Dáil Éireann - Volume 571 - 02 October, 2003

Written Answers. - Teaching Qualifications.

  150. Mr. J. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Education and Science his views on the 18 month part-time programme leading to a diploma in primary education which is being established on-line by Hibernian College, and which has been approved by the Higher Education and Training Awards Council, despite being criticised by nine college of education presidents. [21716/03]

  Minister for Education and Science (Mr. N. Dempsey): As Minister for Education and Science I am the designated authority with responsi[1387] bility for recognition of qualifications for the regulated profession of primary school teacher for purposes of employment in Ireland. The hibernia graduate diploma in primary education, which is accredited by the Higher Education and Training Awards Council, has been recognised for this purpose, and is subject to compliance with the programme validation and quality assurance arrangements approved by HETAC.

  The Higher Education and Training Awards Council was set up under the Qualifications (Education and Training) Act 1999 to provide for accreditation of non university awards in higher education and training.

  The role of HETAC under the Act is to establish policies and criteria for the making of higher education and training awards and the validation of programmes, to determine the standards of knowledge skills and competencies to be acquired by learners for an award, to make or recognise awards, and to monitor the quality of programmes, ensuring that providers have procedures for assessment of learners which are fair and consistent.