This article outlines the important contribution that further education (FE) colleges make towards higher education (HE) in Scotland, and the ways in which this is a distinctive contribution, differing from that provided by the higher education institutions (HEIs). However, it also explores the ways in which the boundaries between FE colleges and HEIs are being blurred. This discussion is presented in the context of a wider process of differentiation and stratification in HE in Scotland, which has been associated with the emergence of a mass system of HE. A number of sub-sectors can now be identified which are making different types of contributions to HE provision. The FE colleges can be seen as one of these sub-sectors. The article also provides a brief discussion of recent developments at the level of national policy and strategy designed to create a more coherent and integrated system of tertiary education in Scotland.
- higher education
- further education