The Korea Herald

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Vocational high schools losing appeal to students

By 배지숙

Published : May 9, 2011 - 18:54

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Vocational high schools, mostly attended by students who intend to land jobs right after graduation, are losing their reputation as a sure path to employment.
According to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, 463,888 students attended 692 vocational schools across the country in 2010, down from 578,865 students at 775 schools in 2001.

While 54.7 percent of them got jobs after graduation in 2001, only 19.2 percent directly entered the work force in 2010.

Since 2003 vocational school graduates seeking immediate work have been outnumbered by those entering institutions of higher education, and the gap is expected to widen further.

“Employers pay university degree holders more even if they do the same job. Many universities have a special admission route to select vocational school graduates with high marks. Compared with 10 years ago, it is much easier and more feasible to go to university even if you graduate from a vocational school,” a ministry official told the Yonhap news agency.

By Bae Ji-sook (baejisook@heraldcorp.com)