More than £ 100 million will be spent next year on the post-Brexit replacement for the UK students’ Erasmus exchange scheme, it has been announced.
The Department of Education (DfE) said the Turing program would provide funding from September for approximately 35,000 students to pursue placements around the world.
The DfE said the initiative, named after Bletchley Park codebreaker Alan Turing, would cost £ 100 million in 2021/22, but that funding will be decided in potential budget assessments for subsequent academic years.
Brexit: what’s going to change and what’s in the deal?
The government’s decision to end EU program participation has proved controversial, especially because Boris Johnson had previously claimed that Brexit did not threaten participation.
But Gavin Williamson, Secretary of Education, said, “We now have the opportunity to expand the opportunities to study abroad and see the experience benefit more students from all backgrounds.”
As seen from the Charles Bridge (John Walton/PA), Prague Castle.
“We’ve designed a truly international program that focuses on our priorities, delivers real value for money and is an important part of our promise to take the UK to a higher level.”
The DfE said it would reach students from marginalized communities with the new curriculum.
The Erasmus scheme, which the U.K. entered in 1987 to allow students to study and work across Europe, is estimated to include around 35,000 British students a year.
In January, the prime minister told MPs that “no threat to the Erasmus program and we will continue to participate in it.”
Brexit: United Kingdom and EU enter consensus on trade agreement
But after successfully securing a trade agreement with Brussels, Mr. Johnson said that, for financial reasons, he had made the “tough decision” to withdraw from the program.
SNP MP Douglas Chapman, in response, accused the prime minister of lies and bluster.
The Royal Mile of Edinburgh (Jane Barlow/PA)
Despite Johnson’s pledges, Kate Green, Labour’s shadow education minister, said the government had “unnecessarily” taken the UK out of the initiative.
“Young people must not see their options restricted, and making the Turing program dependent on future spending review decisions will increase uncertainty for organizations and young people,” she said.
A senior U.K. negotiation team member said it would cost hundreds of millions per year to remain in Erasmus.
“That was a significant cost, and we believe we can achieve something better that still allows exchanges to Europe but also allows exchanges around the world,” said the official.
“That’s why this particular decision was made, and we believe it will still provide great opportunities for U.K. students to study around the world in the future.”
“Vivienne Stern, International Director of Universities UK, said that “we are clearly disappointed” that the U.K. The Turing program will no longer be part of Erasmus, but she described it as a “fantastic development.”
She said working globally to figure out funding for foreign students studying in the UK under Erasmus must now be a “priority”.
“Inbound exchange students contributed £440 million to the UK economy in 2018, and there are real concerns about whether the UK will see a decline outside of the Erasmus program,” she said.
The decision to abandon Erasmus “cultural vandalism,” had previously been called by Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, while former First Minister Gordon Brown had called for the U.K. To be part of the curriculum to stay.
In Northern Ireland, after the Irish government decided to finance them, third-level students will be able to continue studying under the Erasmus scheme, Irish Education Minister Simon Harris said.
In the new year, British institutions will be invited to apply to take part in the Turing scheme.
Good candidates will receive funds to run the program, and students will receive grants to help offset the cost of studying abroad.