“The educational link between Ireland and China is a success story. China and the United States are the two largest sources of foreign students to Irish universities and colleges from outside of Europe. This presence of Chinese students on our campuses is very welcome and we look forward to this number growing over the coming years. The flow of students should be both ways. I want to see more Irish students come to study in China as well.”
- Prime Minister of Ireland, Mr Brian Cowen speaking at China Foreign Affairs University, October 2008
Ireland and China’s shared regard for learning makes it quite natural that education should be one of the most important sources of linkages between the two countries.
Ireland’s long tradition as a provider of quality education is backed by the high standards of its education services, internationally recognised qualifications and the worldwide reputation of its training. The proportion of total public expenditure accounted for by education is higher in Ireland than in any other country in Europe. Over the past decade the number of full time students in third level education has increased by almost 80%, while the number of full time students in technical/technological institutions has more than doubled. Half the Irish workforce has experienced third-level education and 60% of Ireland’s third level students major in engineering, science or business studies.
The World Competitiveness Report has ranked Ireland first in Europe for the quality of education that everyone receives, and first in the world in terms of its education system meeting the needs of a competitive economy. An OECD survey of international companies, which asked the reasons for the choice of country for investment, placed Ireland as top in Europe for its educated workforce and second for its workforce skills.
Ireland has been the chosen destination for thousands of Chinese students studying in Irish universities, colleges and schools. The Governments of Ireland and China have set the foundations for educational institutions to build a framework for future close co-operation.
There is a strong tradition of collaboration between the third level education sector and educational companies in Ireland and third level educational establishments in China. Most recently, during the visit to China by the Taoiseach Brian Cowen in October 2008, a Memorandum of Understanding on PhD Scholarships was signed between the China Scholarship Council and the Irish Universities Association. This will assist in the further strengthening of contacts between Irish and Chinese educational institutes.
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