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News in Numbers: Ireland 2022

Another popular ELT destination under the microscope is Ireland! How did they do in 2022?

“The ELE sector is worth €1.183bn”

Ireland saw an increase of 295% in student numbers from 2021, and is at an 88% recovery from 2019. Students are also staying for longer, going from an average of 4.6 to 10 weeks of study in the last decade.

The numbers of adult students in 2022 reached 52,596 – almost on par with 2019 (53,331). The majority were EU students at 44.4%, closely followed by non-EU students who don’t require a visa at 40.95%. Non-EU students who needed a visa tallied just 14.7%.

On the other hand, 51,668 Junior students arrived in 202280% of 2019 levels (64,987). EU students were a whopping 97.8% of footfall, while non-EU students were just 1.3%!

Out of 193 countries, 112 sent students to Ireland last year. Brazil remains a strong market, providing 12,000 students. Growing markets include Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Mongolia, and Turkey!

But is there enough staff to keep up with demand?

Marketing English in Ireland (MEI) say staff recruitment is a big challenge for them as the ELE sector regrows.

2022 saw a shortage of temporary and contract staff. At peak times, there was almost 2000 temporary staff in 2019. Last year saw that number drop to 1548.

However, full-time and permanent staff levels remained relatively consistent. Peak time saw 1180 staff in 2022 – only slightly less than 2019.

What about accommodation?

In 2019, almost 10,000 host families took in students. However, 2022 saw host family numbers drop by around half for peak times.

Accommodation provided by schools put 53.8% of students in dorms, 42.5% in house shares, and 3.7% in apartments.

MEI have expressed concerns that availability and affordability of accommodation “is a major capacity constraint” for the sector.

What do these numbers tell us?

As Ireland continues to show significant recovery from 2019, the stats provide opportunities as well as challenges.

Brexit has worked in their favour – Ireland is seeing a huge number of students choosing them over the UK as they are now “the only English-speaking country in the EU.”

However, staff and accommodation are key factors creating restraint on the amount of students able to attend schools in Ireland. MEI have suggested they need “government policies” to tackle these restraints, and be able compete with countries such as the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK.

Despite these challenges, the Emerald Isle is continuing to prove its capability and popularity as a successful ELT sector!

Image courtesy of Library
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