Institutes of Technology Granted Award-Making Powers

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The government has announced that the granting of award-making powers, with exception of doctoral awards, is now available to all institutes of technology. These powers have been granted after the commencement of Section 36 of the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) (Amendment) Act 2019 which was successfully tested by the Oireachtas last July.

A Change in the System

Prior to this legislation all institutes of technology needed delegated authority from Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) to make awards on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). In granting these powers, this Act addresses the legislative difference in the relationship between QQI and the universities and QQI and the institutes of technology respectively. This now creates a single, coherent quality assurance and qualifications space amongst public higher education institutions.

The Act also includes key provisions to strengthen the independent control of the academic councils within the Institutes of Technology, bringing them into line with those of the existing designated awarding bodies. The autonomy of the academic decision-making of an academic council and its independence from the governing authority of an Institute is necessary to support the granting of autonomous awarding powers.

Award-Making Powers: a Response

In welcoming this announcement, the Minister 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”.


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