Busy Season Begins

July 02, 2015

Annual pilgrimage of international students to Ireland begins with approximately 55,000 expected over coming weeks

Secondary schools around Europe closed last week, which can only mean one thing – the annual pilgrimage of international students to Ireland. According to Marketing English in Ireland (MEI), the association that represents 54 regulated language schools and colleges nationwide, approximately 55,000 second level students are expected to arrive in Ireland over the coming weeks, with the majority arriving this week.

The international education sector in Ireland is highly regulated and contributes significantly to the domestic economy, with the majority of students staying with host families as part of their language and cultural experience.

David O’Grady, CEO of Marking English in Ireland said “We expect to see a significant increase in the number of students coming to Ireland this summer when compared with 2014. Ireland has a very strong international reputation as a safe and welcoming place for international students coupled with high quality education providers. One factor which has made Ireland much more attractive this year is the strength of Sterling. As a currency, Sterling is exceptionally strong against the Euro, making study in the United Kingdom much more expensive for price sensitive families from France, Italy and Spain.”

Within the 54 regulated MEI schools and colleges nationwide, all of the teachers, all of the host families and all personnel involved with the education of the students have to undergo Garda vetting procedures. This badge of quality and strict regulation helps to ensure a positive experience for international students.

“This week and next will be the busiest time of the year for our 54 member schools across the country, with approximately 55,000 second level students expected to arrive in Dublin, Cork, Shannon and Belfast airports over these weeks. For our member schools and colleges this means increasing the staff numbers from 1,000 teachers to 2,250 during the peak months of June to August.” according to David O’Grady, CEO of the Marking English in Ireland.

The most popular European countries in terms of the number of students coming to Ireland to learn English in the MEI member schools are Italy, Spain and France.

“We want every student who visits Ireland to learn English and experience our unique culture to have as enriching experience as possible. Whether that is spending time with the host families or enjoying the wonderful tourist attractions, international students vote with their feet and return to Ireland year after year and consistently help Ireland remain one of the  premier destinations for students to learn English.” continued David O’Grady, CEO of the Marking English in Ireland.

MEI has worked closely with the Departments of Justice and Education over the last 18 months to introduce reforms to the English language sector in Ireland, which culminated in the announcement of new regulations for the sector in late May.

David O’Grady, CEO of Marking English in Ireland said that “The MEI was very supportive of the recent measures announced by the Minister for Justice France Fitzgerald and the Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan for the sector, which are aimed at removing what have been describe as ‘rogue operators’ from the sector. The international education sector is an extremely valuable one for the Irish economy, as last year saw almost 100,000 foreign students from over 80 separate countries attend MEI’s 54 regulated English schools and colleges nationwide; contributing an estimated €330 million to the Irish economy.”

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