Published in the past week, the ‘Technological Universities Bill’ provides for the establishment of technological universities which are a new type of higher education institution formed from mergers of existing Institutes of Technology.
In July 2012 GMIT, Letterkenny IT and Sligo IT formed the Connacht-Ulster Alliance which is aiming to put in place the measures needed to create a technological university. The Alliance commits the institutes to work together across a range of areas including courses offered, online provision, research and innovation as well as functional services.
The legislation which has passed second stage in the Dáil sets out the steps to be taken to apply for and achieve the status of technological university through the merger of the ITs. The Bill also sets out the functions of the new universities including: providing relevant programmes of education and training; encouraging mobility of staff and students among the constituent colleges; engaging in high quality and relevant research; serving the community and public interest; and promoting equality of opportunity.
The comprehensive legislation reflects the ambitious plans of ITs, such as GMIT, and the creation of technological universities will benefit students, staff and the wider community by providing enhanced educational facilities for Galway and the West.
The Technological Universities Bill is available at http://www.oireachtas.ie/documents/bills28/bills/2015/12115/b12115d.pdf