HC Deb 15 July 1941 vol 373 cc458-9
66 Major Sir Jocelyn Lucas

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether education is free and universal in Newfoundland at the present time?

The Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs (Mr. Shakespeare)

Education in Newfoundland is conducted by the Churches, with the assistance of grants from the Newfoundland Government. The law does not provide for free or compulsory education but the school fees are for the most part purely nominal and are remitted in cases of need. There has been a substantial increase in the educational facilities provided since the establishment of the Commission of Government, and the importance to be attached to education as an essential part of the Commission's programme of reconstruction is fully realised.

Sir J. Lucas

Will the Minister do his best to see that this is made free and universal?

Dr. Summerskill

Could my hon. Friend say what degree of illiteracy there is in Newfoundland?

Mr. Shakespeare

I cannot without notice.

Earl Winterton

Is my hon. Friend aware that Newfoundland is generally supposed to have the highest degree of illiteracy among any white people in the world owing to the lack of education?

Mr. Shakespeare

Without expressing a definite opinion, I would say that there is too much illiteracy, but the provision of education in Newfoundland presents very difficult problems in view of the fact that it has a coastline of 4,000 miles, with a large number of scattered outposts.