The Allied Irish College, in Cork city, suddenly closed down on Monday, following a series of similar episodes involving various other private language schools over the past month. The Millennium College, in Dublin, closed down last Friday without previous notice, and students learnt about the decision when they got to the institution only to find it closed and locked. The Irish Minister of Education, Ruairi Quinn has stated his concern that these language colleges have been abusing their powers as recognised educational institutions to attract individuals from overseas and facilitate the visa granting process.
International Students, Visas and Fees
A letter was posted on Millenium College’s door to let the students know that the school was not to open again. A similar situation took place in Cork, where students who had travelled to Ireland to study found that the educational institution they had paid for no longer existed. A 26 year old from Brazil stated her concerns, as she is uncertain about what is going to happen to her student visa and the money she used to pay for the school fees. She stated she had originally intended to study at the Millenium College in Dublin, but had been moved to the Allied Irish College instead due to some internal problem with the institution.
A group of Uruguayan students reported that they had paid for a year’s worth of classes a month ago and are not sure as to what is going to happy with that money. On this topic, Rezaul Haque, one of the directors of the Allied Irish College, told the Irish National Television and Radio Broadcaster RTÉ that all the students who had recently started any language course in the institution will get their fees back.
The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Services (INIS), together with the Garda National Immigration Bureau, have stopped issuing visas to foreigners who were seeking to get enrolled in Millenium College after this institution failed to prove that their own students were in fact attending classes there. Haque denies this situation is related to the closing of the school and adds that the institution has been closed due to economic issues.
INIS is now carrying out an investigation into the episodes related to Millennium College, which is the reason why they refuse to make any comments on the matter. The Minister of Education said the problem is a lack of regulation in the private sector of education and added that the Government is already trying to solve this issue in order to guarantee the quality of the education provided in every school in the country.