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Student deal with Brazil could be worth €136m

Posted by Francis O' Toole on October 12, 2012

By Niall Murray, Education Correspondent

A €136m boost to colleges and the economy could result from a deal to send thousands of Brazilian students here over the next four years.

In addition to the 1,500 post-graduate places funded by the Brazilian government announced in June, this initiative will see up to 4,000 more being given a chance to study in Ireland. These will mostly be under-graduate students who will most likely come here for the third of the typical four years of degree courses in the south American country.

Enterprise Ireland, which leads the Government’s Education in Ireland initiative, said the scheme has the potential to deliver €15m in fee income and €19m in additional spending in the economy for each year of the initiative.

Brazil is providing 100,000 scholarships for its students to take degree and postgraduate places abroad, mainly on science, technology, engineering and maths programmes.

Trade and Development Minister Joe Costello, who signed the agreement during this week’s trade mission to Brazil, said it marks the start of a significant relationship between colleges in both countries.

There are just 124 Brazilian third-level students in Ireland at present, among over 25,000 international students on courses at public and private colleges here.

“This is a major boost for the international third level education sector in Ireland, which currently hosts just over 100 third level Brazilian students per year, so this will be a truly substantial increase,” Mr Costello said.

As part of Brazil’s Science Without Borders programme, the deal was secured in partnership with the Department of Education, supported by Science Foundation Ireland, Institutes of Technology Ireland and the Irish Universities Association.

An online portal set up by Education in Ireland allows potential students search for higher education courses here, learn more about living and studying here, and gives practical advice on applications.

As the details were announced, Independent TD Stephen Donnelly criticised Education Minister Ruairi Quinn for saying there was no evidence of falling standards in Irish universities. His reply to a Dáil question followed last week’s Times Higher Education world rankings, in which Trinity College Dublin rose slightly to 110th, University College Dublin fell 26 places to 187th, and three others ranked between 300-400.

“It is duplicitous in the extreme for the Department of Education to fail to recognise plummeting standards when it is pulling third-level funding,” Mr Donnelly said.

 

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