19 July, 2018 - Minister Mitchell O'Connor invites views on updating the Higher Education Authority Act 1971

Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, TD, today, the 19th of July, launched a public consultation seeking views on updating the Higher Education Authority Act 1971. 

The Higher Education Authority (HEA) is the statutory funding authority for the universities, institutes of technology and a number of other designated institutions, and is the advisory body to the Minister for Education and Skills in relation to the higher education sector. The HEA also has responsibility for the effective governance and regulation of higher education institutions and the higher education system. The HEA was established under the Higher Education Authority Act, 1971.

In launching the consultation process, Minister Mitchell O’Connor said:

“Our ambition is to be the best education and training system in Europe by 2026. We need to ensure that our key agencies and regulators are equipped to contribute towards that goal. The HEA plays a crucial role in regulating the higher education sector. However, it is relying on a legislative basis that is now more than 40 years old. The need to update the HEA legislation is part of a wider reform process in higher education that encompasses reform of the funding allocation model, reform of the National Training Fund, and the emergence of Technological Universities”.

Stakeholders views are invited in response to a set of eight key questions that are contained in a consultation document that is available in pdf format or in word format

The result of this consultation process will be presented to stakeholders later in 2018 and will inform legislative proposals to revise the HEA legislation that will be developed by the Department of Education and Skills. 

Minister Mitchell O’Connor concluded by saying “The Higher Education Authority makes an enormous contribution to ensuring that our higher education system addresses a range of economic, social and cultural challenges. However, the nature of many of those challenges has changed considerably since 1971, particularly in areas such as governance, data sharing, funding reforms. This consultation process is an opportunity for stakeholders to provide their views on a number of key issues that will help to identify and define the role of the HEA for years to come”.

Interested parties are requested to return their views to heconsultation@education.gov.ie by 31 August 2018.