The application for Technological University status from the TU4Dublin consortium has been officially approved by Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton, establishing Ireland’s first Technological University.
The new Technological University is to be named Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin). It is set to launch in January 2019, when its constituent Institutes of Technology are to be dissolved.
The TU4Dublin consortium is an amalgamation of Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), Institute of Technology Blanchardstown (ITB) and Institute of Technology Tallaght (ITT). TU4Dublin’s objective is to combine the three institutions’ “ideas and resources to create an incomparable institution of higher learning for the Greater Dublin Region, offering wide-ranging opportunities to learners and collaborating with civic, academic and industry partners”.
The government also announced funding of €4.4mn towards the development of TU Dublin, bringing the total Exchequer funding for the project to almost €9.3 million.
Speaking at the announcement, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar explained that by establishing Technological Universities, the government hopes to foster regional economic growth and development in addition to creating opportunities for individuals, enterprise, and the community. TU Dublin, alongside future Technological Universities, is a key part of the government’s plan to make Ireland the best education and training provider in Europe by 2026.
“Dublin’s new Technical University will promote an entrepreneurial ethos and provide accessible opportunities to those who are economically or socially disadvantaged,” said Varadkar.
TU Dublin is to be the first university in Ireland to offer programmes from Level 6 to Level 10 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). Programmes will range from apprenticeships to doctorates and cater to students from Dublin and further afield.
Minister Bruton outlined that “TU Dublin has the potential to be ground-breaking by providing a new, flexible teaching and learning framework to students that is informed by research and offers opportunities for students to pursue diverse programmes”.
“This is an opportunity to build a new higher education system that is inclusive and reflects the educational demands and economic needs of Ireland,” Bruton continued.
Currently, there are three more consortia of Institutes of Technology seeking to become technological universities alongside TU4Dublin. Each consortium is at a different stage in the developmental process, with TU4Dublin being the first to submit an official application.
The Munster Technological University (MTU) comprises of Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) and Institute of Technology Tralee (IT Tralee). The Connacht Ulster Alliance (CUA) includes Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT), Institute of Technology Sligo (IT Sligo) and Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT). Finally, the Technological University for the South-East (TUSE) comprises Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) and Institute of Technology Carlow (IT Carlow).
Speaking at the announcement, Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor offered her congratulations for the TU4Dublin consortium’s success. “Today is the dawning of new era in Ireland’s higher education history,” said O’Connor. “The higher education landscape is changing and the people who will benefit most are the students.”
“The technological university model provides the template to drive regional development, enhance opportunities for students, and create a step change in the impact and influence of these institutions regionally, nationally and internationally,” continued O’Connor.
€10 million in Exchequer funding was provided to the four consortia between 2013 and 2017, with TU4Dublin receiving nearly €5 million. The Department of Education and Skills estimates that €8 million will be allocated to the development of Technological Universities and other landscape higher education restructuring projects in 2019 and 2020.