Exporting Irish Education

The Government has just announced its plan to increase the number of non-Irish students in higher education by 50% between now and 2015, and to increase the “value” of the university sector by one third to 1.2 bln euro. The news bulletin and press release emphasize the targets, but are hazy on the implementation. After some digging, the underlying report can be found too. In this regard at least, education has something to teach to the other departments.

The report has a snappy title and great graphics, but is a bit hazy on the actual plan. It would of course be great if tens of thousands of non-EEA students would flock to Irish universities and pay a hefty fee that would cross-subsidize Irish students. But why would they? Ireland has the advantage that it teaches in English — but so do Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States and, indeed, the Netherlands. Parents who wonder where to send little Yuan or precious Sujata may look at one of the university rankings and decide that there are more prestigious universities elsewhere. Ireland could compete on price, but that defies the purpose. Why would the Irish taxpayer subsidize the education of foreigners?

These considerations are not part of the report. In fact, little thought is given to the students or their parents. Two concrete measures are proposed. First, it will be easier to obtain a student visa. Second, there will be a major branding campaign. While branding is largely in your own hands if you sell butter, lager or dance, education is a harder sell. Substance should back up the image. Sending your kid abroad for 3-4 years is a major decision. The potential client is well-informed.

The report has an interesting factlet: Ireland has the highest proportion of students in the EU who study abroad. If our own students have so little confidence in the Irish universities, why would foreign students want to pay for the same?

65 replies on “Exporting Irish Education”

I wonder in what section do they identify how much this will cost individual places of study to implement?

I know GMIT/AIT/???IT are doing something with Saudis

@Richard – this is an interesting development, and while you are spot on about choice of parents/students one needs to be careful about the comparisons. Not all potential non-EEA students will get into Harvard or Oxford etc. In fact you will already see many in universities that are ranked lower than the Irish ones – so why not compete for those? In any case if this would increase funding of the universities it might raise quality, not least because being able to charge a premium for quality would incentivise universities.

An alternative to competing on price is to compete through lower standards in order to attract/retain students, which would be equally troubling.

Of course Ireland could also offer something different. As you said it is hard for Ireland to compete head-on either in terms of quality or price. But I wonder if it is worth considering some other form on unique selling point by designing an education system that is truly fit for the 21st century.


Institutions could consider using some of their international revenue to fund mobility
arrangements with international partners, including as part of the proposed New Frontiers

• Students from non-traditional backgrounds should be encouraged to become mobile.
‘‘Mobility alumni’’ can be used to support and promote further exchanges.
• Strong messages from the business community about the value of international experience
employment prospects could encourage students to undertake mobility.

• Where appropriate, curricula should include mobility components. These should be linked
to specific learning outcomes, attainment of qualifications, and credits and professional experience.

• Alternatives to longer-term exchanges can be developed, such as short-term mobility, groupbased
models, employment-linked exchanges, and relationships with overseas charities and NGOs can be developed.
• Existing mobility programmes at EU level (e.g. the Erasmus programme) and those in
development for the future, should be used to maximise the benefit of, and possibility for,
exchanges both with EEA and non-EEA countries.

Looks like the university of life…….

quickly scanned this – looks like many of the implementation ‘action points’ require cofunding from the Institutions so…..er….unlikely.

The one thing I was excited by – government of ireland fellowships aimed at all nationalities – fell apart when you look at the detail. I assumed this was a scholarship on the same terms as the other Govt of Ireland Fellowships, e.g. fees plus about 16k of a stipend. This looks like 10k, and one year. And again 50% funded by the Institutions so…..er….unlikely!

1. Ireland will enhance its performance through partnership and collaboration.
2. The Education Ireland brand will be redeveloped and national promotion and
marketing will be strengthened.
3. Quality will be at the heart of Ireland’s international education offering.
4. Ireland’s visa, immigration and labour market access policies will be strong and
5. Ireland’s higher education institutions will be globally competitive and internationally
6. Ireland will develop targeted and relevant international education offerings.
7. Government policies and actions will be consistent and supportive.
8. Ireland will strengthen its networks of influence.
9. Outward mobility by Irish staff members and students will be encouraged.
10. North-South and EU co-operation will enhance Ireland’s international education


I would love to know what this report cost to produce.
Anyone know how to FOI it…
This kind of incantation passes for governance and leadership in this country.

International students also need accommodation.

Fianna Fail probably think that this is just another way of keeping a floor under the rental market in the cities and the residential property market as a result.

