Brexit Threatens Higher Education Sector of European Union Working Groups

The looming likelihood of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union has created a concern among academic institutions throughout Europe about the effects that Brexit may have on higher education and research.

Main considerations include research funding, staff availability, and student admission. The UK currently receives funding from the European Union for between three and nine percent of its research budget. Brexit puts this at risk. Researchers and professors are also at risk of being lost, considering that approximately 17 percent of researchers at UK universities are citizens of another country in the EU. Losing student applicants for this same reason is another concern.

Brexit threatens the educational frameworks put into place by the European Union, such as the Education and Training 2020, a plan designed to address the areas of primary and secondary education, higher education, adult learning, early childhood education and care, vocational education and training, and transversal key competencies.

The Education and Training 2020 utilizes Working Groups. These groups are aimed at addressing individual Member State education improvements, while upholding the European Union framework goals. Each Working Group focuses on a different component of Education and Training. One of these components is the Modernization of Higher Education, which is very relevant to the issue of Brexit. This Working Group will surely focus on developing policies that will ensure the best possible outcomes for the UK and the EU post-Brexit.

European scholars have already pointed out some negative effects of Brexit negotiation. These scholars point to decreased research collaboration with the UK due to uncertainty in the future of relationships. UK universities have also already noticed a decrease in postdoc applicants from other areas of the European Union, which is concerning.

Some international education experts, on the other hand, remain optimistic about the impact of Brexit. According to these experts, research collaboration between the EU and the UK the will remain a priority post-Brexit.

The possible Brexit is not creating a shortage of students in the UK. Students from Asian countries such as China, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, and India are coming to the UK to pursue higher education, and this is not anticipated to change.

Experts also credit Brexit with serving as a motivational force to bridging research relationships with other developed nations, such as the United States. They see Brexit as an opportunity for change.

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