Students miss out as Scottish Erasmus replacement flounders
By Rob Harrison
Liberal Democrat Liam McArthur MSP has slammed the Scottish Government as they once again failed to confirm that a replacement for the Erasmus student exchange scheme will be in place by next September.
Despite years of promises, Scottish Liberal Democrats revealed last month that Scottish Ministers have had no meetings specifically about their promised Scottish Exchange Programme; no funds are currently allocated to it; and it does not even have a confirmed timetable for a consultation process. Meanwhile, a £65 million scheme in Wales has already lined up over 5,000 international exchange opportunities from this September with funding for the next 4 years. In response to a question from Mr McArthur in the Scottish Parliament today, Minister Neil Gray was unable to confirm that such a scheme would even be up and running by next September (2023).
Mr McArthur said:
"In Wales, thousands of young people are now able to take part in exchanges that allow them to study in countries across Europe. Sadly, their counterparts in Scotland are being denied those once-in-lifetime opportunities for learning and building relationships. It seems that the SNP would rather continue using Europe as a source of grievance for their own political ends, rather than follow the lead of the Welsh Government by putting in place an exchange scheme that could make a real difference to the lives of our young people. As passionate pro-Europeans, my party will continue to press for a properly-funded exchange programme that will broaden educational and cultural horizons. After all the time that has already been lost, and all the opportunities that have already been missed, this SNP Government must now commit to having this scheme up and running in time for next September."