Will Irish students lose places as a result considering that there is in effect an employment embargo in place in the Education sector? Already, it seems that repeat students are not automatically progressing to the next level in the IT sector when Chinese students wish to pursue the same courses.

They’ll all be packed off to Citywest. Seriously though, the people I know who come to this country to study do so because of existing links or do so because there’s a certain level of reputation – The RCSI being the obvious example. But the RCSI decided to expand abroad. That says a huge amount imo

@Richard Tol, Edgar Morgenroth

Before proceeding to this thread topic, any chance that either of you can clear up the confusion for me and Jagdip Singh on the nearby migration thread regarding the accuracy of ESRI migration forecasts, following the publication of the CSO figures yesterday, which appear to show net emigration very much lower than what ESRI forecast in July?

I don’t understand the negative thinking in relation to today’s education initiative by the government. Just because other countries attract foreign students, why shouldn’t Ireland? There is lots of cake to go round. Why shouldn’t Ireland grab as large a slice as possible? Tourists can go to London, Paris or Rome. It doesn’t mean that Dublin has to give up the ghost and not try to grab as much of the international tourist market as it can.

Of the seven countries Richard Tol lists as English-speaking, South Africa, New Zealand and the Netherlands didn’t achieve a university ranking as high as Ireland. So, that argument falls down. The others that did are, of course, much bigger, so there will be lots of sub-regions within them that didn’t. Im sure that the Netherlands still tries, and probably successfully, to attract foreign students, even though none of its universities achieved as high a ranking as Ireland’s. Ditto New Zealand and South Africa, although their distance puts them at a severe competitive disadvantage compared with Ireland.

Regarding Irish students studying ‘abroad’ showing a lack of confidence in Ireland’s education system, what proportion of them are students from south of the border studying north of the border? Lots of students from Donegal, Monaghan, Cavan and beyond study in Belfast, Derry and Coleraine. None of them consider it abroad. It has nothing to do with confidence. It is perfectly natural as it is the same province within the same country. Whatever the current orthodoxy in Dublin 4 circles, parents from Moville, who send their sons and daughters the few short miles to Magee in Derry, don’t consider they are sending them abroad. It is as natural as parents in Bray sending their sons and daughters to UCD or TCD.

‘‘Ireland will become internationally recognised and ranked as a world leader in the delivery of high-quality international education by providing a unique experience and long-term value to students.’’

Irish policymaking in action; appoint a review group or a taskforce (don’t ask me what’s the difference); a set of aspirations is published and hey presto, the Government has a policy.

Innovation, food/agriculture strategy, pensions etc and now this.

In 2007, the Indian government refused entry to an Irish trade education delegation because of concerns about dodgy Irish education businesses.

Anyone familiar with migration and poor countries would be aware of the baleful influence of ‘agents’ and they are used to tout for busines by the likes of training companies charging exorbitant fees. The big selling point is the prospect of an EU work visa after completing a course.

Some of the bigger private firms present themselves as universities when they should be required to state explicitly that they are not recognised universities.

More here:


The issue is not whether Irish universities could or should compete for foreign students. The issue is whether the report released today did anything to further that cause. I do not think it did. It provided a photo opportunity for some politicians, and kept a number of civil servants busy for a while.

If the Universities werent using tax payers money to pay themeslves un-sanctioned/warranted pay increases/bonuses then maybe we’d be further up the ‘league tables’

I worked in the university ‘research’ sector for a while and it amazed me at the kind of rubbish that was passed of as work. Most ‘work’ seemed a perpetutal search for a ‘novel’ spin on old work, in order to simple publish more; and hence secure/obtain funding to repeat the circle of BS.

I wont even get in to the ‘conferences’ which appear to be cashing in on this scam in a big way and at the expense of the Irish tax payer.

One reason why fewer Irish citizens get to study medicine in Ireland is due to reserved places for fee-paying non-EU students. This latter group do not have to reach the same standard of academic excellence to get into Irish medical courses. Bring the cheques. I would like to make sure out own children are looked after first before trawling the globe for others.

It is of course total codology to market Ireland as an education haven for non-EU students. The main motivation is cash. Neither the quality of the qualification nor the quality of the intake will matter a jot. Does Irish third level screen for English language competence as thoroughly as the Russell Group in the UK? Where are the extra resources to come from?

There are literally huge numbers of UK institutions, many very iffy, touting for business in this market. Mostly the iffy ones offer visas and map with the nearest fast food joints, restaurants and supermarkets marked clearly.

