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Increase in international HE students in Ireland

Ireland's public sector higher education institutions welcomed 23,127 international students in 2016/17, a four per cent increase over the previous year, according to data released this week by Ireland's Higher Education Authority (HEA).

The HEA factsheet, Internationalisation, Irish Educated, Globally Connected, was released to coincide with a conference hosted in partnership with Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI), in which the two organisations claimed that Ireland has the potential to become an international education hub.

 

The factsheet shows that the 23,127 international enrolments in the 2016/17 academic year represented 10.6 per cent of all students in Ireland, compared with 9.4 per cent two years earlier.

 

The USA was the largest source country for Irish public sector institutions, providing 4,696 students, followed by China (2,153), Saudi Arabia (1,396), Malaysia (1,380) and Canada (1,356).  

 

In a joint statement, HEA and QQI said, "Ireland has the ability to become a global hub for learning and research and that the country should be ambitious in seeking to attract the brightest talent to come from all over the world to study here."

 

The organisations claimed the UK departing the EU represented an opportunity for Ireland's international education sector.  

 

The majority of international enrolments in the state-funded tertiary sector in 2016/17 were at universities (16,689), followed by institutes of technology (4,201) and colleges (2,237). The largest single host institution was University College Dublin (UCD) with 4,201 students.

 

Health and welfare was the most common fields of study, accounting for 25 per cent of international students in 2016/17, according to HEA, followed by arts & humanities and business, administration & law (both 19 per cent). Specialist institution The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, alone welcomed 2,041 international students last year.

 

The Irish government released an international education strategy in 2016 which set an international student enrolment target of 44,000 in higher education by 2015 - a figure that includes private sector providers as well as state-funded institution.

 

The strategy also set a goal of 132,500 English language students, utilising StudyTravel Magazine's Global Market Report on the ELT industry to demonstrate Ireland's market share and potential.

 

 

By Matthew Knott

News Editor