Legislation to reform Scotland's colleges could create a "nationally incoherent" system of further education, union chiefs have claimed.
The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) has criticised the "complexity" of the changes proposed by the Scottish Government, saying they will "confound" many people.
The Post-16 Education (Scotland) Bill includes plans to regionalise further education, which ministers argue will eventually make efficiency savings of £50 million each year, as well as improving governance and ensuring courses are suited to employers' needs
The legislation also contains specific measures requiring universities to do more to widen access for young people from deprived areas and a proposed cap to limit the fees for students from the rest of the UK to the same level as their home country.
Education Secretary Mike Russell has already said the reforms in the Bill will "reduce the duplication of 41 college administrations".
But the EIS, which represents college lecturers, hit out and said: "If it's the Government's wish to create a nationally incoherent FE (further education) structure with a myriad of different types of colleges, governing bodies and funding mechanisms with separate regulations for each, then this Bill is the way to go about it. The complexity of the proposed structure will confound all but employees and public policy experts."
In a submission to MSPs on Holyrood's Education Committee, who are scrutinising the proposals, the EIS claimed the Government had "failed to give staff and staff trade unions a larger role to play in colleges and their governance, which will not help the success of these reforms".
David Belsey, the EIS's national officer for further and higher education, will raise concerns when he gives evidence to the committee. In its submission, the EIS also raised fears that funding for the college sector will "become more complex by having two main governance structures", with regional colleges in single college regions and local "assigned" colleges in multi-college regions.
Mr Russell announced last year that he wanted to see one college in each region, with each region run by one governing body. The EIS said such a change would "hopefully produce a regional level of coherence but may fail to deliver a nationally coherent FE system".
A Scottish Government spokesman said: "The EIS has been supportive of our plans to modernise college governance. Our proposals allow for different approaches in different regions, allowing colleges the flexibility to determine the structure that best meets the needs of students and employers in their region."