The Irish government has announced plans to increase international student numbers in higher education by 50 per cent and the numbers in English language schools by 25 per cent.
An international education strategy, called Investing in Global Relationships, was launched in September this year by the Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, Minister for Education, Mary Coughlan and the Minister for Justice, Dermot Ahern.
Under the new strategy, the Education Ireland brand will be redeveloped by Enterprise Ireland and will encompass higher education and the English language sector. Individual institutions will contribute to a funding pool to support generic promotion and localised marketing and a statutory code of practice and quality mark will be developed and managed by a new group, Qualifications and Quality Assurance Ireland, to be established in 2011.
Other plans include fast-tracking visa applications for degree programmes and classing students on short-term language courses as educational tourists so that they do not have to meet the standard conditions for students. Shared recruitment targets will also be developed by the educational sector and agreed with visa and immigration authorities and training initiatives for trusted education agents will be supported by the government.
The government hopes to increase the revenue earned through international education to the Irish economy from €900 million (US$1.2 billion) annually to €1.2 billion (US$1.6 billion) by 2015.
Cowen said, "This is a highly competitive area of activity in terms of how many countries are promoting their competitive advantages. We have this year over 100,000 English language students who have come to Ireland. We want to make sure that this is built up to 120,000 by 2015."
For more information about the Irish government's new strategy, please click here.
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