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The Disadvantaged of Achievement Competition? The Career Choice of Vocational High School Graduates
vocational high school graduates
Students and parents in Taiwan are influenced by credentialism, and they have a tendency to judge a person’s achievement based on his/her exam scores. Under such a cultural atmosphere, vocational high school students are often perceived as being weak in competitions for academic scores. This study investigated whether the Basic Competence Test for Junior High School Students would affect the career choices of vocational high school students. In order to examine this issue, nine graduates from a vocational high school of New Taipei City, including five university students, and four graduates already in the workforce, were interviewed to understand their study experiences after entering a vocational high school and their choices on different career pathways. This research further analyzed the relevant factors that affect vocational high school graduates’ career choices and the implications behind it. The results of this study are as follows. As for vocational high school students’ choices of different career pathways, the students experienced different transitions in their career choices in the course from entering the vocational high school to choosing a career paths after graduation. Vocational high school graduates, whose attitudes towards career choices transformed from feeling lost to feeling assertive, came to understand their own choices. They acknowledged the numerous career choices, they made choices in life, and made decisions on their own future. External environmental factors in relation to students’ career choices encompassed social values and the students’ school study path, which were both important factors that affected career choices. Personal factors in relation to career choices encompassed family financial status and the students’ interest, both of which affected study and employment choices. Meanwhile, under the cross-influence of various factors encompassing external environmental factors and personal factors, the vocational high school students’ career choices also experienced changes, which included career choices prior to school enrolment resulted from their previous study performance and parents’ opinion, whereas their career choices upon graduation from vocational high school were the outcome of their study path, which was driven by personal interests.
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