SkillOutlook has an Email-based interactions with Mr. Barry O’Driscoll, Senior Adviser for Education in Ireland. Here is the brief of the interactions.
How do you look at the future of education in a post- COVID world?
The future of education in a post COVID-19 world is now benefitting from technologies that were developed in the education sector over the past decade.
For example, Ireland’s higher education institutions will be using more blended learning options, where students learn through a combination of on-campus teaching and remote, online learning. As institutions have already started to have these tools in place, this will certainly become more common in the near future. Though, with protective measures in place, students will still need to interact with others, face-to face, be it classmates, tutors or friends.
The impact of COVID-19 on students’ study abroad plans?
The COVID-19 situation has undoubtedly caused stress and anxiety for students and parents, especially where students are planning to study abroad. However, the higher education institutions in Ireland do plan to commence all programmes for the next academic year, around September – October 2020. The higher education institutions in Ireland have consistently and thoroughly communicated with Indian offer holders, outlining to measures in place for the next academic cycle. Now that the Irish Visa Offices are open in various locations in India, we are seeing a steady flow of visa applications submitted for Ireland.
How is Ireland managing the situation?
The Irish government imposed the clear public health measures from the beginning of the pandemic, with consistent and evidence-led approach to the COVID challenge. Ireland has to a large extent suppressed the virus and has approved the reopening of the various sectors of society, campuses, libraries, restaurants, shops, cafes, albeit with clear social distancing guidelines.
All the Irish higher education institutions are making efforts to be as flexible as possible for students commencing in the next academic cycle. Ireland pledges to provide a quality and comprehensive learning experience with the assured health and safety for its students. The institutions are following advice from the NPHET (National Public Health Emergency Team) as part of efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 and safeguard the health of the campus community. For the safety measures, people arriving in Ireland from another country will be asked to restrict from their movements for their first 14 days in the country.
What the International students should do to tackle the impact of COVID-19 during the fall of 2020 admissions?
In Ireland all institutions have developed blended learning options, where there is a diversification of online and the traditional face to face learning. The authorities are making efforts rigorously to ensure that all the Irish and international students will be able to spend as much time on campus to interact with class mates, staff and campus clubs safely. What we suggest the students to do is to start applying for the 2020 admission, as the government of Ireland has just announced that its Visa Application Centres in India have re-opened to process Indian student visas, in advance of September.
Which undergrad course taught in Ireland is considered best all over the world?
Courses such as Data Science, Big Data, Computer Science, and Cyber Security in Ireland are super popular. Also Cloud Computing, Digital Marketing, Software Engineering and Artificial Intelligence in Ireland are considered finest all over the world.
How many Non-EEA country students are in Ireland? How many Indian students are in Ireland?
In Ireland there are 32000 Non-EEA students are currently studying in Ireland and about 5000 students are Indians. Each year we see spike in the number of Indian students coming to Ireland.
Why should students consider Ireland as an attractive destination for higher studies?
According to several surveys done recently, a significant number of students, particularly those looking at postgraduate programmes still plan to study abroad in the near future despite the current COVID-19 crisis. And Ireland could be viewed as an attractive destination due to its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Known as the Land of Saints and Scholars, Ireland has a long-standing reputation in education excellence. It has become one of the top choices for international students, including Indian students. Every year a lot of Indians pursue their postgraduate studies in Ireland, and indeed many go on to secure exciting employment opportunities in various industries in Ireland and beyond. There is an understanding amongst Indians that are already in the country and those who are planning to come to Ireland that there will be changes in teaching and learning delivery, regardless of university or indeed country. Ireland, however, could be viewed as an attractive destination due to its handling of the coronavirus pandemic and especially the support it is providing to students.