Move to double number of Indian students in Ireland

Thu, Nov 29, 2012, 00:00

Ireland plans on doubling the number of Indian students in its universities to about 2,000 over the next three years, Minister of State for Training and Skills Ciarán Cannon’s said in Mumbai yesterday.

“There is ample opportunity to forge university-level partnerships between the two countries and I am confident that our aim of doubling the number of Indian students in Irish academic institutions over the next two to three years is realistic,” Mr Cannon said.

The Minister, who began his week-long trip in Bangalore, southern India, last week, is heading Ireland’s largest-ever education mission to the country comprising 60 leading academicians from 16 higher education institutions.

He also visited New Delhi and Mumbai to promote competitively priced Irish education in a growth-oriented market such as India where more than 200,000 students annually travel abroad for studies.

This number is expected to increase to six million by 2020 and Ireland plans on tapping into this vast number in specialised areas such as medicine, pharmacology and engineering.

Mr Cannon said Indian students would be permitted to stay here an additional year after completing their studies and obtain employment, choosing from some 1,000 multinationals including Facebook and PayPal. Later they could transfer back to India.

The Minister anticipated Irish students attending Indian universities with the aim of forging closer cultural, economic and commercial ties between the two countries.

Regarding Savita Halappanavar, whose home state was visited by Mr Cannon, he said the Government’s expert group report published on Tuesday would ensure a similar tragedy never again occurs.

“We have had up to 20,000 people marching on the streets of Ireland to express their sympathies and also their heartfelt wish that a situation like this never take place again”, he added.

He stressed that Ireland had among the world’s best health care systems – certainly the safest to have a baby – and that his Government would diligently investigate Savita’s death before passing judgment on it.

Meanwhile, Savita’s parents were upset Mr Cannon did not visit them in Belgaum, some 500km from his first stopover in Bangalore.

“Considering the huge tragedy we have suffered, the least the Minister could have done was to visit us,” Savita’s father, Andanappa Yalagi, said by telephone from his home.

Mr Yalagi said no official, either from Dublin or the Irish Embassy in New Delhi, had contacted them since their daughter died at University Hospital Galway last month.

“For us such behaviour is very surprising and shocking, is all I can say,” he said.

Mr Cannon said he had not planned on visiting Belgaum as Praveen Halappanavar was in Ireland and in touch with the health authorities investigating his wife’s death.