After the UK broke away from the European Union at the end of 2020, the English language school association says Ireland “now offers the ELT industry the only unique English speaking destination within Europe”, with its two official languages Irish and English.

“We are optimistic that by the summer we can resume in person teaching”

Competitor country Malta is another popular English language destination within the European Union, which also has two official languages – Maltese and English.

Anecdotal evidence from agents suggests that Ireland is “a more attractive prospect now post Brexit”, according to MEI.

“The ease of travel from Europe will be a factor along with how difficult/ costly the access to visas for the UK will be,” MEI explained.

The association is “working hard behind the scenes on establishing a government approved Covid best practice guide” as it strives to ensure the safe reopening of MEI schools ahead of what it hopes will be a “busy” summer.

“Our schools moved to online platform while the country is in the highest level of restrictions, but we are optimistic that by the summer we can resume in person teaching,” the organisation said.

MEI announced its first virtual workshop to be held on March 2 as it plans for a “busy summer season”.

The workshop will allow its member schools to continue to expand strategic partnerships they have developed with trusted agents, as well as giving agents and schools a chance to make new connections.

Member schools will also have the opportunity to share current face to face, hybrid and online program options.

“The virtual workshop is our first so we will review all aspects and definitely look at the possibility of hosting more in the future,” MEI added.

Earlier in January, MEI merged with the Independent Language Schools Group to bring together 65 MEI schools and more than 20 ILSG English language schools.

“Our sector is at a critical point of reset following a traumatic 10 months, but through collaboration we can rebuild and strengthen for the future,” Colm O’Byrne, chair of MEI and director of ATC Language Schools, said.

“MEI will have a stronger voice both domestically and internationally with the addition of the many excellent schools of ILSG.”

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