To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with (a) university groups and (b) UUK on the potential effect of the UK leaving the EU without a deal on UK students participating in the Erasmus+ programme in Europe from September 2019.
22 March 2019
The government values international exchange and collaboration in education and training as part of its vision for a global Britain and therefore, irrespective of the outcome of Article 50 negotiations with the EU, the government wants UK and European countries to continue to give young people and students the chance to benefit from each other’s world leading universities post-exit.
My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, my officials and I meet with representatives of universities and sector associations regularly, including Universities UK, to discuss the Department for Education agenda, and that has included the question of participation in the Erasmus+ programme. In our preparations for the UK’s departure from the EU, the department has regularly engaged with a wide number of sector stakeholders on the Erasmus+ programme.
It is the duty of a responsible government to prepare for a range of potential outcomes and the Department of Education is preparing for every eventuality. For this reason, the government has committed to cover the payment of awards to UK organisations for all successful (those that are approved directly by the European Commission or by the National Agency and ratified by the European Commission) Erasmus+ bids in the event of ‘no deal’.
There are many opportunities for student exchange outside of Erasmus+ and our world-leading higher education providers have a strong track-record of partnering with overseas institutions. UUK evidence suggests around half of mobilities already take place outside Erasmus+.
It is not appropriate at this stage to set out any assessment in detail for a domestic alternative due to the ongoing negotiations with the EU. We will always want to ensure value for money for the taxpayer.