Written Answers. - Outreach Services.

Tuesday, 27 June 2000

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 522 No. 2

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  496.  Mr. Hogan  Information on Philip Hogan  Zoom on Philip Hogan   asked the Minister for Education and Science  Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods   the precise timescale for the report of the higher educational authority in respect of the recognition and funding of the third level education outreach services which are currently giving courses under the aegis of Carlow Institute of Technology and University of Maynooth in Kilkenny. [18337/00]

Minister for Education and Science (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The core programme offered in Kilkenny by the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, is the BA degree in local and community studies. This part-time degree programme was approved by the higher education authority in 1996 on a self-financing basis.

The outreach centre which is operated in Kilkenny by the Institute of Technology, Carlow is approved annually and will continue to be sub[555] ject to review in the light of policy in relation to outreach centres and having regard to the ongoing review of third level education provision.

On the general issue of outreach centres, the higher education authority published the report of the technical working group on the review of outreach centres of higher education institutions, which was chaired by Professor Noel Mulcahy, in April 2000.

I have asked the authority to consider the recommendations in the report and advise me accordingly. As the Deputy will appreciate the role of outreach centres forms part of the wider area of open and distance learning and the higher education authority and Oscail, the national distance education centre, jointly hosted a symposium on the future of open and distance learning in higher education in Ireland in March. I understand that the report on the symposium including the report of the rapporteur is to be published shortly.

Another relevant issue in this regard is the work that the higher education authority has been asked to undertake in the light of the report of the review committee on post secondary education and training places, which was chaired by Dr Dónal de Buitléir. The market research which the authority has been asked to undertake in relation to mature students and the proposals that it will bring forward in relation to the provision of mature student places are of particular relevance in this regard.

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