With close on 5,000 Chinese students registered in Irish higher education institutions, China is the second source market for international students coming to Ireland. Figures provided by Enterprise Ireland on the number of Chinese students coming here since 2006 are as follows:- 2006/07 - 3,573; 2009/10 - 3,355; 2010/11 - 5,105; 2011/12 - 4,554. Figures are not available for 2008/09.
In March of this year, I visited Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai, accompanied by thirteen higher education institutions on an Enterprise Ireland education mission. The programme included educational promotion and alumni engagement events, the launch of strategic initiatives including UCD's Beijing-Dublin International College and the signature of 13 agreements between Irish and Chinese education institutions. Next month the Secretary General of my Department will lead a joint working group between both Education Ministries to further develop the framework for education co-operation.
Irish higher education institutions are actively investing in China and there are now 125 joint programmes between sixty five Chinese Universities and seventeen Irish HEIs. My Department and Enterprise Ireland have been working collaboratively with the sector on a strategic plan for 2014 which will include an emphasis on alumni engagement, social media, education agents and targeted trade missions and fairs. The Government remains committed to deepening and growing our relationship with China and will monitor progress closely.