HC Deb 14 December 1950 vol 482 cc1329-30
31. Mr. Touche

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is aware that owing to the fact that instructors in Civil Defence have to follow a detailed syllabus, they are compelled to make each lecture last an hour when in fact the actual instruction can be given and understood in about 20 minutes so that volunteers find that a large part of the hour is wasted; and whether he will give instructions that greater latitude should be given to lecturers in this matter.

Mr. de Freitas

It is true that instructors are given the detailed syllabus and that the time allotted is an hour, but it has been made clear that this period is a guide and no instructor is compelled to make each lecture last an hour. In fact, the period given allows time for discussion after each lecture, and this discussion is particularly important. The whole system is flexible and instructors can use their discretion.

Mr. Touche

Does the hon. Gentleman think that this arrangement is really flexible when one lesson has to last an hour and an instructor cannot pass to a second lesson in the same hour? At present many people find these lectures a great waste of time, and this is discouraging recruiting.

Mr. de Freitas

I think that an instructor who studies, as some hon. Members have studied, the training pamphlet which has been issued will see that considerable discretion is allowed to him.

Mr. Pickthorn

Will the Home Department consider lending out these instructors so that the art of compressing into 20 minutes expositions which generally stretch over an hour, could be imparted to the Treasury Bench?

Mr. de Freitas

I think the hon. Gentleman will agree that that applies equally to both Front Benches.