75,000 fewer English language students will visit Ireland this year as a result of quarantine measures – Progressive College Network

  • Dramatic drop in students will result in millions of Euro lost across Irish tourism, retail, food and drink and accommodation sectors
  • 9,000 seasonal jobs now under threat with annual revenues for the English language education sector expected to fall up to 90%

Progressive College Network, the representative body for a number of English language schools across Ireland, has warned that up to 75,000 fewer English language students will visit the country this year, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and mandatory quarantine measures. The dramatic drop in student numbers is set to have significant knock-on effects for the economy in the tourism, retail, food and drink and accommodation sectors.

The English language sector is worth an estimated €1.2bn to the Irish economy each year, with thousands of students arriving from countries such as Italy, Spain, Brazil, South Korea and Mexico. However, over 55% of the revenues earned by the sector come through short-term student courses of fewer than three weeks.

The sector supports 5,000 full-time jobs, and 9,000 part-time or seasonal jobs – the majority during the summer months. With mandatory quarantine of two weeks set to remain in place for the foreseeable future, Progressive College Network anticipates a significant fall in student numbers and resulting job losses.

In this changed environment it has also emphasised the importance of schools providing quality online classes for students already in the country.

David Russell, Chairman of the Progressive College Network said: “The measures currently in place will have a devastating impact on the English language sector, as the majority of students will choose not to travel to Ireland rather than spend their first two weeks here in quarantine.

“This in turn will have huge knock-on effects for the tourism sector as host families, travel operators and small businesses up and down the country rely to a great extent on foreign students visiting the country. The worst of the Covid-19 pandemic may be behind us, but with thousands of students unlikely to visit, there is a significant risk of school closures and job losses in the sector.

“It’s important that schools continue to offer high-quality online learning options for students already here, especially as this will allow them to renew their visa for the coming academic year.”

The Progressive College Network was formed in 2015, to meet the demand for an alternate representative body for the private college community in Ireland. Currently it represents over 300 staff members and is responsible for teaching in excess of 3,500 international students annually.

All Progressive College Network institutions are ILEP (Interim List of Eligible Programmes) listed, are fully compliant with any and all regulations and operate to the very highest of standards. Progressive College Network has a bespoke Protection of Enrolled Learners insurance policy that protects students and staff within each of its institutions.