). The number of students enrolled in the different levels of education must also be taken into account in the analysis of these results. For example, the proportion of women is very high in short-cycle tertiary programmes in Germany, but the level itself only enrols a minority of students.

There are two main reasons for the under-representation of women in upper secondary vocational education but not in post-secondary education. First, women have a higher completion rate for upper secondary vocational education than men and therefore are more likely to continue their studies in post-secondary education (Indicator B3). Second, women are more strongly represented in certain broad fields of study such as health and social welfare, and business, administration and law, fields which are very prevalent in short-cycle tertiary vocational education at tertiary level, but especially in post-secondary non-tertiary education (OECD, 2020[12]). In contrast, the share of women in short-cycle tertiary education tends to be lower in countries where science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields are prominent at this level (Indicator B4).

The content of VET programmes and the way they are organised and delivered in upper secondary education varies considerably from country to country. In general, VET programmes are divided into school-based programmes and combined school- and work-based programmes, and countries often have VET systems that offer several types of programmes in parallel. In school-based programmes, at least 75% of the curriculum is presented in the school environment. This includes special training centres run by public or private authorities, or enterprise-based special training centres if they qualify as educational institutions. In combined school- and work-based programmes, at least 10%, but less than 75%, of the curriculum is presented in the school environment or through distance learning, with the remainder is organised as work-based learning in enterprises. Such programmes are in some national context called “apprenticeships”. These programmes can be organised in conjunction with education authorities or institutions. They include apprenticeship programmes that involve concurrent school-based and work-based training (e.g. in Denmark and Norway), and programmes that involve alternating periods of attendance at educational institutions and participation in work-based training, as in the dual systems in Austria, Germany and Switzerland (see Definitions section and Table B7.3).

Through work-based learning, students acquire the skills that are valued in the workplace. Work-based learning is also a way to develop public-private partnerships and to involve social partners and employers in the development of VET programmes, often including the definition of curricular frameworks (OECD, 2018[7]). The combination of learning in school and in the work environment through combined school- and work-based programmes offers numerous advantages. Learners get an education that combines practical and theoretical learning, and gain soft skills from engaging in actual workplaces. Employers benefit because students’ education can be tailored to workplace needs and students become familiar with firm-specific procedures. Combined school- and work-based programmes therefore reduce skill mismatches and provide hiring opportunities for firms, which also provides a smooth transition into working life for students (see Indicator A3 and Box B7.2).

For all these reasons, apprenticeships and other forms of work-based learning have received much attention from policy makers, and about two-thirds of countries with available data have implemented recent reforms to strengthen the quality of their combined school- and work-based programmes. The nature of these reforms differ across countries. Some have strengthened their apprenticeship training and other forms of work-based learning. For some countries (Australia, Belgium, Chile, Finland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Korea, Norway and the United Kingdom) this meant creating new places in apprenticeship programmes. For others, sometimes the same countries (e.g. Australia, Belgium, Canada, Hungary and Korea), additional attention has focused on public support for students to access VET and on the provision of tax reductions to enterprises taking part (OECD, 2018[7]).

The governance of VET programs has also been an important focus of recent reforms. In Canada, for instance, Federal, provincial and territorial governments in most jurisdictions reconfirmed their commitment to harmonise apprenticeship training across regions for key trades. Finally, some countries have recently reformed their combined school- and work-based programmes in greater depth and created a new model of apprenticeship, as in the Flemish Community of Belgium, Estonia, France, Latvia, Mexico, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia and Spain. In France, for example, the 2018 law for the "freedom to choose one's professional future" reinforces the weight of professional branches in the governance of apprenticeship. It also strengthens apprenticeship training opportunities by improving financial assistance to students and companies, increasing the number of apprenticeship training centres and developing bridges between school education and apprenticeship (INES ad-hoc survey and (OECD, 2018[7]).

