The big question on everyone’s lips at the moment in Britain: should we stay in the EU or should we leave?
Over the past few months we’ve heard plenty of arguments for and against when it comes to matters such as immigration, benefits and housing, but we’re yet to be really informed on how Brexit will affect our education system.
WHAT DOES THE EU DO FOR EDUCATION?
- Funds research at British Universities, in some cases they provide funds that equal up to 30% more than the British Government.
- Funds the European Social Fund (ESF).*
- Contributes funding for new buildings and facilities at universities.
- Funds British Students to study abroad.
- Allows freedom for a large proportion of UK academics and educators to move around.
- The EU currently has no say on how British schools are run and how the curriculum is taught.
*The ESF is funded support for young people between the ages of 14-19 who are not in education, employment or training programmes like apprenticeships, and who may have had barriers in the way of their education. It provides different types of learning and support that may have not been offered unless the EFS was available. It is part of an EU-wide project and will continue until 2020.
WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF WE LEAVE?
As the UK already has a thriving education sector, it would be unlikely for European citizens or any other foreign students to choose not to study here, as the quality of education would not change. If the number of EU student’s does drop, the international fees applied to them would be higher, which then could be used to help any funding issues the Government has.
The money the UK currently contributes to the EU could be spent on the education system here, or on scholarships for British students that come from a poorer background.
There would also be savings as we would not have to pay tuition fees/maintenance loans for EU students. There are also concerns that EU students are less likely to pay back their tuition loans they receive from the British Government.
Although, if we were to leave the EU, all EU funding towards research in the education sector would end, meaning, we would then have to pull the money from our own Government.
Britain would also lose all EU funding towards apprenticeships and training would be cut, again meaning we would then have to take more money from the Government that we would be potentially be saving from the EU that was meant to go towards funding gaps, towards training apprenticeships. Or there would be no more money put towards these programmes making them even scarcer.
WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF WE STAY?
All funding from the EU we receive towards research in our education system would continue, which currently works out £730 million a year.
If we stay in the EU, all connections between British and European universities would change, which could mean less opportunity for British students to study abroad as well as giving European students the chance to study at our world class universities. Over 125,000 EU students study at British universities, creating an extra £2.2 billion in our economy and creating an extra 19,000 jobs.
If we leave the EU, EU students will more than likely be charged the same amount in fees as other non EU students from overseas, this could cause the number of students to drop, making the amount of money and extra jobs they bring into our economy drop also.
Now we have a better insight on how the referendum will affect your children’s educational future, what will decide? In or out?