§ 3.50 p.m.
§ Mr. Michael Stewart (Fulham)
The White Paper which we are discussing today first made its appearance in February and it is perhaps proper to remark straight away on the fact that we are discussing it on a Supply day. That is to say, at this date it is due only to the action of the Opposition that the House has had an opportunity to discuss this very important subject. In a good many quarters regret has been expressed that the Government do not attach sufficient importance to this subject to make provision by their own action for the discussion which my right hon. and hon. Friends have now made possible under Supply procedure.
Nobody disputes that this is a very great and very serious problem, full of consequences for the future of the country. That fact has been brought home to the Government and to the public 1640 generally by leaders of industry, by outstanding figures in the trade union movement, by the expert advisers on scientific and technical matters who services are available to the Government, and by all those who work in the educational world itself. Their representations have been supported by comparisons between the progress in technical education of this and other countries. These comparisons, even if they are not presented in an unduly alarmist fashion, are none the less alarming enough, but I do not propose to weary the House with comparative statistics of the numbers of trained scientists in this country, the United States and the Soviet Union.
Hon. Members who follow these matters are already very familiar with these comparisons. When every allowance has been made for the different circumstances of the different countries, these figures still give us cause for very great disquiet. We can now add to them a Report from O.E.E.C. which was published last November and which commented of this country that there was a serious shortage of trained scientists, particularly in physics, chemistry, all branches of engineering and metallurgy. From every quarter, home and abroad, we have had the seriousness of this problem brought home to us.
The White Paper—at any rate, we are grateful to it for this—sets out the nature of the problem and gives us certain useful and workable definitions. At the outset, it describes technologists, technicians and craftsmen. Although there has been some argument as to the exact significance which should be given to those terms, I believe that, on the whole, the White Paper defines them as well as I have seen them defined anywhere. In searching for a statement of the problem with which we have to deal, we may reasonably adopt the definitions and terms used in the White Paper.
The White Paper accepts the fact that we have here a universal problem, a problem that has to be solved by considering the technologist, the technician and the craftsman alike. It is quite possible that the nation might make eflorts which, would result in a substantial increase in the number of workers in one of those categories and yet our progress might be hampered, or finally halted, 1641 because the progress in one category had not been matched by a sufficient increase in the number of workers in one or other of the remaining two categories.
We have to consider a balanced programme and when we translate that into terms of what has to be done in our educational system, it means that we have to consider educational advance at every level, from the highest academic level through many kinds of technical college and institute right to the secondary, or, indeed, to the primary schools. Although—naturally, one would not complain of it—not very much is said of school problems in the White Paper, it will be universally accepted that the plans in the White Paper cannot hope to come to any kind of fruition unless they are based on a satisfactory foundation laid in the secondary and even in the primary schools.
It is my intention to try to review the educational scene in that order, from the highest academic levels to the schools, and to set the proposals in the White Paper against the actual facts and problems with which we have to contend. If I am at all successful in presenting a general description of the position, I have no doubt that many of my hon. Friends will add a great wealth of particular example and development to points which I could not hope to discuss fully without wearying the House.
Let us turn to the provision for technical education at what I have called the highest academic level. When we discuss that, we discuss it against a background of two facts. The first is that progress in the universities since the war has been encouraging. Indeed, it is probably in the production of people from the universities who will be eminent in the sciences that we have least to fear in foreign comparisons. There has been a remarkable increase in the total number of university students since the war and a gratifying, although not yet adequate, increase in the proportion who are pursuing science courses.
The other fact against whose background we can consider technical education at the highest level is the work of the National Council for Technological Awards, under the chairmanship of Lord Hives, whose recent Report has put forward proposals for an award to be 1642 regarded, as far as I can judge, as the equivalent of a university degree, but called a diploma in technology. This Report, of course, draws our attention to the fact that if we have some ground for satisfaction about what has been done in the universities, the highest academic level of technical education cannot be supplied from the universities alone. We have to increase the number of people who will be pursuing the kind of course which it is proposed to recognise under the proposals of Lord Hives's Council.
The Hives recommendations are, of course, for the conditions of granting an award and for the recognition of certain courses as capable of justifying that award. It is concerned with recognition of courses rather than colleges, but it will not be disputed that if anything like the Hives proposals come into effect, there will be a certain number of colleges, the whole or by far the greatest part of whose work will be concerned with students who are pursuing courses recognised by the Hives Council and leading to the proposed diploma of technology.
We shall have, in fact, a group of advanced technology colleges comparable to the universities. Immediately we have to ask ourselves what should be the proper designation and status of the new award which is at present being described as a diploma of technology, and which colleges are to be the ones whose main concern will be the preparation of students so that they can qualify for the award. Out of the colleges now in existence, which are to be considered capable of being brought to the level where they can do this work? Also, where will the colleges be? What picture will they form on the map? What opportunities will they give to students in all parts of the country?
It is on this that the White Paper and the Government's handling of the matter have so far been unhappy, but we hope that the debate will give the Government some opportunity to remedy it. There is in the White Paper a list of 24 colleges. I want to say at the outset that it is a great pity that the list was put in the White Paper at all. Although it is, and, if one pedantically studies the wording, it does not claim to be more than a factual statement that these 24 colleges now qualify for 75 per cent. grant, inevitably, particularly when taken with the paragraph immediately follow- 1643 ing the list, it is suggested that the colleges of advanced technology are to be some or all of those 24.
The result has been a great deal of local and regional alarm about the provision which the Government propose to make in England and Wales for courses leading to the very highest awards in technology. The Minister of Education will already be aware of the concern felt by hon. Members representing constituencies in the neighbourhood of Teesside who have observed the list and feel unhappy about it. He will also be aware that the south-west of England receives far from adequate recognition in the list. He will find, during the course of the debate, if he does not already know, that hon. Members representing constituencies in Wales have very considerable alarm. I believe that my hon. Friend the Member for Caernarvon (Mr. G. Roberts) will hope to catch Mr. Speaker's eye during the debate, and it may well be that other hon. Friends of mine from various parts of the Principality also hope to do so. I think that their alarm and that of the North-East and the South-West has been fully justified.
I believe it is the view of many people in Wales that when we speak of higher technological education in Wales we ought to think of an institution forming a part of the University of Wales, as does the School of Medicine in the Principality. I should like to refer again in a few minutes to the matter of university status for these colleges, but I think the Minister should be aware of that view which is held by many people concerned with Welsh education.
I said that it was unfortunate that the list, which was bound to give rise to alarm—possibly to unnecessary alarm—and to misleading assumptions was put in the form it was in the White Paper. If we ask how many colleges there are which are capable of doing the work that will result in the award of a diploma of technology, we may find that the resulting number is substantially fewer than the list of 24 or, indeed, fewer than many people who have considered the matter would suppose. I believe that the problem was put to Lord Hives, who replied bluntly, "It will be just too bad if none of them can come up to the required 1644 standard." I am bound to say that that rigorous approach seems to me to be the right one. We shall not meet the problem by calling a college "a college of advanced technology" if it cannot do the work.
In a speech at Northampton, the Minister spoke of the possibility of ten such colleges. However many or however few they may be, it is important that they should be of a quality capable of doing the kind of work described in the Hives Report. If they are not to be made capable of doing that, then the whole higher level part of the White Paper will mean nothing at all.
I would add this. If they are to be, even if it is only a few of them, made capable of doing that work, then we want a quite different status and dignity for them from that proposed in the White Paper. I would suggest that the proposed award, now tentatively called a diploma of technology, ought not only to be the equivalent of a degree but ought to be called a university degree.
There are, I am afraid, a considerable number of people in this country who can put the letters M.A., B.A. and B.Sc. after their names who have not gone through as rigorous a discipline as many people who can only call their qualification a diploma. I do not think that that is desirable. It is a relic of the belief that knowledge in the sciences is somehow or other, knowledge for knowledge, inferior to knowledge in other subjects. We have got to abandon that conception.
If I am right in that proposal, it would follow, I think, that the colleges we are considering should not be under local or even regional control but should be institutions of university status, and their link with the Government should probably be forged by an enlargement of both the resources and functions of the University Grants Committee. I do not make that proposal merely because people who are interested in technical education are jealous for prestige. There are a number of sober and important reasons why I ask the Minister to give very earnest consideration to this proposition. I know it involves a radical recasting of some of the proposals in the White Paper, but I think that it is worth his while to look at the matter again very seriously.
