The Financial Express
A recent report estimated that about 800,000 students from India travel abroad for higher education every year and spend $28 billion (1% of our GDP) on this. Of this, about $6 billion are fees that go to foreign universities. While we must develop a large number of high-quality institutes in all domains to cater to higher education needs to our population, and arrest this monetary outflow, until that time foreign universities will have cater to the needs to those who have the means to spend but somehow cannot get admitted to good quality institutes in India (study-abroad analysts argue this).
Ambassador Brendan Ward, the ambassador of Ireland to India, told FE that his country has emerged as one of the top study-abroad destinations amongst Indian students. “A number of Ireland’s higher education institutions have been very active in India in recent years, building brand recognition amongst students and education stakeholders,” he said.
Ambassador Ward added that Ireland has built a reputation in India of being a country that offers good quality education and living, and exciting post-study career opportunities.
“During the pandemic, the Irish government provided similar support to foreign students in Ireland as it provided to its own citizens, including substantial income support and benefits to those who had part-time jobs,” he said.
The number of Indian students travelling to Ireland reached about 5,000 per year just before the pandemic, and Ambassador Ward said while the number has dropped, it will pick up this year onwards.
Non-EU foreign students, after graduating with a Master’s or a doctoral degree, can work in Ireland for two years after graduating; bachelor’s degree-holders can work for one year.
Many ICT MNCs have their Europe, North Africa and Middle East headquarters in Ireland and they employ a large workforce. “We have seen that Indian students generally prefer IT and related courses, and they find jobs with these MNCs and Irish start-ups,” he said. “Two years may not be long enough to establish a career, but in quite a few cases MNCs take steps to retain their services or offer them assignments either back in India or in the Middle East.”
Fees that foreign students pay form a large part Irish universities’ revenue, with some having up to 20% foreign students.
Because Ireland is part of the EU, there are a lot of EU scholarships available in Ireland. For Indian students, however, the Government of Ireland provides a small number of scholarships and universities and colleges provide a couple of hundred more.
Ambassador Ward added that the Indian community in Ireland is about 50,000 people. “A small number by Indian standards, but it is 1% of the population of Ireland. We are hoping in the next couple of years to have a direct flight between either Delhi and Mumbai to Dublin. That will increase the tourist exchange (before the pandemic, we had 8,000-9,000 Indian tourists visiting Ireland), and indirectly the presence of Ireland in India,” he said.
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