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The Irish Higher Education Authority (HEA) has stated that Ireland should aim to double the amount of full-time foreign students in Higher Education over the next decade. Currently there are 12,000 non-Irish third-level students in Ireland. Over the past decade, the number of overseas students has already increased by an impressive 170 percent. Even though there are students from 114 countries, the majority of them come from the United States. The HEA has now suggested a set of new goals for the Irish Education system, these being not only increasing the number of overseas students to 24,000, but also a more international focus and full integration of foreign students in the campus activities.
The statement of the HEA is linked to its ongoing projects such as promoting Dublin as an international knowledge centre. The Authority also supports the bidding of the capital to be the European City of Science. Ireland is actively joining the global battle for the best student material and striving towards becoming an internationally attractive study and research destination. As the Chief of the HEA, Tom Boland, puts it, all foreign students “are afforded the full Irish welcome”.
Even though it is geographically and demographically small European country, Ireland has the advantage of being an English-speaking country on its side. Therefore it may very well manage to become one of the top players in the international Higher Education field.