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MOTIVATION FOR VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING CHOICE IN

LITHUANIA
PhD Daiva Bukantait
Prof. Dr. Habil. Rimantas Lauackas
PhD student Tomas Sabaliauskas
Vytautas Magnus Univeristy,
K.Donelaicio 52- 401, 44244 Kaunas, Lithuania
Paper presented at the European Conference on Educational Research Post Graduate and New
Researcher Pre-Conference, University of Geneva, 11 September 2006
The article presents the results of the survey that was carried out in 2006 in vocational schools of
Lithuania. The aim of the survey was to analyse what factors encouraged the young people to choose a
vocational school, how much this choice was influenced by vocational counselling at secondary
schools, what aspirations for further studies young people had and whether the students were satisfied
with their studies at a vocational school.
Introduction
The prestige of the vocational training in Lithuania is not sufficient. The part of young people
who choose vocational schools in Lithuania is twice less than the European average. What factors
influence such a small number of candidates to vocational schools? Is it the school prestige, student
motivation or other reasons?
The makers of the education policy note that these who choose vocational schools do not
usually consider the demand of particular professions, which puts the market out of balance and
complicates the development of the countrys economy. On the one hand, the choice might be
influenced not by a certain vocation but search for social assistance. But on the other hand, a particular
choice might be limited by smaller possibilities to continue studies at a higher school, and ambition to
acquire a higher social status. This article will try to answer these questions.
The Research Subject is motivation of the young people who chose to study at vocational
schools.
The Research Objective is to analyse the motives of young people to study at vocational
schools and their plans for further studies.
The Research Tasks:
1. to determine the motives that encourage young people to choose a vocational school;
2. to find out what influence vocational counselling had on the choice of the profession;
3. to distinguish positive and negative differences that students see between their studies at a
secondary and vocational school;
4. to estimate what students are going to do after finishing the vocational school and the
graduates plans for their further studies.
The Research Hypotheses:
- the average mark of students who enter higher levels of vocational schools are higher than
those who enter lower levels
- Students who had counselling on choosing a profession are more satisfied with their
studies at a vocational school
- A bigger half of the vocational school graduates would like to continue their studies after
finishing school.
- Students from cities have a bigger inclination to continue their studies
Methods of Research:
- Questionnaire

Statistical Data Analysis. In order to perform this analysis a Statistic Analysis Program
Package SPSS 10 and also the Program Package EXEL were used;
The hypotheses were checked by Kruskall Walis test and calculation of the Chi Square.

In order to analyse the motivation of choosing vocational schools, we distributed 1232


questionnaires for students of different vocational schools. We chose schools of different types from
ten Lithuanian regions including those having the biggest and smallest number of students. The
questionnaires were returned by 902 respondents. Consequently. the feedback to questionnaires is
73,53 %.
The survey embraced students of all levels with the prevailing age group 17-18 year-old male and
female students and 19-20 year-old female students.
Total number of respondents was 520 female (57, 6 %) and 382 (42, 4 %) male students. The
biggest part of the vocational school students are the city residents (469), 27 % live in the country, 5
% are from regional centres, 12,6 % from small towns. 42,4 % of the participants live with both
parents, 22,6 % with one parent, 12 % live in their own house or flat, only 8 % rent a flat or a room,
and the least part - 4,2 % live in a student hostel.
In order to analyse the motivation of the students who had chosen vocational schools we prepared
22 statements.
Summing up the answers we have made the following conclusions:
- The studies at a vocational school are easier and more interesting,
- The secondary school teachers did not recommend to choose a vocational school: a
positive answer was given just by 9,8 % of all questioned respondents. The students were
not forced to choose a vocational school. However, testing the data by Spearman
correlation coefficient revealed that the teachers were forcing the students with the lower
average mark to enter a vocational school more than those with higher marks (r=0.188;
p<0.001).
- When choosing a vocational school most students did not ask their parents advice.
- The students claim that they themselves wanted to study at a vocational school ( 63,8 % of
the first level students, 55,9 %- second, 62%- third and 48,1%- forth level students.
- The bigger part of the respondents are satisfied with their chosen profession .
- 77,9% students of the forth level replied that the choice of the speciality was influenced by
their wish to study anywhere. This figure can be explained by the fact that these students
did not succeed entering universities or colleges and chose vocational schools in order not
to waste a year. The bigger part of the respondents of the first level (65,1 %), second level
(70,5%) and third level (67,3 %) also indicate that they wanted to study anywhere. The
obtained results let us suppose that one of the strongest motives is the students desire to
study.
- The students wanted to become independent, acquire a profession and find a job as soon
as possible
Basing on the established survey data processing logics and in order to reveal the statistical
relations between the motives of choosing a vocational school, a correlative analysis was performed.
We should note that the correlative analysis has revealed theoretically meaningful statistical relations
allowing their logical interpretation..
In assessing the correlative relations of the motives, it should be noted that they are not big
(0,077<r<0,421). The biggest inter-relation is distinguished between the motives: my marks at the
secondary/main school were bad, and 1) I think that I would not be able to study at a secondary school
(r=0.421); and 2) My knowledge acquired at a secondary school does not correspond to the college or
university level (r=0.412).
Thus the main motive is: poor study results and understanding that it will be too difficult to
study at a secondary school. Therefore, the students choose a vocational school believing that it will be
easier to study there than at a secondary or main school:
2

