HC Deb 15 December 1954 vol 535 cc1757-8
12. Mr. Brockway

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how far the conditions and syllabus of primary education in Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia permit African children to proceed to further education on a basis of equality with non-African children.

Mr. Hopkinson

Primary and secondary education of non-Africans is a responsibility of the Federal Government.

African children, for sound educational reasons, have to do their early school work in an African language, while their senior primary and secondary education is in English. Except for this, I understand that the primary syllabuses for African and non-African children are substantially the same.

On the other hand, the fact that education of European children is compulsory, means that a greater number, proportionately, proceed to further education than Africans.

Mr. Brockway

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his answer. Is he aware that, in its earlier stages, education is of such a character that not a single African will be admissible to the new multi-racial university when it is opened? In view of the high hopes there are of that university, will he do something to improve the standard of education of the African children?

Mr. Hopkinson

Every effort is being made to improve the education of African children, both in Northern Rhodesia and in Nyasaland. It is true that, at the moment, it is somewhat behindhand, but, undoubtedly, the additional finance made available through the Federation will help to improve the educational standards of the Africans.

Mr. J. Johnson

Would not the Minister agree that it does appear a mockery to many people, white and coloured, in Central Africa, to sponsor this multiracial university at Salisbury and have such high standards there, and yet to have such a low standard of secondary education? Will he do something about it, because there is much feeling about this matter both here and out there?

Mr. Hopkinson

I can only point out that in Northern Rhodesia, for example, the expenditure on African education has been raised from £745,000 in 1953, to £1,163,000 in 1954. That is an increase of 50 per cent. Although I cannot give particulars here today, there has been a similar increase in Nyasaland.