Press Release, 9th February 2015

February 9, 2015

The Progressive College Network is newly formed organisation to meet the demand for an alternate representative body for the private college community in Ireland. The objectives of the organisation are:

  • To promote Ireland as a high quality education destination for both EU and Non EU/EEA students
  • To promote the pursuit of continual improvement standards by colleges in the network
  • To ensure the protection of students and their fees by the inclusion of a comprehensive insurance policy covering every programme delivered by member colleges for the benefit of the students themselves
  • In conjunction with the insurance policy to harmonise the operational systems of member colleges with a view to improvements in the delivery of educational programmes and the transition of students between colleges if necessary.
  • To protect the interests of its membership at representative level and to give a clear and collective voice in all debates concerning the sector in Ireland and abroad.
  • To supply reliable and objective information for the benefit of students and the international market on all issues concerning the private education sector in Ireland.

The founding members of the organisation include the following colleges:

  • Academic Bridge, 88 Capel Street, Dublin 1
  • The Carlyle Institute, 22 Grafton Street, Dublin 2
  • Cork City College, The Arch, Drinan Street, Co, Cork
  • International College of Technology, 22 Westmoreland Street, Dublin 2
  • Limerick City College, Parkway Shopping Centre, Dublin Road, Limerick
  • NED Training Centre, 39-40 Lower Dominick Street, Dublin 1
  • SEDA College Dublin 68-72 Capel Street, Dublin 1

The Network repeats its call for the early introduction of the International Education Mark and not a roll out in 2016 as advised this month. The continuing delay in the implementation of the mark will be a direct cause of college closures in the coming months with the loss of jobs.

The Network also repeats its call that any changes introduced on an interim basis have due regard to the necessary commercial lead times for adjustment by colleges. The Minister and/or the Qualifications and Quality Ireland Authority must also publish proper and objective criteria for the inclusion of accreditations that are acceptable to the Minister for Justice and Equality to enable the issue of visas to non EU students.

The Network would ask the Minister to intervene in what it views as undue promotion of the membership of Marketing English in Ireland, a representative body by the government funded International Conference of Overseas Students (ICOS). The recommendations of ICOS that only MEI members should benefit from the sales of courses raise questions of objectivity and possible conflict of interest. The MEI organisation represents approximately one quarter of the private language schools operating in Ireland. ICOS is a nationally and internationally regarded information service for overseas students in Ireland. Its advice must be proper, independent and open to objective scrutiny. The majority of language schools in the sector, some of which have lawfully operated for a numbers of years and in full compliance with regulation are not members of MEI. The ICOS position is causing a distortion in the market place at a very difficult time in favour of a minority stakeholder.

The Progressive College Network repeats its recommendations in the press release of the 29th January.

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