Younger second and third generation Indians living in the UK are among those set to be among 40,000 students who will be able to study and work abroad under the UK government’s new , with India among 150 international destinations for such placements.
The new global scheme, a direct result of Brexit as it replaces the European Union (EU) specific Erasmus scheme, awards universities and schools grants from the £110-million Turing Scheme to fund placements abroad for UK students. The Department for Education (DfE) said this week that the minimum duration of a university placement has been reduced to four weeks, from three months under Erasmus, to make going abroad more accessible to students with other commitments.
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The focus is also on targeting at least 48 per cent of placements to those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
“By strengthening our partnerships with the finest institutions across the globe, the Turing Scheme delivers on the government’s post-Brexit vision, and helps a new generation grasp opportunities beyond Europe’s borders,” said UK Education Secretary Gavin Williamson.
“The chance to work and learn in a country far from home is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – which broadens minds, sharpens skills and improves outcomes. But until now it has been an opportunity disproportionately enjoyed by those from the most privileged backgrounds,” he said.
Over 120 universities, as well as schools and further education colleges across the UK, are to find out this week about their successful bids for the Turing Scheme grants which opened in March. DfE said it has set out a range of measures to improve access to international opportunities through the programme, including funding for travel and expenses such as passports and visas, as well as a grant for living costs, to tackle the barriers some students face to studying overseas. Extra support has also been factored in for preparatory visits to make sure placements meet the needs of participants with disabilities and special educational needs.
“Our schools, colleges and universities have worked tirelessly to make this programme a success, and I am grateful to them and their global partners who have truly embraced this opportunity for international collaboration,” said UK Minister Michelle Donelan.
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The total number of individual placements supported this year stands at over 40,000, which includes 28,000 placements for university students – compared with 18,300 under Erasmus in the academic year 2018-19.
“The Turing Scheme will create opportunities for thousands of students from all over the country to gain experience working and studying abroad. We know from the evidence we have collected that students who have such experience tend to do better academically and in employment outcomes – and that this is especially true for students from disadvantaged backgrounds,” said , Director, Universities UK International, which represents over 140 universities.
“We want more students from a wider range of backgrounds to get these sorts of opportunities and believe, that if they do, the UK economy will benefit in the long run,” she said.
David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, added: “The opportunity to work, study or compete abroad is so important for the life chances of all young people. It’s encouraging to see colleges taking up all that Turing can offer – including colleges that are newer to international partnerships – exploring exchanges across a broad range of countries.
“Student mobility will be crucial post-pandemic as the world reopens and learners from all backgrounds access their chance to develop technical and personal skills, build their confidence and experience other cultures.”
The Turing Scheme is named after a pioneering UK war hero known as the "father of modern computing", Alan Turing, who studied abroad at Princeton University before going on to crack the Nazi Enigma code in World War II.