750 Saudi Arabian students to study English here


SOME 750 Saudi Arabian students are to begin studying English in Dublin this April at a new institute of education.

The Citywest Institute of Education, developed by businessman Jim Mansfield, in Saggart, has secured a contract with the ministry of higher education in Saudi Arabia to tutor the students in English. The contract is worth €250 million to the company over six and a half years.

The Saudi Arabian ministry sends 30,000 students all over the world as part of their King Abdullah Scholarship programme, which covers the cost of both tuition fees and accommodation.

The institute will be housed in what was to be the Citywest retail shopping centre. The centre was built five years ago, but never attracted sufficient tenants. It is being converted into a 66-classroom college and the Mansfield Group has applied to South Dublin County Council for permission to change the centre’s use.

The company has said it will invest €150 million in the project. Mr Mansfield also paid €13 million to ensure the Luas would extend to the complex.

The 600 male and 150 female students with their chaperones will be accommodated in the apartments and townhouses already built around the Citywest Hotel.

Over 290 jobs will be created as part of the project, with 100 new teaching posts and 10 administrative positions.

The company has subcontracted the teaching to County Dublin Vocational Education Committee. The committee already has experience in delivering English language courses to foreign nationals.

Students will also be taught about Irish and European culture in preparation for third-level education in English speaking countries.

Seán Whelan, chief executive of the Mansfield Group, said: “I am confident that this development will have a positive impact for our local area and indeed for Ireland too.”

Marie Griffin, acting chief executive of South Dublin VEC, said the thrust of the course would be to enable the students to access third-level education.