Higher Education System - overview

Country

Ireland - higher education system

The flag of Ireland is a vertical tricolour of green, white and orange
Country: Ireland
Population (mln): 4,48
Official language/s: English
Internet TLD: .ie
Calling code: +353
Member of the EU from: 1st January 1973
Unemployment rate Sep 2011 (%): 14,6
Unemployment rate under 25 years Sep 2011 (%): 29
Unemployment rate Sep 2012 (%): 14,8
Unemployment rate under 25 years Sep 2012 (%): 30,2
Population statistics 20-29 age group 2011 (%): 15,2
Country codes in education system: IE
Expected duration of education (years): 17,3

The Higher Education Authority (HEA) is the statutory planning and development body for higher education and research in Ireland. The HEA has wide advisory powers throughout the whole of the third-level education sector. In addition it is the funding authority for the universities, institutes of technology and other designated higher education institutions.

The Universities Act, 1997 sets out the objects and functions of a university, the structure and role of governing bodies, staffing arrangements, composition and role of academic councils and sections relating to property, finance and reporting. The governing authorities are required to see that strategic development plans are in place, and that procedures for evaluating teaching and research are in place. The HEA has an overseeing role on such plans and quality assurance procedures. The legislative framework preserves the academic freedom of the universities and respects the diverse traditions and institutional autonomy of each university.

The Institutes of Technology Act, 2006, creates a similar relationship between the institutes and the HEA as that between the HEA and the universities. It provides for greater institutional autonomy, improved governance and a statutory guarantee of academic freedom for the Institutes of Technology.

The National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030, which was launched in 2011, will see the transformation of Ireland’s higher education sector over the next two decades.  Endorsed by Government as the future blueprint for the sector, the Strategy sets out changes for the sector that are aimed at providing for:

  • a more flexible system, with a greater choice of provision and modes of learning for an increasingly diverse cohort of students;

  • improvements in the quality of the student experience, the quality of teaching and learning and the relevance of learning outcomes; and

  • ensuring that higher education connects more effectively with wider social, economic and enterprise needs through its staff, the quality of its graduates, the relevance of its programmes, the quality of its research and its ability to translate that into high value jobs and real benefits for society.

The Higher Education Authority (HEA) is the statutory planning and development body for higher education and research in Ireland. The HEA has wide advisory powers throughout the whole of the third-level education sector. In addition it is the funding authority for the universities, institutes of technology and other designated higher education institutions.

The Universities Act, 1997 sets out the objects and functions of a university, the structure and role of governing bodies, staffing arrangements, composition and role of academic councils and sections relating to property, finance and reporting. The governing authorities are required to see that strategic development plans are in place, and that procedures for evaluating teaching and research are in place. The HEA has an overseeing role on such plans and quality assurance procedures. The legislative framework preserves the academic freedom of the universities and respects the diverse traditions and institutional autonomy of each university.

The Institutes of Technology Act, 2006, creates a similar relationship between the institutes and the HEA as that between the HEA and the universities. It provides for greater institutional autonomy, improved governance and a statutory guarantee of academic freedom for the Institutes of Technology.

The National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030, which was launched in 2011, will see the transformation of Ireland’s higher education sector over the next two decades.  Endorsed by Government as the future blueprint for the sector, the Strategy sets out changes for the sector that are aimed at providing for:

  • a more flexible system, with a greater choice of provision and modes of learning for an increasingly diverse cohort of students;
  • improvements in the quality of the student experience, the quality of teaching and learning and the relevance of learning outcomes; and
  • ensuring that higher education connects more effectively with wider social, economic and enterprise needs through its staff, the quality of its graduates, the relevance of its programmes, the quality of its research and its ability to translate that into high value jobs and real benefits for society.


Source: Eurydice,
Eurypedia - The European Encyclopedia on National Education Systems , Eurosta, wikipedia.org, Agency for Science and Higher Education Croatia, Department of Education and Skills Irelan,  Ministry of Education and Culture - FINLAND

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