The president of Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT ), Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin, has welcomed the publication by the Minister of Education and Skills of the Technological Universities Bill 2015.
The Bill will provide for the modernisation of the technological sector with new governing authority structures, a process for the merger of institutes of technology and a statutory process for merged institutes to apply for designation as a technological university. Professor Ó Catháin said: “The publication of the Bill marks another important milestone in the evolution of the Irish higher education system.
"However, the Bill will not be enacted prior to the dissolution of the Dáil and we call on prospective politicians of all parties, and none, to signal their support for its speedy enactment in a new Dáil. From AIT’s perspective, we have stated our ambition to become a technological university in our strategic plan. We are well advanced in terms of meeting the criteria necessary to achieve TU status, which we believe will considerably strengthen the educational and research infrastructure of the region.”
Announcing the approval of the Bill, Minister for Education, Jan O’Sullivan said: “The establishment of multi-campus technological universities with a distinct mission to provide high-quality, enterprise-focused higher education for their regions, and for Ireland, is one of the key planks of the Government’s National Strategy for Higher Education. The publication of the Technological University Bill is an important step in progressing this vital reform.”
The Bill, which will be available on the Oireachtas website in the coming days, is the first major piece of legislation relating to higher education since 2006. It provides for significant changes to the governance structures in the institute of technology sector, and for the use of a competency framework which will set out the criteria deemed necessary for between three and eight appointees to governing bodies.
These new arrangements will ensure that governing bodies of institutes of technology and technological universities will have the expertise required to oversee the development and management of modern higher education institutions, and will include competence in areas such as corporate governance, finance, law, and enterprise.