Marketing English in Ireland (MEI), the association that represents 65 regulated English language schools and colleges nationwide, has elected a new Chairperson and a number of new board members at the most recent Annual General Meeting of the organisation held in Dublin.
Padraig Hourigan, Chief Executive Officer of International House Dublin was elected Chairperson, succeeding Therese Dillon from MLI Group who has completed a very successful three year term. Also elected to the board of MEI are John Daly, Atlantic Language Galway & Dublin and Celestine Rowland, Galway Cultural Institute.
According to David O’Grady CEO of MEI, “We are thrilled to have Padraig Hourigan elected as Chairperson of MEI as he brings a huge level of experience and energy to the role. He takes over as Chairperson at a time when the English Language Training (ELT) is performing very well in Ireland and we have seen signifiant growth in the last number of years, spread right throughout the country. In 2016, MEI members schools and colleges welcomed over 119,000 individual students to Ireland, with an average stay of almost five and a half weeks each. Significantly in 2016, we were able to increase the number of countries from where students came from to 101, which is a hugely significant achievement. The outlook remains positive for the sector and internationally Ireland retains an excellent reputation as a quality destination for English language education.”
David O’Grady CEO of MEI continued, “The election of Celestine Rowland and John Daly to the board of MEI will allow them to continue play an important role in the direction of MEI as an organisation. In Ireland we had an 11% growth in the ELT sector in Ireland in 2016 and there is a growing realisation throughout Ireland and at Governmental level of the value of the sector to the Irish economy. The international education sector contributes €762 million per annum to the Irish economy according to figures contained in a report published by the Department of Education (International Education Strategy for Ireland 2016 – 2020). In February Minister for Education Richard Bruton T.D. outlined to MEI that the appointment of four new ‘path finders’ was imminent to target and develop new markets outside of the European Union. This is a hugely positive development as it does indicate a desire to work with the industry to achieve the ambitious growth targets that have been set out for the Government.”
“MEI as an organisation continues to look to new and emerging markets, working with the Irish Embassies and other state agencies to help promote Ireland as a destination of choice for ELT. Arising from this approach, there has been a large increase in students coming to Ireland from Argentina, Colombia and Chile. In 2016 the combined number of students from these three countries that came to Ireland to study English was approximately 1150, which was an increase of 400% in three years. Growth such as this illustrates the effectiveness of targeting new and emerging markets and MEI expects to see this strong growth continue in important markets such as Russia, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, Mexico, China, South Korea, Japan and Vietnam. Working with all of the state agencies there are great opportunities for Ireland to have continued growth in this hugely important sector, ” David O’Grady CEO of MEI concluded.