HC Deb 19 February 1947 vol 433 cc1165-8
34. Mr. Rees-Williams

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what arrangements are made by his Department for the hostel accommodation, welfare and education supervision of students from the Colonies in this country.

Mr. Creech Jones

The Welfare Department of the Colonial Office, under the direction of the Director of Colonial Scholars, is especially charged with the welfare and supervision of students from the Colonies studying in the U.K. and at Dublin. It is impossible to answer my hon. Friend's Question fully within the limits of an Oral Reply, and I am, therefore, circulating a statement in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Skinnard

Will my right hon. Friend discourage the practice of having hostels for students of one Colony only, as it defeats the purpose for which the scheme was intended?

Mr. Creech Jones

The whole problem of accommodation in this country is very difficult, and some of the hostels are for Colonial students only, but we are anxious, where we can, to get mixed hostels for the purpose of avoiding this segregation.

Sir Ralph Glyn

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether his Department are considering with the Service Departments facilities for airmen and others over here from the Colonies who are undergoing training, owing to the closing of so many hostels which were open during the war?

Mr. Creech Jones

Yes, Sir. The Welfare Department has that matter in mind as regards some of the arrangements in the provinces.

Following is the statement:

Welfare Organisation:

1. There is an extensive organisation for the welfare of people from the Colonies in the United Kingdom. The Welfare Department of the Colonial Office deals not only with students but with all classes of men and women belonging to the Colonies, e.g., persons serving in the Armed Forces, civilian war worker during the war and merchant seamen.

2. The Welfare Department is in charge of an officer formerly of the Colonial Administrative Service in Africa and is staffed partly by regular members of the Colonial Office staff and partly by temporary staff drawn from the Colonies themselves. The head of the Department is also Director of Colonial Scholars and is responsible for the welfare of colonial students in the widest sense. The welfare of Government scholars and scholars sponsored by such organisations as the Nuffield Foundation naturally has the first call on the time of the Director but in practice his department takes a keen interest in and renders every possible help to all private students coming here under their own arrangements, whose presence in this country is known to the Welfare Department.

3. Before the arrival of students who come here with the recommendation of their local students advisory committees and directors of education, the Director of Colonial Scholar's examines their academic qualifications and arranges for their admission to suitable universities and other institutions. Such students are met on arrival, accommodation is provided, ration books and clothing coupons arranged for, etc. Accommodation in the first place is usually arranged in one of our hostels where the student can get advice as to conditions in this country. Later suitable lodgings are found for him if it is not possible for him to be accommodated in the University or College or one of their Halls of Residence.

4. The Director of Colonial Scholars administers all financial arrangements for Government scholars, and if requested to do so, for private students also. Payment of College fees, scholarship allowances, cost of medicall treatment where necessary are authorised by the Welfare Department.

5. The Governments of the Gold Coast, Nigeria, Malaya and Hong Kong have all appointed their own liaison officers. These officers who have all had many years service in the particular Colony they represent are responsible under the general direction of the Director of Colonial Scholars for the personal wellbeing of the student. A special woman liaison officer has been appointed for women students from West Africa. The liaison officer visits the student in his place of education and satisfies himself or herself that the course of study is suitable to the individual's capacity; that his lodgings are comfortable and generally that he is happy.

6. Efforts are being made to find private homes where the student can be invited to spend some of his vacation. Owing to the obvious difficulties of rationing and lack at domestic help this is not very easy to arrange but progress is being made and there was a gratifying response to an appeal made at Christmastime for offers of private hospitality to be made to Colonial students. The assistance and collaboration of unofficial bodies such is the Victoria League and others is most valuable

7. In addition to the Department there is a permanent Advisory Committee on the Welfare of Colonial People in the United Kingdom of which the chairman, ex officio, is the Parlia mentary Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies The committee consists mainly of persons not holding official positions, but comprises also members of the Colonial Office staff who are specially concerned with welfare matters

8 The Weltare Department also maintains regional offices in Edinburgh, Liverpool and Cardiff and a regional officer in London, with regional advisory committees in Liverpool and Cardiff It is proposed also shortly to appoint a regional advisory committee in the East End of London.


(A) Hostels for students administered directly by the Colonial Office



Colonial House, 2, Palmerston Road; Annexes, 13. Palmerston Road and 36. Hope Terrace-31 beds


Colonial Students' Hostel 40, Leazes Terrace —10 beds

(B) Hostels for students administered behalf of Colonial Office

Nutford House. Nutford Place, Marble Arch W.1–129 beds

Colonial Girls Club, 18, Collingham Gardens. Earls Court S.W 5–27 beds

(C) Hostels for students in which the Colonial Office have an indirect interest


The University. Overseas Centre, Georgian House, 9–10 Easy Row

Under the auspices of the University of Birmingham, the British Council and the Colonial Office. The administration of the Club rests with the British Council There are 15 beds.


Glasgow University authorities are adapting Horselethill House for use as a university hall of residence The Colonial Office is to contribute £5,000 towards the expenditure involved on the understanding that 50 per cent. of the available accommodation will be allocated to Colonial students

(D) Future hostel plans for students.

Additional hostel accommodation is proposed En London, Edinburgh, Newcastle-on-Tyne, Leeds, Glasgow, Cardiff and Dublin.

10. These hostels are intended primarily as reception centres where students may go on their first arrival in this country and where they way stay until they find more permanent quarters It is the general policy of the Colonial Office that wherever possible, students from the Colonies should live and work on the same conditions as students in this country rather than be segregated into permanent hostels of their own


11. There are at the present time in this country 853 Government scholars (including Nuffield Foundation and British Council, etc.), 1,332 private students known to the Welfare Department and 725 members of the Colonial Forces or civilian war workers temporarily undertaking vocational training The course of education to be followed by the student is selected in the first place by the Director of Education in the Colony A certificate as to the scholar's diligence and conduct is submitted to the Director of Colonial Scholars at the end of each term and a fuller report on the scholar's work and progress is obtained and forwarded to the Colony at the end of the academic year If it appears that the course is unsuitable for some reason, recommendations are made by the Director of Colonial Scholars to the Director of Education in the Colony

12. Close touch is kept with the Colonial Governments with regard to their students and the Director of Colonial Scholars is on tour at the present time in West Africa to discuss all aspects of student welfare with the Colonial Governments concerned.

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