I agree with a poster up the way that the needs of the rental market are not incidental to this initiative. Odd is it not that the hoarse Cowen is floating this while also looking for yet another inter-agency report on what to do about unemployment.

There are plenty more colleges in the Netherlands than AUC offering courses in English, particularly Economics, Business and Law Masters programmes.

Plus a masters programme there costs only 1600 euro for EU grads and 9000 for non EU, much cheaper than Ireland.


Yes – of course, attract students here from across the known universe …

…… moving from the universal to the particular, might it not me more of a priority to educate OUR OWN? If funding is the issue, as it always is, then the so-called ‘free’ 3rd level has failed – more than sufficient solid research to show that it has been regressive – as P Lane and others pointed out post the well-intentioned 1995 decision – this is yet another transfer from the underclass, the non-working class, the working class to the closed shops of the upper-echelons of our society ……. and the Green Party support this …….. and it is costing big-time as the ‘rational decision’ of switched on intelligent, if ill- or poorly educated, members of this underclass is to ‘get good at crime’ and take their apprenticeships in the local gangs ………

Any economist have a figure, for example, even an estimate of the ‘Gang Economy’? … and its associated costs to the state ……….


I believe that those students from South Dublin who attend DCU tick the box that they have emigrated – crossing the water to to speak, and have some real difficulty with dat forin language up dere (-;

I read that our poor administration and slow turnaround for student visas puts us at a considerable disadvantage to competitors. If this report and ‘policy’ sorts that issue out, well and good. I think there are lots of things we can compete with other English speaking nations on.

Ireland has a number of advantages

We aren’t completely security paranoid
We have a reputation for being friendly (so does New Zealand)
Its easier for lots of people to get to Ireland than New Zealand Australia, or US.

Rory – isn’t China (one of the big potential markets of overseas students) closer to NZ and Aus than Ireland?

I wonder what the target market is for this 50% increase of overseas students we are hoping to invite to our shores. Are we looking for more Europeans or Africans; Americans or Asians, Russians, British? And I wonder what the actual figure is of overseas students currently, and how many more we hope to get from each country we target. And what can be done? in terms of joined up thinking who would have to be involved to make this project a success?

@ Richard

i don’t agree about the snappy title and graphics. I am disappointed with the electronic presentation of the information. The PDF has to be downloaded and is not embedded in the website. The table of contents of the PDF do not hyperlink to the page number of the relevant sections. If we are to be a smart knowledge economy we should start making better use of the technology that is already to hand such as Adobe and web technologies. I once wrote a dissertation on web standards in the public service and there is room for a lot of improvement in how the Irish government presents itself on the web. When I looked at the sector, in around 2007 the website standards or recommendations for public sector websites was around 10 years old and made no mention of Web 2.0 technologies. Anyway, a bit off topic, but I think the use of technology has a large part in attracting foreign students to Ireland. Mobile apps to introduce prsopsective students to colleges – all with top notch translation into the language of the student, advertisements on facebook and youth oriented sites in foreign countries. So much could be done to make this policy work and not only in the arena of technology. I see they would like to increase English language teachers by 25% – that’s 1,250 jobs – not to be sniffed at, and we should really promote that sector – properly regualte the schools – use some of the cheap office space that must be available in our towns and cities to provide top quality classrooms. So much could be done to make this policy provide a boost to the country…! So much..!

“I read that our poor administration and slow turnaround for student visas puts us at a considerable disadvantage to competitors.”
Never mind student visas, getting business visas for customers to visit is a nightmare. Particularly if those customers are in the people exporting countries.

One issue that strikes me is that at present we have an (imho incorrectly applied) Employment Control Framework on the third level. So, even self financing courses cannot hire faculty to work on them, even on contract. I could see us expanding the MSc in Finance from 55 to 100+, IF we could hire a couple more people – 50* 15k = more than enough to hire two staff plus an admin and some left over for collegiate purposes. But we cant, and thus we cant bring in the large numbers of chinese/S American etc students who want a CFA linked programme – were one of a very few that have CFA and PRMIA linkages, and we cant expand.
So, how to square that circle…


And at the same time the universities have no problem paying certain staff top-ups to supplement the official maximum salaries. Makes you wonder.

@Holbrook Fields

I don’t have a globe with me, but Australia is probably a easier location for Chinese students. However I would be particularly interested in attracting Arab students. Also we can continue to target students from US with Irish ancestry to study here for a term or year (though I expect that market is tapped out).

