The Legislation Programme for the Spring/Summer Session is now published. None of the priority legislation relates directly to third level. Other legislation mentioned is:
Bills that are expected to undergo Pre-Legislative Scrutiny: Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Amendment) Bill. ‘To amend the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act 2012 to address some issues that have arisen regarding the scope of QQI’s responsibilities in relation to recognition of awards and regulation of private and voluntary providers, to ensure adequate protection of enrolled learners where providers discontinue a programme, and to give greater authority to Institutes of Technology to award Level 9 qualifications.’ Heads are currently being drafted – no date given for scrutiny to commence.
Bills already on Dáil Order Paper: Technological Universities Bill 2015. Currently awaiting Committee stage. Given the broad degree of consensus that would be needed to pass this, and the opposition from various quarters, it seems unlikely to proceed further at any time soon.
Other Legislation: (1) Higher Education (Reform) Bill. ‘To modernise the legislative framework underpinning the governance and functions of the Higher Education Authority and the governance structures of the universities.’ Heads are currently being drafted. This is largely a matter of updating the HEA’s governing legislation, and perhaps tinkering with universities’ governing bodies – not a priority on anyone’s list, I would imagine.
Other Legislation: (2) Universities (Amendment) Bill. ‘To ensure compliance with government guidelines on remuneration, allowances, pensions and staffing numbers in the University sector.’ Heads approved in October 2012, drafting is underway. This bill serves largely as a scarecrow meant to terrify universities that might be tempted to flout existing controls – a role it can perform perfectly well without being on the statute book. Again, it’s hard to see why anyone would be in a hurry to spend legislative time on actually enacting it.