Thursday, 2 March 2000
Dáil Eireann Debate
113. Mr. O'Shea asked the Minister for Education and Science the proposals, if any, he has to make good the deficit in provision for third level degree courses in the south east region; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6545/00]
Minister for Education and Science (Dr. Woods): The steering committee on the future development of higher education was asked to advise on the future development of the higher education sector and to examine, within the overall national context, the needs for higher education on a regional basis and the appropriateness of the current institutional provision by region to meet these needs.
As a response to the higher education needs of the south east region, the report recommended an increase in student places in what was then the regional technical college, Waterford, an increase in degree level awards and a change of title. The report also recommended that the major focus of expansion be at degree level. It stated that such provision would place the college at the top end of the spectrum by comparison with other regional technical colleges in terms of provision of degree places and would enable the region to reach the national average participation in degree programmes.
The Government accepted these recommendations with the result that provision in both the total number of places and in degree level courses is being expanded annually and incrementally in line with available resources. These measures, combined with the change of title of the college to institute of technology, provide the necessary status and capacity for the institute to meet the identified higher education needs of the region over the coming years.
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