Monday 11-12-2017 - 12:23
It is encouraging to see that the Government has finally made progress in the Brexit agreement negotiations with the release of an agreement in principle with the EU negotiators. The resulting agreement on citizen rights will offer some assurances to the academics and students currently living and working in the UK that their rights as citizens will be guaranteed.
It is also pleasing to see the report acknowledge that students should have the ability to move between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland to take part in programmes of study. We know that a “hard border” would make accessing education near impossible for many students that live on or near the Irish border.
I believe that the ability to travel and study in other parts of the world is an enriching and transformative experience for students that must be protected, so it is particularly pleasing to see that arrangements will be made for the UK to continue its participation in the programmes of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) until the end of 2020, which will include the Erasmus+ programme that thousands of students benefit from each year. The UK Government now needs to recognise the value of our continued participation in the scheme, and commit to participation in it beyond 2020.
This report is an important step in the right direction, but the priority now is to ensure that the UK Government commits to protecting student mobility as part of the final withdrawal agreement.