Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Questions (50)

Dara Murphy


50. Deputy Dara Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills with regard to language school closures to explain the financial bonding requirements for setting up these language schools. [23683/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The English language school sector is not subject to mandatory regulation in the State. However, English Language Teaching Organisations (ELTOs) may seek recognition from Accreditation and Coordination of English Language Services (ACELS), which is operated by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI). In order to gain ACELS recognition, ELTOs must demonstrate their compliance with ACELS standards, which set out requirements relating to the management of the ELTO, teaching and learning, students welfare, premises and accommodation and other relevant matters. ELTOs are not required to put in place financial bonding arrangements in order to gain ACELS recognition.

It should be noted that none of the private colleges which have recently closed had ACELS recognition at the time of their closure.

Under the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act, 2012, QQI provides for the introduction of a Code of Practice for the education of international learners, and related International Education Mark. These will be rolled out from the end of this year and will replace the current ACELS regime. The Code of Practice will include requirements relating to protection for enrolled learners (PEL), which can include financial bonding in certain circumstances. Providers will have to demonstrate compliance with the Code of Practice in order to be granted authorisation to use the International Education Mark.