Ireland, which is looking to cement its position as the higher education hub, is aiming at doubling the number of admissions from Indian students by 2014. From around 1,000 in 2012 to around 1,300 in March 2013, the country now wants to have at least 2,000 Indian students as full-time enrolments in 2014 and 5,000 in 2018.

Speaking to The Hindu on the sidelines of the multi-city education fair in Bangalore on Sunday, Patrick O’Riordan, director – India, Enterprise Ireland (the Trade and Technology Board of the Ireland government), said the enrolment drive was part of its intention to make education in Ireland global in the true sense.

The maximum number of students came from Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai and New Delhi, he said and added that the reason behind many Bangaloreans opting for higher education in Ireland was because of the common factor between the two: the IT industry. The major draws discipline-wise, were engineering, software, data analytics and e-commerce, he said.

Organised by Education in Ireland - representatives from 17 universities participated in the fair.

Among those seen scouting for the best option was Sidhanth Muralidhar, a final year BCA student from the city’s St. Joseph’s College of Arts and Science. Aspiring to pursue an MSc in computer science, he has zeroed in on Ireland as his destination. after weighing his other options. “To begin with, Ireland is an IT hub, just like Bangalore. It would make sense for me to pursue computer science there. By the time I graduate in 2014, there would be an IT boom there,” he said.

Asked why he did not have alternative options, he explained: “In India, the competition is too intense. USA is out of my budget and I will have to return to India immediately after I graduate as there is no stay back option.”

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