Working or Studying: (Re)Shaping Students' Transitions after Leaving High School

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 16:40
Location: Hörsaal 47 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Pepka BOYADJIEVA, Institute for the Study of Societies and Knowledge, BAS, Bulgaria
Petya ILIEVA-TRICHKOVA, Institute for the Study of Societies and Knowledge, BAS, Bulgaria
The paper aims to explore the influence of the horizontal differentiation of upper-secondary education on students’ transitions after leaving high school. The study uses Bulgaria as a case study and identifies five distinct patterns of students’ transition upon completion of high school: a) being in a temporary employment, b) being in a significant employment, c) attending higher education institution, d) attending higher education institution and working, and i) being neither in education, nor in employment. The paper applies a theoretical framework which builds upon institutional perspective to upper-secondary education. The empirical basis of the study is the Bulgarian School-Leavers Survey (2014). It is a nationally representative for people aged 15–34 who had left education for the first time in the previous five years, preceding the survey for more than one year. By applying multinomial logit regression, the study demonstrates the importance of taking into account the horizontal differentiation in explaining the young people’s transitions after leaving high school. The analysis shows a considerable variation in graduates’ patterns of transition after completion of secondary education according to the type of secondary education they have finished. It also reveals that the type of secondary education programme moderates the effect of the academic achievement and of students’ socioeconomic background on students’ patterns of transition after leaving high school. The study identifies three main theoretical reasons why school-leavers who graduated from different types of secondary schools follow different patterns of transition: socialization effect of teaching process, institution’s socialization effect and a signalling effect. Last but not least, the study shows the usefulness of incorporating additional divisions, between selective and non-selective upper-secondary programmes and between non-profiled, semi-profiled and profiled ones, which fit better to the analysis of students’ patterns of transitions in highly stratified and differentiated educational context as the Bulgarian one.