HC Deb 23 June 1943 vol 390 cc1155-6
44. Mr. David Adams

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the percentage of illiteracy in the population of Seychelles, which in the census of 1931 was 75 per cent.; what proportion of children of school age are attending school; and what steps have been taken to give effect to the recommendations of the Report of 1938, by Mr. C. B. Smith, Director of Education of the Seychelles?

Colonel Stanley

I have no precise information as to the present percentage of illiteracy in the Seychelles, but I am expecting from the Governor a full report on the educational problem in the Colony. I regret, however, that I have no reason to think that there has so far been any substantial recent improvement in the matter of illiteracy of the population. The total number of children on the school rolls in 1941 was 3,592 out of some 6,000 children. There were also 424 children receiving secondary education.

As the answer to the last part of the Question is rather long, I will, with my hon. Friend's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Adams

In view of the fact that educational standards in the Seychelles appear to be lower than in any other part of the Colonial Empire and that it is five years since recommendations were made for improvements, cannot the matter be expedited?

Colonel Stanley

The whole question of educational reform is to be discussed with the Governor by my educational adviser, who is now on tour in that area.

Following is the reply to the last part of the Question:

The adoption of many of the recommendations in Mr. C. B. Smith's report necessitates extensive additions and repairs to existing school buildings as well as the provision of some new accommodation. In war conditions in the Indian Ocean the provision of such material and the necessary skilled labour must be exceptionally difficult. Financial provision has recently been made for reviving the post of Inspector of Schools, for scholarships to poor pupils from primary to secondary schools, and for improving teachers' salaries on the lines recommended by Mr. C. B. Smith. Assistance is also being given to Missions towards providing midday meals for indigent schoolchildren. The question of educational reform is to be discussed with the Governor by my educational adviser in the near future.