Molaim an dara léamh a thabhairt don Bhille seo chun An Foras Náisiúnta um Ard-Oideachas, Baile Átha Cliath, a chur ar bhonn reachtúil.
Is mór an pléisiúr dom an chaoi seo a bheith agam chomh luath i saol an fhorais nua. Ní fhéadhfadh an Bille teacht os comhair an Tí ag am níos oiriúnaí. Ar an aonú lá déag de Mhí na Samhna 1980, ghlac an Foras Náisiúnta um Ard-Oideachas, Baile Átha Cliath, leis an chéad ghrúpa mac léinn.
Cúpla mí ó shin do mhol mé don Teach seo Bille chun an Foras Náisiúnta um Ard-Oideachas, Luimneach, a bhunú. Mar is eol don Teach bhí an Foras Náisiúnta i Luimneach faoi lán tseól ar feadh roinnt blianta sul a ritheadh an Bille ina leith — déanta na fírinne, bhí tréimhse ocht mblian, beagnach, idir fómhar na bliana 1972, uair a ligeadh isteach an chéad scata scoláirí sa bhForas Náisiúnta um Ard-Oideachas, Luimneach, agus Iúil 1980, nuair a ritheadh Bille an Fhorais Náisiúnta um Ard-Oideachas, Luimneach, ag dhá Theach an Oireachtais.
Chruthaigh na himeachtaí sa tír seo thar na hocht mbliana sin an chríonnacht a bhain leis an rún institiúd nua den triú leibhéal a bhunú a mbeadh claonadh inti i leith teicneolaíochta. Ach thaispeáin na himeachtaí seo an riachtanas a bhí ann institiúid eile a bhunú a mbeadh de chúram air níos mó céimithe a sholáthar a bheadh oilte sna scileanna nua teicniúla —tá an-éileamh orthu san ann anois.
Tá borradh níos mó faoin oideachas ins an réimse teicneolaíochta ná in aon réimse oiliúna eile den tríu leibhéal.
Taispeánann an Foras Náisiúnta um Ard-Oideachas, Baile Átha Cliath, agus institiúidí mar é, taispeáineann siad é sin go soiléir. Oibríonn siad go dlúth le lucht déantúsaíochta agus le lucht tráchtála chun deimhin a dhéanamh de go bhfuil bonn ceart faoi na himeachtaí seo.
Tá an t-ádh orainn gur leagadh síos na pleananna bunúsacha agus an bhunsraith sar ar ghéaraigh an t-éileamh i gcóir teicnéolaithe oilte, go mór mhór in innealtóireacht agus eolaíocht. Is í an aidhm atá ag an bhForas Náisiúnta um Ard-Oideachas, Baile Átha Cliath, ná céimithe a sholáthar atá oilte go praiticiúil sna scileanna áirithe atá á lorg ag lucht déantúsaíochta agus gnótha i láthair na huaire.
Chláraigh timpeall dhá chéad agus daichead scoláire ins an bhForas go luath sa mhí seo. Thángadar ó gach áird den tír — a bhformhór, timpeall 55 faoin gcéad, ó áiteanna taobh amuigh de Bhaile Átha Cliath, agus bhí árd-éileamh ar áiteanna. Chláraigh na scoláirí seo i gcúrsaí céime i sé réimsí oideachais — Staidéir Gnótha, Cúntasaíocht agus Airgeadas, Usáid Ríomhaire, Staidéir Cumarsáide, Eolaíocht Anailíseach agus Innealtóireacht Leictreonach.
Ba mhaith liom a rá ar an ócáid seo go bhfuil an Bille seo ar aon dul le hAcht an Fhorais Náisiúnta um Ard-Oideachas, Luimneach. Phleámar an Bille i leith an fhorais i Luimneach go mion sa Dáil agus sa Teach seo. Sna toscaí, tá suíl agam go mbeidh ar chumas an Tí seo glacadh leis an mBille seo go fonnmhar. Tá ag an Teach buntáiste na ndióspoíreachtaí a bhí againn cheana féin le linn don Bhille faoi Luimneach a bheith á phlé.
Tá rian an Achta sin le feiceáil ar an mBille seo freisin agus measaim go luíonn sé le reásún go mbeadh na Billí don dá Fhoras ar an dul céanna;
Measaim go mba chóir dom anois cuid bheag de dhúlra an scéil a thabhairt. I 1969 iarradh ar an Údarás um Ard-Oideachas tairiscint a fuarthas ó Choiste Ghairm Oideachais Bhaile Átha Cliath maidir le bunú coláiste nua Teicneolaíochta agus Tráchtála i mBaile Munna a scrúdú agus moltaí ina leith a chur faoi bhráid an Aire Oideachais. Sa tuarascáil ón Údarás um Ard-Oideachas, a cuireadh ar fáil i Mí na Nollag 1970 moladh go n-aithneófaí an géar-ghá a bhí le níos mó saoráidí oideachais den triú leibhéal i mBaile Átha Cliath, go mór mhór i limistéar na teicneolaíochta.
