The Chief Executive of the Higher Education Authority (HEA) has warned that Ireland’s focus on attracting increasing numbers of foreign students is threatened by the lack of suitable accommodation.
Dr Graham Love, CEO of the HEA, said that there was a shortage of accommodation in Dublin and most other large urban areas.
The Chief Executive told a meeting organised by Asia Matters, the Asian Think Tank, that post-Brexit there may be increasing demands placed on Ireland to accommodate EU students.
“Ireland may come under pressure to accommodate some of the 27,000 EU Erasmus students who currently go to the UK should that avenue be closed off," he said.
But Dr Love told the meeting at Dublin City University’s St Patrick’s College campus that the future post-Brexit was still very uncertain but opportunities existed in Asia for Ireland.
“Since we are talking about a part of the world that is not in the EU – little may change since the relationship currently between Ireland/the UK and Asia is not governed by EU membership.
“Whether the UK will lose some of its attractiveness due to its non-membership of the EU is extremely difficult to judge but it will still be an English speaking, highly advanced economy with a long history of educational excellence.
“The UK may be enhanced by the exit since it may suffer a drop in numbers from EU opening up more places for Asia and the rest of the world.”
Addressing the meeting, Dr Love said that the HEA would closely monitor the situation.
“Developments in the Brexit process will be closely monitored and any actions needed to be taken in the context of the international education strategy will be brought forward and implemented as necessary.”
He said that growth continued in intake of international students.
“An increase of 33% in international student numbers from 33,118 in 2014/2015 to approximately 44,000 will be achieved by the end of the 2019/2020 academic year. Therefore, the output value of the sector will increase from €819m in 2014/2015 to €1.15bn by 2019/2020.
“The number of students in the high-quality English Language Teaching sector will increase by 25% by 2020. The output value of the sector will increase from €762m in 2014 to €960m by the end of the 2019/2020 academic year,” he added.