On 6 November 2012, Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) was established as a new integrated agency (replacing the Further Education and Training Awards Council, the Higher Education and Training Awards Council and the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland and incorporating the functions of the Irish Universities Quality Board).
QQI is responsible for the external quality assurance of further and higher education and training (including English language provision) and validates programmes and makes awards for certain providers in these sectors.
QQI is also responsible for the maintenance, development and review of the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). Since its establishment, QQI has been progressing the development of its qualifications and quality assurance services. In May 2013, QQI rolled out a Comprehensive Policy Development Programme through a number of large public events and an extensive consultation process.
QQI is committed to providing a quality service and equality of treatment to all our customers. This charter sets out our standards of service our customers are entitled to expect. QQI will continue to make awards based on standards developed by FETAC and HETAC while it develops its own award standards and processes.
The Role of QQI
The role and general functions of QQI, as set out in its legislation, are captured below in italics. They incorporate the previous functions of FETAC, HETAC and the NQAI in relation to the maintenance and development of the National Framework of Qualification, the validation and awarding of qualifications, and the monitoring and review of providers. QQI also has responsibility for the external quality review of the universities; a function performed previously by the Irish Universities Quality Board (IUQB) in conjunction with the Higher Education Authority (HEA).
In addition, the authority has been assigned some new functions. It is responsible for the development and implementation of a register of programmes leading to awards in the NFQ. It will also establish a Code of Practice and International Education Mark for the provision of education to international learners.
Functions of Authority - Qualifications & Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act, 2012, Part 2 (9) (1):
(a) Promote, maintain, further develop and implement the (National) Framework (of Qualifications)
(b) Advise the Minister in relation to national policy on quality assurance and enhancement in education and training
(c) Review and monitor the effectiveness of providers’ quality assurance procedures
(d) Validate programmes of education and training, and review and monitor the validated programmes
(e) Establish the standards of knowledge, skill or competence to be acquired by learners before an award can be made by the Authority or by a provider to which authority to make an award has been delegated
(f) Make awards, delegate authority to make an award where it considers it appropriate and review and monitor the operation of the authority so delegated
(g) Determine policies and criteria for access, transfer and progression in relation to learners, and monitor the implementation of procedures for access, transfer and progression in relation to learners by providers
(h) Establish a code of practice for the provision of programmes of education and training to international learners
(i) Authorise the use of the international education mark by a provider that complies with the code of practice
(j) Establish, maintain and develop a database providing information on awards recognised within the Framework, programmes of education and training which lead to awards recognised within the Framework and any other programmes the Authority thinks appropriate
(k) Establish and maintain the register
(l) Advise and consult with the Minister, or any other Minister, on any matter which relates to its functions, at that Minister’s request
(m) Co-operate with international bodies on qualifications and quality assurance policies and their implementation and in particular to—
(i) Liaise with awarding bodies outside the State for the purposes of facilitating the recognition in the State of awards of those bodies, and
(ii) Facilitate the recognition outside the State of awards made in the State
(n) Ensure arrangements for the protection of learners are in place where learners have begun but not completed a programme of education and training where a provider ceases to provide the programme before completion
(o) Assist enrolled learners in finding alternative programmes of education and training where providers cease to provide a programme before completion, and
(p) Collect any information relating to the performance of its functions it considers appropriate.