Doubts over Erasmus+ after EU exit

Concern that UK Government could consider international exchange programme for England only.

The Scottish and Welsh Governments have raised serious concerns about the impact of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit on the popular Europe-wide international student exchange program Erasmus+.

In a letter to Secretary of State for Education Gavin Williamson, Scottish Further and Higher Education Minister Richard Lochhead and Welsh Education Minister Kirsty Williams argue the case for continued participation in the programme.

They say leaving the EU without a deal - and without the UK Government reaching an alternative Third Country agreement or other arrangement – would see universities, colleges, and schools across the UK ineligible to submit applications to participate in the final year of the current Erasmus+ programme in 2020.

Between 2014 and 2018, more than 15,000 students and staff from Scotland reaped the benefits of the EU-led scheme, which allows funded temporary study overseas as part of the their Scottish courses.

Mr Lochhead said:

“Thousands of Scottish students benefit from Erasmus+ yearly, proportionally more than from any other country in the UK. The Scottish and Welsh Governments are clear that we must remain a full participant in Erasmus+.

“I am also alarmed to hear the UK Department for Education could be considering an Erasmus+ replacement programme for England only - with potentially no consequential funding for Devolved Administrations (DAs) to put in place their own arrangements. That’s why we have written to the UK Government calling for urgent action and assurances that Scottish students won’t miss out.

“It is the Scottish Government’s preference to remain in the EU, but in the event of a damaging ‘no-deal’ Brexit, students could now see the door to this fantastic cultural and educational exchange slammed shut. It is unacceptable that with less than 12 weeks left until the UK Government plans to take the United Kingdom out of the EU without an agreement in place, there is still no plan for alternative arrangements.”

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