January 1 2019 saw the welcome of the formal establishment of Technological University Dublin by Irish minister for higher education Mary Mitchell O’Connor.
Minister Mitchell O’Connor said: “I am absolutely delighted that after years of hard work by a wide array of people and institutions including the staff and students of the three institutions now merged into this new higher education institution, the Houses of the Oireachtas and relevant government departments, this first day of the New Year of 2019 marks the start of a new era in Irish higher education, with the formal establishment of the first technological university in the State, Technological University (TU) Dublin.”
Technological universities (TU) stem from Institutes of Technology, and have a closely aligned ethos with these institutes. TUs aim to support innovation and management upskilling, as well as creating capacity for greater engagement with local enterprises (particularly SMEs) and facilitate lifelong learning, upskilling and reskilling.
TUs will play a pivotal role in facilitating student access and progression particularly through their relationships with the further education and training sector.
– Mary Mitchell O’Connor, Minister for Higher Education
Technological universities in Ireland will have a large emphasis on programmes at levels 6–8 (higher and advance certificates, up to honours batchelor degrees). They will also have a regional development mission and focus on research, innovation, and knowledge transfer in partnership with SMEs.
The Minister added: “TUs will also play a pivotal role in facilitating student access and progression particularly through their relationships with the further education and training sector. I very much welcome this aspect because in my view if the student is not at the heart of any HEI, then we are failing in our duty and mission as educators and legislators for the best education possible.”
The development of Dublin’s technological university is part of the 2011 National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030, which provides for substantial changes to Irish higher education, including the reform of teacher education, improved connections between universities and institutes of technology, as well as a pathway for consolidated institutes to evolve into TUs.
There are currently four other institutes of technology that are in the process of seeking to become designated as TUs. These are:
- Cork Institute of Technology and Institute of Technology Tralee, which would form the Munster Technological University.
- Waterford Institute of Technology and Institute of Technology Carlow which would form the Technological University for South-East Ireland.
For more information on technological universities in Ireland, visit the Department of Education and Skills at education.ie