Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Thursday, 22 January 2015
Public Accounts Committee
Financial Statements of the Higher Education Authority 2013
General Report No. 85 of the Comptroller and Auditor General: Accountability and Governance on the National College of Art and Design
Professor Declan McGonagle:
It is a question of focus. Since 2009 we have had a series of reviews within the education landscape, which I have outlined, and we have been involved in all of them. They were fundamental reviews. Some of the reviews raised questions about the continued existence of the college and for us that focus became dominant. They were as follows: to sustain the ongoing education of the students who were enrolled; the policy issues on the future of the college; and the fundamental issue of the validation of degrees. In terms of the latter we had to negotiate a new validation arrangement with UCD. We created an academic alliance with UCD which has now moved to formal discussions about a merger. In the period under discussion our focus was geared and directed towards sustaining student learning at a high level, dealing with all the policy issues and dealing with the reviews.
I am not justifying our failures but have given the reasons they came about in a college of a particular scale and capacities. In the last year or so we have reached the end of the review process, completed the compact with the HEA and singed it off. That has allowed us to get to grips with this process over the past year.