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“We will work mutually for skill enhancement”

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the introduction of free education, one of the most important policy changes since the foundation of Ireland. Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan spoke to Sreerupa Sil on variety of issues ranging from the purpose of his visit to the skills that Ireland could help inculcate in Indian workforce.

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Q: What has been your agenda in India?

We are looking for the collaboration with government institutes and department of education. Almost 2000 Indian students come to Ireland to study in the Irish universities. We are proud of our universities as all of them were in top five rankings globally. I am delighted, that so many students like coming to Ireland. With further collaboration they would bring great intelligence in mathematics, science, nano technology and chemistry. Some of your great professors are quite evident to the whole world. We see immense possibilities of collaboration between department of education of Ireland and India where skills will be exported

Q: During your recent visit you met Rajiv Pratap Rudy. Are you satisfied with the talks?

We had detailed discussion with Mr. Rudy. The plan we discussed is that we will exchange documents for next couple of months which we have prepared on skills, innovation, research and development and apprenticeship. Mr. Rudy is interested to see the document. We will send all relevant details to partner on projects that would mutually benefit both the countries.

Q: How about the student exchange from Ireland to India?
Our objective is to find how we can collaborate to bring our skills together. Another 4- 5 years will tell us. We should remember, thousands and thousands of Indian students come to Ireland for studies, but very few Irish students come to India. I think it will take little time. But I am absolutely certain that we will able to reach for collaboration.


Q: What kind of vital skills you think that Irish universities can provide to Indian students?
Thousands of multinational companies are in Ireland. 50% of the top financial companies in the world have headquarters in Ireland. Top pharmaceutical and medical companies are headquartered there. We have a world ranking of 22nd position in Nano Tech in world. When students come to Ireland and see the presence of Google, Twitter, they acknowledge the need to settle in Ireland. All of these companies are also looking for recruits, not just for Ireland but with companies around the world. That is called collaboration and that is essential between the companies, universities, re-
search and development.

Q: In India, by 2030, we will have highest number of youth under the age of 25. How do you see us benefitting from the Indo-Irish partnerships?
Ireland is also a very young country where we have managed the budgets in education and science. 12 of the top research centres across Europe and world are in Ireland. Ireland’s education system is recognised by students and academics.Interestingly, in Ireland, all universities are strategically placed at the centre of the city. Otherwise also, the social needs of students are cared for. We also do analysis with students coming to Ireland on the parameters of society and safety. Indian and Irish students interact exceptionally well too.


Q: How does arrival of Trump in US and Brexit effect Ireland?

England is our biggest trading neighbour and it will continue to be one. We have excellent economic relationship with them. We regularly meet members of English government. British Prime Minister has been to Ireland. The good thing is, our position is stronger in United Europe. Britain democratically chose to leave European Union and that’s fine. Ireland will be strategically placed in the economy and otherwise . Ireland being the only English speaking country dealing with 500 million people across Europe is strategically beneficial to us. During Brexit which took 2 years or more, many multinational companies were still investing in Ireland and creating jobs. The sense was, even if Britain goes, Ireland is safe. Now, on Trump, there was a good deal of uncertainty. We were not sure what will 

 We should remember, thousands

 Indian students come to Ireland

studies, but very few Irish students
come to India.

Ireland on the parameters of society and safety. Indian and Irish students interact exceptionally well too.

Q: How does arrival of Trump in US and Brexit effect Ireland?
England is our biggest trading neighbour and it will continue to be one. We have excellent economic relationship with them. We regularly meet members of English government. British Prime Minister has been to Ireland. The good thing is, our position is stronger in United Europe.Britain democratically chose to leave European Union and that’s fine. Ireland will be strategically placed in the economy and otherwise. Ireland being the only English speaking country dealing with 500 million people across Europe is strategically beneficial to us. During Brexit which took 2 years or more, many multinational companies were still investing in Ireland and creating jobs. The sense was, even if Britain goes, Ireland is safe. Now, on Trump, there was a good deal of uncertainty. We were not sure what will happen but we already had good relationship with America. We will be pressing for closer economic ties with America benefiting from each other’s economy. Again, Irish people have worked in America. We don’t think there will be any change and we will be really able to deal economically.

Q: What is the action plan?
Action plans in education,Action plans in education,research and development are already ahead of schedule. We have been strategically planning for a number of years. We did come from very poor recession. Our employment rates dramatically fell. Financial institutions and multi-national companies are confident in Ireland. There is a big turnover in entrepreneurship. Despite Brexit we are confident. So our message to India is to send more students to Ireland. Hence, collaboration with India will continue and grow over next 5 years.

Q: What is the entrepreneurship culture in Ireland?
While we went through recession, even at bad times, entrepreneurs came forward with business plan and idea. Basic skills like carpenters or sharp IT skills helped us then. Objective behind collaboration is that we hope Indians students would work in entrepreneurship roles in Ireland as well or may take back what they have learnt in Ireland. The future between India and Ireland relationship is very bright..


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skill development entrepreneurship india ireland

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