Johnson Pulls UK Out of Erasmus Programme

Some may have found it a relief when it was announced on Christmas Eve that a withdrawal deal had been reached between the UK government and the EU. However, among other key promises, Erasmus was left out of the deal. This surprised many with it only being last January that Boris Johnson said that there was no “threat to the Erasmus scheme”.

What is Erasmus?

The Erasmus Programme is a scheme that since 1987 has allowed students to study at universities in EU states for set periods of time. The main objective for the Erasmus programme is to provide students an opportunity to experience a global education. The scheme offers a rare opportunity for those from non-privileged backgrounds to study abroad and get some of the costs covered for them.

What does Britain’s exit from Erasmus mean?

The deal that was agreed between Britain and the EU means that Britain will no longer continue to take part in the Erasmus programme. Despite 15,000 British students taking advantage of the scheme every year, it was not deemed an important inclusion in Johnson’s deal. This is disappointing news for students and future students as many look forward to studying abroad to grow their horizons, learn new cultures, and improve their job prospects in the future. This decision sadly means that the possibility of those from disadvantaged backgrounds being able to study abroad has been significantly diminished.

What will the government do instead?

The UK government has recently announced the Alan Turing Scheme that will replace Britain’s participation in the Erasmus scheme. It has been said that they will provide £100m in funding to allow students to go on placements across the world starting in September. While it is a step in the right direction, the future of the scheme is unknown as the government has yet to lay out funding for future years, which means the government could easily scrap the scheme after its first year. The scheme also does not include students traveling to study or work in the UK, many of which end up staying in the UK and being a brilliant addition to our communities and economy.

Overall, Boris Johnson has let students down after promising that Britain would continuing participating in the Erasmus scheme after Brexit but was clearly lying just to get people on his side. This decision goes hand in hand with the complete lack of support for students during the most recent lockdown announcement—both of which show this government’s complete lack of regard for students.

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