The Republic of Ireland’s Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, has announced the introduction of self-awarding powers for all Irish institutes of technology.
The announcement last week by Minister Mitchell O’Connor will allow self-awarding powers to Irish institutes of technology for all qualifications, except for doctoral awards.
After the successful piloting through the Oireachtas by the Minister in July 2019, these powers were granted after the commencement of Section 36 of the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) (Amendment) Act 2019.
The Irish Department of Education and Skills announcement noted that ‘section 36 of the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) (Amendment) Act 2019 amends the Regional Technical Colleges Act of 1992 to grant award making powers, with the exception of doctoral awards, to all of the Institutes of Technology’.
Act will encourage Irish institutes of technology to develop clusters by 2030
Earlier, all institutes of technology needed delegated authority from Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) to give awards based on Ireland’s National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ).
Moving forward, the newly passed legislation will address the relationship between the QQI and the institutes of technology as well as grant institutes of technology more autonomy to form a single, coherent quality assurance unit.
The legislation is a means to consolidate the power of the academic councils in the institutes of technology and systemise them with accordance to present awarding bodies.
It also allows for Irish institutes of technology to be at par with other appointed awarding bodies, with which, according to the National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030, they can seek to develop regional and thematic clusters by 2030.
Whilst announcing this, Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor said: “This is a significant step for the sector. The measures introduced today establishes all institutes of technology as autonomous awarding bodies, placing them on an equal footing with other designated awarding bodies such as the universities and the RCSI.
“This reflects the great work that has been done by the management, staff and students and their continuing efforts to develop and build the capacity of our institutes of technology.”
Zahra Hamdani is an Ireland-based reporter for Global Education Times who focuses on European and South Asian education news. When she is not writing for GET News, Zahra is a school-teacher and educationist with experience in both Primary and Secondary schools in the Republic of Ireland as well as in Pakistan.
You can reach Zahra at firstname.lastname@example.org