Statement from Dr Joseph Ryan, Chief Executive, THEA
Today’s public announcement by Athlone Institute of Technology and Limerick Institute of Technology has been much anticipated by the higher education sector. We are delighted to acknowledge this confirmation of their intention to apply for Technological University status to serve the midlands and the Midwest.
Alongside TU Dublin, this brings the number of prospective new technological universities to four. It is expected that IT Tralee and CIT will achieve their designation early in 2020. There are applications pending from WIT and Carlow in the southeast, from Sligo IT, GMIT and LYIT in the west/northwest and AIT and LIT in the midlands. These institutions serve the regional, rural and dispersed population, they increase access to students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds and from geographically isolated rural areas. The financial support announced last week in Budget 2020 will enable our Technological University consortia to deliver on the strategic priorities as set out in Government policy, specifically in relation to research-informed teaching and learning excellence, regional development, and socio-economic connectedness to the regions.
The TUs will offer a system of higher education which, through its distinctive academic learning environment, is designed to meet the employment and skills needs of Ireland’s regions through existing well-established and embedded links to employers and local communities. They will offer the full spectrum of higher education, from Level 6 to Level 10 of the NFQ, across a greater geographic and socio-economic footprint
The emergence of Technological Universities represents the most significant enhancement for Irish higher education in decades and we anticipate with great interest, the emergence of this new higher education sector.