Technological Universities Bill 2015: Committee Stage (Continued)

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Select Sub-Committee on Education and Skills Debate
Vol. 2 No. 23

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SECTION 22

Deputy Jan O'Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan I move amendment No. 8:

In page 19, line 32, to delete “, as it sees fit,”.

Section 22 sets out the functions of technological universities established under the Bill, including the provision of programmes of education and training, the making of awards and undertaking high-quality and relevant research. In keeping with the distinctive mission of these institutions to provide high-quality, enterprise-focused higher education for their regions, the purpose of this amendment is to ensure those technological universities engage fully with regional stakeholders in the effective transfer of knowledge arising from research.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien I wish to indicate my intention to table an amendment on Report Stage on the functions of a technological university.

Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan: Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan I wish to do likewise. I am a member of some of the bodies overseeing the Grangegorman development and the nature of the amendment will be to indicate the extent of the community and the social engagement between the college, that is, the Dublin Institute of Technology, DIT, and the communities. There is a need to consider social communities and cultural activities and as this should be specified, I also intend to table an amendment in this regard. It is a matter the Minister might take on board in the meantime.

Amendment agreed to.

Chairman: Information on Joanna Tuffy Zoom on Joanna Tuffy Amendments Nos. 9 and 10 are related and will be discussed together.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien I move amendment No. 9:

In page 21, to delete lines 21 and 22 and substitute the following:
“(i) be established following consultation with trade unions representing employees of the technological university, where the matters in dispute relate to staff, or with the Students’ Union where the matters in dispute relate to students,”.

These amendments are self-explanatory. The purpose of amendment No. 9 is to delete lines 21 and 22 and to substitute them with provisions for consultation with the trade unions representing employees where the matters in dispute relate to staff or with the student unions where the matters in dispute relate to students. The purpose of amendment No. 10 is to delete lines 25 and 26 and to substitute them with the phrase "be published in such manner as the technological university considers appropriate jointly agreed by the parties concerned".

Deputy Jan O'Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan This is about keeping the wording similar to other legislation in the sector. Section 22, which sets out the requirement that technological universities establish procedures for the resolution of disputes, largely mirrors the wording of the relevant provisions of the Universities Act 1997, the Regional Technical Colleges Act 1992 and the Dublin Institute of Technology Act 1992. Amendment No. 9 would remove from that section the standard reference to staff associations, as well as trade unions. I acknowledge members already have had some discussion on this and I have indicated that I will get specific information as to whether there are any staff associations that might have relevance to this legislation. I will revert with that information on Report Stage. The amendment also unnecessarily distinguishes between the dispute resolution procedures which would apply to staff and those which would apply to students.

Amendment No. 10, in providing that the method of publication of those procedures must be jointly agreed with "the parties concerned", goes further than is necessary. Institutes of technology and universities currently make those procedures available both in hard copy and electronically. This also would be the case for technological universities and this is why I do not believe it is necessary to have that.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien Why does the Minister oppose the procedures being jointly agreed?

Deputy Jan O'Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan I understand it pertains to their publication. In the current situation, they already must be agreed in the colleges and that also would apply in technological universities. My point is it already is catered for and covered.

Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan: Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan In section 22(k)(iii), the word "practicable" is a very loose word. When the word "practicable" is used, it provides too much of an out clause, as opposed to the words "must" or "shall". Consequently, I intend to table an amendment in this regard on Report Stage.

Amendment put and declared lost.


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