Institutes of Technology

Institutes of Technology (ITs) are further and higher education colleges. There are currently fourteen ITs in Ireland. Despite their titles, they are not confined to studies in technology, and engage in both teaching and research in a wide range of disciplines, much of which is at university level. Their principal function is, by law, is

… to provide vocational and technical education and training for the economic, technological, scientific, commercial, industrial, social and cultural development of the State with particular reference to the region served by the college … (Regional Technical Colleges Act 1992, s 5)

These institutes were proposed in the 1960s, with the first of them opening their doors in 1970. They were originally designated as “Regional Technical Colleges” (RTCs), and the modern title of IT was conferred on each of them during the 1990s. Nearly all were new creations, though Dublin IT (established in 1978, recognised in legislation in 1992) was an amalgamation of existing colleges, some of which can trace their origins back to the 1880s.

The fourteen ITs are:

Overall management is similar to that of universities, each IT having a Director, a Registrar, a Governing Council and an Academic Council. ITs do not however have power to confer their own degrees. Very roughly, their degree-level awards are validated by the Higher Education and Training Awards Council (HETAC) (Website¦Wikipedia) and their other awards either by the Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC) (Website¦Wikipedia) or by relevant professional bodies.  (DIT is however in an exceptional position, having power to award its own degrees.)

The main pieces of legislation applicable to ITs are:

Institutes of Technology Ireland is an umbrella organisation for the thirteen ITs governed by the 1992 Act.

Further reading: Useful Wikipedia articles are: Education in the Republic of IrelandInstitutes of technology in Ireland; National Qualifications Authority of Ireland.

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