Legislation will pave the way for mergers of IoTs in order apply for TU status
The Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn T.D., has today announced the publication of the Heads of a Bill which will allow for the future establishment of Technological Universities and the mergers of institutes of technology.
The Bill provides the legislative underpinning for institutes of technology who have established partnerships and wish to merge, with a view to becoming Technological Universities.
Technological universities will be new higher education institutions with a distinct mission to provide high quality enterprise focused education and research. The publication of the heads of the bill today follows the recommendations in the National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030 (or Hunt Report) and the Higher Education Authority’s (HEA) landscape report.
The Hunt report called for consolidation of the Institute of Technology sector; the creation of a small number of multi-campus technological universities and the strengthening and modernisation of institutional governing bodies in institutes of technology.
Minister Quinn said, “This Bill represents an essential milestone in the modernisation and reform agenda for higher education institutions. I believe the roadmap for IoTs is now clear on how they can attain Technological University Status. Through mergers they can achieve the critical mass to allow them to reach the scale and level of performance required to compete on the world stage with other similar institutions.”
Three groups of institutes of technology have expressed interest in merging and applying to become a technological university. These are:
- The Dublin Institute of Technology, the Institute of Technology Tallaght and the Institute of Technology, Blanchardstown
- The Cork Institute of Technology and the Institute of Technology, Tralee
- The Waterford Institute of Technology and Carlow Institute of Technology.
A fourth group, the Connacht-Ulster Alliance (Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology; Sligo IT and Letterkenny IT) have indicated that they are deepening their existing alliance with a view to merge in the medium term.
Each of the interested groups of IoTs are preparing a plan to merge and to meet the criteria for Technological University status. The plan must be based on a legally binding memorandum of understanding between each consortium of institutions describing their consolidation into a new single institution.
The plans will be evaluated by an independent expert international panel that will decide if the applicant can meet the agreed criteria in the proposed timetable and can proceed to the final stage.
As provided for in the General Scheme of this Bill, following a legal merger, the merged institute can submit its application to become a technological university. At this point, the institution’s ability to meet the high bar set by the criteria will be assessed.
Minister Quinn concluded, “This is an exciting time in for our higher education institutes. For the first time since University of Limerick and DCU attained university status in 1989 the prospect of new universities is now very real. However, I want to stress that each of the three groups will have to meet the exacting standards as set out to become Technological Universities and this will be judged independently.
The General Scheme of the Technological Universities Bill is available at be http://www.education.ie/en/The-Education-System/Legislation/General-Scheme-Technological-Universities-Bill-2014.pdf