General Versus Vocational Secondary Education in Developing Countries: A Review of the Rates of Return Evidence
The purpose o f this short article is to examine critically the current orthodoxy concerning social rates o f returns to general and vocational secondary education in developing countries. Since George Psacharopoulos has been the prime mover in establishing this orthodoxy, we shall focus in particular on the rates o f return (henceforth ROR) evidence that he has brought to bear in support o f the basic proposition that the social profitability o f vocational secondary education is generally lower than for general secondary education. In addition, however, the evaluations o f Zymelman and Tilak will also be scrutinised (in chronological order) as well other, generally more recent comparative ROR studies that either were not or could not have been included in these three evaluations. It must be emphasised at the outset that the main objective o f this paper is to review research that makes explicit comparisons between the costs and benefits o f (specialist) vocational and general secondary education in any one country. There are many other studies o f school-based vocational education in its wide variety o f forms in developing countries which do not, however, attempt to compare in a systematic and rigorous manner the relative social profitability o f general and vocational secondary education. Thus, while some o f these studies do derive social and/or private RORs to specialist vocational secondary education (see, for example, Bennell, 1993 (Zimbabwe); Grootaert, 1988 (Cote d'Ivoire); Paul, 1990 (Togo and Cameroon); IBRD, 1990 (Bangladesh)), no equivalent RORs to general secondary education are presented. As will be discussed in more detail below, it is methodologically incorrect to use these ROR estimates in any comparative overview.
CitationBennell, P. (1995) General Versus Vocational Secondary Education in Developing Countries: A Review of the Rates of Return Evidence. Working Paper Series, 23. Brighton: IDS.
Is part of seriesIDS working papers;23
Library catalogue entryhttp://bldscat.ids.ac.uk/cgi-bin/koha/opac-detail.pl?biblionumber=91662
Rights holderInstitute of Development Studies
- IDS Research