The move to leave the Erasmus scheme has been criticised by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who called the decision “cultural vandalism”.
She tweeted: “There will be lots of focus, rightly, on the economic costs of Brexit.
“But ending UK participation in Erasmus, an initiative that has expanded opportunities and horizons for so many young people, is cultural vandalism by the UK Government.”
Guy Verhofstadt praised Ireland for keeping the programme alive for students in Northern Ireland.
The Erasmus student exchange programme will be replaced in the UK by a worldwide scheme named after code breaker Alan Turing, the Prime Minister has said.
However, Labour and Co-Op MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle also criticised the scheme, tweeting: “As someone who lobbied & drafted parts of last scheme this will not work.
“UK gains from students coming to UK & Brits gain personally from going abroad.”
Former prime minister Gordon Brown had previously called for the UK to remain part of the programme.
In September, Mr Brown said the programme plays a critical role in higher education and research across the country, as well as ensuring all UK students have access to a global education.
More than half the British students who study abroad do so under the Erasmus programme, Mr Brown added.
There were a lot of other dissenting voices on social media.
The decision not to participate in #Erasmus is short-sighted and mean-spirited. The programme transformed the life-chances of thousands of Brits, many from disadvantaged backgrounds. The proposed UK alternative from a standing start will not be a full substitute. Here’s why. 1/7
— Peter Ricketts (@LordRickettsP) December 26, 2020
I would like to thank and congratulate the Irish government on funding Erasmus university placements for Northern Ireland students after Brexit
I can only apologise for the human vandalism of our own UK government
— Andrew Adonis (@Andrew_Adonis) December 26, 2020
The Erasmus scheme was wonderful. I can remember being 18 and leaving a small town to go and study a European Studies degree which included a year in Valencia. Sad to think we have destroyed such opportunities for the next generation.
— Matt Haig (@matthaig1) December 26, 2020
let me explain Erasmus. 50% is university students, 25% is vocational students, 10% are apprenticeships, the rest are volunteers in the work of aid. It is about sharing cultures, learning language and eachothers habits, ways of living.
— Irishmonk (@castlvillageman) December 26, 2020
Well a flashback to the 15th Jan this year shows Douglas Chapman, SNP, MP, in the Commons. He said it would be a disaster to end the Erasmus scheme. The PM then stood up and said: ‘there is no threat to the Erasmus scheme…”
Watch Video Here
Related: Post-Brexit Erasmus replacement will cost more than £100 million next year
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