Why do I make this proposal? I would, first, draw the Minister's attention 1645 to a paragraph in a memorandum from the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee:There still appear to be objections in some university quarters to proposals that even a limited number of selected technological colleges should be entitled to award degrees to their students. But we hope that such views can now be modified in the national interest since it is abundantly clear that an adequate supply of students for the colleges will never be forthcoming unless they and their parents are satisfied on this score.We live in a country where, by long tradition, a university degree is regarded as the mark of attainment at the highest academic level. The headmasters of secondary schools are, naturally, pleased and proud to quote the number of their students who have won university honours. They find it very difficult indeed to feel equally satisfied if they can quote only a certain number of diplomas, despite the fact that those who really know these matters may be satisfied of the great worth of the diploma. The attitude of parents and teachers will be affected by the very name and the status and dignity given to the award.
Also, the Government propose that State scholars should be allowed to hold State scholarships at colleges of this kind, that persons who achieve this award, to be called the diploma of technology, should be regarded as qualified to go on to post-graduate work. That is to say, by two solid practical tests, it is to be regarded as the equivalent of a degree. Is there any reason, other than a kind of intellectual snobbery, for not calling it a degree?
As to the status of the colleges, the White Paper says that they must have strong governing bodies so that they can build up an independence and spirit of their own. I wonder whether we can be sure of getting that if they remain under local control. An earlier debate in the House on another matter brought out the fact that the Ministry has by no means been universally successful in getting local authorities to understand the importance of providing strong governing bodies for the institutions that are already under their control. We shall come much nearer a solution to the problem of really effective governing bodies if these colleges are university colleges granting university degrees.
1646 Nor do I believe, unless that change in status is made, that they will be able to offer either the salary or the status to acquire the staff that they need. Further, we must remember—as I shall hope to show shortly—that in this field of technical education for which the local authorities are already responsible, there are, even at present, a great many administrative difficulties; and that those will excessively hamper the development of education at the highest academic level it, at that level, technical education is left in local control.
I know what is in the minds of those who prefer the local solution. They fear —and it is a proper thing to fear—that if we take this matter out of the control of local authorities, there will be a decline in local interest. I do not believe it. I do not believe that the citizens of Birmingham, for example, have no local interest or regard for their university because it is not run by the city council. I do not believe that public-spirited citizens up and down the country are saying, "Whatever the quality of our college, it must be under the city council." I believe that they are saying, "Whatever the form of government at our advanced technological college, it ought to be as good as possible." I consider that anxieties on that ground are vastly overestimated, and that the Minister's plan for education at the highest academic level in the technical field is at present far too narrowly conceived.
May I now turn to the next level, the wide range of technical colleges and institutes, some of which are preparing students for work at the highest academic level, and many of which are helping to train technicians and craftsmen in very large numbers. The local authorities need not fear, if the advanced technological colleges are taken out of their range, that there will be too little to do. In the range about which I am now speaking there is a vast field of useful work for the local authorities.
At this stage, I ought to mention it is at this level that it is desirable to pay particular attention to Scotland, and we are glad to see that the Secretary of State for Scotland is present in the Chamber. I believe it is true that at the highest academic level in the technical field Scotland is ahead of England, but that is not so at this level; and special attention will be needed at this intermediate level 1647 of technical education to the needs of Scotland. We hope that one of the Government spokesmen will give a proper respect to that during this debate.
At the technical college and institute level we find that there is now very unsatisfactory administrative mechanism. Hon. Members who have studied the great wealth of material on this subject which has been sent to all of us, and, in particular, the material sent by the National Union of Students and by teachers at the technical institutions, will have noticed the frequently made and well substantiated charge that there is far too little co-ordination of educational provision at this level by the local authorities. We have some instances of a large region being deprived of proper education at this level, because none of several local authorities concerned is prepared to take on itself the responsibility of providing a college of this kind. In other areas we find waste of staff and resources, because authorities are competing with one another to show how much they can provide.
It may be said that there is machinery to deal with those evils through the regional academic boards, but I expect that the Minister is aware that there is a good deal of dissatisfaction over the working of the system of regional academic boards. For example, on some of them there is no representation of those who do the job in the field of technical education, which is not a desirable feature. There is also a great deal of dissatisfaction over the working of the 75 per cent. grant. Reasons, given from time to time by the Ministry, why a particular college is not given a 75 per cent. grant appear to those at the receiving end to be confused and self-contradictory.
Even in so humdrum a matter as the vexed problem of out-county fees we are still without a solution. It is still the fact that somebody who lives in one area, and has very good reasons for wanting to pursue some intermediate kind of technical education in the area of another local authority, may be asked to pay something quite beyond his means; and there is not a definite plan in the White Paper even for ironing out that administrative difficulty.
Further, technical colleges usually, though not always, receive students in at 1648 the age of 16. The statutory school-leaving age is 15, though happily a number of pupils continue beyond the age of 15. But, none the less, there is a leak, a wastage, owing to the fact that a number of children, who might have made good students at a technical college do leave school—possibly for family reasons —at 15 and do not immediately move even into part-time technical education. The extent of that problem varies from one part of the country to another, but it is one which the Minister ought to examine.
If we look at these things, the overlapping and dissatisfaction in the working of the regional academic boards; the dissatisfaction over the 75 per cent. grant; the failure to solve the problem of out-county fees and the possibility of a leak at the age of 15, it adds up to a serious fault in the administrative mechanism. Most of these matters receive scanty attention in the White Paper, and we are bound to conclude that the Government have seriously underestimated the amount of administrative repair needed to get this part of the programme properly administered.
I ought to say another thing about the intermediate level of technical education. Many of the students who pursue technical education at this level do so by means of day release and it is the Government's hope—I have not counted the number of times the word "hope" occurs in the White Paper, but it must be quite a considerable number—that there will be a considerable expansion of day release. In the White Paper we are provided with some statistics about day release. Discussing these figures with many people who should be knowledgeable, I have noticed the extraordinary amount of skepticism which is expressed about them.
It is not always clear whether the percentages are of all the young workers in the industry concerned, or whether industries have merely thought of those in a formal apprenticeship and forgotten the rest. It may be owing to differences in the method of computation that we get this astonishing difference of percentages which the tables show. But one thing is clear, there is not enough day release at present.
Some hon. Members have recently had an opportunity of studying technical education in Germany and no doubt during 1649 this debate they will be saying something about what they have seen and learned there. From what I have been told, I do not think that we need get into a panic because of what Germany is doing. But of the things which the Germans are doing, to my mind, one of the most significant is that already for them day release is universal. I think that is significant, because it provides a considerable number of people who have had the chance of a reasonably good grounding: and then as opportunities to increase education at the higher levels come along, there are people capable of taking advantage of them. As part of the Government's plan, I should like to see a target date for making day release universal.
I have spoken of colleges at the higher academic level and colleges at an intermediate level, or, rather, several intermediate levels. May I now say something of the general provision contained in the White Paper for colleges of all kinds. Over a period of five years in England and Wales we are to have £70 million spent on building and £15 million on equipment and there are other figures for Scotland. We shall be told at once—indeed, we have been told in the columns of The Times this morning—that that is very much better than in the years immediately after the war. I hasten, if I may, to say that before the right hon. Gentleman says it, but let him remember that this field of technical education is the field which fortune has specially reserved for him to distinguish himself.
In the years immediately after the war very notable advances were made in the schools. The school-leaving age was raised and if that had not been done it would not be possible to think in terms of a plan of this kind at all. A very extensive advance was made in the number of young people who can go to university, which is now one of the most satisfactory features in our whole technical education set-up. To the Minister is left the opportunity, at all the other points of technical education, to make a big advance comparable to those advances in other fields made by his predecessors. It is against that fact that his figure must be judged, but what does the White Paper say?
It says it is the "general intention" to spend these amounts of money. It is not precise whether they will, in fact, be spent in each successive year. When one 1650 makes up a figure like that it is not done, I suppose, by the process of thinking of a number and doubling it, but it is done by thinking in terms of approximately what projects are needed to make this plan sensible and then by considering how much all those projects will cost.
This £70 million ought to be a translation into present money values of a programme of projects. Can we have an assurance that if, as is possible—I do not put it higher than that—in five years' time £70 million does not mean what it means today the Government will stick to the same real expenditure and not merely to a money figure irrespective of the value of money? Have local authorities got to spend this money surrounded by the same kind of difficulties which are at present putting them in a position in which they cannot start school projects and the Minister is then able to quote their difficulties against them as a reason for introducing circulars like the recent Circular 306?