- It is easier to study at a vocational school than at a secondary/.main school- 0,206,


- My knowledge does not correspond to the college or university level 0,308,
- My marks at a secondary/main school were bad - 0,421,
- I admit that my behaviour at a secondary/main school was bad - 0,252
A desire to acquire a profession as soon as possible and start working is related to a good choice
of the profession and becoming independent as soon as possible. This desire is also related to financial
problems.
It is interesting to note that the motive of becoming independent is related to the students friends
who study at a vocational school. It can be explained by the fact that a part of those who enter a
vocational school start living separately from their parents at a hostel, at their relatives, or rent a flat.
They also get a scholarship. Thus the young people become less dependent on their parents and can
spend more time with their friends
(I wanted to become independent faster- 0,276; I like my chosen profession- 0,303; We cant
afford paying for my studies at a higher school- 0,260)
The image of a vocational school is closely related to the teachers who work there and the
respondents friends who study at this (it is more interesting to study than at a secondary school0,247, I knew that good teachers worked in this school- 0,388, My friends study here so I wanted to be
together with them 0,267). We can believe that the biggest influence to the image of a vocational
school is made by the friends stories about their teachers, subjects and trained professions.
The students believe that it is more interesting and useful to study at a vocational school as both
secondary education and a particular profession is acquired at the same time..
Summing up the results of the correlative analysis, we can distinguish the main motives and line
them up in the following sequence:
- Poor learning results and bad behaviour at school,
- Material reasons,
- Advice of adults,
- Quicker way to become independent,
- Other circumstances (friends, the image of the vocational school).
While assessing the choices made by male and female students, it was noticed that the male
students answers were higher and more statistically meaningful while choosing the statements: It
was recommended by the teachers; the school is close to my home, my friends study here so I wanted
to study together with them; my marks at school were poor whereas more female students tended to
choose the statements: I wanted to study somewhere; I did not enter the university or college; we
cannot afford paying for my studies at a higher school.
Analysing the statistical ratios, it is obvious that the boys choice was more influenced by other
people advice and recommendations. The boys motivation to study at a vocational school is weaker
than that of the girls who chose the vocational schools because they wanted to study and their families
could not afford paying for their studies at a higher school..
In order to support or deny the opinion that the vocational schools are chosen by the students
whose results are poorer, we asked the students to remember what average marks they had at
secondary/main school. The analysis of the average marks shows that the average marks of the
students of different levels vary only slightly but the average marks of the students of higher levels
were higher at a secondary/main school.
According to Pukelis and Garnien (2003), vocational schools should be chosen by the students
who are decided about the character of their abilities and further direction of their professional career
after trying out different spheres and kinds of activities. This decision should be taken at a
secondary/main school. However, the analysis of the students answers has revealed that the lessons on
vocational education (information) and other activities connected with a profession choice were
organized quite inefficiently.
3

