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Vocational Education and Training (VET) is a vital part of a country’s education system. It contributes to meeting the skill demands of the economy and provides an alternative route to academic learning for young people and adults. There is ample evidence that shows that high-quality vocational programmes smooth school-to-work transitions and contribute to reducing dropout rates. However, in contrast to general schooling, which has benefited in recent decades from considerable coverage by international large-scale assessments, there is very little internationally comparative data available for VET.

More than one in three 15- to 19-year-olds in upper-secondary education are enrolled in vocational programmes across OECD countries and 17% of first-time entrants into tertiary education are in short-course programmes that are mostly professional in nature. 

The lack of comparative assessment data on vocational programmes is constraining countries in evaluating their performance in this area and learning from international best practices. 

Currently, comparative data on VET are patchy, and often do not go much beyond enrolment and labour market outcomes data (if any). There is increasing demand from policy makers for data that would enable them, for example, to compare relative achievement status by country and VET domain, identify policy implications in one VET system from determinants of achievement in others and consider per student expenditures and outcomes in one VET system compared to another.  

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