I would recommend the Minister to consider removing the highest academic level in the manner I have suggested out of the local field into the university field, see that adequate financial provision is made for it there, and reserve the whole of this £70 million for the other levels of technical education. He will agree that, although I am proposing he should spend rather more, I am not making a wild or astronomical proposal. I am considering what might conceivably be regarded as acceptable to the Government. Secondly, it should be understood that £70 million means £70 million at present prices, that we are talking about real things and not of what a distinguished former right hon. Member of this House called, as we now see, with some point, "meaningless symbols".
Thirdly, with the local authorities, will he make a real review of their building difficulties and see why it is that, after all the inflictions imposed upon them by this Government with the excuse that it would make it easier for them to complete their programmes in time, apparently they cannot do it? Can we have a guarantee that the carrying through of those programmes will not run into the same difficulties?
There is much one could say about staff at these colleges, but I do not want to weary the House and will make only 1651 one point on that subject. We hear reports of economies the Government are to make in the Armed Forces. Economies ought not merely to be reflected in figures of money. If the economies are at all substantial the Government will find that they have no need for the services in the Armed Forces of large numbers of people with eminent technical qualifications. Will the Government consider what encouragement they will give them to transfer those services to this vital field of technical education? The Minister has been questioned about that in this House before. I hope he will have something to tell us about some plans the Government have in this respect.
Where are the students to come from? They are to come from sandwich courses, from those who have grants or State scholarships to pursue full-time courses, and from day-release. All those proposals are good in themselves. It is disquieting to find that the only immediately significant thing about the State scholarships is that their number will go up from 120 to 150. That is not a very large increase, unless one measures it by percentages of course.
In the matter of sandwich courses and day release, we are told again that it is "hoped" industry will help. The Government should have put into the White Paper some result of consultations which, presumably, they have held with industry about how those hopes can be fulfilled In what ways are the Government to make it worth while for industry to help? What is to be the position of smaller firms which cannot so readily part with staff or apprentices to help the Government carry through their programme? These things are not in the White Paper, but, in my submission, they ought to be there.
There ought not to be too much reliance on private industry on this matter. Supposing we run into a recession however mild—we do not want to be in a position in which the first result would be the chopping of help given to the technical education programme. The technical education programme ought to be something the stability of which the Government can guarantee by the resources at their disposal and the firmness of their intentions.
1652 We have also to rely on industry to provide some of the amenities of the various colleges. I hope that the Government will take this question of life and amenities of students at technical colleges more seriously than the White Paper does with its one short paragraph about books—there must be more technical books we all agree—and one short paragraph about canteens. It is in this matter that we get to the problem of seeing that there is a liberal content to the education of the technician and a technologist. It has to be found, I think, very largely by enabling him to carry out his education in the atmosphere of a good university college and that means very much more than purely educational provision—in the narrowest sense of that term.
I must bring my remarks to a close. I said that at the end I would refer to the schools. I shall do so briefly because there are many other matters we have to discuss, but if I refer to them only briefly that is not because I in any way underestimate their importance. It is in the schools, if anywhere, that the potential students, without whom this White Paper would be all nonsense, must get the necessary grounding. It is in the schools that there is the possibility of more people being encouraged to follow a scientific career.
Even if the White Paper proposals were expanded and remodelled in the way I have suggested, if they are to come to anything there are two things about the schools which we must look at. One is the range of school life; how soon can we get the leaving age up to 16? The other is reduction of the size of classes. I do not want to put an impossible order on the Government, but I must say that the way in which they are acting at present suggests that they will not reach either of those objectives anything like as soon as they need to be reached.
Soon after the White Paper on Technical Education, a few months afterwards, comes Circular 306, the effect of which appears to be to freeze school building to not more than £50 million a year for the next two years, which probably will give us for a three-year period an average of not more than £45 million. At the same time as the White Paper is telling us that in the schools we ought to encourage more girls to take up a scientific career, we have a circular saying that if it is a 1653 mixed school or a girls' school the authority need not spend so much on it. It is this constant contrast between intention and actual performance that makes it difficult for us to have confidence in the Government's proposals.
Therefore, while we would say that as far as the White Paper goes it is to be welcomed, it is adequate neither in conception nor in emphasis, and we are not encouraged to believe that the intentions will be carried out when we consider the rest of the Government's attitude to the educational problem. I see that an attitude of this kind on our part, one of mild but firm condemnation of the Government, is in fashion. The Association of Education Committees this morning rejected an unkind suggestion that they should demand the Minister's resignation, and went on to say that the Government have broken faith with education. These two things can be taken either as a compliment to the Minister or as a disparagement of any possible successor for him who might be found on the benches opposite; or, possibly. again, as a gloomy conclusion drawn from experience that a change of Minister does not make all that difference.
We say, therefore—and I say this very seriously, having considered the matter at great length—that in our view the Government's proposals mean that their plan for technical education at the highest academic level is too narrowly conceived, that on all the intermediate levels the Government have gravely underestimated the administrative problem with which they have to deal, and that their proposals for securing staff or students are still imprecise and vague, and place too much reliance on private effort, to the neglect of the Government's responsibilities.
We have said all this against the background of the need for a solid foundation in the schools. We cannot fail to be impressed by the unhappy contrast between the vague and diffuse "general intention"—which is the phrase in the White Paper about the money spent; and if we set the White Paper against the recent circular we see this unhappy contrast—when the Government are proposing to extend education, and the ruthless and enthusiastic precision of their directions for curtailing it.
1654 It is for these reasons, and for others which my hon. Friends will deploy in the debate, that I beg to move,That this House, whilst welcoming the provisions of the White Paper on Technical Education (Command Paper No. 9703), does not consider them adequate to meet the needs of the nation.
§ Mr. Alfred Robens (Blyth)
I am sure that the House will be eternally grateful for the brevity of my speech in this debate. I beg formally to second the Motion.
§ 4.33 p.m.
§ The Minister of Education (Sir David Eccles)
The Government wholeheartedly thank the Opposition for putting down this Motion, which condemns our policy, and, in particular, thank the right hon. Member for Blyth (Mr. Robens) for the manner in which he seconded that Motion. It is not often, I suppose, that we welcome so straight a criticism, as we certainly do in the case of technical education, but the reason is that the more this subject is discussed the better, and I agree with the hon. Member for Fulham (Mr. M. Stewart) who moved the Motion that it is high time we had this debate.
We are not at all complacent or self-satisfied in what we are doing. The reason why we are anxious for more discussion is that there is an essential difference between education in schools and education after leaving school. We can take the pupils in school for granted: they have got to go to school, whether they want to or not. But further education is voluntary, and to make it a success we have to arouse interest throughout the country—the interest of students, their parents and their employers. Voluntary institutions of the kind we are discussing only flourish when there is impatient expectation that they should do better. I am sure that the hon. Member for Fulham will agree that the debate, which has been opened in a way of which I do not complain, will greatly help to stimulate this interest.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and I look forward very much to hearing the views of hon. Members on both sides of the House on the White Paper. It necessarily had to come out in advance of the administrative acts about which we can now give information, because this is a subject on which local authorities and other people have to be consulted. As a basis for that con- 1655 sultation, we thought it right to publish the White Paper giving our general ideas. Now I think I may be able to fill in some gaps, to many of which hon. Gentleman referred.
First, I should like to say that I was glad that the hon. Gentleman did not dwell too long on comparisons with technical education in foreign countries. We can learn some very useful lessons from other countries, and Her Majesty's inspectors are paying frequent visits to technical institutions abroad. Indeed, some are going to Russia this autumn. But I think there is just a danger that we may campaign for technical education as though it were an international race, like the arms race. [HON. MEMBERS: "It is."] I do not agree. We have to spend money on defence because we cannot trust the other fellow to keep the peace. Nobody wants arms for their own sake; we all look forward to disarmament.
Education is really something quite different. It is something we want for its own sake, and in which we believe, and it is our duty and our desire to give the best possible education to every child in this country, irrespective of what any other country is doing for its children. I am sure that it is necessary to have that firm view about the importance of education, quite apart from the international scene, though, in a secondary way, competition from abroad may be a useful spur.
The charge brought by the hon. Gentleman opposite is that we have not made, or are not proposing to make, adequate provision. The word adequate really has not very much meaning unless it is related to a time-table, and the proposals in the White Paper are not the last word. There never will be a last word in education. It is a system which grows and changes as generations pass. The White Paper proposals were meant to be the outline of a five-year instalment—the best we believe it practical to attempt in those years—and our plans have to be judged in relation to that period of time, and, as the hon. Gentleman pointed out, also to what it is necessary for us to do in other parts of the education service. The hon. Gentleman was surely right when he said that we must try to keep a balance in the various advances we are making between one part of the education service and another. 1656 This whole subject is very large indeed, and I know that a considerable number of hon. Members wish to speak. I believe it would be for the convenience of the House if I did not speak about the university plans, which will be dealt with by my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal, whose knowledge and experience in the field of education is without equal and for whose support I am most grateful. He will refer to the Scottish universities as well when he comes to wind up the debate. I think the best way for me to answer the hon. Gentleman would be to leave aside all the general arguments on the need for technical education, the export trade and all the rest of it, and to confine myself to giving information to the House in answer to the very pertinent inquiries which he made.
