Reorganisation under HEA
The Regional Technical Colleges Acts provided for the establishment of Regional Technical Colleges. There are equivalent provisions in the Dublin Institute of Technology Acts which largely mirror the Regional Technical Colleges Act. The legislation was amended by the Institutes of Technology Act 2006.
The Institutes of Technology Act 2006 provided for an improved framework for higher education by placing the Institutes of Technology and the Dublin Institute of Technology under the Higher Education Authority.
Colleges under the legislation meant educational institutions established as regional technical colleges or as colleges to which the legislation applies. In the case of Regional Technical Colleges, Cork, it includes a school of that College.
The legislation substituted references to the Minister with references to the Authority. It facilitated greater involvement of colleges in limited liability companies.
The members of a college comprise the members of the governing body, academic council, staff, registered students, graduates and other persons as may be appointed to be members.
The Initial Institutions
Each educational institution specified below was established as a Regional Technical College to which the legislation applied. The Regional Technical Colleges were
- Regional Technical College, Athlone;
- Regional Technical College, Carlow;
- Regional Technical College, Cork;
- Regional Technical College, Dundalk;
- Regional Technical College, Galway; Regional
- Technical College, Letterkenny;
- Regional Technical College, Waterford;
- Regional Technical College, Sligo;
- Regional Technical College, Tallaght;
- Regional Technical College, Tralee;
- Regional Technical College, Limerick.
The legislation declares that Crawford College of Art and Design, the Cork School of Music and the National Maritime College of Ireland as schools of the Cork Institute of Technology.
The Regional Technical Colleges (Amendment) Act 1999 had provided for the establishment of the Institute of Technology Blanchardstown. It makes specific provisions in relation to its governing body.
Incorporation and Designation
Whenever the Minister and the VEC consider the legislation should apply to other educational institutions, the Minister may, by order, following consultations with the VEC add other institutions to the Schedule to the legislation so that they are thereby recognised and that the legislation applies to them.
When the Minister or the VEC considers that an educational institution or part of the institution should form part of a college, the Minister may by order, with the consent of the Minister for Finance and following consultation with the VEC and the governing body, amend the name of the institution and upon commencement, the institution or part of the institution shall become a College of the relevant institution.
The principal function of a college shall, subject to the provisions of the legislation, shall be
- to provide vocational and technical education and training for the economic, technological, scientific, commercial, industrial, social and cultural development of the State with particular reference to the region served by the college.
- In addition, and without limiting the above, the college is to have the following functions:
- providing courses of study as the governing body considers appropriate;
- entering into arrangements with the NCEA, with any university in the State or other authority for the purpose of having degrees, diplomas, certificates or other educational awards conferred, granted or made and to make such other arrangements as may be approved by the Minister;
- subject to such conditions as the Minister determines, to engage in research, consultancy and development work and provide such services in relation to these matters as the governing body considers appropriate;
- enter into arrangements with other institutions inside or outside the State for the purpose of offering joint courses of study or engaging jointly in programmes of research, consultancy and development work;
- enter into arrangements, on conditions as the Minister determines, including participation in companies, exploiting research, consultancy and development work either separately or jointly;
- to institute, if thought fit, and award scholarships, prizes and awards;
- to accept gifts upon such trusts and conditions as may be specified by the donor provided it is not inconsistent with the legislation;
The college is to preserve and promote principles of academic freedom and for members of the academic staff of a college to have freedom within the law to question and test received wisdom, put forward new ideas and state controversial or unpopular opinions and not to be disadvantaged for so doing.
The colleges may charge fees, admission charges or such other charges of such amounts as may from time to time be determined by its governing body subject to conditions as may be specified by the Minister for Education from time to time for courses, lectures, examinations, exhibitions and other events held at the college or other activities including research, consultancy and development work undertaken by the college.
The Minister may authorise inspectors and other officers of the Department of Education and such other persons as he deems appropriate to report to the Minister on the efficiency of instruction given in a college and any other matters regarding its operation. They shall be entitled at all reasonable times to enter a college and shall be afforded every facility, including access to all records, to perform their functions.
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