Will I lose my saved data on course choices under changes to Qualifax?

Ask Brian: Users’ accounts will be deleted soon – but it is possible to protect your data

Personal users’ accounts will be deleted soon from Qualifax,  but it is possible to protect your data. Photograph: iStock

Personal users’ accounts will be deleted soon from Qualifax, but it is possible to protect your data. Photograph: iStock

 

I’ve been using the Qualifax service online to research and store my course choices following my Leaving Cert in June 2020. I recently received an email telling me that all Qualifax accounts will be deleted in the coming weeks. Can I do anything to protect my research?

During my time as president of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors, I played a key role in developing the website, which has proved to be a great source of information for both students, parents and educators.

Almost half a million people use the service daily to research study and training opportunities and use its comprehensive career guidance tools.

So, I was very concerned to hear the Qualifax accounts facility is being deactivated in a few weeks’ time.

Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) is the national agency responsible for managing the website on behalf of the Department of Education.

I have sought and received its reassurance that this decision will not in any way diminish the quality of the existing service to you and the hundreds of thousands of other users.

Up until now, you and other users of the Qualifax website have had the option to create user accounts in order to save course searches, interest assessment results and points information.

QQI has advised me that to ensure continuing compliance with data retention regulations under GDPR regulations, it will discontinue the facility to create personal user accounts.

In addition, all existing accounts will be deactivated, and the associated personal data will be deleted from Qualifax systems on Friday, March 13th, 2020.

As an existing account holder, you should have received an email from Qualifax about these changes.

Alternative option

QQI says its decision to deactivate the user account facility won’t affect your ability to use the website; Qualifax already provides an alternative option to save searches without having to share your personal data or create a user account.

Nevertheless, I recommend that you print or download your saved information before March 13th by following the instructions linked from the Qualifax homepage on “protecting your data”.

I have been assured that despite these changes to user accounts, Qualifax will continue to provide its full range of services including course search, tagging courses, events calendar, points calculator and interest assessment.

The search facility is especially useful and gives users access to full details on every third level CAO, further education, postgraduate course, and other training options in Ireland and beyond.

The “interest assessment” feature can help users refine their search to those subjects that genuinely interest them or identify all courses which require a specific Leaving Cert subject, as a minimum entry requirement.

Should you have questions about downloading and saving your personal information, contact the Qualifax team at qualifaxcomms@qqi.ie.

Email your queries to askbrian@irishtimes.com