Public invited to share views on updating Higher Education Authority Act

Mary Mitchell O’Connor launched the public consultation yesterday

Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, is inviting the public to give their views on revising and updating the Higher Education Authority (HEA) Act of 1971.

Launching the public consultation yesterday, Mitchell O’Connor explained that the Act requires updating as it is “relying on a legislative basis that is now more than 40 years old”.

Mitchell O’Connor outlined that “areas such as governance, data sharing, funding reforms” have changed considerably since the Act was established in 1971. “This consultation process is an opportunity for stakeholders to provide their views on a number of key issues that will help to identify and define the role of the HEA for years to come,” continued Mitchell O’Connor.

The proposal to update the Act comes as part of a series of educational reforms launched recently, in line with the Department of Education’s initiative to make Ireland the best education system in Europe by 2026. “We need to ensure that our key agencies and regulators are equipped to contribute towards that goal,” Mitchell O’Connor explained.

This reform is also part of a wider reform process which includes changes and updates to the funding allocation model, reform of the National Training Fund, as well as the creation of Technological Universities. Earlier this week, Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin) was given the green light to become Ireland’s first Technological University in January.

The Higher Education Authority (HEA), which was established under the Higher Education Authority Act in 1971, is a governmental body and organisation that is primarily in charge of funding and advising the universities, institutes of technology and other designated educational institutions.

Stakeholders’ views are welcomed in response to a set of eight key questions, including what the key functions of the HEA should be and the role of the Minister in regulating the Higher Education Sector. Interested parties are invited to return their proposals by the end of the summer.