The Determinants of the Transition in South Korea from Vocational and General High School to Higher Education, Including a Gender Comparison

Seonkyung Choi


This study examines the factors determining whether vocational and general high school students in South Korea subsequently graduate from university and, if so, whether from 2-year or 4-year courses, for the first time using a gender lens. High-quality official data from the Korean Education and Employment Panel (KEEP) is used in a multinomial logit model. The results show that coming from a vocational high school (compared to a general high school) is negatively correlated with going to university, especially to 4-year university. Among general high school graduates, the most important determinant of attending a 4-year rather than a 2-year university is the teacher assessment of the student’s performance; father’s education and income have no effect for either males or females. The results also show that vocational high school graduates’ university choice is determined by a combination of individual characteristics, including being male, and by having been at a vocational high school, whereas the choice between 2-year and 4-year university depends negatively on father’s education for males but not for females and on father’s income and the number of siblings for both genders. The income and sibling findings suggest that a possible policy implication might be to provide financial support to vocational high school graduates to enable them to attend higher education and to offset the negative effect of low paternal income.

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Copyright (c) 2020 International Journal of Higher Education

International Journal of Higher Education
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