The hon. Gentleman asked about the structure of the technical colleges and, in particular, about the colleges of advanced technology—how many there would be, where they were to be located and what kind of control we would have. He said that he did not think our programme was big enough or firm enough and he asked me about the supply of teachers and also the supply of students. I will try to deal with his questions in that order, beginning with the structure of technical education outside the universities.
We have done a great deal of thinking and negotiating on this matter and a circular is going to local authorities today reviewing the pattern of the technical colleges and indicating how each kind of college can play its part. The purpose of the circular and the principle of the action we propose to take is to fill in the gaps in the existing provision, to which the hon. Member referred, and to do this in response to the changing needs of industry. Industry today is asking for many more advanced courses of university or near-university quality. We look, first, to the universities themselves for more scientists and technologists, and their plans my right hon. Friend will explain later.
I do not think there is any conflict between universities and technical colleges in this advanced sphere. Whether the universities will wish or will be able to cope with their share of the increasing number of eighteen years olds, I cannot say. Let us suppose that they can. Even so, it is certain that the technical colleges will have all their work cut out to educate 1657 the young men and women who do not go to universities but prefer a system of earning and learning at the same time and who will be asking for advanced courses in technical colleges,
There is no doubt that the limiting factor to what we can do is the number of teachers with qualifications up to the right standard. That being so, I have come to the conclusion that it would be a disservice to technical education if we tried to disperse these, our scarcest resources, over too many colleges. Therefore, with the help of the local authorities we are trying to strike a fair balance between the supply that we anticipate of full-time, highly qualified teaching staff, which means concentration, and the advantage of providing courses as near as possible to the industries who will both release the students and help us out with part-time teachers. There is a certain conflict between these two things.
In ordinary education up to the end of school life, I suppose that the education authority always tries to take the school to the children; but when we come to this further education, especially at the higher levels, we have to contemplate taking students to the college. Therefore, the hostels and the amenities which the hon. Gentleman mentioned will become more and more important. Clearly, if such a policy is to succeed we must have regional co-ordination and I look to the authorities to co-operate fully with one another.
At present there are, broadly speaking, and leaving aside certain national colleges like the National Foundry College, three types of technical college. There are the local, the area and the regional colleges. The White Paper proposes to add a fourth type—colleges of advanced technology. I can now give some information about this pattern as it is emerging.
First, in England and Wales there are 300, or a few more, local colleges which provide part-time or full-time courses up to the level of Ordinary National Certificate or its equivalent. In the main, they educate the technicians and the craftsmen and it is essential that a larger number of boys and girls leaving school between the ages of fifteen and eighteen should go to these local colleges and there take their first step 1658 towards advanced work and high qualifications.
A feature of our existing technical education, which is much admired by foreigners, and which we must do all we can to preserve and enhance, is that the English, Welsh and Scottish students can start courses at all ages and at all stages in their development and transfer from one level to another without losing the progress they have made. This system is not perfect but it is there and it is a tradition. This opportunity which a student has to start when he or she is ready and then to go as far as he can is something which, I am convinced, must not be lost through planning, perhaps, more closely. It is essential to keep this flexibility between one kind of college and another and one course and another and to keep the door open to all students at all times.
This opportunity begins in the local college, and it continues—and there must be an overlap—in the area college. To give a rough figure, there may be 150 area colleges, covering much the same ground as the local colleges and also providing more advanced courses, mostly part-time. As things are at present, there are in England and Wales about enough colleges and centres for this kind of work, but a considerable number of them require expansion and they appear in the capital programmes which have already been approved, about which I will say something presently.
I come next to the regional colleges. I would say that in a few years' time there might be thirty of these colleges. They will cover most of the same ground as area colleges, plus a good deal of advanced work in the form of full-time or sandwich courses. Among the regional colleges there will be some—for example, the North Staffordshire Technical College at Stoke-on-Trent and the Treforest Technical College in Glamorgan—which provide advanced courses of distinction in single technologies. Their work is of the utmost importance to the industry concerned and I want to see it continue and flourish. These courses will be eligible for the 75 per cent. grant.
At the apex of the structure, we shall designate colleges of advanced technology. These will concentrate, as the hon. Gentleman himself said would be right, entirely on advanced work, that is, work above 1659 the level of the Ordinary National Certificate, including post-graduate and research work. They will cover a broad range of technologies. They will earn 75 per cent. grant for all their advanced technological work, and to qualify for designation a college must fulfil a number of conditions.
Those conditions are set out in the circular and are fairly stiff. They cover such matters as the composition of the governing body, which is important in order to give the right status to the college; the financial control of the college, for the purpose of giving the colleges a certain liberty which they should have in view of their position; the staffing arrangements, and the standard of accommodation required. We shall look to these colleges for a growing number of top-grade technologists. Therefore, the quality and breadth of the teaching is all important, and that is the case for concentrating in a comparatively small number of colleges the teaching resources that we have in sight at the moment.
The colleges will be of far more than local importance, and, therefore, I am looking to the local authorities to administer them in that spirit. The argument is closely balanced, I must say, as to whether we should have taken them from the local authorities or should leave them with the authorities as we have decided to do. But these great corporations have over the last few years been willing, as I am sure those hon. Gentlemen who represent them know, to do a great deal more for the technical colleges than it has been possible for the successive Ministers to allow, and it is right to give them an opportunity to see whether they cannot, with their close interest in the colleges, build them up to something like university status. I believe that it is right to give this experiment a trial and under the conditions laid down I think it will be successful.
§ Mr. Austen Albu (Edmonton)
If, as the right hon. Gentleman says, these colleges are to be of university level and there are to be very few of them to start with, will it be possible, while they are under local authority control, to ensure that any student can go to any one of them in the same way as he or she can go to a university?
§ Sir D. Eccles
Perhaps I can deal with that when I come to student entry. It is, of course, very important to set standards high.
I have proposed to designate eight colleges of advanced technology, with two more in sight.
§ Mr. James Callaghan (Cardiff, South-East)
Does the right hon. Gentleman mean on the ground or in sight?
§ Sir D. Eccles
Two more coming over the horizon, if the hon. Gentleman can understand that.
The eight on the list are provisional, because I still have to satisfy myself that in so far as the colleges selected do not already fulfil the necessary conditions they will be able to do so in the very near future. The colleges are: the Birmingham College of Technology; the Bradford Technical College; the Cardiff College of Technology and Commerce; Loughborough College of Technology; the Royal Technical College, Salford; and, in. London, the Battersea, Chelsea and Northampton Polytechnics.
What the hon. Gentleman said about the situation in Wales was very interesting. I was there only about 10 days ago discussing this with the Welsh authorities. I believe that Cardiff is the obvious choice, and that the people of Wales will support the college of advanced technology there, and take a great pride in it, and that it can do a very good Job. I do not take the view, which I understand to be the view of the party opposite, that it is necessary to withdraw it from the care of the Cardiff City Council. I think that the Cardiff City Council should be given a chance to build up that college, and I think that it will take the chance. Wales has done pretty well since the war in the provision of technical colleges. It has had more than its share, but as it was neglected before the war one can understand that.
§ Mr. George Chetwynd (Stockton-on-Tees)
I note with regret that although every other part of the country is covered, the North-East is neglected. Can we take it that that is appearing over the horizon?
§ Sir D. Eccles
I am just coming to the hon. Gentleman's part of the country, but before I do so, perhaps I may say that there are two considerations that one has to have in mind in selecting a college 1661 of advanced technology. One is the standard of the work which it is now doing and the other is the distribution of industry. One wants to get both the geographical and academic standards right.
Using those two criteria, there are important areas in which no college is at present suitable for designation, but there are, I think, two special cases. One of those is the North and North-East, about which the hon. Gentleman has just asked, which includes the growing industries on Tyneside and on Tees-side. I am sure that the House would agree that in an area of this importance one of the regional colleges should be promoted to be a college of advanced technology. On the principle of concentrating scarce resources one cannot contemplate more than one, but which is it to be?
