Technological Higher Education Sector
Ireland’s technological higher education institutes are flexible and dynamic institutes focused on:
- Teaching and learning
- Purpose-driven research and development, business support and incubation, and
- Civic engagement/public service.
The technological sector is recognised as a major success story in Irish education. Its members provide undergraduate and postgraduate programmes of study with a strong focus on the needs of the individual and the workplace, while promoting equality of access, and seamless transfer and progression, to and through programmes of study. They have been at the forefront in developing new programmes in the areas of greatest skill demand, often working in partnership with industry to provide new modes of delivery.
This has led to an enhanced level of participation by industry in the education process, in-career reorientation and continuing professional development of the workforce throughout the country. The sector also promotes a research ethos aligned with the development of a national innovation system and the promotion of entrepreneurship that meets the need of the individual, the economy, and society.
The technological university and institutes of technology co-operate with other higher education institutions at home and abroad for staff and student exchange programmes, and research and development initiatives, often with industrial partners.
Technological higher education sector awards are integrated with the highest award levels of the Irish National Framework of Qualifications which in turn is aligned to the Bologna Framework. The institutes are to the forefront in ensuring that Ireland’s modern economy continues to have the requisite array of leading-edge skills demanded by our knowledge-based industries. They provide programmes that reflect current and emerging knowledge and practices and promote self-management, critical analysis, decision making and entrepreneurship. They foster graduates ready to undertake roles, responsibilities and challenges in business, industry, the professions, public services and society.
The technological higher education sector is going through what will be the greatest change since the passing of the Regional Technical Colleges Act in the 1970s. The passing of the Technological Universities Bill in February 2018 marked a significant step on the path to the realization of an even more exciting and diversified higher education landscape in this country. The Technological Universities will add to the existing diversity evident within an already strong technological sector. Following the designation of TU Dublin and Munster Technological University, two of our members were designated Technological University of the Shannon (former AIT and LIT), a further three (LYIT, GMIT and IT Sligo) were designated Atlantic TU on April 1 2022. WIT and IT Carlow will formalise their designation as TU in the south east on May1 this year.
The announcement of the first designation of university status was made in July 2018 to TU Dublin comprising IT Blanchardstown, IT Tallaght and DIT. and full designation of TU Dublin took place in January 2019.
THEA looks forward to building strong representation that celebrates diversity.