McArthur calls for Scotland to set up its own Erasmus scheme


Orkney MSP, Liam McArthur, has called on the Scottish Government to set up its own Erasmus scheme after questioning why plans for a new programme of international exchange did not feature in the priorities set out by the First Minister to parliament on 26 May.

Orkney MSP, Liam McArthur, has called on the Scottish Government to set up its own Erasmus scheme after questioning why plans for a new programme of international exchange did not feature in the priorities set out by the First Minister to parliament on 26 May.

Following the UK's departure from the EU, the UK left the Erasmus+ student exchange programme that provided funding for education, training and sport, with a particular focus on youth work. The UK Government has since announced its intention to create the Turing Scheme, but it has faced criticism over its more limited funding and scope. 

In their recent election manifesto, the SNP made a commitment to "create a Scottish programme of exchange to provide mobility and cooperation opportunities in higher education, vocational education and training, school education (including early childhood education and care), adult education, youth and sport". However, this commitment did not feature iNicola Sturgeon’s recent statement to parliament

Mr McArthur has called on the First Minister to follow the lead set by the Welsh Government, which has already put in place a scheme that will enable 15,000 participants from Wales to go on overseas mobility exchanges over the first four years, with 10,000 participants coming to study or work in Wales. 

Commenting, Mr McArthur said:

"The Erasmus+ programme was a fantastic initiative which opened up the world for Scottish universities and students alike. It helped build relationships and provided invaluable life experiences for so many young people. It has been a needless casualty of Brexit.

“At the election, the SNP promised to create a Scottish programme of exchange but this commitment was conspicuously absent from the First Minister’s statement of priorities last month. Yet this is something that commands strong, cross party support and could be put in place relatively quickly.

“My former Liberal Democrat colleague, Kirsty Williams has already introduced such a scheme in Wales during her time as Education Secretary. Scotland should now follow that lead.

This is something from which Orkney is well placed to benefit. As home to campuses for three internationally renowned universities, Orkney has been highly successful over the years at attracting students and staff to the islands from all around the world. A revamped Erasmus scheme could pave the way for more success in future."


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