|Erasmus, as per Hans Holbein the Younger|
A recent piece on the BBC News website headlined Erasmus: What could happen to the scheme after Brexit? and written by BBC Reality Check's Anthony Reuben has been described today as showing "the BBC's pro-EU bias both blatant & unrestrained...written wholly (& ultra-sympathetically) from the EU viewpoint...Could have been written in Brussels." It certainly only cites pro-Erasmus points, including a House of Lords report that "warned the benefits of the Erasmus programme would be very difficult to replicate with a national programme as the government is planning" and which claimed that "vocational education and training would stop, and that leaving Erasmus would 'disproportionately affect people from disadvantaged backgrounds and those with medical needs or disabilities'".
It has a real problem reaching people from deprived backgrounds, ethnic minorities, and those who don’t go to university. The scheme has been expanded to include a vocational element, but it represents a miniscule portion of the Erasmus programme, which is still dominated by university students. If we look just at the raw numbers of Brits who participated in Erasmus to study in 2015, 11,981 (86 percent) were enrolled in higher education, compared to 1,943 (14 percent) participating in vocational education or training.
However, while higher education study placements typically lasted for the best part of a year – the average length was 211 days of funded study – vocational learners typically only spent two or three weeks abroad. In fact, when the total number of days funded through Erasmus in 2015 is aggregated, less than 4 percent went to those enrolled in vocational education and training programmes.
Anthony Reuben of the BBC's Reality Check evidently took Baroness Helena Kennedy & Co's word for it that Erasmus disproportionately helps the disadvantaged and has a key vocational element. I think Charlie Cadywould's analysis suggests the reverse is true and that it actually favours "elites" and those attending universities on non-vocational courses.