In response to a Parliamentary Question from Deputy Peter Burke, Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton has stated that he will be consulting with Athlone Institute of Technology shortly in relation to the upgrading of the college to a Technological University.
Speaking in Athlone on Monday (July 4 ), Deputy Burke said this was a hugely positive step and the town and its surrounds would benefit hugely if the IT received upgraded status.
“I welcome the response I received this week from Minister Richard Bruton, who is currently engaged in a process involving the creation of Technological Universities. The Minister has advised me that he is keen to avoid a scenario whereby ITs are allowed to become Technological Universities simply as rebranding exercises. I agree with him that this would damage the reputation of Athlone IT and other ITs which have built up their colleges over many years and I welcome the Government’s approach on this,” said Deputy Burke.
“I was also glad to note that there will be specific focus on the contribution any new university will make to the needs of the region in which it is located - I will be outlining the huge importance of the IT in Athlone and the benefits which a university status would bring to students, staff, and the local economy here.
“I will be following this up with the Department and with the Minister to ensure that the [Technological Universities] Bill progresses and there is movement on the issue. AIT offers fantastic opportunities to the people here in the Midlands and if it received university status, then even more students will be able to avail of a higher education nearer their homes.”