Thaobhaigh an tÚdarás um Ard-Oideachas leis an dtairiscint go mbunófaí an coláiste nua i mBaile Munna dá mbeadh na hudaráis chuí go léir sásta nach raibh suíomh ní ba lárnaí ar fáil. Ghlac an tAire Oideachais leis na moltaí seo agus shíolraigh An Foras Náisiúnta um Ard-Oideachas i mBaile Átha Cliath as an mbreith sin.
The National Coalition Government's decisions of 13 December 1974, in relation to higher education included the following in relation to the National Institute for Higher Education, Dublin:
(i) The National Institute for Higher Education, Dublin shall be a recognised college of either of the Dublin Universities with the capacity to evolve into a constituent college of one or other of the Dublin Universities or to become an autonomous degree-awarding institution
(ii) The majority of the members of the governing body of the NIHE, Dublin shall be nominated by the Government on the recommendation of the Minister for Education and shall include representatives from the trade unions, agriculture, business, industry and educational interests.
(iii) A Council for Technological Education (later re-styled National Council for Educational Awards) shall be established to plan and co-ordinate courses and to validate and award non-degree third-level qualifications in the NIHE Dublin (and other institutions).
(iv) The National Institute for Higher Education, Dublin shall be a designated institution for the purposes of the Higher Education Authority Act, 1971.
(v) The governing body of the NIHE Dublin shall consist of twenty-five members.
On 5 March 1975 the Government approved a list of names of persons to be invited to act on the governing body of the National Institute for Higher Education, Dublin. An acting director was appointed on 18 June 1975 and the first meeting of the governing body was held on 19 June 1975. The terms of reference of the governing body included responsibility for the planning, in consultation with my Department, of the form and structure of the institute, the courses and staffing requirements, and all other details of the new institution, and for making recommendations to the Minister for Education consequent on these consultations. The terms of office of this ad hoc governing body have been extended until the institute is established on a statutory basis.
I must record my appreciation of the work of the governing body. It is a challenging task, but never simple, to oversee the establishment and development of a new institution, We were fortunate to have a group of people who were generous with their time and expertise.
On 14 December 1976 the National Institute for Higher Education, Dublin, was designated by the then Minister for Education, as an institution of higher education for the purposes of the Higher Education Authority Act, 1971.
A director for the institute was appointed on a permanent basis and took up duty on 21 March 1977.
When I became Minister for Education, one of my first actions as Minister was to restore to the National Council for Educational Awards its degree-awarding function. On 18 November 1977 I announced that the NCEA was to be the degree-awarding authority in the case of students who successfully completed degree level courses in the NIHE Dublin — and also in the NIHE Limerick, the Thomond College of Education and the Regional Technical Colleges.
In May 1978 the Government decided that the National Institute for Higher Education, Dublin would be a third level educational institution offering degree, diploma and certificate courses with a mainly technological bias and that the institute would cater for students in the Dublin area and the country generally. The Government authorised me to negotiate for the acquisition of the site at Ballymun and to invite tenders for the building of phase I of the institute — a college of commerce capable of accommodating 800 students.
One of the major problems in establishing a new institution of this type in the Dublin area, is the difficulty of obtaining a suitably located site big enough to provide adequately for the requirements of the institution. The price of land in the Dublin area adds considerably to the cost of the project. Before finally deciding on the Ballymun site a number of other possible locations were considered. Either these were too small in area or they were too far out from the city centre and required vast investment in infrastructure — roads, water, sewage and other services. The site at Ballymun was finally decided on as the most feasible site available. It was purchased for a substantial sum.
Renovation work on part of the existing Albert College buildings commenced in January 1980 and has only recently been completed, providing about 3000 square metres of accommodation. Work on the new commerce building also commenced in January 1980 and it is expected that the commerce building will be ready for occupation in Autumn 1981.
The commerce building will accommodate 800 students and the renovated part of the Albert College buildings will accommodate about 200. The total cost of site purchase, construction works, and equipping these two buildings will be in the region of £6½ million.
Due to the delay in completing the renovation work at the Albert College buildings, it was not possible to admit the first group of students to the institute until 11 November 1980. To compensate for this late opening the institute will continue its summer term into July 1981.
The demand for places in the institute has been so high that the accommodation is being pushed to the limit and a bigger number of students will be admitted than originally intended with the limited facilities.
About 240 students will be admitted to six degree courses — business studies, accounting and finance, computer applications, communications studies, analytical science and electronic engineering. The form of selection of students is based on leaving certificate results plus aptitude tests.
About 55 per cent of students will come from outside Dublin city and county indicating that the institute is national in its appeal, and about 5 to 10 per cent of the students will be mature students, showing the institute's commitment in this area.
