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safeguarding standards and improving the quality of UK higher education

Ireland: attractive destination for UK HE, but difficult market to enter

Date 14/12/2017

Our report on UK transnational education (TNE) in the Republic of Ireland (ROI) finds that UK universities and their Irish partners have created flexible opportunities that cater for skills needs not currently met by local providers.

UK higher education qualifications are highly valued by students in the ROI, with international recognition of the UK higher education brand seen as a particular benefit. Post-Brexit, the ROI has been tipped as an attractive destination for UK providers seeking a base in Europe. However, a push by the ROI to support the internationalisation of its own higher education, together with a clamp down on immigration abuses, means that the ROI higher education sector is becoming a more challenging market to enter.

Around 230,000 students are enrolled in public higher education institutions in the ROI. The number of new entrants is expected to increase from 49,500 in 2015 to 65,000 in 2025, driven by mature students seeking part-time study and a greater demand for postgraduate study.

11,621 students are studying for a UK award in Ireland: down one per cent from the previous year, and 26 per cent over the past few years, reflecting a 'tightening up' of overseas provision in Ireland following reforms in student visa regulations.

QAA's Rowena Pelik said: 'Our review is partly to ensure confidence in the quality of UK delivery in the context of Brexit and national policy developments in Ireland.

'We found that the geographical and cultural proximity of Ireland made it easier for UK providers and their Irish partners to have robust processes for quality assurance.

'QAA knows how powerful the student voice can be in enhancing quality. Ireland launched a new Student Engagement Programme last year, and we were pleased to see that every UK provider operating in Ireland has arrangements in place to listen and respond to students.'

The full country report is available to read here.