Minister Halligan leads Enterprise Ireland Education Mission to China

19th October 2018

EM to China
Minister Halligan meeting Liu Limin, CEAIE President at the China Education Expo on Saturday 20th October 2018

Number of Chinese students in Ireland has almost doubled since 2014

John Halligan T.D. Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development departs Ireland today (18th October 2018) to lead a 5-day Enterprise Ireland ‘Education in Ireland’ mission to China.

15 Irish Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) are participating on the mission which will include engagements in Beijing, Wuhan and Fuzhou. The main opportunity to promote Ireland as a destination for study abroad will be at the week-long China Education Expo where Enterprise Ireland will host 11 Irish participating HEIs on a dedicated Irish pavilion.

The most significant announcement during the mission will be the inauguration of the Maynooth International Engineering College at Fuzhou University (FZU).
The Maynooth International Engineering College is only the 2nd Sino-Irish joint university offering undergraduate level courses. FZU has undertaken to provide around 300 students per year for the four STEM based programmes offered in 2019: The first student intake will be in September and the graduates will be awarded with degrees from both Fuzhou and Maynooth University.

Speaking prior to his departure Minister Halligan said; “I am delighted to be able to support the work that our higher education institutions are engaged in internationally. We need to broaden and deepen these types of institutional relationships, China is and will only become more important into the future”.

He continued; “This mission is part of the Department of Education and Skills’ International Education strategy, a component of which is to substantially increase the numbers of international students at higher level, by 33%, from 33,000 to 44,000 by 2020”.

On Friday Minister Halligan will address the China Annual Education Conference on the theme of Education Modernisation: Practice and Exploration. He will then meet with the President of the China Education Association for International Exchange and the China Service Centre for Scholarly Exchange to promote Ireland as a high quality, safe and career enhancing destination for Chinese students to study at third level.

Four Chinese Universities will sign Memorandums of Understanding with Irish HEIs, witnessed by Minister Halligan at the Embassy of Ireland in Beijing. The Minister will also attend the opening ceremony of a joint graphic design programme by Athlone Institute of Technology and Jianghan University. Over 50% of the Chinese students studying in Ireland come as a direct result of this type of institutional cooperation.

Minister Halligan is leading this delegation to China as it helps to significantly deepen and strengthen the already vigorous and growing relations between Ireland and China in education and research. This is a particularly auspicious time for the visit as in 2020 Ireland will add Mandarin to the Leaving Certificate. This will help deepen interest in Chinese culture and provide a solid base for higher education and future careers for Irish and Chinese students alike.

Giles O’Neill, Head of Education in Ireland at Enterprise Ireland said; “The number of Chinese students studying in Ireland has nearly doubled in the last four years, with 3,300 now studying in our higher education institutions. This clearly shows the impact that can be achieved by a structured approach to market development, listening to the market needs and responding at Government, institutional, academic and student level”.


Enterprise Ireland manages the Education in Ireland national brand under the authority of the Minister for Education and Skills. Enterprise Ireland is responsible for the promotion of Irish Higher Education Institutions overseas


For further information contact

Grace Labanyi

Corporate Communications

Enterprise Ireland

Grace Labanyi

+353 1 7272820