This was an assertion given by UK Universities Minister Chris Skidmore who used his platform at the British Council’s Going Global conference in Berlin to reaffirm the UK’s ambition for international education, and its commitment to being networked and engaged in Europe and beyond.
“We believe that irrespective of the outcome of EU exit negotiations, the UK and European countries should continue to give young people and students the chance to benefit from each other’s world-leading universities post-exit,” he said.
“We remain open to exploring participation in the successor scheme to the current Erasmus+ program”
He added, “To this end, we remain open to exploring participation in the successor scheme to the current Erasmus+ program.
“But, as a responsible government, we are also considering a wide range of options with regards to the future of international exchange and collaboration in education and training. This includes a potential domestic alternative to the Erasmus+ program.”
Skidmore, who said he would be working on safeguarding student mobility in the coming months, suggested there might be “potential benefits” of the country having its own scheme, “which would include the ability to have a truly global exchange program”.
At present, the UK government has provided a guarantee to underwrite all “successful Erasmus+ and ESC [European Solidarity Corps] bids submitted before the end of 2020″ so that they can continue, in the event of a no deal. Any ability to continue to participate is unknown while negotiations around a withdrawal agreement continue.
Skidmore’s comments were part of a speech that highlighted the UK’s bold new strategy to build on its position as an international education destination of choice.
Simultaneously, he underlined that the UK wanted more of its own young people studying abroad and to engage with global peers more than ever.
“I can reassure you that the UK has always been global, is global, and will remain global for the future”
“The UK is not just ‘going global’ as the name of this conference suggests. But I can reassure you that the UK has always been global, is global, and will remain global for the future,” he said.
“We are here today because we want to partner with you, learn from you, and share our own learning in return.”
Skidmore spoke at the British Council’s flagship global education and policy conference, which welcomed close to 1,000 delegates and was chosen to be held in Berlin to signal the UK’s desire to remain embedded in Europe.
After attending a Russell Group event at the British Embassy to underline the importance of collaboration in science & innovation, the following day he also announced a new international research and innovation strategy.