I am pleased to present the draft ministerial order entitled, Technological Universities Act 2018 (Section 36) (Appointed Day) Order 2018, to the joint committee for its consideration. It relates to appointing the day for the establishment of the first technological university in the State. Under section 36 of the Technological Universities Act 2018, the draft order must be approved by resolution by each House of the Oireachtas.
A key element of the national strategy for higher education to 2030 is to consolidate the institute of technology sector and establish technological universities of increased scale and capacity. Technological universities will have an emphasis on the social and economic development of their regions through the provision of programmes at levels six to eight in the national framework of qualifications. They will also provide programmes to qualify students at postgraduate levels nine and ten. They will develop and use new knowledge through industry-focused research. They will enhance the pivotal regional and national role traditionally played by institutes of technology in facilitating the widest possible access and progression by students of all ages and from all socioeconomic backgrounds through a multiplicity of full-time, part-time, blended and online learning approaches.
It is not overstating matters to say the Technological Universities Act 2018 is seminal legislation for the higher education sector. Last November I reintroduced the Technological Universities Bill on Committee Stage in the Dáil. With the committee's informed assistance and support, I took the Bill through the legislative process to its signing into law by the President on 19 March. Shortly thereafter, in late April, the first application for designation as a technological university under the new Act was made by a consortium, comprising the Dublin Institute of Technology, the Institute of Technology, Blanchardstown and the Institute of Technology, Tallaght. On 17 July my colleague, the Minister for Education and Skills, Deputy Richard Bruton, granted the consortium's application following a comprehensive international expert advisory panel assessment and receipt of the supporting views of the Higher Education Authority.
Under section 36 of the 2018 Act, an appointed day for the establishment of the technological university is required to be made by ministerial order. The order shall also specify the name by which the new technological university will be known, in both English and Irish. The order must be approved by resolution of each House of the Oireachtas. The draft order which is before the committee provides that 1 January 2019 shall be the appointed day for the establishment of a new technological university. It also provides that from the appointed day of establishment the new technological university shall be known as Technological University Dublin in the English language and Ollscoil Teicneolaíochta Bhaile Átha Cliath as Gaeilge.
When established, Technological University Dublin will be Ireland’s largest higher education institution, with almost 28,000 students and more than 3,000 staff. The establishment of Technological University Dublin, the first ever technological university in the history of the State, on 1 January 2019, if the draft order is approved by both Houses of the Oireachtas, will be a milestone event in the evolution of the higher education sector. I hereby commend the draft order to the committee for its consideration and approval. I thank colleagues for their kind attention.