SNP MSP Gordon MacDonald has warned that thousands of university students in Edinburgh could lose out on the opportunity to study abroad – after the UK Tory government pulled support for the Erasmus last week.
New figures from the Scottish Parliament’s Information Centre (SPICe), show that, between 2014/15 and 2017/18, 3,484 students from the city’s higher education institutions studied abroad through the Erasmus+ programme.
With Boris Johnson’s Tory government choosing to vote against continued membership of Erasmus+ remaining part of negotiations with the EU, Gordon MacDonald MSP has claimed that the same number of students could now miss out over the next four years if Scotland is blocked from the programme.
The Erasmus+ scheme aims to promote and modernise education, training, youth work and sport across Europe, and gives students from a variety of backgrounds the opportunity to live, work and study in other European countries.
Commenting, SNP MSP for Edinburgh Pentlands, Gordon MacDonald said, “The Erasmus programme has been hugely valuable to our city’s universities and students over the years, so it’s saddening the Tories have decided to sell out and pull support for the programme.
“Our students here in Edinburgh have benefitted massively from the opportunity to take a year abroad in Europe, giving them the chance to experience new cultures and ways of learning.
“Of course our city’s culture is also richer thanks to students from the continent coming to spend time in our world-class universities, contributing to our economy and society in the process.
“My message to Edinburgh’s students is this – don’t let Boris Johnson cut you off from the world. It’s time to put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands so we can build a fairer, more outward looking nation at the heart of Europe. It’s time for independence.”