Quality Assurance System
The technological higher education sector in Ireland operates within a robust national and internationally benchmarked quality assurance system. The system is underpinned by national legislation, the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act 2012. It is also informed by, and compliant with the standards adopted in the European Higher Education Area under the Bologna Process.
Under this system the Institutes are responsible for their own internal quality assurance processes, information on which is available at the following links:
The statutory responsibility for the external quality assurance of all public higher education institutions in Ireland resides with the national agency, Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI). Under its legislative remit, QQI is responsible for the establishment of the policy framework under which external quality assurance operates, including the development and publication of statutory quality assurance guidelines (QAG) for providers. QQI classifies these guidelines under three categories: Core, Sector Specific and Topic Specific. The relevant QAG documents for the Technological Higher Education sector are:
AIQRs and Institutional Review
The external dimension of quality assurance is completed through two inter-linked processes: an annual reporting system known as the Annual Institutional Quality Report (AIQR), and a cyclical system of institutional review. AIQRs are submitted to QQI through an online facility, and the reports for each institution are published. A summary of the AIQRs, covering all of the publicly regulated higher education institutions, is all also published annually. The 2017 report is available here.
A new cycle of institutional reviews, known as CINNTE, commenced in 2017. A cyclical review handbook for Institutes of Technology and designated awarding bodies (including DIT) have been published. The terms of reference for Cinnte reviews of the Institutes of Technology and the designated awarding bodies (including DIT) are also published.
Delegation of Authority to Make Awards
Providers with delegated authority are awarding bodies that make their own awards within the scope of the authority delegated by QQI under the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act 2012. Thirteen of the fourteen Institutes of Technology currently operate under this legislative arrangement, through which they are enabled to establish their own award brands, and exercise autonomy in establishing programmes leading to these awards.
QQI has published general Criteria and Procedures relating to Delegation of Authority that set out the parameters under which it is granted. Also relevant are QQI's Policy and Criteria for the Delegation of Authority to the Institutes of Technology to make Higher Education and Training Awards (including Joint Awards).THEA has developed and published two sectoral protocols concerning delegated authority in the Technological HIgher Education sector. They relate specifically to Level 9 Research Programmes and Programmes leading to Joint Awards.