UK students will no longer participate in the Erasmus exchange program after the UK failed to reach an agreement regarding its post-Brexit membership.
As a result, over £100 million are set to be spent on the post-Brexit replacement for the Erasmus exchange programme for UK students next year, the Department for Education (DfE) has announced, Erudera College News reports.
Instead of the Erasmus program, the UK will establish its own scheme named after the British computing pioneer Alan Turing.
According to the department, the Turing scheme will offer funding for 35,000 students to go on placements worldwide as of September.
Government’s decision to terminate the involvement in the European Union scheme has proved to be controversial, especially after Boris Johnson had earlier stated that Brexit did not threaten participation.
According to the education secretary, Gavin Williamson, there is a chance to increase opportunities for pursuing studies abroad so many students from all backgrounds can benefit from the experience.
“We have designed a truly international scheme which is focused on our priorities, delivers real value for money and forms an important part of our promise to level up the United Kingdom,” he said.
In addition, the DfE announced that the scheme would involve students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
According to an earlier statement from a senior member of the UK negotiating team, Erasmus would have cost in the hundreds of millions every year, claiming that something better could have been achieved, allowing exchange across Europe but across the world as well.
‘That’s why that particular decision was taken, and we believe it’s still going to offer huge opportunities for British students to study around the world in the future,” the official said.
Director of Universities UK International (UUKi), Vivienne Stern, an organization which represents the UK universities worldwide, expressed the organization’s disappointment that the UK would not be part of Erasmus anymore, yet described the Turing scheme as a “fantastic development”.
According to her, in 2018, the inbound exchange students contributed £440m to the UK economy; therefore, real concerns appear if the UK will experience a decrease outside of the Erasmus scheme.
UK institutions will be required to join the Turing scheme in the next year, the successful applicants will receive funding for scheme administering, whereas students will receive funding to cover the studying abroad expenses.
Over the years, international students have preferred the UK as a study destination for various reasons including quality education, universities status and more. Similar to past years, the UK is also offering a considerable number of scholarships for the academic year 2021-22.
In January, the prime minister Boris Johnson told MPs that the UK would continue to participate in the Erasmus scheme, yet after negotiations over a trade deal with Brussels, Johnson emphasized that the government has decided to withdraw from the scheme for financial reasons.
The UK joined the Erasmus program in 1987 to enable students’ study and work across Europe, and around 35,000 British students are believed to study with the program yearly.