Erasmus study abroad programme to be replaced by Turing Scheme

From Erasmus to Enigma: Britain will launch global student exchange programme named after WWII codebreaker Alan Turing to replace EU Commission scheme after Brexit

  • Britain will leave the Erasmus study abroad scheme as part of the Brexit deal
  • Boris Johnson announced a replacement programme named after Alan Turing
  • UK joined Erasmus in 1987, which allowed students to study and work in European countries

Britain is to replace Erasmus with a new exchange programme that will see students giving the chance to study at universities all over the world, Boris Johnson has announced.

Students from the UK will not be able to use the EU Commission scheme from next year after the Prime Minister made a ‘tough decision’ to pull out of the programme for financial reasons.

It will be replaced by a worldwide scheme named after Second World War code breaker Alan Turing.

Speaking after the announcement of a trade deal between the UK and the European Union, Boris Johnson said: ‘We are doing a UK scheme for students to go around the world, it will be called the Turing scheme. 

Britain is to replace Erasmus with a new exchange programme that will see students giving the chance to study at universities all over the world, Boris Johnson has announced

‘Students will have the opportunity not just to go to European universities, but the best universities in the world.’

The Erasmus exchange programme, which the UK joined in 1987, allows students to study and work across Europe.

Students in Northern Ireland will still have access to the scheme through an agreement with the Republic of Ireland.

A government spokeswoman confirmed any students already scheduled to take part in Erasmus courses in 2021 would be able to, and that no new applications would be accepted after January 1.

‘We will be setting up a UK-wide replacement for Erasmus+ which will be global in outlook, not limited to the EU, and focus on UK priorities such as supporting social mobility,’ they said.

‘The Spending Review 2020 provides funding to prepare for this UK-wide domestic alternative to Erasmus+. Further details on our domestic programme for international education exchange will be set out shortly.’

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson tweeted: ‘Its outlook will be global, not limited to the EU, and the programme will incorporate opportunities which reflect the government’s promise to level up the country.’

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier revealed Britain had decided not to continue in the Erasmus scheme which has run since 1987

Further details about the new scheme are expected in the coming days.

At a press conference shortly before the Prime Minister spoke, the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier said the UK’s withdrawal from the programme was one of his regrets.

He said: ‘I have just two regrets in terms of our societal co-operation.

‘Firstly, the British Government decided not to participate in the Erasmus exchange programme.’

Vivienne Stern, Director of Universities UK International, welcomed the news of a trade agreement between the UK and the EU.

She continued: ‘While the announcement that the UK will now not be participating in Erasmus+ is disappointing, we are pleased that the Prime Minister has committed to a new UK programme to fund global mobility.

‘We now ask the UK government to quickly provide clarity on this Erasmus+ domestic alternative, and that it be ambitious and fully funded.

A government spokeswoman confirmed any students already scheduled to take part in Erasmus courses in 2021 would be able to, and that no new applications would be accepted after January 1

‘It must also deliver significant opportunities for future students to go global which the Erasmus programme has provided to date.’

The move to leave the Erasmus scheme has been criticised by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who called the decision ‘cultural vandalism’.

She tweeted: ‘There will be lots of focus, rightly, on the economic costs of Brexit.

‘But ending UK participation in Erasmus, an initiative that has expanded opportunities and horizons for so many young people, is cultural vandalism by the UK Government.’

Labour and Co-Op MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle also criticised the scheme, tweeting: ‘As someone who lobbied & drafted parts of last scheme this will not work.

‘UK gains from students coming to UK & Brits gain personally from going abroad.’

Former prime minister Gordon Brown had previously called for the UK to remain part of the programme.

In September, Mr Brown said the programme plays a critical role in higher education and research across the country, as well as ensuring all UK students have access to a global education.

More than half the British students who study abroad do so under the Erasmus programme, Mr Brown added.

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