The Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act 2012 was signed by the president on 22nd July. The commencement date is scheduled for a date this month. On that date Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) will be formally brought into being and FETAC, HETAC and NQAI will cease to exist. The new body QQI will also be responsible for quality assurance of the Irish Universities, a function previously performed by Irish Universities Quality Board (IUQB).
The legislation has in effect put in place QQI with a provider base across all areas of post-secondary education and training which will also be the custodian for the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ).
Other changes are happening in education and training.
– The existing 33 Vocational Education Committees (VECs) are being restructured into 16 local Education and Training Boards.
– SOLAS (Seirbhísí Oideachais Leanunaigh agus Scileanna) is being established as the new Further Education and Training (FET) authority. It will be a body under the Department of Education and Skills (DES) and will be responsible for both the coordination and funding of FET. Under its mandate, SOLAS will ensure that the unemployed in particular are offered the upskilling opportunities necessary to get back into employment.
– The potential emergence of technological universities from amalgamated Institutes of Technology.
It is surely a time of change in Irish Education and Training.