The expansion of higher education is driving other changes in education and training, according to the Edinburgh University's centre for educational sociology.
Its Scottish Young People's Survey shows that while larger numbers and a more diverse mix of 16-year-olds are staying on at school, they increasingly aim to go into higher education. In 1997, the Scottish Office will introduce Higher Still, merging academic and vocational education in a single post-16s curriculum and assessment system.
The survey is subtitled Opportunity for All, but David Raffe, co-author with Paula Surridge, said its biggest challenge would be to satisfy the needs and aspirations of those heading for university while offering ways into work and training.
The CES survey found that the proportion of 19-year-olds in HE nearly doubled between 1987 and 1993, from 16 to 31 per cent. While 16-year-olds with the highest qualifications were the most likely to continue in full-time education, staying-on rates have risen fastest among the lowest qualified.
The researchers say that higher education expansion and changes in the job market have reduced the incentive to leave school. The proportion of 19-year-olds in full-time work fell from almost 60 per cent in 1989 to just over 40 per cent in 1993, but unemployment stayed constant at around 12 per cent.
A constant proportion of around 5 per cent, has gone into HE directly from the fifth year, making it a declining proportion of all HE entrants. The numbers going from the sixth year have risen sharply, and more are entering indirectly through further education, 4 per cent in 1993 compared to 1 per cent in 1987.