I am asking the local education authorities concerned to confer together and to consult with industry through the medium of the Northern Regional Advisory Council. Of course, I realise that this is a very difficult and invidious task, but the problem is complex and includes not only the selection of one college of advanced technology, but the status of more than one regional college, and I think it right to give the people on the spot the first chance to solve this problem. But the House may be in no doubt that we cannot wait for very long before we decide which college on the North-East Coast should be promoted.
§ Mr. Arthur Palmer (Cleveland)
In consulting regional bodies, has the Minister taken into account the very strong argument put forward in this House by hon. Members. including, if I may say so, myself, some months ago in relation to Tees-side?
§ Sir D. Eccles
I have, and I think that it is a very powerful argument, but there are other colleges. I do not wish to prejudice an examination by the local people; no doubt we shall have some people who will be disappointed and others who will be pleased.
§ Sir D. Eccles
I thank the hon. Member for his intervention.
1662 In the South-West, from which part of the country I myself come, no college is yet far enough ahead to be designated, but I have added the Bristol College of Technology to the list of regional colleges and have agreed with the Bristol authorities that they should plan their building proposals so that if, as I hope, enough support is forthcoming from industry—and that is vital—the Bristol College of Technology can graduate to the status of a college of advanced technology. When we get one in the North-East and one in Bristol we shall have 10, and I think that for the time being we shall have quite enough to do to staff them as well as we should wish.
At this point I had better say a word about the Council over which Lord Hives presides. It would be a good thing, perhaps, to point out that this National Council for Technological Awards is not there to determine the pattern of technical colleges. The job of that Council, which is extremely important, is to recognise courses leading to a diploma in technology. I was glad to hear the hon. Member for Fulham say that he did not like "Dip. Tech." Neither do I. It is a most cacophonous description and I was thinking that we should, perhaps, offer a prize for a suitable name. [An HON. MEMBER: "Degree."] I think that what is said in this House may have some influence, but the House will know that there are quite a number of people who do not like the name "degree" to be used outside the university world. It may be possible to find another name, but "Dip. Tech." is rather offensive.
The courses which the Hives Council will recognise will be full-time or sandwich courses at the highest level, and the diploma is designed to be as good a qualification for membership of a professional body—which is what these young men want—as a university honours degree.
§ Mr. Harold Davies (Leek)
It may have been a slip of the tongue, but the Minister said "what these young men want." I sincerely hope that this country will not eliminate the chance of the maximum number of women taking up technical education.
§ Sir D. Eccles
I thank the hon. Member. We included in the White Paper a passage about girls which got more of 1663 the headlines than all the advanced technologies together. I think the hon. Member has a good point there.
For the reasons given in paragraph 60 of the White Paper, we want to encourage technical colleges to change over from the London external degree which, because it is external, is necessarily restrictive, to the new Hives' award. At present, about 50 colleges offer courses leading to a London degree. I do not suggest that anything like that number will qualify for the very high standard set by the Hives Council, but I want to dispel any idea that the field of work of the Hives Council will be artificially restricted to colleges of advanced technology. It may very well approve a course in a regional college.
The next thing was the building programme. I appreciate the desire of the hon. Gentleman to see the £70 million for England and Wales set out in a firm list of projects; and that is exactly what we have been doing since the White Paper was published. The 1956–57 programme was for about £9 million. I have now approved the 1957–58 programme of £15 million and within literally the next few days I shall do the same for another £15 million to start in 1958–59. The programme for 1959–60 should be completed and agreed in the spring of next year.
There is a very great advantage in being able to look ahead, especially when the buildings in question are so large. The result, no doubt, is better planning, and I expect a considerable saving of money and a firm programme of starts. This programme may be compared with an average of £4 million a year, with the exception of the one year 1950–51, in all the years from 1947 to 1954. This is a very large increase indeed. We believe that it can be achieved by the local authorities over and above their primary and secondary school building programme—naturally one has to consider the two together when estimating the load that local authorities can efficiently take in the next year or two.
The hon. Member for Edmonton (Mr. Albu) asked me a Question the other day about the design of these technical colleges. I think that is of very great importance. The new ones will be outstanding 1664 buildings in the towns and cities where they are put up, and we in the Ministry are trying to give the same kind of help to architects, administrators and local authorities which, I think it is fair to say, has successfully been given in the field of school building.
I come to the supply of teachers. This is the very heart of the whole problem. We were in a very real difficulty at the time the White Paper was drafted, as I will explain in a moment. First, I will give the House some more information about the present position. The figures for 31st March last year were really very encouraging They showed that there were at that time about 10,000 full-time and 43,700 part-time teachers in technical colleges. That is an increase of 800 full-time teachers over the White Paper statistics of the year before. Of the part-time teachers, over 11,000 are school teachers employed part-time in technical colleges. Most of the other part-time teachers are employed in industry, These part-time teachers are a most valuable addition and we could never get on without them. Many part-time teachers are men and women of great experience and distinction, and they bring their own particular kind of experience into the technical colleges.
I am glad to tell hon. Members Opposite that some of the suggestions made in the Press that industry will not be able to produce any more teachers far us seem quite contrary to what industry tells me. I think that as a result of the interest which hon. Members and others have taken in technical education industrialists are really coming to the conclusion that they must help us by lending even more of their engineers and scientists to teach in the technical colleges than they do now.
On the question of ex-Service men, we have tried, but so far without a great deal of success, to get men coming out of the Services for the teaching profession, and to give them some training on the way. Perhaps we shall be more successful in the years ahead. This is certainly worth pursuing. Although industry is helping us more with part-time teachers, we of course need a higher proportion of full-time teachers, particularly because the number of full-time sandwich courses is increasing and for these, in the main, we want full-time teachers.
1665 I have been told that we ought to have explained in the White Paper more accurately and in more detail what we intended to do to get more full-time teachers. I realise that that appeared to be a weak passage. But the difficulty was that at the time the White Paper was published I was quite unable to answer the basic question, "What salary will you pay?" [HON. MEMBERS: "Can the right hon. Gentleman answer now?"] Yes, more or less. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and I have no power to alter salaries and last February the Burnham Technical Committee had not begun their review of the existing scales. The Committee has now published proposals for substantially increased salaries and allowances which, if they are approved—and they are not yet approved—will give us solid ground for going into action, as I now propose to do.
§ Mr. James Johnson (Rugby)
Does this apply also to part-time teachers? We have over 10,000 part-time teachers coming into these colleges. Does this salary apply to those in addition to full-time teachers under the Burnham negotiations?
§ Sir D. Eccles
The salaries of part-time teachers are on a rather different basis, as the hon. Gentleman knows, but if it is necessary to look at them, they will be looked at. I am dealing at the moment with full-time teachers in technical colleges whose salary scales are now being reviewed, and I suppose before long the English scales will be reported to me and the Scottish to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland. These salaries are particularly important in relation to technical colleges because comparison is often made with those paid in industry. Salaries are the root of the matter, but there are other ways in which we can improve the conditions of service. One thinks of opportunities for research, for taking supplementary courses. for keeping up to date with what is going on in industry and other ways of making the job more interesting. It means, of course, a more generous staffing ratio to give these chances.
There is another problem which I think has to be looked at, and that is how to make it rather easier for someone who 1666 is in industry—and the great bulk of the teachers in technical colleges come from industry—to transfer from industry to teaching and to take a teacher training course on the way without loss to himself and his family.
That brings me to the subject of the teacher training colleges for technical teachers. I have begun an examination of these, and went to look at one in London only the other day. Two of my hon. Friends—the hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Pitman) and the hon. Member for Tomes (Mr. Mawby)—today put down some interesting Questions about the students coming into these colleges, and also their work. I was not able to give them as much information as I would have liked; I believe that only one of their Questions was reached. This is a most important subject. What place in the whole system should these training colleges have?
The more I have considered this question the more I feel that I need the best possible advice upon the whole subject. I have therefore asked the Chairman of the National Advisory Council on the Training and Supply of Teachers and the Chairman of the National Advisory Council on Education for Industry and Commerce to nominate a small joint committee to advise me urgently upon the recruitment and training of teachers for technical colleges. They will, of course, look into the three teacher-training colleges as well.
In that way we shall obtain the views both of industry and the teachers themselves, besides those of my own people. I hope that it will be possible to treat this committee rather informally, and deal with the recommendations as they come along. I think the House will agree that it would not be any good setting up a committee until we had settled the basic question of salaries, which we hope will be done quite shortly.
I now turn to a thorny question which was raised by the hon. Member. How easy should a local authority make it for a student living in its area to take a course in another? I would like to see much greater free trade for all students, and in any case complete free trade for colleges of advanced technology. Any restrictions, anywhere, must be justified right up to the hilt. We are in the middle of talks with local authorities upon this 1667 difficult question, and some good progress has been made. I hope that we will reach complete agreement.