Only 22,4% of respondents had lessons on profession choice at a secondary/main school. 69%
are satisfied with their studies at a vocational school. 49,2% of respondents have answered that they
had no lessons on profession (only 52,3% of them like their studies at a vocational school).
It can be supposed that the students come to vocational schools not having been provided with
knowledge about the services supplied by the schools, and not quite understanding their choice.
According to Arends (1998, students who have a strong need to communicate study better. Lower
results are usually shown by these whose need of communication is not very big. If students are not
very communicative, they are more successful with more reserved teachers, and the students with a
stronger need for authority try harder, if they are encouraged.
In order to evaluate the communication of vocational school students with their group mates, 7
statements were presented as one of the strongest motives of motivation. A bigger half of the
respondents of all levels indicated that the group where they study was friendly.
Having analysed the answers given by male and female students, several statistically meaningful
differences were noticed. More girls say that they have more than one friend in a group, or would like
to have more friends, while the boys tend to claim that their group is friendly and that in principle it is
not important to have close friends from their school.
The learning motivation is also influenced by the study environment. Therefore, we asked to
evaluate if the school where the respondents study was cosy.
Arends (1998) indicates that an efficient study environment has the following peculiarities:
- General atmosphere where students trust themselves, their peers and group,
- Structures and processes when the students communicative needs are satisfied, when
they communicate with their teachers and other students,
- Environment where students acquire necessary group and inter-personal communication
skills so that they can fulfil different tasks .
A third of all level students characterize their school as cosy, while another third think that
theres something missing to be called cosy; a forth of students think that their school is not cosy,
and the rest do not care about the cosiness of their school.
Analysing the male and female students answers about their school, several statistically
important differences were noticed. The girls tend to call their school cosy, try to decorate it and state
that students can join different clubs at school, whereas the boys note that the teachers are bad.
Being asked to indicate several positive features why it is worth to study at a vocational school
comparing to the main/secondary school, the students marked may different reasons. (see Table 1)
Table 1
Summary of the answers to the question: Could you indicate several positive features why it is
better to study at a vocational school
Per cent from
Ite
Per cent from
Variants of answers
Number all responses to
m.
all respondents
the question
1
Students acquire both secondary education and
334
90,76%
37,03%
profession
2
The studies are easier, more fun, more
266
72,28%
29,49%
interesting, the study load is smaller
3
Students get a scholarship
154
41,85%
17,07%
4
Better teachers ( they explain the subject better,
are more understanding and attentive, friendlier
148
40,22%
16,41%
and treat students as equals)
5
You become independent quicker
54
14,67%
5,99%
6
The school gives a better preparation for
36
9,78%
3,99%
practical activities
4

7
8
9
10
11
12

You can find more friends


Cosier atmosphere of studies
It is easier to continue studies at college or
higher school (average marks are higher when
entering)
There are opportunities to go to an internship
abroad according to student exchange
programs.
It is easier to find a job
More free time

26
32

7,07%
8,70%

2,88%
3,55%

24

6,52%

2,66%

14

3,80%

1,55%

12
6

3,26%
1,63%

1,33%
0,67%

These reasons were grouped and the following main positive features of a vocational school
were distinguished:
- opportunity to acquire both secondary education and profession
- easier, more fun, more interesting, studies
- a scholarship,
- better, more understanding, attentive and friendlier teachers
- opportunity to become independent quicker,
- having more free time
Being asked to indicate negative features why it is worse to study at a vocational school the
students were active and distinguished even more features. ( see table 2)
Table 2
Summary of the answers to the question: Why is it worse o study at a vocational school?
Per cent from
Per cent
Item
all responses
Variants of answers
Number
from all
.
to the
respondents
question
Bad image of vocational schools; negative public
28
15,38%
3,10%
opinion towards them
Big load of studies
58
31,87%
6,43%
Compulsory attendance, too many rules
14
7,69%
1,55%
Poor study environment ( lack of technical
equipment and rooms; need for repairs)
Students are noisier; poorer discipline; lack of
general order and culture
Low teachers competence and qualification
Most students have low motivation for learning;
poor study results
Too easy to study as the level of teaching is low;
teachers are too lenient to the students
We have to tidy up the rooms (wash floors)
Strict (hostile) teachers
Too much responsibility for the student ( a lot of
self-studies)
Poor organization of practical training placement,
internships abroad

