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Northern Ireland students to access Erasmus+

The government of Ireland has committed €2 million to allow students in Northern Ireland to access the Erasmus+ exchange program, despite the UK pulling out of the program when it left the European Union in 2020.

Students from Northern Ireland are the only UK students that will be able to access the Erasmus+ program. Photo: pexels

The €2m will go to higher education institutions in Northern Ireland

While students in Scotland, Wales and England have lost access to the flagship European exchange program, leaders in Ireland made a commitment to fund Erasmus+ grants for Northern Irish students after Brexit in 2020.

The UK launched a global outbound mobility program, Turing, Wales initiated the Taith program supporting both inbound and outbound mobility and Scotland is yet to launch its Scottish Education Exchange Programme.

In 2020, Ireland’s minister for Higher Education Simon Harris said that the €2m to fund places for students from Northern Ireland was “not a cost”, but an investment.

Sharing an update on July 27, Harris said that the funding is “delivering on a commitment made by the Irish government” to ensure students can avail of mobilities and internships across Europe.

The €2m will go to higher education institutions in Northern Ireland.

“We know that a student’s higher education experience can be enriched by undertaking a mobility in another country, but… its also about learning in a partner institution, about building relationships with other students and increasing cultural awareness and understanding,” the minister said.

He added that concern around the loss of access to Erasmus had been raised at “many engagements” he had attended in Northern Ireland.

“This is a permanent commitment,” he continued, “and [it will] be in place as long as students in Northern Ireland wish to avail of this as an option in terms of learning in the European Union.”

Government officials will finalise arrangements with the Northern Ireland higher education institutions in the coming weeks, the government added.

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