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Annual Reports


Annual Report 2016

Summary: In 2016, ICOS engaged with members and stakeholders in important consultations regarding its new five year strategy for 2017-2021. International developments including the UK's decision to exit the EU loomed large with most believing that Brexit would have both positive and negative impacts on international education in this country. Domestically, while Ireland is emerging from recession, the austerity years have left their legacy with significant challenges remaining with regard to the funding of higher education generally as well as a national housing crisis which inevitably impacts on students with particular shortages of suitable, affordable student accommodation being experienced in our main urban centres notably, Dublin, Cork and Galway. » View PDF


Annual Report 2015

Summary: The launch of the 'Diverse Voices' training resource for intercultural competence development was ICOS' highlight event of 2015, a culmination of three years of collaborate effort which had seen ICOS record and edit many hours of interviews with international students as well as academic and support staff across five institutions. ICOS now routinely draws on this resource to enhance its own training and it may be no coincidence that 2015 also saw a substantial increase in ICOS' training output. On a less positive note, the college closure crisis, which dominated 2014, continued into 2015 and ICOS was again at the forefront in offering support to displaced students. Fortunately, the introduction of reforms and strengthened compliance measures resulted in fewer closures as the year progressed. » View PDF


Annual Report 2014

Summary: 2014 was a dramatic and event-filled year for ICOS. The organisation, though ill-resourced to do so, was called upon to respond to the needs of thousands of international students displaced by a spate of private college closures, many of which hit the headlines. It was not a good year for Ireland's reputation as a safe, secure and quality destination for study but as the year progressed a number of very necessary reforms were announced by the Government which were expected to bring some stability to the sector in the long term. The closures meant that ICOS had an enhanced level of engagement throughout the year with Government agencies and sector interests and actively participated in a Task Force jointly chaired by the Departments of Justice and Equality and Education and Skills to respond to the crisis. Despite the additional demands on staff, ICOS continued to manage a very successful Irish Aid Fellowship programme and secured a contract to provide professional services for an expanded programme for a further three years from 2015-2017. » View PDF


Annual Report 2013

Summary: ICOS continues to show leadership and to grow its influence in policy areas that impact on the quality of the experience and the rights of international students in Ireland. In 2013, ICOS was successful in providing a number of opportunities for our members and for international students themselves to articulate their views. This was achieved through ongoing communication with relevant Government Departments, representation on the High Level Group established by the Government to oversee Ireland’s Internationalisation strategy and formal submissions on key policies as appropriate. ICOS’ main public event during the year is an annual seminar which gave members an opportunity for focussed discussion on the Government’s plans for the introduction of an International Education Mark (IEM). » View PDF


Annual Report 2012

ICOS 2012 Annual Report cover Summary: ICOS’ strategic review in 2012 revealed the reassuring outcome that we continue to be valued by our membership and by external stakeholders alike who are keen to see the continued existence and development of an independent organisation which uniquely focuses on the rights and welfare of international students. The services which ICOS provides to members to facilitate networking and strengthen institutions own capacity to deliver high quality services to international students are appreciated but ICOS can do more and the challenge for 2013 and beyond will be to find ways and resources to provide for the more systematic exchange of good practice across the sector. Providing an effective, independent and authentic platform for international students themselves to advocate in their own interests is also an on-going challenge but one which ICOS is happy to embrace. » View PDF


Annual Report 2011

Summary: Through resources were more limited than ever, ICOS was successful in 2011 in providing a number of opportunities for our members and for international students themselves to articulate their views. We met with INIS officials in February to clarify aspects of the new non-EEA student immigration regime which came into effect on 1 January 2011. Four further meetings followed under the umbrella of the Immigration Information Network of which ICOS is a member. ICOS also regularly engages with the Department of Education and Skills (DES) on the implementation of Ireland’s International Education Strategy and represents the interests of students and its members on the High Level Group which advises the Government. » View PDF


Annual Report 2010

Summary: An important development was the release in September 2010 of “Ireland’s International Education Strategy 2010-15, Investing in Global Relationships”. While the strategy focused strongly on growing the numbers of international students who would chose Ireland as a study destination, there was also a significant emphasis on measures to protect students and on enhancing the quality of the student experience. These were issues on which ICOS had strongly campaigned throughout the year. The publication of the Government’s long awaited “New Immigration Regime for full-time non EEA Students”, also in September, meant that ICOS was busy as it responded to questions from member institutions, students and the media on the implications of the new measures. As always, ICOS hopes it has stuck the right balance in its representation, working with the Government and its agencies but at the same time ensuring that the students’ voice is heard. » View PDF


Annual Report 2009

Summary: Throughout 2009, ICOS’ focus remained firmly on creating a positive environment for international students in Ireland. Our main event was a national seminar in June which brought together key Government actors and higher education representatives in a call for action on the quality issue and highlighting the recently released Irish Higher Education Quality Network (IHEQN) Code of Practice for providers of education to international students which offers benchmarks and guidelines on the standards to be achieved in student services. ICOS continued to work closely with USI to ensure that the student voice was represented on relevant national platforms, including the High Level Group appointed by the Minister for Education and Science in December to develop Ireland’s new international education strategy. ICOS in turn supported USI in organising regional fora to allow international students to voice their feelings and concerns about their experience of higher education in Ireland. The first of these was hosted in UCC in November. » View PDF


Annual Report 2008

Summary: The energy and optimism with which ICOS started the year was unfortunately replaced in the final months of 2008 with a period of uncertainty and insecurity. This mirrored the climate of the nation as a whole as the country struggled to come to grips with the banking crisis and the worst recession in decades. ICOS has come through the challenge a leaner and more focused organisation. Our training output grew substantially suggesting a continuing need and appetite within institutions to invest in staff training in order to be able to deliver a better service to international students. Our annual seminar in June was well attended as it sought to answer some important questions about our current understanding of international education and the challenges and opportunities which face the sector over the coming decade. » View PDF


Annual Report 2007

Summary: 2007 was a busy and successful year for ICOS with steady progress and achievement under all our objectives. Undoubtedly, one of the highlights of the year was ICOS' international students' forum held in UCC in November and attended by over 130 international and Irish students from higher education institutions across the country. It provided some useful insights on the subject of the integration of home and international students on campus. Working rights of non-EEA students and graduates remained the dominant theme from a policy perspective and was the subject of representations by ICOS to various government departments during the year. » View PDF


Annual Report 2006

Summary: ICOS and its member institutions continued to work in 2006 to create a more favourable environment for international students. The organisation’s operational priorities for the year included: policy work particularly in relation to the rights of legitimate non-EEA students to work in Ireland, both while studying and after graduation; delivery of high quality information and training services to members which would increase cross-cultural awareness and communication skills among staff in HEI’s and administration of aspects of the Irish Aid Fellowship Training Programme. » View PDF