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Written Answers - Departmental Bodies

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 760 No. 3

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 206.  Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  the steps he will take to ensure that the English language sector is represented on the board of directors of the Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority of Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16636/12]

 207.  Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  the reason the advertisement for expressions of interest in being on the board of the Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority of Ireland appeared during the Christmas holiday period of the education sector when it was most likely those most interested would not see it; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16637/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I propose to take Questions Nos. 206 and 207 together.

In December 2011, expressions of interest were sought, through the Public Appointments Service (PAS), from suitably qualified and experienced persons for positions on three Boards of State Bodies under the aegis of my Department, including the Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority of Ireland (QQAAI). The deadline was extended to mid January to take account of the Christmas period. The Deputy may be aware that the term of office of the Board of the HEA, which was also advertised concurrently, expired on 31st January 2012. In order to appoint the new Board in a timely manner, it was necessary to close expressions of interest by mid-January. The invitation to apply for positions was issued in a press release and was advertised on my Department’s website.

In making appointments to any Board vacancies, I am not necessarily confined to those who apply through that process, but I will in all cases ensure that all of those appointed have the relevant qualifications for the positions. Indeed, in the case of QQAAI, the relevant legislation will require that members of the Authority have experience of, and expertise in relation to, the functions of the Authority. In that respect, it is important to have regard to the particular area of responsibility of the Authority and to ensure, with due regard to the Government policy on gender balance, that the board members have an appropriate mix of skills and experience in such areas as, for example, corporate governance and financial expertise.

[782]The Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Bill 2011 provides for an eight person board to include an international expert and a representative of learners. The Bill does not provide for stakeholder nominations to board positions and, given the broad remit of QQAAI, this would be very difficult to achieve while maintaining the board at an effective size. It is not envisaged that stakeholders would represent their interests through Board membership but rather through the consultative structures that QQAAI develops.

Sixty expressions of interest were received for positions on the board of QQAAI. The selection of members has not yet taken place.


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