A delegation of more than 60 of Ireland’s leading academics from Irish higher education institutes has joined a trade mission to promote the brand “Education in Ireland”. This initiative is the brand umbrella for promoting the higher education sector of Ireland to overseas markets.
Managed by Enterprise Ireland, the objective is to promote Ireland as a global education and business hub. IDA Ireland, multi-national PayPal, and Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) have joined Enterprise Ireland in this drive to increase the Irish share of some 200,000 Indian students who head overseas to study each year.
The mission to India ran from the 22nd to the 29th of November led by Ciarán Cannon TD the Minister of State for Training and Skills in the largest education mission Ireland has ever sent to India. Bangalore, New Delhi, and Mumbai, the key areas of high technology industry, commerce, and politics were visited during the Indian trip.
The objective was to emphasise Ireland as a centre for international students, promote the quality of learning institutions and to increase market share of the number of Indian students who study and travel abroad.
Along with significant input from one of Ireland’s leading corporate investors, this alliance will show the high level of integration and commitment across Irish research and education sectors. There are almost 1,000 Indian students studying in Ireland currently so there is opportunity to capture more of the Indian market. Studies are mostly post-graduate degree courses in Pharmacy, Business, Engineering, Computer Science, Hospitality and Hotel Management and Accounting.
Ireland has exceptional third level institutions and private colleges offering every type of graduate and postgraduate education. Diversity is the lifeblood of every economy so an increase in the number of foreign students will give all students an advantage by equipping them with the inter-cultural knowledge needed in the global marketplace.
Before departing to India, Minister Cannon said, “We will be sending out a strong message to prospective Indian students that an Irish education is valued by international employers and will provide a real boost to their future career prospects.”
The Minister also stressed the economic benefits for Ireland, “In addition to being future ambassadors for Ireland, international students also help to generate jobs here in Ireland. It is estimated that every 100 additional international students who come to Ireland support the creation of 15 local jobs, through spending on tuition, accommodation and other living expenses.”
Indian Education Sector
The Indian education sector represents one of the largest worldwide. USD 100bn was the 2011 total expenditure for this sector and this is expected to steadily increase to a sum of USD 185bn in 2015. With a population of some 600 million people falling into the 0 to 24 years category, this population group, which is also the largest globally, is the target market for increasing the number of Indian students coming to study in Ireland.
The base population is significant and together with rising household incomes across India, it seems likely to trigger healthy growth in demand across a broad range of sectors including education. Establishing close alliances with businesses and educational establishments in India are a priority for the country to promote the high quality and global recognition of Irish qualifications.
Education in Ireland
The Education in Ireland initiative is part of a government strategy “Investing in Global Relationships” and India was identified as a top priority marketplace to advance Ireland as a world-class location for study. Relationship building, raising awareness of the education system in Ireland and collaborating with Indian counterparts over the next three years hopes to fulfil the objective of doubling the number of Indian students studying in Ireland by 2015.
Universities are also doing what they can to entice Indian students to Ireland. Trinity College Dublin for instance has set up a special recruitment office in Delhi last month to promote the university to prospective students. Collaborations with IIT Delhi, the Indian Institute of Science and Tata Institute of Fundamental Research already give students the opportunity to study at Trinity. The new office is to actively promote and encourage Indian students to travel to Ireland to study at Trinity as a priority.
Recently, a successful Indian film Ek Tha Tiger was also shot on location in Trinity College, and the university has since made the film director Yosh Chapra one of Bollywood’s most famous directors an honourary professor, establishing exactly the right kind of alliance and promotion Ireland needs to encourage students to study here.