IOT's Central Evaluation Process

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					                   Recognition of International
                     Issues for Providers of Education
                                                       Qualifications Recognition - Ireland
                                                                  Dublin Castle

                                                            Tuesday 25th April 2006

Dr Dermot J Douglas
Secretary/Senior Executive – Academic Affairs
Council of Directors of the Institutes of Technology

     The Changing face of Ireland
1.   “From Acholi (spoken in Uganda and Sudan) to Zulu,
     over 167 languages are spoken in Ireland (Irish Times
     24th March 2006)”
2.   “There are currently over 28,000 registered non-EEA
     students in Ireland, enroled at a variety of private,
     second level and third level educational institutions”
3.   “The Government has set a target for international
     enrolments of 12 – 15% (in line with international
     averages). In order to achieve this, Irish institutions will
     have to increase their capacity and attractiveness”

     (Skills Needs in the Irish Economy: The Role of Migration (2005) Expert Group on Future Skills Needs)

Issues for both FE and HE
1.   Recognition and evaluation processes for other national
     vocational, school leaving and higher education awards in
     the absence of an agreed national system.
2.   English language proficiency of applicants – both spoken
     and written
3.   Recognition of prior achievement, prior experential
     learning, work based learning etc.
4.   Documentation and residency status of applicants
5.   Identification of false transcripts/testimonials
     accompanying applications
6.   Recognition of false personal information
     (passport/identity cards, letters regarding legal status etc.)

Main Issues for HE providers

 1. Dealing with undergraduate applications

 2. Evaluation of post-graduate applications

 3. Issues at registration

1. Undergraduate Issues: IOT- CEF
• IOTCEF provides an agreed central scoring system for
  non-nationals seeking to gain entry to Institute of
  Technology undergraduate programmes through the
  CAO process
• Each Institute of Technology is a separate autonomous
  admitting authority. Decisions of the Central Evaluation
  Forum are not application decisions – they are simply an
  agreed means of translating relevant academic
  achievement into a points score.
• The CEF provides an open and transparent mechanism
  for non-Irish applicants to determine the appropriate
  level of points which equates their with achievement in
  secondary school leaving examinations in their country
  of origin.

Who is scored through this process
1. Applicants presenting with European school
   leaving qualifications – other than Ireland and
   the UK
2. Applicants from the rest of the world

•   Applicants from Ireland presenting the Leaving Certificate,
    Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme and FETAC Level V
    vocational certificates are scored directly by the CAO, according
    to agreed protocols.
•   Applicants presenting UK GCE/GCSE qualifications are scored
    directly by the CAO, according to agreed protocols.

 Documentation to be submitted
• Certified copies and English translations of qualifications
  not issued in English must be furnished with the
• Certified copies of transcripts must be provided
• Notarised English translations of all official documents
  (including transcripts) submitted are required
• The IOTCEF will not deal with applications, which do not
  include notarised English translations of qualifications
  being presented in another language.

  If the evidence submitted in support of an application
  does not bear up under subsequent scrutiny then any
  offer of a place will be immediately annulled.

1.   Only applicants who have gained full certification in their own
     countries are considered
2.   Evaluation of the award is based on NARIC equivalencies (we
     subscribe to the UK NARIC, which is particularly well developed)
3.   We look at entitlement to entry into HE in home country
4.   We look at eligibility for entry into UK Higher Education
5.   Applicants must pass subjects in their own country. We do not
     transpose scales where we have a lower threshold for passing.
6.   Where a national school leaving system requires fewer subjects
     than is the case for the Irish Leaving Certificate (6 are used for
     points), we normalise the scale to that number
7.   It is a transparent process. The scoring system for each country is
     available on the CAO website. This allows candidates calculate
     points themselves and query decisions of IOTCEF if they believe
     they were not treated fairly

There is a need to constantly monitor changes in
education systems around the world. Updating of the CEF
processes is done on an annual basis as follows:

     1.   We look for changes in international recognition of the
          countries we have already listed and amend the
          recognition and scoring system, as required
     2.   We examine applications from candidates presenting
          from new countries. The CEF Process is added to as
          applications from new countries are received.
     3.   We invite anyone interested, or anyone interested in
          making an application, to examine the entry for their
          country on the website and to contact us with any
          relevant information or concerns.

