Harris announces commencement of Higher Education Authority Act 2022

Colleges now have 12 months to reform their governing bodies to be compliant with new legislation

Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris yesterday commenced the Higher Education Authority Act (HEA) Act 2022.

The commencement of the HEA Act 2022, strengthens the role of the HEA, and amends both the Student Support Act, so that scholarships may be provided for disadvantaged students, and the Industrial Training Act of 1967.

The act provides for the reduction of college governing bodies to 19 members from the previous maximum of 40.

On top of the measures which are put into operation with the commencement of the HEA Act, a 12 month period will follow in which new governing authorities will be appointed.

Speaking yesterday, Harris called the enactment of the legislation act “an important milestone.”

“This legislation will mark a step-change in how our higher education sector is governed,”

Harris stated that the act “will ensure we have accountability and greater transparency over the significant public funds invested in higher education.”

Harris added that the act “is about ensuring the sector can meet the demands facing it today”.

In response to the far-reaching changes of the act to colleges’ governing authorities, a  supplemental charter was by College  to ensure Trinity’s right to protect its internal autonomy .

On Monday, College held a town hall meeting to discuss the procedures by which members should be appointed to the reformed Board.

The HEA Act 2022 reforms the governance and funding of higher education institutions (HEIs) in Ireland and provides for an expanded role of the HEA in third level education.

In the past few months, the HEA Act has been met with much criticism from the TCDSU, debate about student representation and apprehension about the power of the government in higher education.

The act marks the most significant change in higher education legislation since the HEA Act 1971.