§ Mr. EDGAR JONES
asked the President of the Board of Education whether he is aware that the Board is now imposing a charge of 3s. 6d. on working men who sit for technical and evening school examinations; and, seeing that the bulk of such candidates cannot afford to pay the fee, will he take steps to have this amount reduced?
It is the case that the Board of Education have decided to charge a fee of 3s. 6d. per candidate for each subject to students who desire admission to the general examinations in science and technology. I have given full consideration to all the representations which have reached me on the point, but I cannot hold out any prospects that the amount of the fee will be reduced as regards this year's examinations. When the examinations have been held, however, I shall be prepared to consider whether the fee has had the effect of excluding candidates who had definite and substantial reasons for wishing to be examined, and whether there is a case for modifying the regulation on this point as regards examinations held in 1913 and subsequently. The examinations, which of course are not compulsory, are now regarded as being held not as a means of promoting or testing the general progress of schools, but rather in the interests of individuals who desire a personal record of the standard reached. In the circumstances it did not seem desirable that the whole cost of these examinations should fall on general educational funds. The hon. Member will, of course, be aware that it is not anticipated that the cost of the examinations will be in any way covered by the fees charged.
Mr. HUGH EDWARDS
In view of the fact that the bulk of the candidates cannot afford to pay the fees, is the hon. Gentleman prepared to meet them"
I have already answered that point. I am not prepared to admit what the hon. Member says, but I will very closely watch the operation this year with a view of relieving it next year.
Mr. HUGH EDWARDS
Is the right hon. Gentleman prepared to instruct the local authority to give some help towards meeting the expenses?