Major Issues for Foreign Applicants
•   Recognition of foreign awards is deemed by many applicants to be:
       1.   Underdeveloped (leading to delays)
       2.   Inadequate (undervalued – particularly with African qualifications))
•   It appears easier to get onto basic vocational programmes than to
    access upskilling/progression type programmes, particularly in HE.
•   Many applicants experience difficulties with satisfying both written and
    oral language requirements
•   The levels of fees being charged (particularly in HE) is a significant
    barrier for some (€9000 – €10,000 p.a. plus student services fee of nearly
•   Ability to support themselves (and their families in some cases) without
    being a burden on the welfare services of the institution or the state.
•   Applicants who have been granted asylum, and who are undocumented,
    may only have recourse to mature entry processes. This is felt, by some,
    not to give them a fair chance as their language fluency may not be
    adequate to fully convince admissions officers about their capabilities and

                Where in the World?

As of the end of March 2006, we have developed scoring systems for 115 countries and 6 International Awards

                 Region                Total number of            Number in IOTCEF
                 Africa                        54                        34
                 Asia                          37                        16
                 Middle East                   14                         10
                 Europe                        44                        40
                 North America                 3                          3
                 Central America               7                          1
                 South America                 13                         8
                 The Caribbean     13 countries; 12 territories           1
                 Oceania                       15                         2

         2. Postgraduate Issues
• In order to retain Ireland‟s attraction as a centre for
  knowledge based industry, it is now national strategy
  that we double the output of PhD graduates by 2013 .
• This can only be achieved if we can increase student
  intake from a variety of sources.
• As the country moves towards 4th Level Ireland, there
  will be a growing need to attract high quality international
  students to Masters‟ and PhD programmes.
• This is a globally competitive market and requires quick
  decisions and feedback to applicants

     The Bologna Declaration and the
          Diploma Supplement
• With the implementation of the Bologna Declaration, there is an
  increasing use of the Bachelor, Masters, PhD cycles of higher
• However, the arrangements provide for convergence, not
  standardisation, of European higher education.
• This means that two main models of the first cycle of higher
  education have now emerged i.e the 180 ECTS Bachelor and the
  240 ECTS Bachelor.
• In Ireland we have standardised on the 240 ECTS (i.e 4 year
  honours) Bachelor as the common standard for entry into research
  Masters. We need to ensure that applicants from foreign countries
  have achieved an equivalent standard before they can be admitted.
• The development of the Diploma supplement provides a very useful
  tool to facilitate understanding of other systems of undergraduate
  education, as well as giving a reasonably detailed description of
  graduate achievement on which admission decisions can be based.

       Non- Bologna Countries
• In relation to non-Bologna countries, each Irish higher
  education institution needs to develop an understanding
  of the relative merit of their individual Bachelor (or
  equivalent) degrees.
• Experience with admissions in the past, in some cases,
  has provided reassurance or created reluctance to
  consider applicants from certain countries. Professor to
  professor links were often important in this regard.
• In the case of many foreign applicants, admissions were
  often based on individual university reputation rather
  than any actual or perceived national standard.
• As applications are received from outside the current
  institutional „comfort zones,‟ more and more reliance is
  being placed on NARIC systems in Ireland and abroad.
   3. Issues for Admission and Registration
    English Language Requirement
1. The majority of programmes in higher education institutions require
   a minimum standard of achievement in mathematics and English.
   Foreign transcripts need to be examined for these subjects before
   they are scored
2. Instruction in Ireland is normally through English and applicants,
   who do not have Leaving Certificate English, must provide evidence
   of competence through school-leaving or matriculation
   examinations, achievement of a minimum standard in recognised
   tests of English or an approved English test administered by an
   institute of Technology
3. Competency in spoken English is necessary to complete
   registration. Institutions reserve the right to test oral language ability
   or require applicants to provide TSE scores

                       Minimum standard required in
                       English language examinations

