Support for the new emphasis on improving learning in colleges has come from the United States. Kay McClenney, of Texas University in Austin, told the SFEU annual conference that funding and other challenges facing US community colleges required them to promote "deeper forms of learning" and boost student attainment.
College leaders had become well-versed in providing reasons behind actual attainment, Dr McClenney said, but now required to put some of that energy into raising these levels. Closing the gap between students from different backgrounds was another challenge.
Joe Mooney, principal of Reid Kerr College in Paisley, said the marketplace for FE was changing and needed to take advantage of global opportunities to give them a competitive edge. The college generated pound;3 million in international business last year, 15 per cent of its total income.
This would have benefits for the colleges' own communities, Mr Mooney said.
"They must know what the best is and how to improve upon it," he added.