HC Deb 01 October 1942 vol 383 cc917-8
39. Mr. J. H. Hollins

asked the President of the Board of Education, whether, in view of the increased interest being taken in this country regarding the necessity for an auxiliary international language and the great possibilities thereof in the promotion of a better understanding between the nations of the world, consideration will be given by the Government to the question of teaching Esperanto in schools, at evening classes and through the medium of the British Broadcasting Corporation?

Mr. Ede

My right hon. Friend does not feel that there is sufficient justification for his encouraging the inclusion of Esperanto generally in the curriculum of full-time day schools, particularly in view of the pressure of other subjects of special importance at the present time. The subject has from time to time been included in the curriculum of evening institutes and, no doubt, if there is a demand, it will be more widely included. The question of lessons through the medium of Broadcasting is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Minister of Information.

Sir Stanley Reed

Is there anyone in the United Kingdom capable of speaking Esperanto at the present time?

Mr. Ede

I presume there is, because I understand there are at least 600 pupils learning from a certain number of teachers.

Commander Locker-Lampson

Is not English better than Esperanto?

Mr. Ede

The hon. and gallant Gentleman's English, undoubtedly, but I have met specimens of English which are open to doubt.