Non-university Higher Education in Europe

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Today, a substantial portion of higher education is provided outside of the traditional universities in non-university institutions with a multitude of varied characteristics. In recent decades, higher education systems have been subjected to many changes and reforms throughout the world. One of the most important was undoubtedly the expansion of higher education in the second half of the last century from an elite system to one for the masses. While institutions of higher learning have been in existence for approximately 1,000 years, this exponential growth has been much more recent. This movement toward mass higher education has created substantial national impacts on the development of the systems of higher education. While common denominators of change and adaptation can be identified globally, there remain important differences from country to country. There are many factors challenging higher education today and in the foreseeable future. In one form or another, these issues and trends can be seen in higher education systems throughout the world. They include chronic underfunding, marketisation and competition, alternative providers, massification, internationalisation, governance, leadership, strategic management, accountability, accreditation, and social relevance. Another key factor for many countries, especially in Europe, and the focus of this book, is the current and future status of the higher education systems that differentiate the university and non-university sectors.