QQI welcomes Cabinet approval of Quality Amendment Bill
• New powers to regulate the English Language Education sector
• International Education Quality Mark for English Language Education and Higher Education providers
• A new learner protection fund
• Scrutiny of corporate fitness of education providers
Quality & Qualifications Ireland (QQI), the agency responsible for assuring quality in Irish education and training, has welcomed the approval by Cabinet of a Bill which will enhance its powers, particularly in the area of English Language Education (ELE).
The Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) (Amendment) Bill 2018 updates previous legislation in a number of key areas:
• Allows for the introduction of the International Education Mark (IEM), a new quality stamp required by education providers in order to recruit international learners;
• Allows QQI to examine the academic and financial capacity of providers;
• A Protection for Enrolled Learners Fund which will allow students to complete a course if their provider shuts down suddenly.
Dr Padraig Walsh, CEO of QQI said,
“We are delighted to see this amended legislation progress through the various stages of approval and look forward to preparing for its enactment in the coming months. It will allow QQI to extend its statutory oversight to ELE providers and provide international students with confidence in the quality of their chosen course. With Brexit fast approaching, these new powers will help copperfasten Ireland’s reputation as a destination of choice for learning the English language.”
Dr Walsh also welcomed other changes in the legislation which clarify QQI’s functions:
• Explicit authority for QQI to ‘list’ awarding bodies and to include new qualifications in the National Qualifications Framework, the reference to measure and relate learning qualifications in Ireland;
• The power to prosecute ‘essay mills’ and other forms of academic cheating such as sitting an exam for a student;
• To involve providers more centrally in the application process for recognition of prior learning (RPL) which measures and certifies competences that an individual may have acquired during his or her career.
A public consultation process will take place during Autumn 2018 where those likely to be impacted by the legislation will be asked to contribute their views.
The Bill has now been published. Read more here.