Higher Education Policy in the Department consists of two branches: Higher Education Policy Branch and Higher Education Widening Participation branch.

Higher Education Policy Branch
The aim of Higher Education Policy branch is to develop, communicate and evaluate higher education policy for Northern Ireland, in consultation with the sector, and other regions of the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland.
The main business areas of Higher Education Policy Branch are:

  • Quality Assurance and Teaching and Learning - Higher Education Policy manages a range of teaching and learning initiatives and activities and, to this end, assesses, approves and appropriately manages funding allocations to support the core activities of Northern Ireland Higher Education Institutions.
  • International Activity - this is an area of growing importance for the Department in the context of an increasingly international labour market and increased competition for international students worldwide.
  • Teacher Education The Department for Employment and Learning has responsibility for the administration and funding of teacher education in Northern Ireland.Courses in teacher education are provided at all higher education institutions in Northern Ireland.
  • Sign Language Policy – The Department is currently developing a range of Sign Language courses for interpreters and tutors, in conjunction with Belfast Metropolitan College, Queen’s University and the University of Ulster.This provision will increase the number of trained interpreters and tutors to serve the needs of the deaf and hard of hearing community.
  • A Higher Education Strategy for Northern Ireland – the higher education policy branch is responsible for developing, in cooperation with Sir Graeme Davies and his Steering Group, a higher education Strategy for Northern Ireland to 2020 which will encompass future policy on all aspects of higher education. More...