HC Deb 15 December 1955 vol 547 cc1376-7
28. Mr. de Freitas

asked the Minister of Education what study his Department has made of the development of technical education in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and in North America during the last ten years.

Sir D. Eccles

My Department has acquired much valuable information on this subject by sending senior officers to North America, by studying publications, and through the work of the United Kingdom Scientific Mission in Washington. Such reliable information as can be obtained about Russia is being studied with interest.

Mr. de Freitas

In view of the Minister's earlier answer to a supplementary question, will he not agree that although these three countries, Canada, America and Russia, are very different, there must be something that we can learn from them and that we can learn from each other, if they can produce ten times as many technicians each year as we do? That is a fairly reliable estimate.

Sir D. Eccles

I am always ready to learn anything of value to this country from anybody, but we have to be careful about these comparisons. The question of numbers is not the only one. There is also the quality and level of the education given to be considered.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

Would my right hon. Friend agree that if we are to hold our own with the Soviet Union and the United States it may very well be in the arts and humanities as much as in the sciences that we must do it? Will he not agree that these great branches of learning ought not to be neglected for some panic decision of the moment?

Sir D. Eccles

It is most important that the two great streams of learning should be appropriately balanced.