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Definition: Higher education sector

Frascati Manual

The higher education sector (HES) is composed of all universities, colleges of technology, and other institutes of post-secondary education, whatever their source of finance or legal status. 

It also includes all research institutes, experimental stations and clinics operating under the direct control of or administered by or associated with higher education establishments.

The above definition describes the general coverage of the sector. However, it is difficult to provide clear guidelines, which ensure internationally comparable reporting of data because it is not backed by SNA. The higher education sector has been separately identified by the OECD and by UNESCO because of the important role played by universities and similar institutions in the performance of R&D. As it is based on mixed criteria, it is particularly susceptible to varying interpretation resulting from national policy preoccupations and definitions of the sector.
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), "Frascati Manual 2002: The measurement of scientific and technological activities - Proposed Standard Practice for Surveys on Research and Experimental Development", OECD, Paris, 2002