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Dáil Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 23 Mar 1999

Vol. 502 No. 3

Written Answers. - College Recognition.

Dick Spring


605 Mr. Spring asked the Minister for Education and Science if he has received an application from the Irish College of Humanities, Tralee, County Kerry, for recognition as an education institution and for accreditation of its courses by the NCEA; and, if so, when a decision will be made on the applications. [7862/99]

Section 20 of the National Council for Education Awards Act, 1979 provides the Minister for Education and Science may, with the concurrence of the Minister for Finance, and after consultation with the council designate any college, school or other educational institution other than a university, as being an institution to which the Act applies. Following the establishment of TEASTAS on an interim basis in September, 1995, the NCEA designation and accreditation process for private colleges was put in abeyance pending receipt of proposals from TEASTAS in regard to this issue in the context of an overall national qualifications framework.

The Irish College for the Humanities applied to my Department to be designated under section 20 of the NCEA Act, 1979, and was advised that no applications were being processed pending receipt of the TEASTAS proposals.

The current position is that I have published the Qualifications (Education and Training) Bill, 1999, which provides for a legislative framework to establish and develop standards of knowledge, skill and competence; promote the qualify of further education and training and higher edu cation and training; provide a system for co-ordinating and comparing education and training awards; and promote and maintain procedures for access, transfer and progression.
The Bill provides for the setting up of the National Qualifications Authority to establish and maintain a framework of qualifications, to act as the overall guarantor of the quality of awards and to facilitate and promote access, transfer and progression.
A further education and training awards council and a higher education and training awards council will also be set up to provide certification, within the framework of qualifications. The Bill sets out provisions for the validation of programmes of education and training by the new awarding bodies and further provides that commercial institutions in respect of some of whose provision the further council or the higher council may make or recognise awards must make arrangements to provide protection for the financial interests of their students.
The Bill is currently before the Houses of the Oireachtas and I will move to establish the new councils when the Bill is enacted.