32

17,58%

3,55%

28

15,38%

3,10%

44

24,18%

4,88%

4,40%

0,89%

34

18,68%

3,77%

6
4

3,30%
2,20%

0,67%
0,44%

3,30%

0,67%

4,40%

0,89%

After finishing a vocational school it is difficult to


find a well-paid job

2,20%

0,44%

The analysis and grouping the students answers has shown that it is worse to study at a
vocational school because of:
- Bad image of vocational schools, negative public opinion towards them
- Big load of studies,
- Poor study environment ,
- Students are noisy, bad discipline, lack of general order and culture.
Judging from the answers we can suppose that the students were open and sincere while
answering the questions. It was also noticed that a part of student had evaluated the same features as
positive whereas the others as negative ones (too easy to study, big load).
We are glad to note that notwithstanding the enumerated negative features, the bigger part of
students express a strong positive opinion stating that they like to study at a vocational school..
After finishing the vocational school the majority of students would like to work according to
their profession - 42,1% students of all levels (48,5%- the first level and 40,4% of the second). (see
Picture 1)
K planuojate veikti, baig profesin mokykl
26

Eiti dirbti pagal gyt specialyb

Tsti moksl universitete

46
42
48

12

Tsti moksl kolegijoje


Tsti moksl auktesnje profesinje
mokykloje, nors ir negauiau stipendijos

10 24

Vykti usien

32

78
66
56
62

Noriau dirbti, ir mokytis


Neinau

94
96

14
6 12

Kita

0
Pirma pakopa

82

72

26

8
8

118

72

36
32
1822

Pradti savo versl

112
110

84

30

Eiti dirbti ten, kur rasiu darbo viet

158

Antra pakopa

20

40

60

80

Treia pakopa

100

120

140

160

Ketvirta pakopa

Picture 2 . What are you going to do after finishing the vocational school
A third of all students would like to work and study: especially the respondents of the second
(38,2%) and fourth (34,6%) levels. Over a third of students would like to continue their studies at a
college. 25,2% students of the first level, 23,5% of the second, 24% of the third and 17,3% of the
fourth level are considering an opportunity to go abroad. The largest per cent of the second level
students (44,1%) would like to work wherever they could find a job. A third of the fourth level students
want to continue their studies at a university. The smallest part are thinking of starting their own
business and continuing studies at a higher level of a vocational school.
About half of the students of vocational schools (56,3%) would like to continue their studies at
a college or university, a higher level of a vocational school, or both work and study.
33,9% of young people would like to start working right after finishing their studies at a
vocational school.

The implication of the Chi Square has showed that students under 20 are more eager to
continue their studies after finishing vocational schools than older students.
The survey has also revealed that girls are more enthusiastic to continue their studies than the
boys: 63,1% of girls, and 47,1% of boys. 27,7% of girls and even 42,4%.of boys would like to start
their professional career right after finishing the vocational school .
Conclusions:
I.
1. The hypothesis that the average mark of the students who enter the higher level of a vocational
school is higher than that of those who enter the lower level has been confirmed.
2. The hypothesis that the students who at a secondary/main school had lessons on profession
choice are more satisfied with their studies at a vocational school has been confirmed.
3. The hypothesis that a bigger part of the students of vocational schools would like to continue
their studies after finishing the school has been confirmed. However, it cannot be claimed that
the city residents would like to continue their studies more than these from the country.
II.
4. The main motives that influence the choice of a vocational school by the students of all levels
are as follows:
a. Desire to acquire a profession and become independent in a shorter time,
b. Smaller study load,
c. Low average marks of a secondary/ main school and understanding that it will be too
difficult to study at a secondary or higher school.,
d. Advice given by the teachers of a secondary/.main school or parents to choose a
vocational school,
5. The choice of the vocational school is not influenced by the image of the vocational school,
teachers qualification, friends recommendations and received social allowances.
6. Most students of the forth level are studying at a vocational schools because they were not able
to enter a college or university..
7. Male students more than female considered their friends opinion about choosing the
vocational school..
III.
8. Students who had lessons on profession choice in the main/secondary school are more satisfied
with their studies at a vocational school.
9. Those students of the first, third and forth levels who had lessons on profession choice at a
secondary/main school, like their profession more than those who did not have.
10. Most students come to vocational schools without having previous knowledge on the services
supplied by the schools and not fully understanding their choice.
IV.
11. The students of vocational schools indicated the following main positive differences between a
main/secondary school and a vocational school:
a. Opportunity to acquire a profession together with secondary education
b. Easier studies, smaller loads,
c. Scholarship,
d. Better (more understanding, tolerant, attentive) teachers,
e. Opportunity to become independent in a shorter time.
12. The respondents indicated the following main negative differences between a main/secondary
school and a vocational school:
a. Poor image of a vocational school,
b. Negative public opinion to vocational schools,
c. Noisy study environment, poor discipline,
d. Too small study load.
V.
13. On finishing the vocational schools the young people would like:
7

