HC Deb 15 May 1947 vol 437 cc1689-90
27. Mr. Keeling

asked the Minister of Education whether he will request education authorities to increase the instruction about the British Empire and Commonwealth given in schools.

Mr. Hardman

A good deal has already been done by my Department to encourage a study of the British Commonwealth and Empire in the schools. The importance of including such studies in all secondary courses will be emphasised in a circular which will be issued very shortly to local education authorities by my Department.

Mr. Keeling

Can the Parliamentary Secretary say whether the Minister of Education agrees with the recent suggestion of the retiring Governor-General of Australia, that it is more important for school children in this country to learn about their fellow citizens in the Empire than to know the names of the wives of King Henry VIII?

Mr. Hardman

I am sure the views of my right hon. Friend coincide exactly with those of His Royal Highness.

Sir P. Hannon

Are textbooks dealing with Empire subjects now available in most of the secondary schools?

Mr. Hardman

The textbooks which are available in schools naturally deal with the Dominions and the Colonial Empire; but they also deal with other countries and other parts of the world.

Mr. Sydney Silverman

Does my hon. Friend agree that it is even more important that children in elementary and secondary schools should be brought up to regard themselves as citizens of one world?

Mr. Hardman

I will consider that.

Mr. K. Lindsay

Will my hon. Friend allow local education authorities to develop their own curricula without these constant directives from the centre, whether they are on this excellent subject or on any other?

Sir W. Smithers

Will the hon. Gentleman send a copy of the proposed circular to the Lord President of the Council?