The internationalisation of higher education holds hugely positive potential for the HEIs and for Ireland. The quality of our system is greatly enhanced by the inward and outward movement of students and staff. Internationalisation enhances the quality of learning, teaching and research in our campuses and contributes significantly to the student experience. It represents an investment in future global relationships as it helps to build relationships with our future trading partners and supports our national goal to become a global innovation hub. These benefits are in addition to the revenue that is generated for the country from every international student.
The Department of Education and Skills published Ireland’s International Education Strategy 2010 – 2015 and the HEA is working closely with relevant stakeholders in the implementation of key recommendations. We will prioritise the internationalisation agenda in the development of strategic dialogue with HEIs. We will require institutions to set targets linked to their individual capabilities. The internationalisation strategy sets challenging targets for the higher education system, so we will incentivise performance through our funding model.
We will manage two prestigious scholarship schemes – Government of Ireland International Scholarships and New Frontiers Programme. We will ensure that high calibre students and staff participate in these schemes and that they serve to market Ireland as a high quality education hub that is the destination of choice for international students from all over the world. The management of these scholarships will build on the HEA’s already deep involvement in international higher education particularly at the European level. The HEA is the National Agency for the Lifelong Learning Programme - Erasmus; National Contact Point for the Tempus Programme; National Structure for Erasmus Mundus and plays a key role in furthering the aims of the Bologna process. Over the period of this plan we will aim to meet our EU targets for Erasmus students - by 2013 Ireland to have 3,000 outgoing students. Our internationalisation agenda also encompasses the leading role we play in participating in international higher education networks, actively engaging in peer-to-peer international relations and international learning groups and supporting initiatives such as the Irish Undergraduates Awards which now have an international dimension.