Richard Lochhead, the higher education minister of the Scottish government, said that the UK’s departure from the EU’s Erasmus student exchange program is “a big blow,” and said that Edinburgh is now looking at potential alternatives.
Despite the announcement by Boris Johnson that it will be replaced by a global alternative named after codebreaker Alan Turing, which the British government believes will be better than Erasmus since it will help more vulnerable young people, Mr. Lochhead regretted the decision to abandon the program as part of the U.K.’s withdrawal from the EU later this week.
Erasmus, the U.K. Joined in 1987, it helps students around Europe to study and work and is used annually by more than 2,000 Scottish students and staff.
The decision of the UK government was condemned by Nicola Sturgeon as “cultural vandalism.”
“The loss of Erasmus is a huge blow. It is simply unacceptable and we are looking at alternative options.loss “Erasmus’s is a huge blow. It is simply unacceptable and we are looking at alternative options.
He said, “After years of discussions and meetings, the UK government has made these decisions without regard to the views of the devolved administrations.”
Scottish government estimates indicate that, since 2014, the contribution of Erasmus to the economy has been measured at almost £ 34 million a year.
While students are barred from participating in Scotland, their counterparts continue to have access to the program in Northern Ireland.
The U.K. also criticized Mr. Lochhead. The Turing scheme, the government’s alternative, continues, “We have learned more details through media reports about the U.K.’s alternative program, which is a watered-down and less well-funded version of Erasmus, and it is not even an exchange program because visits to Scotland are not supported.”
Since then, I have spoken to my UK counterpart and shared our profound disappointment that the United Kingdom has chosen to leave Erasmus, which has played such an important role for so many young Scots in opening up opportunities and horizons.
“Crucially, it’s a program that brings different countries and nationalities together, with massive cultural and educational benefits.”
Mr. Lochhead made it clear that to “impose an inferior British program” on Scotland, he would resist using the Internal Market Bill.
Michael Gove earlier defended the U.K. The government’s announcement in January, after Boris Johnson, insisted that the Erasmus program would not be abandoned.
At the time, SNP MP Douglas Chapman’s concerns that the exchange scheme would be terminated by the British government were denied by the prime minister, telling the backbencher that he would “jump over his own shadow.”
“There is no threat to the Erasmus program and we will continue to participate. British students will continue to be able to enjoy the benefits of exchanges with our European friends and partners, just as they can continue to come to this country.”The Erasmus program is not threatened and we can continue to participate. British students, just as they can continue to come to this country, can continue to enjoy the benefits of exchanges with our European friends and partners.
The British government agreed to participate in the Erasmus scheme, Gove said, but “only on terms that are fair to the taxpayer.”
The Minister of the Cabinet Office defended his colleague, saying the insinuation leveled against him that, for ideological reasons, he wanted the UK out of the Erasmus program by hook or by crook was baseless, arguing that the conditions provided by Brussels were not fair; the cost was too high.
“The hundreds of millions of pounds it would have cost us extra are better spent on ensuring that disadvantaged children from less privileged backgrounds, who often don’t benefit from programs like Erasmus, get a better education.”
Asked if students under the new Turing curriculum would do better, Gove maintained that it was a “better program” that would help students from less fortunate backgrounds. He added that the new program’s other benefit is that it is “global” and not only based on Europe.