As a result of increasing interest among policymakers, secondary vocational schooling has expanded steadily during the past two decades in China. This paper assesses whether China’s secondary vocational schooling is measuring up to government benchmarks for quality, whether poor students have access to quality secondary vocational schooling, and whether poor students have financial aid assistance to attend. These government benchmarks include the following: teacher qualification and training, student opportunities for practical training, and adequate facilities. By these benchmarks, we find that secondary vocational schools are meeting government standards. We also show that poor students are accessing schools of similar quality as non-poor students. However, we find that 34% of poor students do not receive financial aid. Among students receiving aid, poor students receive roughly the same amount of aid as non-poor students.
We conclude that recent policies are successfully ensuring secondary vocational school quality (as measured by inputs alone) as well as equity of access to school quality between poor and non-poor students. However, financial aid policies should be carefully examined: at the very least the poorest students should be fully covered. Moreover, the government’s use of input-based benchmarks to assess the quality of secondary vocational schools is limited. In the future, the government might consider holding schools accountable for outcomes and not just inputs.