Ruairi Quinn: tech universities not likely before 2018
Published 10/03/2014 | 02:30
THE first of Ireland's new technology universities will not be created until at least 2018.
And Education Minister Ruairi Quinn warned the Government would not tolerate a damaging 'Thatcherite-style' re-branding of Ireland's 14 institutes of technology where "the name over the door is simply changed".
The minister has insisted that ITs that merge must achieve specified academic goals before they can be formally rebranded as full technology universities.
He paid tribute to Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) and Carlow Institute of Technology (CIT), which have agreed to merge and have made major strides towards achieving university standard.
But he stressed that significant progress remained to be achieved before they could be formally dubbed a technology university for the south-east.
"I would say (it will be) something to the order of three to four years at least," Mr Quinn said. "You cannot celebrate your 21st birthday until you are 21 and, for ITs, you have got to reach the standard. It has been set out very clearly in the criteria of the Hunt Report and the Higher Education Authority."
He said the process was about changing college content rather than just re-branding.
"There are four stages, and stage one has already been reached (by the ITs). They have already indicated where they want to go. The next stage is to bring their merger together and the legislation for that is published and it will be ready later this year," he said.