New legislation allowing proposals for the amalgamation of institutes of technology will enable institutes to apply for university status, according to Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn.
This is the first time since 1989, when both UL and DCU obtained university status, that there is a real prospect of new universities appearing in Ireland.
“This is an exciting time for our higher education institutes,” stated Minister Quinn when interviewed after the meeting.
So far Dublin Institute of Technology, the Institute of Technology, Tallaght and the Institute of Technology, Blanchardstown have expressed interest in joining together in the Dublin area.
Other institutes which have expressed interest in merging to achieve university status are CIT, who wish to merge with IT Tralee and Waterford IT.
As well as this, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, Sligo IT, and Letterkenny IT have also indicated a strong desire to strengthen their alliance in the North-West and hopefully merge in the long term.
According to the proposal, the universities will be new higher education institutions, with an aim to provide a top-quality enterprise focused on education and research.
The minister said that he hopes the creation of the universities would “achieve the critical mass to allow them to reach the scale and level of performance required to compete on the world stage with other similar institutions.”
Glenn Fitzpatrick, President of DIT Students’ Union stated that the development will give students the opportunity to experience world class universities and still keep the ethos of the Institutes of Technology.
“We look forward to engaging intensively with Government and the Institutes themselves to ensure that the new universities are of the highest possible quality,” he said during an interview following the announcement.
Image Credit: The Labour Party