@ Brian

I think self financing courses can under permission hire.

Spending alot of my afternoon attempting to find space suitable for lectures, I have to ask if there is space in any facility for extra spaces..
Plenty of space out there, but do you move the newbie out there to the ryanair locations and piss them off or move the locals out and piss them off…………

Brian Lucey is spot-on.

The question of causality arises quite often in third level related discussions.
This plan is seemingly based on the supposition that more foreign students bring in funds, which help the universities invest in themselves, improving the quality of the “product” and turning them into world class institutions. (i.e Cash brings Quality – I am sceptical)

If foreign students are just regarded as cash-cows, it wont take them long to figure it out. It wont take them long to send a negative report home either. This whole thing will fall apart really quickly if a top-quality “product” is not offered up front first. I think that Quality issues , such as the ECF, should be address first. Hopefully these improvements will make it easy for us to attract foreign students (i.e. Quality brings Cash – my view)

[Off topic:
PRMIA’s Case Studies are really interesting. Check them out sometime

at the very least would some defined approval process for such proposals be a good idea i wonder, sounds very bureaucratic but if there was a process for you to make your proposal for expanding the course, to seek funds, if it was costed and deemed to be worthwhile. the govt needn’t even promise or ‘ring fence’ any money, not in this environment – but at least invite colleges, or any teacher, interested party make their proposal. Publish them online, let people see them, let it be discussed. Doesn’t cost much but it might shake out some good ideas.

If this plan is implemented, surely it strengthens the argument for universities to teach during the summer, using their plant more effectively.

[on the PRMIA link: There is a missing”?”. It should say “….php?page=ex..”]

We have a natural advantage in the study of literature. That’s a fine place to start.

Otheriwise, i’d be amazed if anything seriously came of this. Besides, Universities are some of the most inefficient, unwieldy bureaucracies int eh State. i can’t imagine them rising to such a challenge.

This isn’t a bad idea. Benefit of attracting more in needs to be offset against loss of Irish places. A target of 25% non-EU is probably about right but this needs careful analysis.

I don’t understand why our leading universities have not moved more aggressively into selling their services internationally. High brand places such as TCD have always had significant numbers of non-EU students but in present circumstances surely it makes sense to specifically target this market.
Choice bits include the children of alums resident in the US.
TCD for example maintains a register of 90,000 alums some of whom might be prepared to consider a proposal by College to offer an alternative UG learning experience. Even inflated tuition costs should compare favourably with those charged by US colleges, while the more cosmopolitan learning experience in a ‘safe’ Irish environment should have appeal.
One would imagine that the financials of targeting the offspring of the overwhelmingly Anglo-American Diaspora Irish families and alums for UG and perhaps PG training services would be worthwhile.

@Tony Owens:
“TCD for example maintains a register of 90,000 alums […].”

I am distressed to hear you say so and I do hope I’m not on it. What has happened to the TCD Association and its annual sherry party?


Yale University is to open a branch in Singapore, financed by the government and there is a trend of affiliate arrangements between universities.

Seeing that there is no analysis on why a Chinese student would choose Newcastle UK rather than Newcastle Australia or where US student expats go and what they study, we should begin preparing the branding campaign – – actionless action is surely a proven strength at Irish policy level.

International departments at Irish universities should be adequately funded to attract the right ‘talent’ and staff should be required to travel to ‘exotic’ locations very often with mandatory trips in Jan/Feb each year. Check with FAS for the appropriate absence period for the conjugal rights allowance to activate.

The presidential travel budgets should also be beefed up to develop good relations with counterpart junketeers!

More seriously, Prof. Seamus Grimes of NUI Galway who has worked two periods recently at a big university in Shanghai, may have some insights on how the Chinese market should be developed.

Perhaps we can get a US university (Notre Dame springs to mind) to open a campus here.

In Florence there are annually about 10,000 US students studying there. Most of these are studying in campuses of US universities. Florence isn’t a university town (Pisa is Tuscany’s university town, and to be pedantic even the EUI isn’t really in Florence, and the University of Florence is so-so). Only a minority of students are going for Florence specific reasons (like studying art history). Most of them view their time there similarly to how Erasmus students spend their year (though the US students drink more).

Mercyhurst College is going to run a course from Dungarvan (Waterford), so why not attract some FDI from foreign universities?

The Irish market for higher education is small and oversupplied. Gaining market share is hard, and even a large share is small in absolute terms.

Rather than inviting foreign universities to set-up a campus, we should sell existing institutions.

