The Board of the National Forum held a thinktank on 11 December, focused on the strategic direction of the National Forum over the coming years. The thinktank began with blue-skies thinking about teaching and learning more broadly in Ireland, based on the institutional experiences and policy perspectives of members of the Board.
Presentations were then given by Assistant Secretary at the Department of Education and Skills, Mr William Beausang, CEO of the Higher Education Authority, Mr Alan Wall, and Chief Economist at Ibec, Mr Gerard Brady, who each provided insights from their national policy contexts on the place of teaching and learning in higher education in Ireland. The impact of the changing higher education context, including the introduction of the the Higher Education Commission and the Human Capital Initiative, was considered in detail.
The presentations provided context for more focused discussions in the afternoon, centring on the role the National Forum can play in building a long-term sectoral strategy for teaching and learning and working towards a higher education sector with teaching and learning at its centre.
The consultation for the next strategy of the National Forum will begin in 2021 and this thinktank was very timely because 2020 will be a key year in building stronger connections across related bodies and ensuring coherence and aligned thinking before a new strategy is discussed.