Higher Education and Training Awards Council

Higher Education and Training Awards Council
Higher Education and Training Awards Council.png
Established 1972
Chief Executive Gearóid Ó Conluain
Location Dublin, Republic of Ireland
Website http://www.hetac.ie

The Higher Education and Training Awards Council (Irish: Comhairle na nDámhachtainí Ardoideachais agus Oiliúna) (HETAC), the legal successor to the National Council for Educational Awards (NCEA), grants higher education awards in Ireland in the extra-university system. It was created in 2001, is subject to the policies of the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland, and, specifically, grants qualifications at many Institutes of Technology and other colleges.



The National Council for Educational Awards (NCEA) was founded in 1972, on an ad-hoc basis and granted the first National Certificates that year at five Regional Technical Colleges. Early on it was decided that the NCEA would be the only extra-university conferring institution in the State at higher education rather than having a multitude of competing institutions, with authority to grant awards at all academic levels including degree level. During the 1970s this caused some trouble as Fine Gael-Labour (National Coalition) government attempted to limit the NCEA to sub-degree awards only, later Fianna Fáil government of 1977 restored the full powers and placed the NCEA on a statutory footing in 1980 by the National Council for Educational Awards Act, 1979.

HETAC was created in 2001 under the Qualifications (Education and Training) Act, 1999 (Section 21) and its first Chief Executive, former Donaghmede national teacher and INTO President Séamus Puirséil (Seamus Purcell) was previously the executive officer of the NCEA. He was succeeded in 2008 by Gearóid Ó Conluain, formerly Deputy Chief Inspector of Department of Education and Science. In October 2008 the Irish Government announced its intention to amalgamate HETAC with FETAC and NQAI, the two other bodies established under the Qualifications Act, while also incorporating the functions for the external review of Irish universities currently carried out by the Irish Universities Quality Board.[1]. The Minister appointed an interim board for the new agency. This board appointed Dr. Padraig Walsh as Chief Executive Designate in September 2010. In February 2011, Dr. Walsh became Chief Executive of HETAC, pending the establishment of the new statutory agency.


In 2004 HETAC completed the transition from awards derived from the NCEA standards to a new awards system based on the National Framework of Qualifications. A rough correspondence between the awards of the two systems is shown below.

Legacy Current
Certificate (HETAC)
National Certificate Higher Certificate
National Diploma Ordinary bachelor's degree‡
Honours bachelor's degree Honours bachelor's degree
Graduate Diploma (conversion)† Higher Diploma
Graduate Diploma (professional)† Postgraduate Diploma
Master's degree Master's degree
Doctorate degree Doctorate degree
† Not granted after June 2006.
‡ Granted from July 2004.


The providers of courses which lead to HETAC awards are called "recognised institutions", and they are recognised under the Qualifications (Education & Training) Act, 1999 (Section 24). Some of these institutions may have "delegation of authority" (often referred to as "delegated authority") which allows them to make HETAC awards in their own name, this is currently limited to the Institutes of Technology and is often limited to certain award levels at institutions.

Section 24 (1)(a)

Section 24 (1)(b)


  1. ^ Consultation on amalgamation of qualifications and quality assurance bodies [1]

See also

External links

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