A new group of private schools and colleges is making a complaint against the State over what it calls "anti-competitive practices."
The recently-established Private College Network said it was taking a formal complaint tot he Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.
The group is claiming that the Quality and Qualifications Ireland group, the Department of Justice, and other state agencies are discriminating against the English language schools of their members, leaving them unaccredited.
PCN claims that members of a private company, Marketing English in Ireland, are receiving "undue promotion within the sector".
MEI members are required to be accredited by Quality and Qualifications Ireland, which is the state body responsible for educational frameworks. PCN claims its members do not have the same access, which is "distorting sales" in the sector.
"Businesses are now being put at risk due to the refusal of Quality and Qualifications Ireland to engage properly with us and which represents a serious shortcoming in QQI’s statutory duty to treat all parties equally," said David Russell, Chairman of the Private College Network.
He claimed both the QQI and the Department of Justice had refused to meet with representatives from his members, but had met with MEI colleges.
"It is completely unacceptable that these legitimate intentions are being undermined by the actions of the State and its agencies," Russell said.
The PCN group has seven founding members, which collectively have around 3,000 students. They are:
• Academic Bridge, Dublin
• The Carlyle Institute, Dublin
• Cork City College
• International College of Technology, Dublin
• Limerick City College
• NED Training Centre, Dublin 1
• SEDA College Dublin