One can see how a conflict can arise between planned provision within an area or region and the students' desire to go to the most popular college. The most sensible and courageous policy is to get the pattern of technical courses right, and then tell the students that they can go where they want to go. In a few years' time we are going to have many more students than we have now, if only because of the change in the age groups in the population. Today there are only 640,000 boys and girls aged 18. That is the lowest group aged 18 for 100 years, but in five or six years' time that group will number 850,000. We have to handle that increase before we can get what we also want—a substantially higher proportion, out of any given age group, taking further education.
I conclude, therefore, that there should be no shortage of students for any well-run college, and that fears of a "snatch and grab" by neighbouring colleges, over-provision, and similar matters, ought not to weigh too heavily with local authorities, always supposing that they cooperate at the beginning of the process and plan sensibly the provision of colleges and courses.
The purpose of what we are now doing on the administrative side is to build a system of technical education which will give potential students, wherever they may work or live—and also many more students coming in from abroad—an opportunity to study the subjects of their choice in really good conditions. We have a long way to go before we achieve that situation, but the White Paper shows that we are taking a step towards it.
It is not a simple business to create opportunity for everyone. Quite apart from the fact that no two young people are alike, they come from different homes, they go to different schools where they receive a different stimulus to continue their education afterwards, they may develop early or late, and may be lucky or unlucky in their first jobs. That has always been so, and it always will, but in our day we have still another element of hazard, namely, the swiftness of technical change. In that connection one thinks of automation, but 1668 that is only one of the various forms of technical change. This makes it necessary to give as broad an education as we can in the technical colleges, apart from any other reason there may be for doing so—and there are some very good ones.
Versatility is really essential to the young men and women going into technical industry today. They must have a good grounding in their subject, apart from being trained for the particular job which their employer has in sight at the moment. I hope that employers will see the advantage of letting their young people have time off in order to learn something which may not be strictly connected with the process of production going on at the moment. The broader and more general this can be the better for all of us.
The hon. Member mentioned the supply of students. Because of the needs of our age to create opportunity for everybody, and the fact that the curriculum has to be broader than it used to be, some people say, "Either you must raise the school-leaving age or you must have compulsory day release at technical colleges or county colleges." Whatever may be the merits of those two measures, we have to look at this matter in a practical way, in relation to the resources that we know we shall have over the next few years—and the resources do not exist either to raise the school leaving age to 16 or to have compulsory day release in the immediate future, while the bulge is still going through the secondary schools.
What we can do in the meantime—and this is precisely what the White Paper sets out to do—is to increase by every possible means, and up to the limit of the resources which can be devoted to it, the number of volunteers seeking further education. There is very great virtue in keeping further education upon a voluntary basis, because the student is no longer a child. When young men or women of this age attend a college because they have made the decision themselves they are more likely to work hard to the end of the course than if they are obliged to go there. While we have not enough places to contemplate making further education compulsory for all let us use the places we can provide for those who have made up their own minds that they want this further education.
1669 But the price of a voluntary system of further education is first-class public relations. Since we are not going to compel, we have to persuade, and persuade not only the students but their employers. I can say that the outlook in this respect is good. Productive industry has never been as interested in education as it is today. Full employment and the scientific revolution have seen to that. I hope that commerce and finance will soon become equally interested. [AN HON. MEMBER: "And distribution?"] Salesmanship, business management, accounting and agriculture. At the moment, the great enthusiasm is really coming from production, and particularly from one or two of the newer industries. But I think it is going to spread, and we must be ready because, after all, we must sell our goods as well as make them. We must be ready with these other forms of further education.
We have reached a stage where we are being told by all industrial leaders that we ought to do more, and that chorus of encouragement is very useful and very welcome. But one wants more from industry than chairmen's speeches and extremely well done advertisements in the newspapers. What we want is that directors and managers of all firms should do what the most enlightened are doing already, that is, take a close personal interest in these technical colleges and, indeed, in the secondary schools from where the boys and girls come. I cannot stress too much what help it is to students to have the practical evidence that their employers think that technical education is worth while in itself and are ready to help them in the progress they look forward to making in their careers.
I must not weary the House more. I should have liked to say more on the subject of girls, if only for the sake of the hon. Lady the Member for Holborn and St. Pancras, South (Mrs. L. Jeger). I should have liked to say something about overseas students. We have a great duty to them. Many colleges take a large number today, but I know that the number of young men or women coming, or wishing to come, to learn technology and craftsmanship in this country is far greater than the number of places we can at present supply.
1670 I should have liked to say something about the secondary schools and what is going on there. The position is in fact very satisfactory. The swing to science is going on steadily in the independent schools, in the grammar schools and in the secondary modern schools. Providing specialist teachers will be one of the great difficulties in handling the secondary school situation in the next few years, and we are making special arrangements for courses to assist in retraining the teachers we need.
As every hon. Gentleman knows, we are in the middle of a revolution in British education.
§ Sir D. Eccles
The hon. Gentleman's party did so little compared with what we are doing that that was not really a very good remark to make.
We should all like to move a great deal faster in this revolution. There are, however, limits to our resources, and that makes it important to pick out the growing points where we can get the best return for manpower, buildings and money. In this White Paper, which I commend to the House, there is a realistic attempt to say how much we can do by administrative acts in the next five years. If we achieve what we have held out as a hope—we are honest enough not to say it is more than a hope, because it is a voluntary system—we shall then have passed a real landmark in British education. I hope the House will reject the Motion. As an Amendment to it, I beg to move, to leave out from "House" to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof,approves the Government's policy for technical education as announced in Command Paper No. 9703, and welcomes the Government's decision to expand the facilities for this purpose as rapidly as resources allow, thus enabling this country to take the fullest advantage of the discoveries of science and technology.
§ 5.25 p.m.
§ Mr. Malcolm MacPherson (Stirling and Falkirk Burghs)
The Minister has made an engaging speech, which he began by imposing upon himself a self-denying ordinance which caused him to leave out of consideration a number of the wider matters which are here involved. I am not blaming the right hon. 1671 Gentleman; I am commiserating with him. We know from his previous utterances, and from a number of things he did say today, that he is wide awake to the broader issues on this question. In his self-denying fashion, he has confined himself to going through a number of details, of which a great many were rather pedestrian. He has his reward; it was, perhaps, a sensible thing to do in the circumstances, because much of the information he gave us was necessary information which we have been waiting or hoping to receive.
Much of that information will, no doubt, be commented upon in the course of the debate, and I shall probably do a little of that myself; but more of it, I imagine, will take some digesting. It would be a little difficult, for instance, to work out all the implications of concentration in a limited number of advanced colleges in the matter of staffing. I can see that there may be a certain amount of disturbance before final stability is reached. There may be a number of questions about method and so forth. I do not think anyone is likely to make a final pronouncement, at least on the details implied by that sort of decision, immediately after hearing the decision.
I was interested in the Minister's inclusion in the ten designated colleges—the eight plus two—of Loughborough, because Loughborough is rather different from all the others. For one thing, it will be a college not run by the local education committee. Loughborough is already under the right hon. Gentleman's Ministry; it is in roughly the same sort of position as the central institutions in Scotland. For another thing, I believe that Loughborough's main interest in technical education centres upon production engineering rather than the more orthodox and longer-established forms of engineering. One finds a certain interest both in the possible comparisons of governing method between Loughborough and the other colleges, and in the selection for this advanced status of a college which has this particular major interest.
I think the right hon. Gentleman would find himself fairly well rewarded for the information he has given on a number of matters by the way in which hon. Members on this side received it. There is no doubt that with a great deal of what 1672 he said most of us would be in fairly full agreement. In particular, I should like to comment on a point that was mentioned both by my hon. Friend the Member for Fulham (Mr. M. Stewart) and the Minister at the outset of their speeches. That was the reminder that the important purpose of developing technical education is not essentially to increase our international standing in the political struggle. It may have that effect; indeed, it undoubtedly does. But why is there competition between the nations for the purpose of developing technical education? Very largely, it is simply because there is a job to be done. The important thing in the long run is that in the world there is an enormous job to be done in developing resources which can only be developed through very great technical knowledge and skill. This abiding reason for improved technical education remains whatever the changes in international politics.
I am very glad that the Minister, like my hon. Friend the Member for Fulham, emphasised that we are basing ourselves not on a temporary political problem, even if an international problem, but on something much more permanent and more long-standing.
I was inclined a little to deprecate, however, the readiness to turn away from foreign comparisons, and although I promise not to go into detail about this, I think we should bear in mind—to come back to a phrase at the end of the Minister's speech—that we are in an educational revolution.
