HC Deb 06 July 1944 vol 401 cc1294-5
22. Sir William Davison

asked the President of the Board of Education whether he will give an assurance that as soon as the Education Bill has become an Act of Parliament, he will issue a Regulation under the authority conferred upon him, providing that the curriculum in all county and auxiliary schools throughout the country shall make provision for the teaching of the primary duty of all citizens to defend their native land.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education (Mr. Ede)

It is the intention of my right hon. Friend when the Education Bill becomes law to apprise local education authorities and teachers of the need for instruction in the duties and responsibilities of citizenship. Such particular aspects of those duties and responsibilities as are referred to by my hon. Friend cannot adequately be dealt with in regulations which prescribe the minimum conditions for the payment of grant. The precise manner in which the subject can most effectively be imparted to pupils of differing ages and abilities is at present engaging the attention of my right hon. Friend.

Sir W. Davison

Is my right hon. Friend aware that a definite assurance has been given by the Government that some such words as those indicated in my Question would be included? Is he also aware that a general statement as to the teaching of citizenship is very different from what is suggested in my Question as to the duty of all people to defend their native land; and will the House of Commons receive a similar assurance to that given by the Government elsewhere?

Mr. Ede

I would advise my hon. Friend to put that question to my right hon. Friend when the Bill comes back to this House.

Mr. Rhys Davies

If the Minister is giving any instructions to teachers at all to teach children to defend their native land, will he add something to the effect that their native land does not always belong to them?

Viscountess Astor

Is the Minister aware that a certain section of the population do not want even to have boys go into training camps, because it makes them military-minded, and they do not want that to happen again?

Sir W. Davison

Is the Minister aware that this assurance was definitely given elsewhere? Surely the House of Commons is entitled to the same assurance?

Mr. Ede

Surely, the time I have indicated will be the time at which to get it.

Mr. Gallacher

Teach them they own their native land.