The outline and structure of the courses have already been approved by the National Council for Educational Awards and the first two years — in some cases the entire four years — of each programme have been planned in detail by the institute and approved by the council. The programme will be practically oriented and the institute will operate a system of monitored industrial placement. The benefits for all concerned of this type of relevant practical work experience are incalculable. Not only does the student gain useful experience and an advance insight into his eventual working environment but employers become familiar with the abilities and skills of the institutes' graduates and a very valuable feedback is provided between academics and employers as to the requirements of industry and the new and different skills available.
The role of industrial liaison is most important in any technological institute. The National Institute for Higher Education, Dublin, is already moving to implement this role in different ways. In addition to the industrial placement element of courses, the institute is considering part-time courses for industry and business. It has recently appointed a head of industrial liaison to develop and co-ordinate the institute's interaction with industry. Many of the senior staff have come direct from industry, some of them Irish returning from abroad; and industrialists sit on academic selection boards.
The institute has a firm commitment to new technology, and applied research programmes are being devised. All staff have a proven record in research and a commitment to the development of research. The institute has already begun its first research project in the applied physics area with a grant awarded by the National Board for Science and Technology. This underlines the real commitment of the institute to applied research and is additionally significant in that it has been achieved before students arrive.
The next phase of buildings will concentrate heavily on the provision of places for technology, science and engineering, and will provide 2,700 places.
The provisions of the Bill are identical with the provisions of the National Institite for Higher Education, Limerick, Act, 1980, passed by both Houses earlier this year.
Section 1 deals with the interpretation of the various terms used in the Bill. Section 2 establishes the institute which shall be known in the Irish language as An Foras Náisiúnta um Árd Oideachas, Baile Átha Cliath, and in the English language as the National Institute for Higher Education, Dublin. Section 3 defines what is meant by membership of the institute and section 4 provides for the functions of the institute.
The functions are:
(a) to provide degree level courses, diploma level courses and certificate level courses and, subject to such conditions at the Minister may prescribe, such other courses, including post-graduate courses as may seem appropriate to the governing body;
(b) to engage in research in such areas as the governing body may deem appropriate;
(c) subject to the approval of the Minister, after consultation with An tÚdarás
(i) to buy and acquire lands or buildings,
(ii) to institute, and if thought fit, to award scholarships, prizes and other awards.
(d) subject to such conditions as the Minister may prescribe, to maintain, manage, administer and invest all the money and assets of the institute.
(e) to accept from donors gifts of land, money, or other property upon such trusts and conditions, if any, as may be specified by the donor, provided always that nothing in any such trust or condition is contrary to the provisions of the Act;
(f) subject to such conditions as the Minister may prescribe, to do all such acts and things may be necessary to further the objects and development of the institute.
Section 5 provides for the establishment of a governing authority for the institute, to be known as the governing body, and prescribes its structure and functions. More detailed provisions for the operation of the governing body are set out in the First Schedule. The governing body are to consist of a chairman, the director and 23 ordinary members. The chairman and the 23 ordinary members shall be appointed by the Government on the recommendation of the Minister. The manner of appointment of the 23 ordinary members is set out in section 5 (4) and is as follows:
(a) Nine shall be appointed on the recommendation of the Minister in accordance with the provisions of section 5 (5), which draws particular attention to the need for adequate representation of industry, agriculture, fisheries, commerce and the professions;
(b) Three shall be appointed who shall be members of the academic staff of the institute who shall be chosen by the academic staff in accordance with regulations made by the governing body;
(c) One shall be appointed who is a member of the non-academic staff of the institute chosen in accordance with regulations made by the governing body;
(d) Two shall be appointed who are fulltime students of the institute chosen in accordance with regulations made by the governing body;
(e) Three shall be appointed on the recommendation of the Minister from members of the teaching staffs of the colleges of technology managed by the City of Dublin Vocational Education Committee;
(f) Two shall be appointed on the recommendation of the Minister from members of the teaching staff of regional technical colleges;
(g) Two shall be appointed on the recommendation of the Minister from members of the management boards of regional technical colleges; and
(h) One shall be appointed on the recommendation of the governing body of the National Institute for Higher Education, Limerick.
Section 6 provides for the functions of the governing body. The governing body shall manage and control all the affairs and property of the institute and shall perform all the functions conferred on the institute by this Act and shall have all such powers as may be necessary under this Act for this purpose. The governing body may from time to time appoint such and so many committees as it thinks proper to assist it in such manner as the governing body shall direct and the governing body may assign to any committee so appointed such duties as it thinks fit. The acts of any such committee shall be subject to confirmation by the governing body unless the governing body dispenses with the necessity for such confirmation.
Section 7 provides for a post of chief officer of the institute, to be known as the director. The Second Schedule sets out the conditions governing the appointment of the director.
