The role of field research, awarded through a competitive project application process, is to verify the accuracy and reliability of the indicators used to track the professional and educational pathways of graduates. Collecting information from both students and school directors, as well as monitoring the same respondents at different moments in time, will allow us to determine not only what they are doing, but also what this depends on. Based on these research results, it will be possible to recommend solutions conducive to educating students in an optimal way from the perspective of their professional future and the needs of employers.
The conducted research will provide an in-depth picture of the situation of VET graduates, and at the same time allow the solutions developed by IBE to be tested in constructing the graduate monitoring system. One such solution is an online survey on the professional and educational pathways of graduates to complement the monitoring based on administrative data. The advantage of administrative data is that it provides precise information on the continuation of education and the situation on the labour market of graduates (including their earnings). On the other hand, survey data will complement this picture with conclusions regarding the compatibility of graduates’ work with their learned profession and the qualitative dimensions of their employment, primarily job satisfaction. A second stage of the competitive project is planned to develop and test online tools for use by school directors to track the future pathways of graduates. These will include an on-line questionnaire and a reporting program that will generate reports for schools participating in the study. The solutions developed during the project can be used by the school director of any vocational school in Poland free of charge.
The field research is being conducted by the research firms PBS Sp. z o.o. and Danae Sp. z o.o. in cooperation with the Educational Research Institute (IBE). The firms entrusted with conducting the research were selected through a competitive call for proposals conducted under the Operational Programme Knowledge Education Development (PO WER) – Measure 2.15 Vocational education and training adapted to the needs of a changing economy.
We plan to send online surveys (CAWI) to the directors of all VET schools that have students in the last grade of school. Short online surveys will also be sent to last-grade students of the schools whose directors will be taking part in the survey. Respondents who are students the first time they fill out the surveys will be asked to complete them two or three more times after graduation. The online surveys for school directors and final-grade students will be conducted in the first half of 2020 and the first half of 2021. Online surveys with graduates will be conducted at several-month intervals until March 2022.
The system will provide reliable information on the employment and wage conditions of graduates in specific professions, economic sectors and regions. Such data significantly reduces information asymmetry in the relationship between graduates taking up their first job and employers. They can be used by employers to update and better align graduate employment policies with the realities of the labour market.
Reliable and easily available knowledge about the professional and educational pathways of graduates will allow an evidence-based image of vocational education to be created. Access to systematically collected and shared information on VET will help overcome the negative stereotypes affecting it, which are actually not confirmed in reality.
Additionally, with the consent of school directors, interviewers will conduct surveys (CAPI) with students in the final grade of school from approximately one thousand randomly selected schools during the first half of 2020. The sample will have approximately 15,000 students. By March 2022, the interviewers will have returned to the same respondents twice without involving the schools.