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Scottish Government urged to follow Wales and set up own version of the Erasmus scheme

24 Mar 2021 3 minutes Read
A University student. Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

The Scottish Government have been urged to follow Wales and establish its own version of the Erasmus Education scheme.

On Sunday the Welsh Government announced a new international learning exchange programme, following the UK Government’s decision to withdraw from Erasmus.

The First Minister Mark Drakeford said that it would ensure that Wales remained “an outward-looking nation” after Brexit.

Students studying at institutions in Northern Ireland will also be able to take part in Erasmus thanks to an arrangement with the Irish government.

Now the pro-EU European Movements in Scotland organisation has called for their own nation to undo the UK Government’s “cultural vandalism” by doing the same.

They said that the UK’s replacement, the Turing Scheme, includes only a fraction of the benefits to students under the Erasmus programme.

Mark Lazarowicz, chair of the European Movement in Scotland said: “The loss of Erasmus is an act of cultural vandalism and we would urge the Scottish Government to follow Wales and fill the immense gaps presented by the Turing Scheme. Erasmus brings different countries and nationalities together and generates such massive cultural and educational benefits. Its loss is a huge blow.

“It allowed many thousands of young people, no matter their background, to continue to improve their futures, their access to global opportunities, and their development as citizens of a connected world. Over 2000 Scottish students, staff and learners used the scheme each year.”

‘Delighted’

The Welsh Government’s new exchange programme – which will run from 2022 to 2026 – will be supported by an investment of £65m.

They said it would enable existing partnerships which have been built up under Erasmus + to continue and help to create new ones, “raising Wales’ international profile as well as offering opportunities to those who benefit directly”.

Kirsty Williams, the Education Minister, said: “We have been clear that international exchange programmes, which bring so many benefits to participants, as well as their education providers and wider community, should build on the excellent opportunities that the Erasmus+ programme offered.

“I am therefore delighted to announce today that the Welsh Government is investing in our future generations by launching an International Learning Exchange Programme for Wales.

“Our students and staff are vital ambassadors for us overseas, promoting the message that Wales is an inviting destination for students and partners across the world, and their education and cultural awareness are improved in many ways as a result of spending time abroad – just as our education providers are enriched by students and staff visiting Wales to study and teach.

“By investing in this programme now, we are investing in a strong, international and prosperous future for all young people in Wales.

“The main beneficiaries of the new scheme will be young people in upper secondary, for whom the challenges of learning from home over the last year have been particularly profound. We owe it to this next generation of students and learners to have the same opportunities previous years had.”

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