The SNP’s promises to deliver a Scottish exchange programme which will replace the Erasmus scheme have been ‘shelved indefinitely’, the Liberal Democrats have claimed.
The popular Erasmus scheme, which was an EU student exchange programme, was disbanded in the UK following Brexit.
Following Scotland’s departure from the scheme, the SNP committed to developing a ‘Scottish exchange programme’ as a replacement.
Scottish Lib Dem MSP Liam McArthur lodged a parliamentary question on March 31 asking on what date the SNP anticipates the consultation on the proposed Scottish exchange programme will be launched.
In its manifesto ahead of last May’s Scottish election, the SNP committed to deliver the programme to replace Erasmus.
However SNP Minister for Higher Education and Further Education Jamie Hepburn revealed that the Scottish Government have ‘no confirmed timetable’ for a consultation process for the proposed programme.
Hepburn said: “The Scottish Government have had and continue to have discussions with stakeholders in higher and further education, schools, community learning and development, youth and sports to listen to their views, needs, priorities and requirements for a Scottish education exchange programme and on what would work best for learners and staff across the board.”
McArthur criticised the government for the lack of movement on the proposal.
“The Erasmus+ programme was a fantastic initiative which opened up the world for Scottish universities and students alike. It helped build relationships and provided invaluable life experiences for so many young people. It was a needless casualty of Brexit,” he said.
“At the election the SNP promised a Scottish exchange programme but now it seems to have been shelved indefinitely. The SNP are happy to burnish their pro-European credentials in an election campaign but when push comes to shove they can’t be bothered with the hard work.
“There is already a scheme in place in Wales which Scottish ministers could learn from. Otherwise a generation of students will have missed out.”
The Scottish Government have been contacted for comment.