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Africa looks to Ireland for tertiary education

A growing number of top pan-African students are moving to Ireland for their tertiary education, reports Enterprise Ireland South Africa. As interest increases in Africa to source internationally recognised graduate education opportunities, Enterprise Ireland is hosting an education sector visit to Nigeria in March this year, taking 13 leading institutions to engage with the market in Abuja and Lagos, with the intention to showcase these opportunities in other African growth markets in the future.

Penny Buthelezi, Market Advisor – Education at Enterprise Ireland, said Ireland is growing in prominence as African students become aware of its distinguished universities and technical colleges, set in secure environments and offering more competitive rates and benefits than their counterparts in England.

‘Ireland has seven distinguished universities and 15 leading Institutes of Technology, which work closely with the government and industry to produce the finest graduates equipped to meet the future demands of business,’ said Buthelezi, ‘In fact, the high standards of education and forward-looking approach taken by our tertiary education institutions are credited with helping catalyse Ireland’s turnaround to become the new innovation hub of Europe.’

Venerable institutions such as Trinity College, founded in 1592 and one of the top 100 universities in the world, are attracting a growing proportion of Africa’s elite young brains trust, among the 35 000 international students from 161 countries enjoying Ireland’s vibrant culture and excellent higher education.

The only English-speaking country in the Eurozone, Ireland is globally connected and home to many of the world’s top companies. The Irish Government invests over 782 million annually in research in Ireland’s higher education institutions. The impact of this funding is that Ireland’s higher education institutions now lead the world in an increasing number of fields. Irish universities are ranked in the top 1 per cent in the world for research impact in 19 different fields; and offer over 5000 internationally recognised and quality assured programmes. Students going abroad to Ireland have also reported the highest satisfaction with their international study experience, followed by Scandinavia: Finland, Sweden and Denmark.

Buthelezi said that in addition to the fact that Irish tertiary education institutions offer world-class education, Ireland offers international students an additional one-year ‘stay back’ work visa to round out their education, making for a compelling proposition. With many of the world’s leading multinationals having established a significant presence in Ireland and scores of Irish firms leading the world in terms of innovation, this presents an opportunity for African students to gain world-class work experience as part of their studies.

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