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Current Policy Activities

Activities under the broad heading of 'Policy and Strategic Planning' reflect the strategic, developmental and advisory functions assigned to the HEA under the Higher Education Authority Act, 1971, the Universities Act, 1997 and the Institutes of Technology Act, 2006. In this regard the HEA is principally concerned with fostering the strategic development of a higher education sector that has the capacity to respond to the changing needs of our economy and society. The publication of the National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030 in January 2011 has ensured that there is now a clear policy-framework and policy-context for higher education in Ireland. It is important to reflect that there are a number of stakeholders working together on the implementation of the National Strategy. While the Department of Education and Skills (DES) is leading its implementation, the HEA is committed to fully supporting the implementation-process and to delivering on all of the areas of implementation for which the HEA has a lead responsibility, working constructively with other stakeholder-agencies and organisations.

Current policy-activities pertain to:

• the implementation of the process of strategic dialogue as the key mechanism to support greater system-level coordination;
• the development of a performance-evaluation framework to underpin the strategic oversight and development of the sector;
• the development of guidelines on mergers, consolidations, regional clusters and technological universities;
• supporting the development of a sustainable higher education sector which can meet the projected rising demand for higher education over the next decade;
• the development of the evidence-base for policy-making and for the strategic dialogue process;
• enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of the utilisation of the resources of the higher education sector;
• the monitoring and implementation of the revised code of governance for universities/other institutions and institutes of technology;
• supporting a system-wide approach to the enhancement of teaching and learning;
• enhancing the quality and employability of graduates;
• supporting access to, and the successful participation within, higher education of students from disadvantaged backgrounds;
• facilitating lifelong learning for all citizens;
• strengthening cooperation between the HEA and QQI to ensure the coordination and complementarity of the two organisations' activities;
• supporting the engagement of students in higher education policy-making;
• the restructuring of the higher education system, inclusive of the consolidation of the provision of teacher-education;
• the development of apprenticeship provision;
• the implementation of the National Framework for Doctoral Education;
• enhancing the attractiveness of Ireland as a destination for international students.

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