Tuesday, 24 February 2004
Dáil Eireann Debate
297. Cecilia Keaveney asked the Minister for Education and Science the support that can be given to assist the continuation of a course (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5795/04]
Minister for Education and Science (Mr. N. Dempsey): Letterkenny Institute of Technology sought approval last year to provide a national certificate in traditional Irish music performance in Falcarragh. I understand that this course has been provided in Falcarragh, as a higher national diploma — UK accreditation, by a subsidiary of Udarás na Gaeltachta. The institute’s proposal involves reaccreditation of the course by HETAC and its continued provision in Falcarragh by the institute on an out-centre basis.
There are questions as to the appropriateness of providing this type of course within the technological sector of higher education and the institute was informed that it would not be approved pending a review of the remit of the technological sector. The need for such a review arose from a number of course proposals submitted by institutes of technology which appeared to fall outside the range of courses traditionally provided by the technological sector. As any expansion of the range of provision by the technological sector would have significant implications not only for that sector but for third level provision generally, it was decided not to approve any such applications pending a review of the remit of the sector.
In this regard, I have asked the OECD to conduct a wide-ranging review of third level education provision and a team of experts is currently engaged in this exercise. I expect to receive a report of the findings of the OECD team later this year. The position in relation to the course in question will be re-examined when the OECD report has been fully considered.
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