Thursday, 14 December 2017
Technological Universities Bill 2015: Report Stage
Deputy Thomas Byrne asked about the investigatory provisions relating to universities. Important technical issues have come up which are being considered in respect of university governance, autonomy and control of the impact on the classification of universities in terms of a wider, national fiscal policy. These technical issues will be considered by the Department of Education and Skills, in conjunction with the Departments of Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform. For consistency right across the higher education sector, it is intended to provide for the power in relation to universities at a later stage. The enactment of the Technological Universities Bill 2015 is a priority for the Government and I do not want to delay the passage of the Bill in any way. I have, therefore, decided to proceed with the introduction of the investigative power into performance of functions across the institutes of technology and the technological university sector, and in respect of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies and the National College of Art and Design.
Deputy Barry asked about jobs losses. The whole concept behind us forming technological universities, TUs, is to improve the sector right across the State. There have been problems with specific institutes of technology and by doing this, not only are we offering more to the student who is the most important person in these institutions, but I believe that jobs will be safer in strong, technological universities to which students will apply and in which they will want to finish their studies. Currently we find that students are dropping out and there is no continuum of education across the sector. In the technological universities, students will be able to do levels six through to ten. We envisage that this will strengthen the technological universities and that by doing this, jobs will be preserved and saved.