With a long and coveted tradition in education, the Irish government is on a mission to attract Indian students over the last few months. Reaching out to prospective Indian students is high on their agenda. Talking about the study opportunities there, Marina Donohoe, head of education in Ireland, says: “We offer a fantastic experience in a number of areas. Ireland prides iteself on having a long-standing and committed investment to a quality education system. We are proud that our top seven universities and the Dublin Institute of Technology are within the top five per cent of universities globally. It not just about giving the students an academic qualification but about imparting an academic qualification that is very much aligned to the needs of the industry. A student gets an international education that will make them the most employable in the world. International students coming to pursue postgraduate qualifications in for example IT, will get many opportunities in Ireland and globally.
In addition to a quality education, they get a student experience that is unlike any other country, says Donohoe. “Ireland is a small country and is very welcoming to international students. At this point we have about 1,000 Indian students that have studied in Ireland at the third level every year. Currently, there are about 2,000 Indian students studying here. We would like to see that number increase significantly. We are very encouraged by the work we have done in the last year has brought the attention of Indian students. We expect a significant increase in the number of applications from Indian students in the coming academic year. Besides Irish students, Indian students will study alongside students from China, Malaysia, the US and Saudi Arabia. We would like to see more Indian students come here and get quality education and employment,” she adds.
Talking about the popular courses among Indians and major recruiters, Patrick O’Riordan, director-India, Enterprise Ireland, says, “Indian students are not looking to pursue programmes such as history and literature in Ireland. Graduates look at what the market demand is. Some of the major sectors where our students find employment include IT, biopharma, financial services and medical devices. In the IT sector, Google, Yahoo, Intel, Apple and Facebook are the major recruiters. Most Indian students are interested in taking up master’s programmes in engineering, management, digital marketing and cloud computing.”
As per the Irish visa regulations, students are allowed to stay up to one year to look for a job after they finish with their postgraduate programme. There is 20-hour and 40-hour part time and holiday period work allowed. A number of scholarships are awarded by the Department of Education and Science and the government of Ireland.
As part of their four-year degree, students study a very application-based curriculum which focuses on non-rote learning. “They study in the first two years and in the third year they go for a paid assignment with a leading company and come back to the university to finish their fourth year,” says O’Riordan.
An Irish education offers great returns, says O’Riordan. “The average age of a young IT worker is 28 and the average salary is Rs. 34 lakh per annum. For instance, if you are pursuing your
postgradaution in say cloud computing, your programme may cost you about Rs. 9 lakh with an additional living cost of about Rs. 5-6 lakh. So your investment is going to give you good returns. However, everything from the cost of living to the fee structure depends on the course type and the university,” he adds.
Donohoe hopes that country’s rich culture and centuries of experience in imparting education in institutes like Trinity College Dublin and the University of Dublin will attract students. Moreover, “It is a safe place to study and work. Our Facebook page in India now has half a million likes. We would like to see it growing,” she adds.