Ireland’s foreign student support body, ICOS – the Irish Council for International Students, has called on the country’s government to fine tune its approach towards international students.
ICOS noted that the current strategy for international students focuses more on the educational and financial aspects, and neglects to consider the welfare and rights of international students.
With the current strategy expiring and a new government set to be formed, ICOS has submitted a manifesto to consider the holistic well-being of international students in Ireland in addition to their financial importance.
ICOS wants more rights for international students
ICOS observed that the impact of international students is beneficial to Ireland as these students contribute around €1.5 billion to the economy, and this is set to increase in the coming years.
But ICOS claims that the benefits go beyond the monetary value, and the interaction of Irish students with international students can be beneficial for them and hone their social skills as well.
Currently, international students, despite their financial value, are not given much importance and have very little political power as they can only vote in local elections. But ICOS believes that all Irish residents should be treated equally as well as have access to the same economic, social and health rights.
ICOS “manifesto” for international students issues 9 key demands
In order to present a clear picture of their demands for the new government, ICOS has come up with an election “manifesto”.
The manifesto focuses on nine key points, which include developing employment pathways for international students, immigration reform, and introduction of ‘hate crime legislation’ to protect foreign students in Ireland.
Other points raised in the ICOS manifesto were regarding the provision of affordable student accommodation, introduction of the International Education Mark (IEM) that will safeguard HE standards, improving mental health services, and the funding of universities of sanctuary that protect students fleeing persecution.
The ICOS manifesto also called for bolstering financial support for international students in Ireland by reforming student insurance legislation and implementing the “Public Sector Duty” to promote equality in accessing state services.
An ICOS statement claimed that implementing the measures set out in their manifesto would have a positive impact on international students residing in Ireland, which in turn would have a positive trickle-down effect on the Irish economy and society.
Pic: Sam Balye
Zahra Hamdani is an Ireland-based reporter for Global Education Times who focuses on European and South Asian education news. When she is not writing for GET News, Zahra is a school-teacher and educationist with experience in both Primary and Secondary schools in the Republic of Ireland as well as in Pakistan.
You can reach Zahra at firstname.lastname@example.org