Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Questions (89)

Simon Harris

Question:

89. Deputy Simon Harris asked the Minister for Education and Skills the action open to any schools seeking accreditation and consideration to be included on the list of recognised schools used by INIS until such a time as Quality and Qualification Ireland is in a position to inspect and approve language schools; if such schools with EDI approval can be treated on the same basis as QQI approved schools as an interim measure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35609/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The Internationalisation Register is administered by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) on behalf of my Department and the Department of Justice and Equality. The criteria for inclusion of programmes in the Internationalisation Register were determined by these three bodies and are consistent with the immigration regime. Further information on the Internationalisation Register is available at www.intregister.ie. It is currently open to educational institutions, who wish to recruit non EEA students, to submit an application to QQI for inclusion in the next update of the Internationalisation register which will take place on 1st December 2013. The deadline for receipt of applications for this update is 1st November 2013.

The tuition hours required for English Language programmes to be included in the Internationalisation Register is 375 hours. Particular awards made by EDI do not meet this criteria on their own merit. Within the UK, 'guided learning hours' (GLH) are used as a measure of the time that a typical learner will require in direct guidance to complete their programme of learning successfully. The GLH are agreed between the relevant awarding body and its regulatory body. Where there is a difference of more than 10% between the recommended GLH and the number of hours contained in an application for inclusion in the Internationalisation Register, a rationale and support from the awarding body is required to indicate that the increased GLH is appropriate to the programme leading to the award in question. A general statement by an awarding body on the nature of GLH does not constitute a satisfactory rationale or endorsement of the proposed tuition hours.

Furthermore, each EDI programme leads to a discrete and separate award, which is included at a separate level on the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) in the UK, and as such is assessed independently on its own merits for inclusion in the Internationalisation Register. In contrast, ACELS-recognised schools offer a series of English-language courses which culminate in a final proficiency exam. The courses are not free-standing in the manner that EDI awards are, i.e. learners do not receive an award at any point prior to the taking of the final proficiency exam at the end of their period of study. These programmes meet the duration criteria for the Internationalisation Register on their own merit.

It is important for the satisfactory operation of the immigration regime in this country that only applications that satisfy the published criteria established by my Department, in conjunction with the Department of Justice and Equality and QQI, will be considered for inclusion in the International Register.