General English                                                                           Academic English
                               General English                                                 Academic English

ARELS     Univ. of    Oxford      Pitman       Trinity    UCLES      IELTS     TOEFL        AEB        British Council/   JMB
          London                               College                                                  UCLES/IDP

Credit   Grade C      Credit      Higher         10       Grade C      6         560          3               6           Pass

             Notes:   Achievement of the minimum standard in EFL tests satisfies the English
                      minimum entry standard, but it is not used to compute points.
                      Competence in spoken English is nec essary in order to complete registration.
                      Institutes reserve the right to test oral language ability or to require applicants
                      to provide TSE scores.


Numbe                       Status                      Educational                    Documentary evidence                        Fee Category
  r                                                     Entitlement
  1         European Union National                  Entitled to enter       EU Birth Certificate & passport or identity       Same as Irish national;
                                                     full-time higher        document of their country of origin               If no fee charged to
                                                     education                                                                 Irish national then – no
  2         European Economic Area (EEA)             Entitled to enter       Birth Certificate & passport                      Same as Irish national;
            Nationals (Leichtenstein, Iceland &      full-time higher                                                          If no fee charged to
            Norway)                                  education                                                                 Irish national then – no
  3         Convention Refugee (Section 2            Entitled to enter       Look for one or more of the following: Letter     Same as Irish national;
            Refugee Act, 1996) – leave to remain     full-time higher        from Dept of Justice, Equality and Law            If no fee charged to
            for fear of persecution, membership      education               Reform granting refugee status plus Certificate   Irish national then – no
            of a particular social/political group                           of Registration or Residence Permit[1] or a       fee
            or who is stateless                                              Convention Travel Document in place of a
  4         Programme Refugee (Section 24            Entitled to enter       Letter from Refugee Agency stating they are a     Same as Irish national;
            Refugee Act, 1996) – persons granted     full-time higher        programme refugee, a Residence Permit and         If no fee charged to
            leave to remain in the State for         education               they may also have a Travel Document              Irish national then – no
            temporary protection or resettlement                                                                               fee
            (e.g. Bosnian; Kosovar); also included
            are “quota refugees” accepted as a
            result of migration into EU
  5         Asylum Seekers – a person who            No rights to state      Up to Nov 2000 – Asylum Card from Dept of         No entitlement to HE,
            arrives spontaneously in the State       funded education        Justice, Equality and Law Reform.                 therefore, fees do not
            and seeks recognition as a refugee       with the exception      Since – Temporary Residence Certificate           arise
            under the 1951 Convention and 1967       of literacy, language   (TRC) which has name, photograph and date
            Protocol                                 provision               application lodged. All should now have this.

