Covid blow to Turing’s first year but positives too
8 Jan 2024
Britain’s replacement to the Erasmus Programme scholarships attained less than 60% of its target number of students during its launch year, says the Department of Education.
Its report on the new Turing Scheme said that in 2021/22 a total of 20,000 university, college and school students participated in the scheme that year.
This was substantially short of the 35,000 target announced in December 2020 when the scheme was set up with £110 million in funding.
However, a key factor cited for the apparent low level of take up was the global Covid-19 pandemic and its aftermath, which limited opportunities for cross-border scholarships, thanks to entry restrictions. Of those participating institutions surveyed for the report, around nine out of 10 said the health crisis had impacted the scheme.
Hopes that the Turing Scheme’s first year would include a substantial minority of 5,000 school age students were also disappointed. The actual figure was just over 2,800, although the percentage share of overall scholarships was close to the intended target.
Despite this, the first cohort included a nearly 40% representation from socially disadvantaged students and 9% with a cited disability.
Other positives included interest from nearly 90% of year 1 provider organisations in applying for follow up funding in the second year.
Also, of the institutions providing Turing scholarship routes for their students which have also been Erasmus participants, more than half of higher education providers (52%) and 42% of further and vocational education providers said they had increased their volume of international placements.
During 2023/24 the target for applications is 40,000 students with 60% from disadvantaged backgrounds.