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Ireland universities in African drive

Ireland is using the two-year post-study working opportunity for international students as a major selling point to attracting African students.
March 6 2023
2 Min Read

Top universities and colleges in Ireland are using the two-year post-study working opportunity for international students as a major selling point to attracting African students, in a recruitment campaign targeting Anglophone countries on the continent.

In addition, the country’s 18 higher learning institutions are promising a “welcoming and safe” environment besides the fact that Irish universities are ranked among the top 5% globally, in a drive that will see the Education in Ireland embark on a tour of several African cities.

In addition, the group is also marketing the destination using the popular “Silicon Valley of Europe”, and  “home to over 1,000” multinational companies, presenting students with an ideal place for potential industrial attachments, as well as internships opportunities.

Beginning this month Education in Ireland has been hosting recruitment fairs, starting from the middle of February with two events in West and Southern Africa regions. Later this month, the group heads to East African cities of Kampala in Uganda, and Nairobi and Mombasa in Kenya from March 20-25.

The fairs also seem to have the support of the government of Ireland where besides asking study related question, students will “get advice” from Irish government representatives, mainly focused on visa applications and post-study rules and opportunities.

“Whether you’re looking for a general postgraduate degree or a more specialist qualification, we have a solution for you that will not only deliver exceptional educational results but will also set you apart from other candidates on the employment market or in academia,” states some of the promotional messages for the recruitment drives.

The Republic of Ireland has been emerging as favourite destination for African students in recent years, thanks to among other things its competitive course fees, and relatively affordable cost of living compared to countries in the western world.

African student numbers increased by 61% between 2018 and 2021, growing from 800 in 2018 to 1,300 students in 2020. The biggest growth was in 2019 when those enrolling jumped to 1,230, up from 800 the previous year, representing a growth of 53%.

In 2021, there were 32,000 international students in Ireland, about 3% being Africans according to Irish Universities Association.

In its most recent strategy, Ireland’s Department for Foreign Affairs says it has over the past 46 years awarded around 2,000 fellowships to ‘partner countries’, most them to African nationals. It adds that it’s committed to doubling the current number due to Africans to an annual allocation of 150 by 2025.

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