In light of the recent results of the EU referendum, we are wondering how the impending Brexit will impact education.
Britain is home to many of the world’s leading universities and its education system outperforms some of the bigger European countries. Some argue that its place in the EU is the cause of its success, whilst others argue that our education system was created by our own government, not the EU, and therefore would continue to be high.
Like most concerns around the Brexit, the fate of education is uncertain, so it is important to look at both sides of the argument. Although all arguments will lean more towards impacts on further education, we will also discuss how these might impact on primary education.
Support for remaining
For many of those who supported the Remain campaign, a Brexit result would harm the economy, research industry and damage graduate job prospects. Being part of the EU has meant that universities have been able to generate £2.2billion for the economy and provide 19,000 jobs as a result of the 125,000 EU students will have every year. The Erasmus project, which has taken on 250,000 students since it began seven years ago, has contributed a further £1billion for Britain. The EU also provides us with funding towards research, sometimes contributing 30% more than our own government.
Currently, projects such as Erasmus have given students the opportunity to study abroad and still receive funding to do so. A Brexit will prevent our student’s freedom of movement to other European universities, thought to then result in less job opportunities for graduates.
We currently have produced 15% of the world’s leading research as a result of funding and support from the EU. Considering we only make up 1% of the world population, this has had a major impact on the respectability and reputation of our universities, which as a result has benefitted our economy. Being out of the EU could mean that we would lose the possibility to have leading research, therefore resulting in universities losing credibility, causing international student numbers to drop.
Further to our universities, funding from the EU has also innovated training and learning programmes for young people not in education or employment. This funding has been able to also provide opportunities for 14-19 year olds who have barriers to learning, helping them into education or employment, providing apprenticeships and training. The Government website has published a statement to support this, supporting the fact that EU funding has meant that different types of learning and support has been possible, where it wouldn’t have without. Some have also stated their concern for British graduate’s opportunities to build networks, absorb other languages and cultures, needed for businesses to gain global success.
Support for leaving
Those who support the Leave campaign such as Employment Minister, Priti Patel, have assured us that funding will still continue for universities as money gained from a Brexit could be spent on education. They have also stated that they will not deter EU students from applying to our universities, but if there is a drop in numbers, fees will be increased. Supporters have also argued that money could be spent on scholarships for our brightest minds, or to help those from the poorest backgrounds into further education. Apprenticeships and training will also continue as it is expected that our economy will be stronger.
If we remain:
- Grants towards research will continue
- Links with European universities will continue
- Britain’s membership of Erasmus will continue
- Global credibility of our universities will continue
If we leave:
- All EU funding for research will end
- EU funding for apprenticeships and training will end
- The future of our part in Erasmus is uncertain
- Britain’s funding to the EU ends, which will mean we have more money which could be spent in education
Whatever side of the debate you are on; the future of education is uncertain. The Leave campaign has come back with an argument to get rid of any fears that the Remain campaign has. If those who lead us into an independent Britain choose to spend money as promised, we might not be greatly affected, in fact we could be better off. After all, it is the government that sets out a countries education system, and therefore it is our government that have given us one of the best education systems, whatever your view as a teacher is on that. This could lead to more people gaining a good education, within highly resourced schools, with high quality teachers, meaning more people will go to university, which then means gaining better jobs, meaning that more are contributing to the growing economy, and so on.
However, if those in power choose other interests for the extra money, this could mean less being spent in education, leading to further cuts. Lack of training and less credible universities, could mean that the quality of teaching drops. It could also mean that more people become unemployed, which then impacts on the welfare system, which then means more funding is needed for these areas, impacting funding in education, causing rises in tax, leading to more disadvantaged families, leading to poorer prospects, impacting on economy and highly skilled workers, impacting on…. well the list goes on.
Although education isn’t set to be affected greatly, other areas that could be affected will contribute to a cycle that will affect education. I guess all we can do is wait and see what happens.
What are your views?