Although programmes combining learning in both the school and work environment provide numerous labour-market advantages and received a surge of policy attention over the last decade, about one-third of all students in upper secondary vocational education are enrolled in these programmes on average across OECD countries. The rest are enrolled in school-based programmes. Overall, school-based VET programmes account for more than 90% of students in 14 out of the 35 countries for which data are available. There are only school-based VET programmes in countries as diverse as Brazil, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, Greece, Italy, Japan, Korea, Lithuania and Mexico. The rest of these countries have a largely school-based system alongside some apprenticeships. Even where school-based programmes predominate, however, that does not mean that vocational education does not have a work-based component. For instance, vocational school-based programmes in France have a work-based component that accounts for 17-23% of the programmes’ duration (Table B7.3 and Figure B7.6). Some countries have well-developed combined school- and work-based upper secondary VET systems, although the form that the work-based component may take differs between them. Overall, more than 44% of upper secondary VET students are enrolled in combined school- and work-based programmes in 12 out of the 35 countries with available data. Of these countries, the proportion of students enrolled in these programmes exceeds 89% in Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Interestingly, among the 26 countries with at least some students enrolled in combined school- and work-based programmes, the work-based component is mandatory in all of them except Latvia, where it depends on training contracts among the VET schools and enterprises. Combined school- and work-based programmes can also differ in cost models. For instance, only the French Community of Belgium, Chile, Estonia, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden declared that “some” or “most” students enrolled in these programmes do not receive remuneration on the work-based component, which is common in all other countries (Table B7.3 and Figure B7.6).

There are other major differences among combined school- and work-based programmes. First, combined school- and work-based programmes can be quite different in terms of their practical arrangements. Work and study periods alternate continually over the course of the programmes, with varying proportions of study and work across countries. For example, the work-based component is less than 30% of the programme’s duration in Estonia and Israel, while it is 80% or more in Finland and Switzerland. In some VET systems, school-based study and work-based study may be consecutive instead of parallel. The Norwegian 2+2 Model, for instance, divides a four-year vocational training course into a two-year school-based learning period and a two-year work-based learning period (Annex Table B7.3 and (OECD, 2016[14])).

Second, the duration of upper secondary VET programmes also varies widely across countries. For example, in Germany, more than 95% of students in upper secondary combined school- and work-based are enrolled programmes which last three years, with the work component accounting for about 60% of the total duration of the programme. In contrast, the main upper secondary VET programme in Ireland lasts only one year, which means that number of months worked is much smaller than in Germany. This is an important parameter to take into account when analysing the results (Annex Table B7.3 and Figure B7.6).

General education programmes are designed to develop learners’ general knowledge, skills and competencies, as well as literacy and numeracy skills, often to prepare participants for more advanced education programmes at the same or a higher ISCED level and to lay the foundation for lifelong learning. These programmes are typically school- or college-based. General education includes education programmes that are designed to prepare participants for entry into vocational education but do not prepare for employment in a particular occupation, trade or class of occupations or trades, nor lead directly to a labour market-relevant qualification.

Vocational education programmes are designed for learners to acquire the knowledge, skills and competencies specific to a particular occupation, trade, or class of occupations or trades. Such programmes may have work-based components (e.g. apprenticeships or dual-system education programmes). Successful completion of such programmes leads to labour market-relevant, vocational qualifications acknowledged as occupationally oriented by the relevant national authorities and/or the labour market.

Both general and vocational programmes can contain some courses or subjects that are common to both programmes. For example, a vocational programme may contain courses on mathematics or the national language which are also taught to students in general programmes. When reporting data on certain statistical units, in particular educational personnel, by programme orientation it is the classification of the programme that determines the orientation and not the subject being studied or taught.

The data in this chapter cover formal education programmes that represent at least the equivalent of one semester (or one-half of a school/academic year) of full-time study and take place entirely in educational institutions or are delivered as a combined school- and work-based programme. At the upper secondary level and the non-tertiary post-secondary level, vocational programmes are further divided into school-based programmes and combined school- and work-based programmes on the basis of the amount of training that is provided in school as opposed to the workplace.

In school-based programmes instruction takes place (either partly or exclusively) in educational institutions. These include special training centres for vocational education run by public or private authorities or enterprise-based special training centres if these qualify as educational institutions. These programmes can have an on-the-job training component, i.e. a component of some practical experience at the workplace. Programmes should be classified as school-based if at least 75% of the curriculum is presented in the school environment (covering the whole educational programme) or through distance education.

Programmes are classified as combined school- and work-based programmes if less than 75% of the curriculum is presented in the school environment or through distance education. The 75% cut-off point should be regarded as a general guideline that may need to be operationalised differently across countries. These programmes include:

- apprenticeship programmes organised in conjunction with educational authorities or educational institutions that involve concurrent school-based and work-based training

- dual-system programmes organised in conjunction with educational authorities or educational institutions that involve alternating intervals of attendance at educational institutions and participation in work-based training (programmes of training in alternation, sometimes referred to as sandwich programmes).

Note that programmes of dual-system apprenticeships are usually considered part of upper secondary (ISCED 3) education, but other programmes under this heading may be classifiable not just as ISCED 3 but also ISCED levels 4-6.

