Launch of the Technological Higher Education Association Ireland (THEA Ireland) by the Minister for Education and Skills, Mr Richard Bruton TD
Statement by Dr Patricia Mulcahy President of Institute of Technology Carlow
Institute of Technology Carlow is proud to be a founding member of the Technological Higher Education Association (THEA) Ireland, which was launched by the Minister for Education and Skills, Mr Richard Bruton TD.
The launch of THEA Ireland marks a significant step in Irish higher education at a critical time for our country. It marks the coming together of all fourteen Institutes of Technology to drive new higher education policy and strategy for the public good. THEA Ireland represents the interests of all the country’s Institutes of Technology with over 88,000 learners, 4,400 academic staff and a total income of €720m.
“Our Institute, together with the other thirteen Institutes of Technology distributed across our cities and regions, have a long history and exemplary track record in empowering people through higher education to build better lives for themselves and their families, while simultaneously driving economic development and building stronger communities”, said Dr Patricia Mulcahy, Institute of Technology Carlow, President. “Our Institutes are vital sources of exceptional talent, new knowledge, innovative thinking and leadership. We contribute to innovation, attracting talent and business investment into our regions, while also acting as agents of social justice and mobility.
“The challenges we face are significant as our country strives to transition out of a deep crisis, rebuild our economy, provide for the ongoing surge in demographics and address multifaceted societal and international challenges,” said Dr Mulcahy. “Our national ambition is high and higher education is the key enabler. The coming together of the fourteen institutes through THEA Ireland will significantly enhance our impact on shaping the future direction of our country. We have a track record of flexibility, innovation and responsiveness throughout the recession and are exceptionally well placed as a sector to provide further leadership at this time of national recovery.
The launch took place within the context of an inaugural conference which focused on key national issues that included a keynote address by economist Dr Charles Larkin on one of the options put forward by the Expert Group on Future Funding for Higher Education; Income Contingent Loans. The Chair of the Expert Group, Mr Peter Cassells, was also central to the discussions at the conference.
“While there is a degree of clarity on the type of higher education outputs that the country needs for a rapidly expanding population and changing world, there is less clarity on how these are to be funded.” said Dr Mulcahy. “This is an immediate priority and it is incumbent on all of us to craft a sustainable solution in keeping with our values of equality of opportunity and inclusiveness.”
Facilitating access to higher education on the part of a larger proportion of Irish society is the single greatest achievement of the Technological Sector to-date. Its work has expanded countless individual’s horizons while also enhancing the welfare and quality of life for Irish society as a whole.
For reference: Alma Feeley, Communications Office, Institute of Technology Carlow
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Since its founding in 1970, Institute of Technology Carlow has generated more than 50,000 graduates and currently ranks as the fourth-largest of Ireland’s fourteen Institutes with 7,300 enrolments. There has been a 40% increase in total enrolments since 2011 and a 45% increase in graduates over the same time period. It is currently mid-way through implementation of €150million capital investment programme that continues to transform the Institute, town and the region. This plan saw the completion of the Student Services Building in 2012, the Dargan Centre for Research and Innovation in 2014, the Centre for Aerospace Engineering in 2015; the Haughton Building for Teaching and Learning in 2016; the commencement of a thirty-acre South Sports Campus in 2017; and the acquisition of an additional forty-two acres for future growth in Carlow and Wexford.