Impacts of School Administration Autonomy Support on Students' Learning Motivation and Intentions to Drop out of Vocational School

Impacts of School Administration Autonomy Support on Students' Learning Motivation and Intentions to Drop out of Vocational School

Bui Thi Thuy Hang (Hanoi University of Science and Technology, Hanoi, Vietnam), Amrita Kaur (School of Education and Modern Languages, Universiti Utara, Malaysia) and Arun Patil (Deakin University, Geelong, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/IJQAETE.2015040101
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This paper presents the results of a study on the impacts of school administration autonomy support on students` learning motivation and their intentions to persist in versus drop out of vocational school. The data was collected from 209 students of the industrial vocational college of Hanoi through self-reported questionnaires assessing school administration autonomy support, academic motivation and intentions to persist versus drop out. Students reported the college staff respected them, offered them opportunities, provided choices, and adequate and detailed information. This style of administration predicted students` self-determined learning motivation. Results from linear regression analysis reported that learning motivation predicted their intentions to stay in school. Conversely, amotivation predicted their intentions to quit school. However no relationship could be established between the school administration autonomy support and students` dropout or persistence intentions. The implications are discussed for school managers and administrators.
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Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) plays a key role in economic development, poverty alleviation, improved living standard, and creates better employment opportunities in any nation. However, in Vietnam, preference for diploma results in higher- secondary school graduate students to choose more academic oriented education than vocational education. Survey data from Vietnam Institute of Educational Sciences in 2010- 2011 suggests that after high secondary school, 47.2% of students in Ho Chi Minh city enter college and university, 9.4% students enter professional secondary schools, 6.8% students enter vocational college and short-term vocational training, 3.6% students go to the labour market without professional training. According to 2011-2012 data from the ministry of education and training in Vietnam, after lower-secondary school, 80.4% of students go to higher secondary school, while only 16.1% of students go to vocational school (Son, 2013). Recruitment of students in vocational colleges is challenging but keeping them to persist in vocational school is even more challenging; a situation that many vocational colleges in Vietnam are struggling for solutions.

Consequences of more students opting for academic oriented education compared with TVET is creating an imbalance in human resource structure in Vietnamese labour market between lack of technical workers and excess of qualified graduates as human resource (Hung, 2013). Vietnamese labour market has basically excess of workers in agriculture whose academic and technical qualifications are poor. This category of human resource has no chance to move to other field of work if they are not equipped with any technical qualifications. Additionally, 70.7% of total unemployed population in Vietnam lacks any form of technical qualifications. Also, the large discrepancy between income levels is attributed to the level of technical qualifications. According to employment and job data survey in 2012 from general statistics office in Vietnam, average income of worker without technical qualification is only 3107 thousand VND/month (around US$ 143) while average incomes of training worker is 4250 thousand VND/month (around US$ 196) (General department of Vocational training in Viet Nam, 2012). Therefore, it is important for Vietnam to attract and retain students into TVET for steady economic growth of the nation.

Considering the serious consequences of school dropout, a lot of policy makers, researchers and educators have become interested in this phenomenon. Studies on school dropouts can be divided into four groups of influencing factors (see in De Witte et al., 2013), which are:

  • 1.

    Student-related factors such as academic achievement, student motivation, and problem behaviors;

  • 2.

    Family-related factors such as socio-economic status, parental support or involvement, the emotional climate of the parent-child relationship;

  • 3.

    School-related factors such as school size, schools` social and academic climate, good student-faculty interaction;

  • 4.

    Community-related factors such as neighbourhood characteristics, high achieving and high aspiring peers in student`s environment.

Furthermore, several studies conducted in self-determination theory (SDT) framework (Deci & Ryan, 1985; Ryan & Deci, 2000) have focused on studying the process leading to high school dropout (Alivernini & Lucidi, 2011; Hardre & Reeve, 2003; Vallerand, Fortier, & Guay, 1997; Vansteenkiste, Zhou, Lens, & Soenens, 2005). These studies examined the combined effects of factors related to students themselves and their social context such as families and school.

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