New frontiers for college education
In this introductory chapter, we outline what we see as the three main roles which have emerged for colleges in a number of countries across the world. These are: the provision of vocational education and training; the promotion of social inclusion; and the provision of higher education, which often leads to transfer to university degree courses or bridging or access courses which prepare people for access to higher education. However, we suggest that two major changes in the economy and in society have weakened the position of colleges in many countries, namely changes in the nature of work and the ‘surge’ in participation in mass higher education across the world. We consider the impact of these developments on the work of the colleges, but also the opportunities for developing their roles in the 21st century. We also suggest that there can be the potential for conflict between these three roles, and colleges must consider how they can manage this most effectively.