a.
b.
c.
d.

Work and study (40,4 %)


Continue studies at a college or university (45,2%)
Go abroad (22,8 %)
The students of the first level are most interested in continuing studies at a higher level
of a vocational school.
14. On finishing vocational schools the young people of all levels would like to continue their
studies as they feel that the acquired qualification is not enough.
15. The young people who study at a third or forth level of a vocation al school have a bigger
desire to study than those from the first and second levels.
Literature
1. Arends R. I. (1998). Mokoms mokytis. Vilnius. Margi ratai
2. Butkien G., Kepalait A. (1996). Mokymasis ir asmenybs brendimas. Vilnius. Margi ratai
3. Derekeviius P., Rimkeviien V., Targamadz V. (2000). Mokyklos nelankymo prieastys.
Vilnius. uvdra
4. Dornyei Z. (2001) Teaching and Researching Motivation. Pearson education limited.
5. Gage N., Berliner D.C. (1994). Pedagogin psichologija. Vilnius. Alna Litera
6. Juka A. (1997). Paaugli teigiamo poirio mokymsi ugdymas. Kaunas. viesa
7. Kardelis K. (2002) Mokslini tyrim metodologija ir metodai. Kaunas: Judex leidykla
8. Norvilien E (1992) Profesins mokyklos I pakopos moksleivi specialybs mokymosi motyv
intelekto struktros bei charakterio savybi tyrimas. Vilnius: Pedagogikos institutas
9. Psichologijos odynas (1993). Vilnius. Mokslo ir enciklopedij leidykla
10. Pukelis K., Garnien D. (2003) Moksleivi ugdymas karjerai: padties analiz ir perspektyvos
bendrojo lavinimo mokykloje // Profesinis rengimas: tyrimai ir realijos, VDU Nr. 7, 24-35 psl.

Data about the authors:


Daiva Bukantaite
PhD of Social Science at Vytautas Magnus University
Areas of scientific research:
Education management, learning organization, network organization, behavior and culture of
organization, emotions in organization.
d.bukantaite@smf.vdu.lt
Rimantas Lauzackas
Professor, habilitated doctor,
Dean of the faculty of Social Sciences, of Vytautas Magnus University
Director of Centre for Vocational Education and Research,
Professor of Department of Educational Studies.
Areas of scientific research:
Labour market research, research of professions and professional training, curriculum design, training
of vocational teachers.
Expert of the Lithuanian Board of Science, member of various boards and commissions of vocational
education and training.
r.lauzackas@smf.vdu.lt
Tomas Sabaliauskas
PhD student at Vytautas Magnus University, department of Education
8

Head of administration of the Centre for Vocational Education and research at Vytautas Magnus
University.
Manager of scientific Journal Vocational education: research and realities published by Vytautas
Magnus University.
Member of editorial secretary of European Journal of Vocational Education published by CEDEFOP.
Scientific research: Information and communication (ICT) technologies in education, Teacher ICT
literacy, ICT competencies, Implementation of ICT into system of education.
t.sabaliauskas@smf.vdu.lt