Brexit: Government plans to attract foreign students

International education strategy targets students in China, India, Brazil and Gulf region

Education authorities will announce plans on Friday to attract some 37,000 additional lucrative international students to cash-strapped Irish colleges and universities by the end of the decade.

A key part of the strategy will involve emphasising that Ireland will be the largest English-speaking member of the European Union following the UK's Brexit vote.

The strategy seeks to grow the economic value of international education to €2.1 billion by 2020, an increase of 33 per cent.

Funding under this strategy will be directed at promotional and marketing campaigns in target markets such as the US, China, India, Brazil, Malaysia and the Gulf Region.


It will also involve placing a greater focus on market opportunities in countries such as Canada, South Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, Mexico, Chile, Argentina and Nigeria.

Minister for education Richard Bruton said the plans seek to attract talent from around the world to our education institutions and help equip Irish learners with the skills and experience they need to compete internationally.

“There will be strong opportunities for Ireland in the area of international education when Ireland becomes the only English-speaking member of the EU,” he said.

Additional students

Of the 37,000 students policymakers hope to attract to Ireland, a minority – about 10,500 – will include students and researchers at third level.

The bulk of additional students who policymakers hope to attract – about 26,500 – are those attending English language schools.

It would bring the number of international students in Ireland to more than 175,000.

As well as attracting international students, it seeks to lure world-class researchers to Irish institutions and to build research capacity and commercialise research

It also seeks to have more Irish students integrate overseas experience into their study.

In addition, there are plans to enhance our international alumni networks to build global connections.

A project delivery group, which will be led by a senior official in the Department of Education, will be established to oversee the implementation of the strategy.

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien is Education Editor of The Irish Times. He was previously chief reporter and social affairs correspondent