People are ready to talk about a scientific and industrial revolution, and I agree with the Minister that we are also in an educational revolution. In such a situation, it is not merely extremely interesting but also extremely helpful to learn what is being done elsewhere. I have been trying, in a casual way, over 3,000 miles away, to follow some of the American figures and to see what has been causing their movements. I confess that I cannot understand their movements, but I urn quite sure that a number of the problems which lie behind these changes in the figures are problems which we, too, are facing, although we react to them in a different way from the Americans. It therefore seems to me that there would be a great deal of advantage in a comparison between our situation and theirs 1673 and our policies and theirs. That is all I intend to say about that question. There is a danger, which the appendix to the White Paper stresses, in comparisons on the basis of figures. These are extremely difficult because of the variations of standards and because of many other things
. The plan which the White Paper discloses has been very widely criticised, and the criticism has been generally of the same pattern. The critics have begun by saying, "It is a good thing to have something of this sort, but—"; and the "but" has been the introduction to the main volume of what they had to say.
One of the "buts" has been about the delay in reaching this stage in a policy for technical education. We all realise the difficulties; the ten years through which we have passed have been ten years of a post-war period when we could not do everything we wanted to do. We should remember, however, that, while we have 'had difficulty in making up our minds and deciding how to mobilise the necessary resources, history has not been standing still in technical education any more than in anything else. My impression is that to a certain extent we have suffered in some lines in the matter of standards and in education generally. My hon. Friend, for example, intervened on the subject of girls' schools, and this brought to my mind the great difficulty of science teaching in girls' schools, and the very acute shortage of staff; and I have a feeling that in a number of things like that during the period since the war tendencies have been growing which move in the direction of a lowering of standards. I say no more than that, because one of the things we continue to do, and must continue to do, in technical education is to insist on the maintenance of high standards, come what may.
It is worth while asking the Minister, I think, whether he intends to do a good deal more about giving resources to the science departments not merely of girls' schools but of all the schools under his control. We have recently had a much-publicised scheme for helping the science departments of the public schools. That policy throws into rather dramatic light the sort of thing which is needed everywhere, and I think that on the whole the provision for science teaching in the majority of the schools under the Minis- 1674 ter's control is comparatively meagre—and I say no more than that.
We ought also to have from the Minister later further information in detail about the day-release system. The example of Western Germany has been held up to him, and the possibilities of a continuous course for three years or of an all-embracing programme covering 100 per cent. of the young people concerned. Even if these are out of reach, a number of other limited points are important. For instance, what about the extension of day release to people engaged in occupations which do not include an element of apprenticeship and training. We are inclined to link day release with apprenticeship and training, but large numbers of young people are unfortunately unable to get that kind of training, although they might well benefit greatly from the opportunity of day release courses.
I am sorry that the White Paper says so little about the education of technicians. We have a considerable need for further knowledge about this whole business. People have talked about the number of technicians needed to each professional engineer, and the estimates given have varied. Indeed, I came across a startling estimate recently. I have had this matter in mind, I suppose, ever since I read a report of a speech, two years ago perhaps, by Professor R. V. Jones, now in Aberdeen, who did war work in the Government service. In his speech he stressed the danger to the country of the shortage of radio and allied technicians. In a conference of the radio people themselves, the statement was made—and it startled me, because of the numbers involved—that people trained to a professional level in those trades were needed at the rate of 1,000 each year, while technicians were needed at the rate of ten per professionally trained men–10,000 a year
. Frankly, I do not believe that; it seems an impossible figure. But we are in the position on this aspect of technical training that we have no comparisons to make with a figure like that. The Minister ought to try to provide us as soon as he can with information about the number of technicians needed. Presumably it will vary from one industry and one profession to another. He ought also to give us more information about the training of technicians than we have had so far.
1675 We should also have further information about the contribution of industry itself to this work. A big principle is involved here, and there is also a wide area of knowledge and experiment. Industry has been running its own schools, its own work schools, its own apprenticeship schemes, both at technician and craftsman level and at professional level, and it is contributing to the public schools for the teaching of science, establishing scholarships and doing various other things. There was even talk a little while ago, although I have not heard it followed up recently, of industry itself establishing a new public school.
One welcomes the additional expenditure on education, wherever it takes place, but two points arise from it. The first is comparatively easy—the question of information. I do not think we can make all the judgments necessary about the Minister's policy, in detail, without knowing a good deal more about the extent to which industry is doing this work and where it is doing it.
The second is that, although one welcomes the additional sums of money and the resources they represent being given to education, a principle is involved: to what extent should we expect our technical training to be privately run? To what extent should we insist on it being under public auspices? I am afraid that I find in the White Paper a certain readiness to assume that if the Ministry does not provide such things as fees for students attending sandwich courses, industry can be encouraged to do it.
My hon. Friend pointed out one or two of the disadvantages, and there is a big question of principle involved. I do not intend to go into it in the limited time now available, but it is an illustration that we are here dealing with, not—as, I feel, too many people think technical education is—merely a specialised small part of education which we can develop or not at whim, but with a number of changes which add up to what the right hon. Gentleman calls a revolution in education. We have today to try to see through the details to some of the bigger issues and bigger questions of principle involved.
I would like to spend a few minutes upon the situation in Scotland, and to 1676 do so I pass over a large number of matters of criticism of the Minister and his policy. I would begin by thanking the Secretary of State and the Joint Under-Secretary of State for their courtesy. They have been here throughout the debate so far, and the Secretary of State was kind enough to excuse himself in advance if he could not be here during my speech, as I understand he could not have been if I had failed to catch your eye, Sir, early in the debate.
The Scottish position is in many ways more advantageous than the English position. The Joint Under-Secretary and the Secretary of State himself must have been patting themselves on the back while they listened to what was said about out-county fees and so on. We have none of that situation in Scotland. In Scotland our major technical institutions are, as Loughborough College in regard to the Minister, directly under the right hon. Gentleman. I do not know that we suffer any disadvantage on that score; and I am sure we enjoy very great benefits because of it.
In other ways, too, we start off fairly happily. The proportion of students going on to university degrees in Scotland has always been very high, much higher than in England and Wales, and it still is. The standard of our best higher technical institutions is very high indeed—that of the Royal Technical College in Glasgow, for instance.
The policy which the White Paper envisages, of shedding lower work from these central institutions, is most desirable. I hope it can be done with little disturbance and argument. I have no doubt whatever it ought to be done, or that the central institutions themselves should be built up as institutions of university standard.
Below that, however, the Scottish part of the White Paper, I am afraid, seems a little weak; indeed, perhaps I should say more than a little weak. My hon. Friend touched on this. The whole business of the training, to adopt a phrase of the Secretary of State for War about N.C.O.s, of "middle-piece" technical people is comparatively limited in Scotland, and the number of local colleges is very limited. In addition to that, we are very far behind in the matter of day release. The White Paper recognises both these shortcomings, but I am afraid 1677 that it does not say a great deal that sounds at all bold and encouraging about dealing with them. It is cautious to the verge of something beyond caution. I should have liked to have seen much more specific and definite statements on these two matters.
There is a further matter, and in this I commiserate with the Secretary of State and the Joint Under-Secretary of State. During the few years in which I have taken some casual interest in this subject, I have found that, in following it, one is in the middle of an animated, lively, thoughtful debate in England and Wales, a debate oral and written, with speeches by professors, speeches by administrators, articles by heads of technical institutions, and business men. To this debate are contributed all sorts of detailed information, broad general arguments and cranky ideas. In England and Wales there is a most stimulating and interesting debate. In Scotland there is practically none. This is true in Scotland not only of technical education but of a number of other Scottish public matters. One makes a statement, puts forward an argument, but one's voice echoes resoundingly in a void. I am sorry about that. I am afraid that that is the condition of a number of public questions in Scotland today. One could analyse the reasons for that, and it would be interesting to do so, but, of course, I shall not attempt to do so now.
I should like to finish with a reference to a question on which I hold what I suppose must be a minority opinion, and that is the question of the liberalisation of the education of technicians. It seems to me enormously important. The Minister recognised that. Of course, one did not doubt that he would. He knows the importance of it. However, it does not seem to me that the thing to do is to say, for instance, "Here is a chap learning to tinker with machines, or to design machines, and we must get him to learn some history and a few languages and to read some good literature." I think that that is the wrong attitude.
