The UK exit from the EU, in addition to the numerous economic problems it caused for the country, also affected the country’s education and university system and caused many problems for its students.
Withdrawal from the EU has paralysed the UK higher education system
The UK has long sought to leave the EU as part of the Brexit negotiations, and after numerous votes and much conflict, it finally withdrew from the EU in early 2021. The UK move, which took place almost simultaneously with the outbreak of the coronavirus in the world, has had many social and political consequences for the country and created many economic problems. In addition to all the other difficulties of leaving the EU, we can also mention its impact on the UK higher education system, so that students will no longer be able to study in other European countries Without a visa.
What is the Erasmus Programme and its benefits?
As part of a post-Brexit agreement with the EU, the UK has announced that it is abandoning the Erasmus Programme, which includes granting scholarships to international students in the EU. The UK withdrawal from the EU has halted the implementation of Erasmus in this country. This is a student scholarship scheme that European students across Europe can take advantage of. It is an EU-sponsored scholarship programme designed for student exchanges between universities and higher education institutions in Europe and around the world. In fact, the whole of the EU was recognized as one country for these students, and they could benefit from all the educational and research facilities in EU universities.
In July 2020, the Erasmus Student Network consisted of 534 student associations in 42 countries with more than 15,000 volunteers working in Europe. By 2014, 27 years after the plan began, Erasmus had facilitated the movement of more than 3.3 million students in European countries. More than 4,000 institutions and university centres from 31 countries participate in this project.
Boris Johnson broke his promise
Following the UK withdrawal from the EU, the Erasmus programme is no longer to be implemented in Britain. The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had said that the country will continue its participation in the programme.
But when the EU and the UK finally managed to sign a trade agreement governing relations between the two after four years of difficult negotiations Boris Johnson announced that his country is abandoning the European Erasmus student exchange programme. While it is wonderful to host European students, it still costs the UK dearly, he said, calling the decision difficult to make. The decision has caused a great deal of concern among British students, and they are confused about their future educational status.
The Turing scheme replaces Erasmus programme
With the cancellation of the Erasmus programme in the UK, another plan called the Turing scheme has been launched for British students. According to forecasts, the project is scheduled to begin in September 2021, in which the UK Government will provide funding for the education of about 35,000 British students to study abroad. Funding for the project will be an estimated 100 million pounds. The UK Department of Higher Education has announced that the Turing scheme provides Erasmus-like opportunities for students to study and work abroad, except that all countries in the world, in addition to European countries, can take advantage of it. According to the Department for Education (DFE); students in poor and disadvantaged areas of the UK can also use the scheme when this was not previously possible in the Erasmus programme.
The UK Department for Education has invited universities to volunteer for the Turing scheme in the early days of 2021. The budget for the Turing project in the coming years is also subject to a review this year. Gavin Williamson, the UK Secretary of State for Education, has hailed Turing as a chance to expand opportunities to study abroad and see more students from all backgrounds 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.
The situation of foreign students studying in the UK is in a haze of ambiguity
With the UK leaving the Erasmus programme, the future of foreign students studying in British universities is unknown. There are currently around 150,000 European students studying in UK universities and facing more costs. In this regard, European negotiator Michel Barnier regretted the decision and called on the British Government to clarify the alternative.
The closure of universities in many countries during the pandemic has led to large numbers of students studying online.
British students, who were facing university closures at the time due to the pandemic, had hoped to study and graduate from an EU university by participating in the Erasmus programme, but with the UK leaving the EU in early 2021 The Erasmus programme was also cancelled and the UK students are no longer allowed to study at universities in European countries using the facilities of this programme.
Without a visa, but now that the UK has cancelled Erasmus, its youth are treated just like those living outside the EU.
The UK is the second largest destination for international students in the world after the United States, but leaving the Erasmus programme can disrupt the international student exchange industry by imposing visa requirements for EU students coming to the UK. Many British students hoped to be treated like non-member countries such as Turkey and Norway in the Erasmus programme so that they could continue to benefit from it.
Boris Johnson promised people last year that leaving the EU would not pose a threat to Erasmus, but plans did not go according to expectations. The news of the cancellation in recent weeks shocked everyone, especially the universities, and angered students and professors who benefited from it.
The British higher education system will Be disrupted by the Turing scheme for several years
It will take at least 20 years for the Turing scheme to show positive results in the country. Many universities have stated that they will continue to maintain close ties with Europe. European universities, on the other hand still consider their students travelling to the UK as important despite the cancellation of the programme.
For Erasmus UK graduates, the end of the plan means the end of a period in which they not only could easily study abroad, but also travel and attend various festivals and events across Europe. The UK withdrawal from the Erasmus programme, contrary to the promise made it had previously, has provoked protests from students who are demanding the resignation of the prime minister.