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Restoring the education and cultural ties that have been lost to Brexit

September 20, 2021 5:00 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

We have enjoyed fantastic links with our European neighbours for decades.

Our school children have benefitted from easy language exchanges and visa-free school trips. Young people have been able to live, study, and work across 27 different countries. Students have enhanced their education via the Erasmus scheme. Artists and musicians have been able to travel freely between us and the continent.

We cannot allow this government to deprive us of the unique educational, cultural and artistic opportunities that come with a close link to the EU. These opportunities have all been harmed by Boris Johnson's botched Brexit deal.

This government has shown it does not value arts or creativity despite being world leaders in these industries."

As a replacement for the Erasmus funding scheme, the government has come up with the woefully inadequate "Turing Scheme".

This scheme is less well funded, doesn't provide our students with the same opportunities, and makes it harder to welcome EU students into our higher education institutions.

The pandemic has shown us the grave importance of international collaboration, especially when it comes to research. Yet this government freely puts barriers in place to prevent the vital exchange of knowledge and ideas.

We are delighted that our members recognise the enormous value of close ties with the EU.

Here is what we want to do:

  • First and foremost, improve the Turing Scheme. This means having reciprocal partnerships between UK and EU institutions and ensuring the same level of funding is available under Erasmus.
  • Aim to rejoin the Erasmus Plus Scheme.
  • Negotiate passport and visa-free school visits to EU member states.
  • Encourage town twinning for educational and cultural exchanges between the UK and EU.
  • Agree paperwork-free travel for musicians, touring artists and their support staff.

Read the motion in full

Leaving the EU will worsen the opportunities available to society and especially our young people.

This government has shown it does not value arts or creativity despite being world leaders in these industries. Atrocious domestic policy has slashed funding for arts in the school curriculum and on university-based courses. Depriving us of access to Europe only worsens this.

So much has been lost by leaving the EU.

We owe it our students and young people to undo some of that damage.