A friend of mine recently became university president. One of the first things he did was put the Dept of Physics up for sale. On EBay. He got a good price too. (This was not in Ireland.)

@ Richard Tol

What I have in mind is a sort of ‘education tourism’. I would just try get US universities to open a branch here to serve US students. So I would contrast this Florence approach, with the Yale-Singapore approach where the foreign universities attract domestic students.

The main advantages to this ‘Florence’ approach would be the money that students would spend in the Irish economy (basically the same benefits as tourism, but it would be in winter). There would also be some other benefits in the education system (eg Irish PhD students could earn money giving tutorials in the foreign campuses), and maybe some other benefits.

Obviously Italy has a lot to attract education tourists that Ireland doesn’t, but I still think we can get a share of that market.

Regarding selling off universities, who actually owns them? Have you any particular institutions that you think would fetch a decent price?

Just to add a few things to the discussion:
1) The Netherlands has been making a big effort to be more attractive to foreign students. All of the universities have Masters degrees offered through English.Talking about the university rankings misses the point about the university colleges that are being developed here. Their programs are based on the broad-based Liberal Arts and Science programs offered by American colleges. They won’t show up in rankings because they are teaching institutions. The entry standards are very high so they are attracting a lot of top students. If you are talking about selling points then how about the chance to study at an elite institution offering an American style education in one of Europe’s most attractive countries.
2) Many Irish people also study in England. There are many reasons for this but one of them is the fact that there is such a big choice and that there are so many universities that are well known internationally. Ironically in Ireland I often got negative reactions when people found out that I have a degree from the University of Sheffield.
3) Having lived in Holland and Germany I would say that Trinity College is by far the best known Irish institution. I am amazed that they don’t use their brand better by offering on-line programs or setting up affiliates.
4) I did an MBA through Webster University which offers on-line or bricks and mortar education through its many affiliate locations worldwide. In my opinion the way they have set up the university and marketed it abroad is a model example of selling education worldwide.
5) Finally I am now doing a degree through the Open University along with about 80,000 others living outside the UK. Many Irish people do OU degrees because of the way they have set things up. Again this is a market that Irish universities could look at. The University of Liverpool in particular has done a very good job with selling its on-line offerings.

Your last two comments bring to mind the saying: “An economist is someone who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.” More apt words could never have been spoken.

If I was a student or parent from, for instance China, choosing a European university to study staff/student ratio and language and other supports for international students would be the key determinants of my decision and in this regard Irish universities don’t compete well with our competitor countries. I didn’t notice any mention in this document of any funding for international student support, this investment has to be put in place if we are to attract more international students and provide them with an adequate service. In addition robust cross-institutional arrangements for assessing the qualifications and standard of English of non EEA applicants need to be put in place. The former is difficult to do in the case of applicants from developing countries, particularly postgraduate students.

@Rory O’Farrell

Obviously Italy has a lot to attract education tourists that Ireland doesn’t…

An understatement 🙂

How does one boost numbers and keep grade inflation at bay? If every dog and divil (sorry 3rd level institution) goes head to head for BRIC students, institutions with low to nonexistent profiles will be tempted to take risks in building a ‘reputation’.

A few years back an Australian outreach campus in Malaysia found itself in trouble. A class of business students who were failing had their papers secretly remarked – upwards of course.

I agree with Rory on the “education tourism” idea but I think there is a broader point to be made here.

Students choice of where to study is not just about maximising the parents’ economic return on their outlay.

Education, even in top US universities, is increasingly seen within the cultural and social context within which it is delivered.

Here, Ireland has an enormous advantage. People like Ireland. They like the craic in pubs and the college societies and the overall friendliness of the Irish soul.

This is an important selling point and one that – I think – will be talked about more in the debate on International student mobility.

Comparison of UK and Irish Student Visa Application figures by selected country for 2007 for all student visas

Total Applications Approved Refused Refusal Rate
Ireland 2074 1288 786 37.90%
UK 24305 23620 1675 6.89%

Total Applications Approved Refused Refusal Rate
Ireland 25 7 18 72%
UK 4480 3580 870 19%

Saudi Arabia
Total Applications Approved Refused Refusal Rate
Ireland 26 14 12 46%
UK 5955 5430 465 7%

Total Applications Approved Refused Refusal Rate
Ireland 128 68 60 46%
UK 9160 7995 1095 11%

Total Applications Approved Refused Refusal Rate
Ireland 12 9 3 30%
UK 9465 9370 95 1%

