Could Brexit be an opportunity for Irish universities?

By Anne Sexton - Last update

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Global education firm EduCo International Group has claimed that Brexit offers a major opportunity for Irish universities. The company plans to set up an Irish branch to attract international students.

Dwindling number of international students in the UK

The number of international students applying to UK colleges is falling. However, international applications to Irish universities are up by 17 percent this year.

EduCo International Group plans to grow the number of undergraduate as well as postgraduate students coming here from China, India and South-East Asia.

Partnerships with Maynooth University and Dublin City University

EduCo, along with Maynooth University and Dublin City University, will provide pathway programmes to prepare international students for university study.

These integrate students into the university campus. In addition, pathway programmes offer smaller class sizes and more contact hours. As a result, international students have a greater chance of success.

Jacob Kestner, head of EduCo in Ireland, believes that Brexit has made international students wary about applying to UK institutions.

“Where international students are choosing to study abroad, increasingly they are not going to the UK. Our education agents – who recruit international students – tell us there is real concern over the UK closing its doors. This is a real Brexit opportunity,” he said.

This could be great news for Irish universities who wish to attract lucrative international students. Furthermore, this aligns with Irish government policy, which hopes to attract an additional 10,000 international students by 2020.

Enhanced visibility for Irish universities

DCU president Prof Brian MacCraith said the partnership with EduCo will increase the visibility of Irish universities. In addition, Ireland will become a destination of choice for international students.

“As a globally engaged university, DCU is very excited about this opportunity to advance our internationalisation strategy and attract greater numbers of high-calibre international students,” he said.

Philip Nolan, Maynooth University president, called the EduCo partnership “a major step forward in the internationalisation of Irish higher education.”

Furthermore, Nolan said the university had doubled its international student numbers over the past five years. However, the university is keen to grow its global reach.

Anne Sexton

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