'Alternative options' for Erasmus in Scotland being explored by Scottish Government

The Scottish Government are looking at potential ways to access the European Union’s Erasmus+ scheme following the UK Government’s decision to ditch the popular exchange programme as part of its Brexit trade deal.

The Scottish Government are looking at 'alternative options' for Erasmus
The Scottish Government are looking at 'alternative options' for Erasmus

As it stands, Scottish students will be unable to access the scheme from January 1 as the UK Government rushes to set up its own replacement ‘Turing scheme’, announced by Boris Johnson on Christmas Eve.

However, Nicola Sturgeon has described the decision to ditch the popular scheme as “cultural vandalism”.

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The question of whether Scottish students could access the scheme regardless of the Brexit deal was pushed into focus with the announcement Northern Irish students will be able to access Erasmus following a funding pledge by the Irish Government.

However, academics have suggested that it would be “doubtful” Scotland could access the scheme without the UK Government’s approval, something that is unlikely to be granted due to the proposed Turing scheme.

In response to questions about the Scottish Government’s plans around Erasmus, universities minister Richard Lochhead said the loss of the scheme is a “huge blow” but the Scottish Government is actively looking at “alternative options”.

He said: “The UK Government’s decision to walk away from Erasmus which is used by more than 2,000 Scottish students and young people annually is a huge blow.

“I will be writing to the UK Government to express my profound disappointment at this decision and their plans for a watered down alternative to the programme – all of which has been pushed through irrespective of views of the Devolved Administrations.

“This is simply unacceptable and we are looking at alternative options.”

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