Total Applications Approved Refused Refusal Rate
Ireland 12 2 10 83%
UK 5785 5080 675 12%

Total Applications Approved Refused Refusal Rate
Ireland 763 736 27 3%
UK 23810 22155 1305 5%

Total Applications Approved Refused Refusal Rate
Ireland 39 16 23 58%
UK 1685 1420 260 15%

Total Applications Approved Refused Refusal Rate
Ireland 36 22 14 38%
UK 240 235 5 lapsed 0%

Source : Irish figures : DJELR under freedom of information
UK Figures as published by UK Border Agency http://www.ukvisas.gov.uk/en/statistics/

VISA COMPARISON 2008 All student visas

Total Applications Approved Refused
Ireland 1713 1380 333
UK 36280 27665 8155

Total Applications Approved Refused
Ireland 32 16 16
UK 8370 7545 830

Saudi Arabia
Total Applications Approved Refused
Ireland 17 8 9
UK 19820 19125 485

Total Applications Approved Refused
Ireland 130 85 45
UK 7680 6030 1820

Total Applications Approved Refused
Ireland 8 6 2
UK 4395 4360 35

Total Applications Approved Refused
Ireland 26 10 16
UK 5830 4610 1100

Hong Kong
Total Applications Approved Refused
Ireland 1 1 0
UK 6705 6465 230

Total Applications Approved Refused
Ireland 54 21 33
UK 2265 1800 450

Total Applications Approved Refused
Ireland 51 30 21
UK 3930 2685 1035

Source : Irish figures : DJELR under freedom of information
UK Figures as published by UK Border Agency http://www.ukvisas.gov.uk/resources/en/docs/2958881/visastats2008-09

Total Applications Approved Refused
Ireland 1571 1530 41
UK 4035 3565 805

Total Applications Approved Refused
Ireland 934 588 346
UK 54795 35765 17320

Total Applications Approved Refused
Ireland 933 189 744
UK 23140 7530 18395

Total Applications Approved Refused
Ireland 41 39 2
UK 1970 1760 215

Total Applications Approved Refused
Ireland 6 5 1
UK 755 730 25

Total Applications Approved Refused
Ireland 62 56 6
UK 2215 1880 325

Total Applications Approved Refused
Ireland 39 27 12
UK 6395 5515 780

@Ribbit – wish we had the weather.

This reminds me of a Malaysian friend’s hesitancy of coming to study in the Republic of Ireland. He wasnt keen on the idea of moving to a communist country.

Thank Oliver

There is indeed room for improvement on the visa front.

Comparing the application numbers between Ireland and the UK also shows how far ahead they are. The UK numbers are sometimes 1000 times as large!

Now, with all the budget cuts coming their way, will UK universities compete harder or less hard for foreign students?

“Ireland has the highest proportion of students in the EU who study abroad.”

I don’t think it’s fair on this basis to conclude that “our own students have so little confidence in the Irish universities”. Surely larger countries have an advantage in this statistic, since (even leaving aside JTO’s point about Northern Ireland) any decision to leave one’s local area is more likely to result in leaving the country here than in a larger country (since France, e.g., will have a far larger supply of non-local universities). Also the pull factor of the UK is presumably stronger for Irish people than for continental Europeans (due to reasons of language, geography and culture).

Crime is generally lower here than other English speaking countries. I’d say there would be a niche here. There would be enough people that hate the English but want their students in Europe. Canada would be the most popular choice..

Further to James Conran, consider that for Students in the border area may find it logistically easier to study in Belfast than anywhere else in Ireland (other than Dublin).

I’ve set up a wiki called


I thought it might be a useful place to keep key statistics and ideas that come up on this blog and other places. If you have the inclination to check it out you’ll find that i have only done very very basic work on it to give a flavour of what is possible (with a freeware account that I’m not sure about the terms of use of). I think of it as an experiment to see what happens.

I intend to add bits and bobs to it over the days and weeks. A wiki is essentially a website that allows for collaboration and that can work as a kind of onilne workspace. If people would like to contribute they are welcome to do so.

Ireland can take an increased share of the world market in education if it organises itself. But you have to wonder if it can. I work in a university and I’ve been trying to pass on some observations about the way information about courses is presented. My contention is that having the clearest product will increase numbers at little cost. But in the university where I work it has proved impossible to have my oberservations taken seriously,nobody disagrees with them, they just ignore them. The quality of management in Irish third level is so poor and no doubt in the Dept of Education as well that you have to wonder if anything practical will be done.

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