§ 49. Mr. Wedgwood
asked the Undersecretary of State for the Colonies whether, in view of the need for the teaching of the virtues of liberty and democracy, he contemplates taking steps to get such education into the schools in the Colonies; and whether he will consult the education authorities in the Colonies 287 and the Ministry of Information in the matter, and consider combining such instruction with the teaching of the English tongue?
§ The Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. George Hall)
The Colonial peoples vary greatly in race, language, traditions and civilisation: and their educational systems must be framed with regard to these differences. But the virtues of liberty and democracy are fundamental conceptions which must underlie all British systems of education: and I assure my right hon. Friend that the atmosphere of instruction in the Colonies is infused with these ideas. The teaching of the English language is fostered as a general policy and is itself designed to unlock for the Colonial peoples, through the teaching of literature and history, the storehouse of those political ideas which are part and parcel of the British heritage. While, therefore, I entirely agree with the spirit of my right hon. Friend's inquiry, I feel that there is no need to take the specific steps which he indicates when the whole course of day-to-day administration in this sphere is set in the direction which he desires.
§ Mr. Wedgwood
Would my hon. Friend ask the Secretary of State whether he would consider, in view of the importance of the matter at the present time, setting up a small Departmental Committee to consider how we can improve the teaching of both the virtues and liberty of democracy and of English to the coloured inhabitants of the Empire?
§ Mr. Wedgwood
May I ask further that the Advisory Education Committee for the Colonies should be asked for a report on what can be done at the present time, and, secondly, whether it is possible to co-operate with the India Office in a similar manner?