The amount of instruction provided in school should be counted over the whole duration of the programme. An institution providing school- and work-based programmes is classified as either public or private according only to the school-based component.

Data refer to the academic year 2017/18 and are based on the UNESCO-UIS/OECD/EUROSTAT data collection on education statistics administered by the OECD in 2019. Data for some countries may have a different reference year. For details, see Annex 3 at https://doi.org/10.1787/69096873-en.

Data on main characteristics of combined school- and work-based programmes in upper secondary education (Table B7.3) are based on a special survey on VET administered by the OECD in 2020 and on UNESCO-UIS/OECD/EUROSTAT ISCED 2011 mappings at http://uis.unesco.org/en/isced-mappings.

Data from Argentina, the People’s Republic of China, India, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and South Africa are from the UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS).

References

[11] Cedefop (2011), “The benefits of vocational education and training”, Research Paper, No. 10, European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training, Publication Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, http://dx.doi.org/10.2801/43027.

[12] OECD (2020), Education at a Glance Database, https://stats.oecd.org/ (accessed on 6 July 2018).

[16] OECD (2020), “VET in a time of crisis: Building foundations for resilient vocational education and training systems”, Policy Brief, OECD, Paris, https://read.oecd-ilibrary.org/view/?ref=132_132718-fdwmrqsgmy&title=VET-in-a-time-of-crisis-Building-foundations-for-resilient-vocational-education-and-training-systems.

[10] OECD (2019), Education at a Glance 2019: OECD Indicators, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/f8d7880d-en.

[9] OECD (2019), OECD Employment Outlook 2019: The Future of Work, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/9ee00155-en.

[1] OECD (2019), “What characterises upper secondary vocational education and training?”, Education Indicators in Focus, No. 68, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/a1a7e2f1-en.

[5] OECD (2018), Education Policy Outlook 2018: Putting Student Learning at the Centre, OECD Publishing, Paris, http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264301528-en.

[7] OECD (2018), Seven Questions about Apprenticeships: Answers from International Experience, OECD Reviews of Vocational Education and Training, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264306486-en.

[14] OECD (2016), Education at a Glance 2016 : OECD Indicators, OECD Publishing, Paris, http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/eag-2016-en.

[2] OECD (2015), Education Policy Outlook 2015: Making Reforms Happen, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264225442-en.

[13] OECD (2015), The ABC of Gender Equality in Education: Aptitude, Behaviour, Confidence, PISA, OECD Publishing, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264229945-en.

[4] OECD (2014), Skills beyond School: Synthesis Report, OECD Reviews of Vocational Education and Training, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/9789264214682-en.

[6] OECD (2011), Learning for Jobs: Pointers for Policy Development, OECD Reviews of Vocational Education and Training, OECD Publishing, Paris, http://www.oecd.org/education/skills-beyond-school/LearningForJobsPointersfor%20PolicyDevelopment.pdf.

[3] OECD (2010), Learning for Jobs, OECD Reviews of Vocational Education and Training, OECD Publishing, Paris, http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264087460-en.

[8] OECD/Eurostat/UNESCO Institute for Statistics (2015), ISCED 2011 Operational Manual: Guidelines for Classifying National Education Programmes and Related Qualifications, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264228368-en.

[15] OECD/Harvard (2020), Schooling disrupted, schooling rethought - How the Covid-19 pandemic is changing education, https://read.oecd-ilibrary.org/view/?ref=133_133390-1rtuknc0hi&title=Schooling-disrupted-schooling-rethought-How-the-Covid-19-pandemic-is-changing-education.

Table B7.1 Profile of students enrolled in vocational education from lower secondary to short-cycle tertiary, by type of programme, age and gender (2018)

Table B7.2 Pathways between upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education and higher levels of education, by type of programme and programme orientation (2018)

Table B7.3 Main characteristics of combined school- and work-based programmes in upper secondary education (2018)

StatLink: https://doi.org/10.1787/888934164104

Metadata, Legal and Rights

This document, as well as any data and map included herein, are without prejudice to the status of or sovereignty over any territory, to the delimitation of international frontiers and boundaries and to the name of any territory, city or area. Extracts from publications may be subject to additional disclaimers, which are set out in the complete version of the publication, available at the link provided.

https://doi.org/10.1787/69096873-en

© OECD 2020

The use of this work, whether digital or print, is governed by the Terms and Conditions to be found at http://www.oecd.org/termsandconditions.