Scotland and Wales seeking to stay in Erasmus+

Devolved nations say they should be given any replacement funding for scheme from UK government ‘in the first instance’

January 26, 2021
People on Champ de Mars with Eiffel Tower in background
Source: iStock

Scotland and Wales have confirmed that they are exploring how they might be able to participate in the Erasmus+ student exchange scheme, despite the UK as a whole leaving the programme.

In a joint statement, Scotland’s higher education minister, Richard Lochhead, and Wales’ education minister, Kirsty Williams, said the UK’s proposed alternative to Erasmus+, the Turing scheme, was “a lesser imitation of the real thing” and it was “unacceptable” that the UK government was “looking to impose this inadequate scheme upon Scotland and Wales through new legislation that overrides the devolved nature of education”.

“We have been clear that what they are proposing is simply not good enough, and that instead any replacement funding for Erasmus+ should be given in the first instance to the Scottish and Welsh governments, to allow us to exercise our right to deliver educational services within our respective nations,” they said.

“We will carry on making these arguments, and continue to advocate for those sectors who once enjoyed the benefits of Erasmus+, and who have been abandoned by the UK government.”

The ministers added that they will “now explore how Scotland and Wales can continue to enjoy the benefits offered by Erasmus+”.

The statement says that, proportionally, more people from Scotland have gone abroad through Erasmus+ than from anywhere else in the UK and more visitors from the rest of Europe have visited Scotland in return. It adds that schools in Wales have led the UK in winning Erasmus+ funding for strategic partnership projects on innovative topics such as green energy, artificial intelligence and promoting inclusivity in the classroom.

It criticises the comparatively low budget of the Turing scheme (funded at £105 million for one year, compared to the equivalent of £23.2 billion over seven years for Erasmus+) and the fact that the domestic alternative will not offer funding to international partners or for strategic partnerships.

ellie.bothwell@timeshighereducation.com

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Reader's comments (1)

This is a sensible move.

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