Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Thursday, 14 January 2016
Committee on Education and Social Protection: Select Sub-Committee on Education and Skills
Technological Universities Bill 2015: Committee Stage
I thank the committee for its pre-legislative scrutiny. Many of the points made at the time have been taken on board in the drafting of the Bill. A number of amendments relate to more general issues rather than to the specific purpose of the Bill and certainly will be considered in the context of other legislation. It is probable that there will not be any other legislation in the lifetime of this Dáil but certainly the Quality and Qualifications Ireland Assurance (Education and Training) Act has to be amended and a higher education reform Bill is planned. They may be appropriate places for some of the points that will be raised during the course of the debate. For the technological universities and the consortia that are interested in becoming technological universities, they need this legislation before they can move to the final stages.
As the Deputy has said, he is seeking to insert new definitions into section 2 while amendment No. 6 would have the effect of deleting the phrase "or appointed" from the definition of "student" as currently set out in the Bill. However, amendments Nos. 1, 2, 4 and 5 would insert definitions for words which are not actually used in the Bill nor in any of the other amendments tabled by the Deputy, and for that reason I believe they are unnecessary. Amendment No. 3 would insert a limited definition for the word "programme", a word which is used in the Bill. However, the term "programme of education and training" is defined in the Bill, by reference to the extensive definition of the term set out in the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act 2012. Introducing an additional definition of the word "programme" would, therefore, introduce uncertainty with regard to the correct definition of the term. Amendment No. 6, which would have the effect of deleting "or appointed" from the definition of "student", would unnecessarily limit the scope of that definition. For these reasons, I cannot support the amendments.