Parliamentary Question for the Minister for Education and Skills (Ruairi Quinn TD)
For WRITTEN ANSWER on 25/03/2014
To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if he will consider ensuring the community education sector is supported by a waiver of fees by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.
As the Deputy will be aware, QQI has, in accordance with Section 80 of the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act, 2012, determined a number of fees which will apply to all providers seeking to engage with it, including those in the community and voluntary sector. The fees were determined in accordance with QQI’s policy and fees which provides, inter alia, that fees will be comprehensive, coherent and reflect the amount and complexity of the work undertaken by QQI.
There is a significant amount of work involved in assessing applications from providers seeking access to QQI’s awards, so that QQI can be assured that they meet their rigorous quality standards. The purpose of those standards is to ensure that providers have the capacity to provide quality programmes of education and training to their learners. The fees therefore underpin QQI’s ability to ensure and monitor compliance with its standards. Furthermore, and importantly, the fees help to ensure that only those providers which are serious about complying with those standards, and have the capacity to do so, apply to QQI.
It is not possible to estimate the total cost of these fees to the community and voluntary sector as that is entirely dependent on the number of providers from that sector which apply to QQI for initial access to validation and on the number and type of programmes which those providers submit for validation by QQI.
At the meeting of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education and Social Protection on 19 February, representatives from QQI committed to continue to consult with stakeholders from the community and voluntary sector in order to explore how that sector can continue to provide quality education and training to learners.