When schools close abruptly, the international students are often left in a lurch. This also affects the reputation of a country as a destination for higher education. To prevent this, the Irish government is launching the “International Education Mark” to protect students and staff of English language schools in Ireland.
Ireland has over one hundred and twenty thousand students who travel from around the globe for English courses and other higher education needs. The government must protect the interests of these students in this growing sector.
What is the International Education Mark or IEM?
In 2012, an independent state agency called QQI (Quality and Qualifications Ireland) was established in Ireland with the prime objective for developing quality and accountability where education and training were concerned.
One of the critical responsibilities of QQI was to ensure that a high quality of education was delivered to international students in Ireland. Towards this, the creation of International Education Mark (IEM) was proposed.
QQI would allow only those institutions which meet the highest quality standards to display the International Education Mark.
The newly passed legislation by the government will finally make IEM a reality for quality control among educational institutions. When institutions are not conforming to the framework laid out by QQI, the provider will not be permitted to use IEM.
Grafton college closure and the International Education Mark
What has finally prompted this long-pending legislation is the sudden collapse of Grafton college last year, which impacted over four hundred international students and left many teachers without their paychecks. This was the twenty-second such institution to close in Ireland since 2014. Majority of the students came from countries such as Brazil, Mongolia, etc.
Under the new legislation, English language schools that offer courses with a duration of three months or more will have to contribute to a fund. The purpose of this fund is to minimise the losses if the institution suddenly shuts shop.
It is to be noted that the crisis in education is haunting everyone in the region. The neighbouring country of Northern Ireland also struggles with funding for the education sector.