Tuesday 23 July 2019

Delay in rule changes after schools' court win

The judge will make final orders in the case tomorrow.
The judge will make final orders in the case tomorrow.

Tim Healy and  Katherine Donnelly

NEW RULES for accrediting colleges catering for non-EU students are expected to be delayed after a successful High Court challenge by two English-language schools.

Tighter regulations were due this month, but the court's ruling yesterday is likely to lead to a postponement, while Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald and Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan consider its implications.

The Dublin-based Academic Bridge and the National Employee Development Centre claim they could be put out of business as the new regulations would severely limit their ability to recruit students from abroad.

The accreditation system was to be operated by the Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) body, under proposed legislation due to come in either 2015 or 2016.

In the meantime, an interim accreditation system was set up.

The schools both failed to secure accreditation and claimed the new rules were too restrictive and rigid.

Ms Justice Marie Baker agreed with the schools that the Minister for Justice had "unduly fettered her discretion in limiting the set of bodies or persons that may be eligible for inclusion on the interim list".

She also said that the QQI had no power to operate or manage the system of accreditation for the purpose of admission onto that list, but that it may have a contractual power to do so for a more limited and voluntary scheme of recognition.

The judge will make final orders in the case tomorrow.

Irish Independent

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