23 November 2023 | EQAF Paper

The International Education Mark – an innovative approach to the quality assurance of the international student experience in Irish Higher Education

Jim Murray

Arising from a recently expanded legislative remit, QQI is currently developing a new quality mark that will be awarded to higher education providers (both public and independent/private), and providers of English language education, who demonstrate their compliance with statutory codes of practice for the provision of their programmes to international learners. 

In the case of higher education, the code of practice will build upon the existing, statutory quality assurance infrastructure, and will focus on principles and criteria relating to the ethical recruitment of international students by providers; their use of fair and transparent admission processes and equitable qualifications’ recognition procedures; the transparency and propriety of their financial dealings with international students; the supports and services they offer international students to protect their well-being and integration on campus, including English language supports for non-native speakers; and the appropriate application of these principles and criteria in the contexts of transnational education and fully online provision. The IEM, when fully implemented, will make an impact at a variety of levels in the Irish education and training system. 

This paper will consider the potential uses and benefits of the IEM for key stakeholders including prospective international learners; education providers; the national qualifications and quality assurance systems; and state bodies involved in the promotion of Ireland’s international education offering. The aim is that the International Education Mark (IEM) brand – TrustEd Ireland – will attest to the quality of the programmes and awards of the providers authorised to use it, and to the quality and consistency of the ‘student experience’ of their international learners.

This paper was presented at EQAF and reflects the views of the named authors only.

ISSN: 1375-3797

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