Further vs Higher Education
We are all aware of higher education and how it helps students gain knowledge in chosen subject area, while getting income earning opportunities to lead a comfortable and secured life. However, there is another phrase called further education that is mostly used in UK, and refers to a special education that is different from higher education as it is known in most parts of the world. Let us find out the differences between further education and higher education.
All kids in UK receive compulsory education from ages 5-16. This includes 5 years of secondary education after which students need to take an examination that is referred to as GCSE or General Certificate of Secondary education. This is a single subject exam and students generally take up to 10 GCSE level exams depending upon number of subjects that include math and English language. It is after GCSE that students have to take a decision regarding their future, studies, and career. There are students who opt for higher education and enroll in various colleges or universities for undergraduate courses and then after passing them, pursue master’s level degree courses.
However, there are many students who do not have either time or money to go for higher studies. These students can opt for Further Education, also sometimes referred simply as FE that refers to education that is distinct and different from higher education but is a level above secondary education that is compulsory for all children between ages of 5-16. Even institutes that provide FE are different from those that provide degree level courses at undergraduate and post graduate level. FE is thus, education that goes beyond secondary education but stops short of higher education. In particular, FE includes A level, AS level and vocational education.
Individuals above the age of 16 can opt for FE, and the colleges in which FE is provided are known as FE colleges in UK. These are similar in nature to community colleges in US, where people enroll to earn short term diplomas and certificates that get them quick employment. The courses offered are industry ready and practical oriented rather than theoretical courses taught in higher education. Those who have been to Australia might be aware of TAFE institutes that provide vocational training to people desirous of jobs straight after these colleges.
What is the difference between Further Education and Higher Education?
• After compulsory education that includes 5 years of secondary education in UK, kids can opt for either higher education by enrolling in undergraduate degree level courses or join special colleges that provide further education
• Further education is an education that is a rung above the secondary education but below higher education and is taught at special colleges that provide vocational training in short term diploma and certificate courses
• Higher education is theory oriented, while FE is all about learning skills necessary in industry
• Though it is easy to get employment after FE, the salaries that people get after FE are much lower than those offered by jobs people get after their undergraduate and post graduate level courses in colleges and universities