The Significance of Australian Vocational Education Institutions in Opening Access to Higher Education

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Abstract

Vocational education provides an educational but not a social ladder of opportunity to Australian higher education. The five dual-sector universities with significant enrolments in both vocational and higher education admit about twice the proportion of students transferring from vocational education as other universities. However, since the students in the upper levels of vocational education have a socio-economic composition similar to higher education students, vocational education does not provide a social ladder of opportunity by increasing access by students from a low socio-economic status background. Nevertheless, the article argues for the extension of dual-sector universities and other measures to articulate vocational and higher education and that more needs to be done to improve the representativeness of the upper levels of vocational education.

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