One of the driving factors of youth unemployment is the high rate of secondary school dropouts. In Rwanda, 70 percent of students who complete primary school drop out of school before the end of secondary school, thus contributing to the 72 percent of employed youth that are self-employed or hired by family firms, commonly in informal economic sectors.
Vocational education training programs that offer job-specific training serve as a promising avenue for improving youth transitions into the labor force, particularly for students who may not be successful in a general education track. While the Rwanda Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Board has conducted public awareness campaigns to bolster perception of such programs, little quantitative evidence exists on student preferences for school, how this correlates with their beliefs about the economic returns to such programs, and their aspirations for the future.
Findings from this study will shed light on how the attitudes of secondary school students toward vocational education affect school choices, attitudes towards TVET, and eventual job opportunities.
Existing administrative data from Rwanda’s National Examination and School Inspection Authority will be analyzed to characterize how student applications and enrollment decisions influence student and parents’ preferences for upper secondary school, and how this varies with observable characteristics including school performance, student gender, and household economic background.
A pilot survey has been conducted amongst over 750 students from 96 secondary schools. Results will be used to design a larger study, during which a randomly selected sample of parents, students, teachers, and school managers from fifty schools will be interviewed regarding their preference for the TVET and general education.
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