Tuesday, 26 January 2016
Technological Universities Bill 2015: Report Stage
We agree on the value of the institutes of technology. From my life before coming to the House, I know very well about the great work that has been done.
My dealings were with DIT, Blanchardstown, Tallaght and Dundalk. The ladder system and progression routes were valuable. Someone could progress from a certain level right up to PhD level through the institutes of technology. Their connections with PLC colleges were invaluable.
The concerns are that those IOTs that do not merge will be at a disadvantage. As Deputy O'Brien said, certain colleges offer the same courses. If a particular college no longer offers a course it means that students will have to move from one campus to another, which undermines the regional basis of IOTs. It also creates a funding issue and affects SUSI grants. Students in Cork IT may not receive a grant that would enable them to attend Tralee IT and stay there because of the grant situation.
There is another issue regarding those working on PhDs. Doing a PhD requires considerable finances and time. I do not think that issue has been taken into account. If an institution meets the criteria, why can it not apply for technological university status in its own right? I know this refers to the criteria, but where was that issue in the discussions?