Interview: “The Irish education system has established a tradition of academic excellence”

From consistent global rankings to lower costs and living expenses and better job and internship opportunities, the education system of Ireland offers the best for students who wish to study in the country, an education official in Ireland.

In the latest edition of the QS World University Rankings 2022, Trinity College Dublin performed better on the international student ratio metrics than Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States, which is the top-ranked university in the world. Trinity College Dublin scored 94.2, while MIT came in at 91.4. In addition, the top three universities in IrelandTrinity College Dublin, University College Dublin and the National University of Ireland Galway, have an international faculty ratio score of 99.9, 99.2 and 90.6, respectively.

In an exclusive interview with indianexpress.com, Barry O’Driscoll, Regional Director (India, Sri Lanka and Mexico, Colombia) at Education in Ireland— responsible for promoting higher education abroad — spoke about why the country is growing in popularity among international professors and what is on offer for students who aspire to come here. Here are excerpts from the interview by email.

Q. Why international students should choose Ireland as your favorite study destination?

A. The Irish education system consistently ranks in the top 10 globally, with an established tradition of academic excellence that creates career-ready graduates with unique skills and qualifications. Additionally, we offer over 5000 diverse courses in Data Science, Big Data, Humanities, Computer Science, Cybersecurity, Cloud Computing, Digital Marketing, Software Engineering, and Artificial Intelligence that are globally recognized.

Ireland is known for having one of the most stable, competitive, secure and business-friendly economies, which is an ideal setting for students who want to develop their careers. However, its cost and living expenses are lower than other popular study destinations such as the UK, Australia, and the US. Ireland also offers a range of merit-based scholarships for aspiring Indian students at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

IrelandThe apprenticeship system is unique and comprehensive, with a hands-on approach to learning through internship opportunities at local businesses. The employability rate at most Irish institutions is 80-96% and it is expected that there will be a continued need for graduates from a variety of disciplines across all sectors, particularly in engineering, computing, science and business.

Ireland is the world’s second largest exporter of computer services and information technology. Nine of the world’s 10 largest software companies have a strong presence in Ireland. Global leaders such as Intel, HP, IBM, Microsoft and Apple have long-established operations in Ireland. The new high-tech giants such as Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Amazon, PayPal, eBay and Twitter are also present. Ireland.

Q. How many Indian students choose Ireland for their education abroad each year?

A. The number of Indian students choosing to pursue their higher education in Ireland has steadily increased over the past 10 years. From 100 students over a decade ago, by 2019 that number had grown to 5,000 students. Although the pandemic has reduced this number slightly in 2020, there is certainly an upturn with numbers touching 5,000 for 2021. We expect the number of students traveling to Ireland will increase by 10% each year.

Q. What are the best course choices for Indians coming Ireland and which sectors should be the most promising in the coming years?

A. There is a constant and strong demand for graduates from specialized disciplines in Ireland, especially for those studying STEM subjects such as science, ICT, technology, finance, mechanics, software and electrical engineering. Job prospects are promising for those looking to grow in the IT sector, which is the backbone of Ireland. Indian students usually gravitate towards popular courses such as engineering, biotechnology, computer science, marketing, business, pharmacy, nursing, law, and communications. More recently, there has been increased interest in courses focusing on emerging technologies such as AI, AgTech, data analytics, science, and cybersecurity. It is expected that applications for courses in design, digital media, hospitality, animation, cloud computing and aeronautics will see an increase in the coming years.

Q. How does the presence of global conglomerates in Ireland impact on students’ employability prospects? How do collaborations with academic institutions prepare them for global job markets?

A. With the presence in the country of 8 of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies, 15 of the top 25 medical device manufacturers and more than 50% of the world’s leading financial services companies, Ireland offers excellent job opportunities for international students. All the major ICT and technology players are also present in Ireland. The graduates of IrelandUniversities and colleges in Canada are therefore well placed to seek opportunities in these industries. Companies like Facebook and Google employ thousands of people in the country. Incidentally, a large percentage of their workforce is international. Valuable ties to companies like Erikson, Microsoft, and Lufthansa ensure students have in-depth industry knowledge and exposure in their fields of study.

Q. What has been the impact of Covid-19 on higher education plans for international students, especially Indian students, in Ireland?

A. IrelandThe government responded quickly and effectively to the challenges of Covid-19 and supported international students with medical aid and even provided weekly compensation to students who lost their part-time jobs due to the pandemic. Educational Insights transitioned to online classes to prioritize student health and well-being, which continued through September 2021 back-to-school. All pandemic-related restrictions have also been lifted since the beginning of this year.

Q. What are the travel guidelines and restrictions for international students entering or exiting Ireland? What kind of academic support can these students expect?

A. Many Irish universities provide advice and support to incoming international students regarding arrival at the airport, immigration procedures, transport, accommodation and access to student support services if necessary. Currently, pre-departure testing is no longer required except for travelers who are unvaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19. If a student is not fully immunized or recovered, they must present a negative or undetected RT-PCR test performed within 72 hours of arrival. In addition, international students arriving in Ireland no longer need to be quarantined. International students requiring a Covid vaccination can obtain it free of charge by Irelandthrough the national immunization program.

About Shirley L. Kreger

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