IRISH TIMES -- The Irish Minister of State for Education has announced that Irish "higher education diplomas will no longer be awarded from this September and will be replaced by ordinary level degrees." This move is part of radical new plans designed to enhance uniformity for naming and valuing awards. Authorities hope the changes wil make it easier for students, employers and third-level institutions to judge the value of courses and awards. Don't expect these change to result in higher starting salaries. The sleight-of-hand naming directly addresses the oft-documented shortfall of IT graduates.
The move affects over 35,000 students at two-year national certificate and three-year diploma level. The diplomas will now be titled ordinary degrees, while students currently studying for or commencing certificates will be awarded a new higher certificate.
- Anybdy who now has a national diploma will be entitled to have it recognised as equivalent to an ordinary level degree.
- Student who have just completed certificate and diploma programmes will be awarded these qualifications in the autumn.
- Students enrolled on three-year honurs degree programmes will still receive higher degrees if they successfully complete their courses, regardless of the new classificiation of three-year diplomas as ordinary degrees.
- Diplomas will be recognised as being at level seven of the National Qualification Authority of Ireland's 10-point scale. This ranges from level one awards, recognising basic literacy and numeracy, to level 10 which acknolwedges doctoral degrees.
John Downes -- "Degrees to replace diplomas in planned awards shake-up" on the front page of The Irish Times, July 2, 2004.
Brian Mooney -- "Exact value of each education award will now be clear" in The Irish Times Home News, July 2, 2004.