Third-level Education in Ireland
Ireland is home to a wide range of institutions that provide third-level education. The third level education is divided into various sectors-technological sector, university sector, and colleges of education, which are substantially funded by the State. There are also a number of independent private colleges.
The Higher Education Authority in Ireland is the statutory agency that is responsible for the funding of institutes of technology, universities and various other higher education institutions. The authority has an advisory role in relation to the whole sector of third-level education.
University Sector in Ireland
The University sector in Ireland is State-funded, but they are generally autonomous. There are 7 universities in Ireland. These include: The National University of Ireland (NUI) is the umbrella university covering various colleges like the University College Galway (UCG), University College Dublin (UCD), St Patrick's College in Maynooth and University College Cork (UCC).
Technological Sector in Ireland
The technological sector in Ireland include institutes of technology which provide various programmes of education and training in areas such as science, business, engineering, music for certificate, diploma and degree levels, linguistics. There are a total of 14 institutes of technology located in and around Ireland. In Dublin area they are Tallaght, Dublin, Dun Laoghaire and Blanchardstown. Outside Dublin they are Waterford, Cork, Tralee, Athlone, Dundalk, Galway and Mayo, Letterkenny, Sligo, Limerick, and Carlow.
Colleges of Education in Ireland
Ireland has several colleges of education that provide specialised training for primary school teachers. These colleges offer a 3-year Bachelor of Education degree and an 18-month postgraduate diploma. The post-primary teachers generally pursue a primary degree, which is followed by a postgraduate diploma.
In addition to the State-funded colleges in Ireland, a number of fee-paying third-level educational institutions offer courses mainly in business and professional vocational training. Some of these colleges are also linked to professional associations or universities.
Third-Level Education Qualifications
The National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) is a system of a total of 10 levels which allows the different standards and levels qualifications to be compared. Third-level qualifications are Levels 6-10 in the Framework.