"Academic" Education is generally defined as education which has learning as it's primary purpose. Some institutions and educational systems have equated academic with "university " but this is not always the case.

This differs from Vocational education which has a primary focus on "preparing to perform in a workplace"; or "life education" which may have a purpose of preparing to live better.

These different education approaches have their origins very much in the past; but are still (unfortunately) often adhered to by many existing educational systems.

The modern world has however changed dramatically and the rate of change continues to accelerate. It would stand to reason that these "old" concepts for differentiating types of education need review, if not out right change.

ACS Distance Education (UK) has adopted the term "Higher Academic" to distinguish education which is at a higher level, but not necessarily the same as what is traditionally defined as Academic. Higher Academic courses through ACS are more intellectually demanding than vocational education, but always more relevant to real world needs than what university education often is. Under our definition of higher academic, education is neither vocational or university.

The aim of higher academic studies should be to build a capacity to adapt and apply a "foundation knowledge", so that a course graduate is well placed to evolve successfully throughout their lifespan, both in their working life and their private life. 
If you are interested in learning more about education, consider the following courses.
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Our principal and staff have written dozens of reference books as supplementary texts to complement studies in our school
These books are mostly available as ebook, through our online bookstore. They include the following titles. You can click on any of these titles to go to the bookstore and see more details, on that title (including a free download of some of the pages).