Turing scheme is poor replacement for Erasmus exchange programme - your views

" The loss of Erasmus is a huge blow and another example of the devastating impact of Brexit”

Monday, 15th March 2021, 7:00 am

Turing scheme is poor Erasmus replacement

With the Turing student exchange scheme now open for applications, it should be noted this is a pale reflection of its predecessor, the EU’s Erasmus+ programme.

The ending of Erasmus has crushed the hopes of many students who want to live, study and travel abroad. Unlike Erasmus, Turing will not pay tuition costs, and living allowance have been slashed by a fifth.

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The EU Commission paid travel costs of up to £1315, but now only students from the most disadvantaged backgrounds will receive help from the UK.

Significantly, free studies in any EU country, plus some others in Europe, has been replaced by pressure on universities and colleges to strike deals. The UK government committed to helping disadvantaged students access study abroad opportunities, but without support to cover tuition fees this will be impossible for many.

It is scarcely credible to explain how a scheme costing only £100m could fund the travels of 35,000 students.

It is also unclear whether students will be funded to come to the UK, potentially depriving British universities of a significant source of income. Not doing so would “blow a hole” in the UK’s economy worth £243m a year, a group of education and business leaders calculated last year.

The loss of Erasmus, which brings different countries and nationalities together and generates such massive cultural and educational benefits, is a huge blow and yet another example of the devastating impact of Brexit

Alex Orr, Marchmont Road, Edinburgh.

Greens seem to have lost their identity

The Scottish Parliament has rewarded John Swinney for his refusal to accede to its own decision (made twice) to release all of the documents relevant to the Salmond Inquiry.

SNP and Green MSPs voted confidence in him, with the Greens giving the crucial majority, in spite of their MSPs having voted (twice) to have him release the documents in question.

The Greens are a separatist party, not an environmentalist party, that does the bidding of the SNP. So, with one bound, Swinney was free. The SNP MSPs on the Salmond Inquiry committee had agreed with the committee’s other members that the documents should be released, yet when it came to the vote, they voted against that and for their party.

If this kind of gerry-mandering occurred at Westminster, you can be sure Ian Blackford would be first on his feet, shouting ‘corruption’. Yet somehow it is OK if the SNP does it.

Jill Stephenson, Glenlockhart Valley, Edinburgh.

Church Covid pleas fall on stony ground

I note that some of the odder and more self-important Christian denominations, as well as a few mainstream churches, are demanding the right to be excluded from the virus restrictions on the grounds that it infringes their human rights not to be allowed to gather in large numbers for worship.

Big congregations were not a requirement of the founder of their faith. If they know their Bible they should know that Jesus said, “Where two or three gather together in my name, I am with them”. Matthew 18:20.Surely if it is good enough for Jesus...

James Duncan, Rattray Grove, Edinburgh

Rangers compensation

It would be appropriate and fair that Rangers FC agree to pay for all the damage done in George Square by their fans, including the replacement of memorial seats paid for by next of kin and for the benefit of all.

Dennis Forbes Grattan, Aberdeen.