In a world of increasing globalisation and interconnectedness, with the emergence of new powerhouse economies and the reorientation of the world economy, Ireland needs to take a strategic approach to developing relationships that will be of national importance in the coming years.
The Irish education system has a critical role to play in Ireland’s international engagement and in the development of these global relationships. The ambition set out in this five-year strategy is for Ireland to become a global leader in the provision of high-quality education to the next generation of leaders, entrepreneurs, and decision-makers, who will make a difference in their own countries and who will form vital networks of influence for Ireland.
The interests of international students are at the heart of our concerns. We must continue to offer international students a high-quality education and a unique student experience that is based on strong integration with their Irish peers. An education in Ireland should be a transformational experience that adds significant value to the career outcomes and personal development of students.
We are not seeking to position ourselves as a mass-market player. As the High-Level Group points out in this report, our eventual success will be judged not by how many international students we educate but by who we educate, and how well.
We have strong advantages in this area. Education is practically part of the Irish DNA. Our education system has had a long history of international engagement and is globally respected. We are a small, safe and friendly country. We are a member of the European Union and have extensive global links through our diaspora. We are an English-speaking country with a unique cultural heritage. This is a partnership-based strategy that seeks to build on these inherent advantages to position Ireland as a world leader in the delivery of high-quality international education by providing a unique experience and long-term value to students.
Enterprise Ireland is developing the new Education Ireland brand. The Government has published its new approach to student immigration and visas. Taken together, these measures provide a strong basis for renewed efforts to promote international education in Ireland.