Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris has today (23 November 2021) announced his approval in principle for the incorporation of St. Angela’s College, Sligo into IT Sligo.
Minister Harris said: “St. Angela’s College, Sligo has long been an important provider of initial teacher education and home economics, both in the West / North West and nationally. It provides higher education across a range of other disciplines, too, including food and nutrition, health sciences, nursing, disability studies, textiles, fashion and design, science, biology and business
“As such, it makes a lot of sense for the College to incorporate into the other higher education powerhouse emerging now in the West / North West in the form of the new TU which I granted TU status to only last month and which already has a strong Sligo presence in IT Sligo.
“My officials are working closely with both higher education institutions to advise and ensure that relevant issues around the legislative and other processes required for incorporation are observed. Of course, ultimately, incorporation into the new TU will be a matter for the university’s governing body upon establishment”.
St. Angela’s College had previously been working over the past number of years to incorporate into NUI Galway but with the possibility and now certainty of a TU being established in the West and North West, since 2020 the focus has moved from a Galway based university incorporation to an incorporation within a university campus in Sligo.
Following advice from the Office of the Attorney General the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science is seeking to amend current IoT and TU legislation to allow for incorporations of the type sought by St. Angela’s College through the far reaching reforming HEA Bill currently being advanced through the legislative process.
St. Angela’s College plays a key role in the provision of teacher education both regionally and nationally providing as it does a graduate pipeline of home economics teachers nationally. St. Angela’s is also working with other initial teacher education providers in the West / North-West, NUI Galway, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, as part of the Western Institute for Studies in Education (WISE), in keeping with recommendations in the influential 2012 Sahlberg Report on the Structure of Initial Techer Education Provision in Ireland.
The new TU in the West and North West comprises GMIT, IT Sligo and Letterkenny IT and was designated by Minister Harris on 28 October with an establishment date anticipated in early 2022. It will be the fourth TU nationally and will provide a multi-campus university presence across Connacht and Ulster, encompassing eight locations in Castlebar, Galway City, Killybegs, Letterfrack, Letterkenny, Mountbellew and Sligo. This new TU will increase higher education access, drive enhanced regional development and increase opportunities for students, staff, business and enterprise, and local communities in the West and North West region.
The Minister added: “I am satisfied that in the context of the ongoing evolution of the higher education landscape in the West / North West and across the country more widely this is a progressive and significant step forward which seeks to achieve even greater critical mass necessary to deliver on regional and national strategic policy objectives for higher education access, research-informed teaching and learning excellence and synergistic regional development. There are a number of issues to be resolved both by the respective higher education institutions themselves in terms of completing all due diligence processes and centrally by Government in terms of the legislation being delivered to provide for legal incorporations of the type envisaged, and I would expect these to be completed over the coming months.”.