A major re-organisation of the country’s higher education sector that includes provision for the creation of new Technological Universities has been announced.
This announcement follows recommendations made by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) to the Minister for Education and Skills. The HEA’s report called for consolidation of the Institute of Technology (IT) sector; the creation of a small number of technological universities; the formation of regional clusters between universities and stronger ITs; implementation of recommendations to rationalise teacher education; as well as increased sustainability and capacity in the higher education system.
The Minister said; “A new relationship between the state and the 39 publicly funded higher education institutes will be implemented. This will allow the system to respond in a more coherent way to national priorities set down by the government and provide graduates with the skills and qualifications that are essential for Ireland’s social and economic well-being.
“A new performance framework will be put in place to increase the transparency and accountability of institutions for delivery of agreed performance outcomes. Integral to this will be a process of strategic dialogue between the HEA and each higher education institution”.
The Minister continued: “Following discussion with Government colleagues this week, my response to the HEA report formally sets out the Government’s national priorities and its key objectives for the higher education system. I will be asking the HEA to report to me on an annual basis on the collective performance of the higher education system against these national priorities and objectives and a set of high level system indicators which will be finalised in the coming weeks. A legislative framework will be brought forward to enable the implementation of these very important processes.”
The Minister said this new focus on system and institutional performance will bring the funding and governance of Irish higher education into line with best practice internationally. “It marks a new era for students and other stakeholders of the system”.
30 May 2013