Section 8 provides for the establishment of an Academic Council for the institute and prescribes the functions of the council. The academic council acts as specialist advisers to the governing body on academic matters. Its functions relate to the planning, co-ordination, development and overseeing of the educational work of the institute. The membership and terms of office of the Academic Council are determined by regulations made by the governing body. Section 8 (3) lists particular functions of the council as follows:
(a) to design, develop and implement appropriate programmes of study;
(b) to make recommendations to the governing body for the establishment of appropriate structures to implement such programmes of study;
(c) to make recommendations to the governing body on programmes for the development of research;
(d) to make recommendations to the governing body for the selection, admission, retention and exclusion of students generally;
(e) to make, subject to the approval of the governing body, and to implement the academic regulations of the institute;
(f) to propose to the governing body the form of regulations to be made by the governing body for the conduct of examinations and for the evaluation of academic progress;
(g) to make recommendations to the governing body for the award of fellowships, scholarships, bursaries, prizes or other awards;
(h) to make general arrangements for tutorial or other academic counselling;
(i) to exercise any other functions, in accordance with the provisions of the Act, which may be delegated to it by the governing body; and
(j) to implement any regulations which may be made by the governing body concerning any of the matters aforesaid.
With the approval of the governing body, the academic council may establish such and so many committees either consisting wholly or partly of persons who are not members of the institute as it thinks proper to assist the academic council in the performance of its functions and may determine the functions of any committee so established.
Section 10 provides that the staff serving in the ad hoc institute may be transferred to the service of the statutory body and protects the conditions of service, pay, and pension rights of the transferred staff, which will not be any less favourable than the conditions they enjoyed while serving as members of the staff of the ad hoc body.
Section 11 places responsibility on the institute to prepare and submit to the Minister as soon as possible after the passing of the Act, a pension scheme for staff. All provisions of any pension scheme submitted by the institute will be subject to the approval of the Minister with the concurrence of the Minister for the Public Service. Every approved scheme will be laid before each House of the Oireachtas and may be annulled by resolution within twenty-one sitting days.
Section 12 requires the governing body to submit to the Minister annually a report of the work of the institute. The section also provides that the institute will give the Minister any information about its operation that he may require from time to time.
Section 13 provides that in each year there shall, in accordance with section 12 (2) of the Higher Education Authority Act, 1971, be paid by the Higher Education Authority to the institute, out of moneys received by the authority under section 12.1 of the Higher Education Authority Act, 1971, a grant or grants or such amount or amounts as the authority thinks fit.
Section 14 requires the institute to keep accounts which must be submitted annually to the Comptroller and Auditor General. When the Institute receives the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General on the accounts, it must submit this report, with the accounts, to the Minister. The Minister will lay the accounts, and the Comptroller and Auditor General's report before the Oireachtas.
Section 15 enables the institute to charge fees for admission to courses, lectures, examinations, exhibitions or any other event held by the institute or for admission to any event held at the institute.
Section 16 is the usual provision that the expenses incurred by the Minister in the administration of the Act shall, to such extent as may be sanctioned by the Minister for Finance, be paid out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas.
Section 17 provides for the short title and the commencement date.
The National Institute for Higher Education, Dublin is being established statutorily at an earlier stage of its development than was the corresponding institution, the National Institute for Higher Education, Limerick. But developments since 1972, when the National Institute for Higher Education, Limerick, first opened its doors have not only proved the wisdom of the decision to establish one new third-level institution of this type, but have demonstrated clearly the necessity to establish at least one more such institution, which will concentrate on producing more graduates trained in the new technological skills for which there is such a demand.
Now, an institution like the National Institute for Higher Education, Dublin, is not merely accepted, but widely welcomed. Its advent could not be more opportune at a time when manpower requirements show how acute is our need for an increase in the supply of trained technologists. The institute will contribute substantially to meeting this demand, with emphasis on the areas of electronic engineering, mechanical engineering, analytical science, biotechnology and computer applications.
The institute completes the integrated, complementary complex in the third-level non-university area, constituted by the RTCs, the colleges of technology, the NIHEs and the NCEA. It will interact with the RTCs in the same way as the National Institute for Higher Education, Limerick. The National Council for Education Awards will have an important co-ordinating role to play in approving credit for council-approved programmes in the various institutions.
This Bill has been modelled on the National Institute for Higher Education, Limerick, Act, 1980, which was discussed in detail in this House earlier this year. I would, therefore, expect a speedy passage for this Bill and likewise when the universities legislation comes, I hope to have the National University of Dublin Bill before the Oireachtas before very long followed by Cork, Galway and May-nooth. I hope that dealing with one early on will expedite the handling of the others.
Molaim mar sin an Bille don tSeanad mar thogra a bhfuil lán-mhuinín agam as ó taobh leas na tíre agus an oideachais.