Presenting a case study of Bangladesh, this article contributes to our understanding of how VET has expanded in LMICs, and how this process has been shaped by global efforts to improve VET’s accessibility. The analysis draws on historical institutionalism and the work of Margaret Archer, and is based on policy document analysis and the interpretation of quantitative and qualitative data. The article concludes that, even when it is weakly linked to the labor market, formal VET expands because of the actions of key policy actors and societal demand for formal qualifications that signal academic, rather than vocational, competence.

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