      [1] Residence Permits are issued to every non-EEA national who is lawfully residing in the State. It is renewed annually be the Aliens
      Office and is only valid if the stamp within the book reflects that the holder has the rignt to remain in the State.
6         Leave to remain on Humanitarian              Entitled to enter       Letter from the Department of Justice, Equality     Same as Irish national;
          Grounds; Granted at the discretion           full-time higher        and Law Reform confirming leave to remain.          If no fee charged to
          of the Minister for Justice, Equality        education               On this basis they will be issued with a            Irish national then – no
          and Law Reform; these people do                                      Residence Permit                                    fee
          not meet fully the requirements of
          the 1951 Convention and 1967
7         Leave to remain on the basis of              May apply as non-       Letter from the Department of Justice, Equality     Charged international
          Parentage of an Irish Citizen                EU citizens             and Law Reform confirming status. On this           fees
                                                                               basis they will be issued with a Residence
8         Family Reunification : Section 18 of         Entitled to enter       Letter from the Department of Justice, Equality     Same as Irish national;
          the Refugees Act 91996) provides for         full-time higher        and Law Reform confirming status. On this           If no fee charged to
          reunification of refugees with members       education               basis they will be issued with a Residence          Irish national then – no
          of their immediate family (spouse,                                   Permit                                              fee
          child under 18, dependent grandparent,
          parent, sibling, grandchild ward,
          guardian or dependent.
9         Non EEA, Married to EU Citizen               They have derived       Non-EEA husband of Irish or EU partner will         Same as Irish national;
          who has moved to Ireland to work[2]          rights and are          have a Residence Permit.                            If no fee charged to
                                                       entitled to enter       Non-EEA wife of Irish or EU partner will not        Irish national then – no
                                                       full-time higher        be given a Residence Permit but will have her       fee
                                                       education               passport stamped.
                                                                               Both should have birth certificates and
                                                                               passports from country of origin.
10        Non-EEA, Married to an Irish                 They have derived       Non-EEA husband of Irish or EU partner will         Same as Irish national;
          citizen[3]                                   rights and are          have a Residence Permit.                            If no fee charged to
                                                       entitled to enter       Non-EEA wife of Irish or EU partner will not        Irish national then – no
                                                       full-time higher        be given a Residence Permit but will have her       fee – if movement
                                                       education               passport stamped.                                   clause has been
                                                                               Both should have birth certificates and             activated. If not they
                                                                               passports from country of origin.                   are charged
                                                                                                                                   international fees
    [2] Only applies to marriage. Long term relationships, persons legally married to someone else, gay and lesbian partnerships do not qualify.
    [3] This category and the category above need to activate the “movement clause” in Community Law. However, the State in recognising the
    fundamental importance of the family, generally recognises derived rights for these categories even where the movement clause has not been activated.
    When in doubt, confirm with the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform.                                                                  18
11        Business Permit – to include children        May apply as non-        Business Permit and Residence Permit from the         Charged international
          of business permit holders                   EU citizens              Department of Justice, Equality and Law               fees
12        Work Permit -– to include children of        May apply as non-        Visa or work authorisation stamp in their             Charged international
          work permit holders                          EU citizens              passport and a Residence Permit                       fees
13        Student Visa                                 Applied as non-EU        Valid passport, i.e. stamped with appropriate         Charged international
                                                       citizens                 visa C-type for stays of less than 90 days; D-        fees; visa granted on
                                                                                type for longer period.                               foot of evidence of fees
                                                                                Students will also have a Residence Permit            paid in full etc.
14        Tourist Visa                                 No right to study

15        Naturalised Irish Citizen                    Entitled to enter        Irish Passport                                        Same as other Irish
                                                       full-time higher                                                               nationals; If no fee
                                                       education                                                                      charged to Irish national
                                                                                                                                      then – no fee
16        Post-Nuptial Citizenship                     Entitled to enter        Irish Passport                                        Same as other Irish
                                                       full-time higher                                                               nationals; If no fee
                                                       education                                                                      charged to Irish national
                                                                                                                                      then – no fee
17        Application for leave to remain              May not have the                                                               If admitted Charged
          lodged and are still waiting                 right to study as                                                              international fees
                                                       they are
     Abstracted from: Ward, Tanya (2001): Immigration and Residency in Ireland. Published by City of Dublin Vocational Education

     [4] Strictly speaking these persons are not entitled to free Higher Education. However, granting a place, given the uncertainty of their status, may
     mean depriving someone else of a place which subsequently becomes vacant.

How issues might be addressed
•   There is a need for a National web-based database that provides generic information
    on the comparability of foreign national vocational, school leaving and higher
    education awards with Irish awards. The current system only operates on a case-by-
    case basis.This would provide greater transparency for applicants.
•   A basic principle should be that the intrinsic value of an award is the same
    irrespective of the admitting authority
•   National awards indicate a standard of educational achievement. This can be a basis
    for admission to FE and HE. Special entry requirements, in the form of particular
    subject or performance criteria, are a matter for each autonomous admitting authority
    – not for National Recognition Systems.
•   There should be agreed national norms in relation to English proficiency for both FE
    and HE so that applicants know what target they must achieve before they apply.
•   There is some evidence that the current inflexible approach to fee-setting for non-EU
    nationals studying in Ireland is having a negative effect.
•   The Documentaion provided in relation to residency status (Residency Permit/ Letters
    from the Department of Equality, Justice and Law reform should indicate entitlement
    to education, to work and the fee level – EU or International)