My hon. Friend said one thing which seemed to me of special importance, that in the higher ranges these people can do their training in institutions where they can rub shoulders with other people and swap ideas with them. But what we have to do is not to think of technical interests as being a sort of liability against 1678 which we must provide assets. We should remember the old Latin tag about being human, and therefore not thinking anything human to be alien. Technical and scientific activities are not alien to the human spirit. I suggest that that is the fundamental line of approach to the liberalising of technical education: we ought to try to draw a liberal interest out of the technical and scientific activities of human beings, rather than regard them as tendencies to be corrected. It sounds difficult, but it is being tried in a preliminary sort of way. People are beginning to study the history of science and so on. More could be done. That is a broad, general question one cannot fully develop in a debate like this, but it is one in which, I am sure, the Minister is interested, as are his Scottish colleagues, but which he had to eschew in favour of a more detailed approach to the subject.
§ 5.48 p.m.
§ Mr. J. C. George (Glasgow, Pollok)
I feel that we Scottish Members have some advantage over our English and Welsh colleagues in this important debate, because last week in a Committee Room upstairs we very fully discussed this question of technical education. Some very able speeches were made, and the Joint Under-Secretary of State made an excellent review of the whole situation. Since we Scottish Members had that debate, I feel that we are perhaps, by taking part in this one, stealing some of the time of our English and Welsh colleagues, and so I shall be very brief and bring up only one or two matters which were not previously discussed.
It would be true to say, I think, that, among those who have interested themselves in technical education in Scotland, this White Paper has been received with intense satisfaction. I have been struck by its admirable presentation of the case as it stands, and the sound outline it draws of the needs of the future. Whoever compiled the White Paper had a full knowledge of the Scottish position and of both the present and future needs.
To my mind, the plans match the needs of the moment. But I am worried lest the urgency behind the plan may not be sufficient to meet the need for a wider spread of technical colleges in Scotland, and that need is beyond question. The 1679 central institutions for too long have had to teach too wide a range of subjects. It is time to take away all the elementary material from the central institutions and to ensure that only material of university standard is taught there. That will be achieved when the technical colleges are built.
The great changes in and complexity of industry and the subjects dealt with by technicians and technologists today mean that there are ever-changing curricula in the central institutions. More and more space is needed. In my city, the university and the Royal Technical College are being vastly extended. The authorities there are well aware of the needs for the future and are receiving the necessary support from the Government.
We have 50 technical colleges in Scotland, some of which are good and some not very good. It is envisaged that a further ten will be added. The Conservative Party manifesto for 1955 said of the projected programme for technical education:Thus we shall train our youth of today to meet the challenge of tomorrow…But the challenge is not of tomorrow. The challenge is of today, and we must be able to provide better and fuller technical education at the earliest possible moment. Five or ten years from now will not do.
I know that the Government recognise that it is not a question of not being able to afford the money, It is well known that we cannot afford not to spend the money. The problem is whether we in Scotland are able to inspire local education authorities with a spirit of urgency equal to the need. As a member of an education authority for a number of years, I have seen how plans for new schools grow up rather slowly in the local architect's rooms and then flow backwards and forwards to and from the Department in Edinburgh and the inspectors of schools.
A great deal of time is consumed. I will not say that it is. wasted, because everyone is trying to improve the design, but I have seen more than a year, sometimes two years, pass before the final form of the plans is agreed. I should like to be assured that every assistance will be given to local authorities by the Department in Scotland and by the inspectors of 1680 schools to cut down the time between the conception of the school and the beginning of the building.
In this respect, I am comforted and assisted by the fact that in the debate on education in Scotland last week the Joint Under-Secretary for Scotland, referring to school building, then said:It may be, too, that the State has been at fault owing to its reluctance to apply the drive that now seems necessary. Whatever the cause,"—and this is the important point—this Government are resolved upon action, and their plans for the expansion of technical education will be driven through with all the energy at our disposal."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Scottish Standing Committee. 19th June, 1956, c. 71.]These are courageous words from a Minister for whom we have the highest regard. I should like to be assured that they represent Government policy. We must get the schools built, and built speedily, if we are to meet the need. If that is the spirit permeating the Government, we can look forward to the schools being built with the utmost expedition, but having built the schools, can we staff them?
As has been said, Scotland started in this matter slightly better than did England. I took the opportunity during the Recess to ask this question of many eminent men who deal with technical education in Scotland, and I consulted the Director of the Glasgow Royal Technical College. I was extremely comforted to find that he had no worry at all about the ability of Scotland to furnish the staff for these colleges when they are built.
We have read a great deal in the newspapers and have heard in the House about the flow of science and mathematics teachers into industry, but the Director of the Royal Technical College assured me that that was a two-way now and that many of these people tired of industrial life and, now that salaries have been raised by the Government to the industrial level, many of them are coming back into teaching. He also assured me that many competent part-time men will take full-time jobs in the new technical colleges. He was also optimistic about recruitment among holders of the Higher National Certificate. In Scotland, there are many men trained to that level. He was certain that from their ranks it would 1681 be possible to draw plenty of people to start the new colleges. It is comforting, therefore, to know that men of authority do not see a serious problem before us in this respect.
The Minister has said that it will be from the "bulge" that a great number of the new students of the technical colleges will be provided. I know that the Education Department in Scotland has started a campaign in the last year or two to try to put before students and parents the prizes to be won by following a technical education course, but not nearly enough is being done. A great deal more must be done continuously. We must get a greater proportion of our young people from the secondary schools into technical education, and that cannot be done unless we forcefully show to them in their early days that there is a great advantage to be gained.
The day-release scheme in Scotland has a very poor record. We started with 600 students in 1938, now the number is 25,000 compared with 355,000 in England. Here again, there is need for an energetic campaign by the Government among employers and trade unionists. I have seen in my area this day-release scheme working beautifully over a number of years and I have seen in my own industry the benefits to be derived from better-trained technicians. It is from day releases that we are getting the better types of technicians. I ask the Minister to devise a campaign to get right into the board rooms of every industry in Scotland and point out to those serving on these boards where their advantage lies.
This scheme must be encouraged, because from men who undergo these courses we can draw many bright students to the fuller courses at the technical colleges. The sandwich course is not a new invention. It was started in Glasgow Royal Technical College in 1880. It has been carried on ever since. A great deal of our hope for the future lies in these sandwich courses. In my own industry, we used to make a point of picking out our brightest young men and releasing them from work and paying their expenses to take these courses in Glasgow. We never felt that we lost anything thereby. We must get employers to look at these sandwich courses realistically. The hon. Member for Fulham (Mr. M. Stewart) said that if we got 1682 employers to finance these sandwich courses it might happen that in a time of slump they would withdraw their support. That is a serious point. I think that employers in Scotland would be ready and willing to finance these students now but I am impressed by that aspect of the matter put forward by the hon. Member. It had not hitherto occurred to me.
Now I want to go further into the question of technical education by referring to the central institutions of Scotland, of which there are seven. All of them give a diploma to those who complete the course. Those who take the higher national certificate in Scotland can attend the central institutions and complete the full higher technical course in two years, during which they must reside in the town concerned. Many of the students will have to travel long distances, and it is comforting to me to note in the new Scottish Education Bill, which has been through the other place but has not yet been through this House, that it is the intention in Scotland to pay allowances to dependants.
I regard that as an important part of our future provisions for higher education. Many men, in the course of practising a trade, will thus be able to go back into this field which offers glittering prizes. These new powers will allow the education authorities to pay an allowance to the dependants of those who are married, and this will ensure that the men will not lose the chance in life which the new technical age will give them.
I have talked about the need to divert many more from the senior secondary schools into the technical courses. Again, I find that my hon. Friend the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland is well aware of this problem, for he said in the Scottish Standing Committee:It seems to me, therefore, that the only real answer to this problem is to increase the general pool of highly educated people from which recruits are drawn. …Somehow, they have got to hold the abler boys and girls and inspire them to go through the whole course and proceed to the universities."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Scottish Standing Committee; 19th June, 1956, c. 69.]There is the key. My hon. Friend appears to be fully aware of the problem, and I should like some assurance that a more virile and imaginative campaign will be waged within the schools and among the parents to achieve that end.
1683 It is a sad commentary upon education in Scotland when we find that 89 per cent, of our young people are at work before they reach the age of 16. That leaves only 11 per cent. to fill all the higher posts and, as has been pointed out, we in Scotland have a higher percentage going through the universities than does England. In fact, Scotland produces 20 per cent. of the total British graduates in science and engineering. That pool could be much bigger, and therefore the situation should have immediate and urgent attention.
I am worried about the product of our junior secondary schools. I know that it is trite to say that, in spite of the present vast expenditure on education, Scottish children are not so well educated as they used to be. I am not an educationist although I have had the advantage of teaching in a technical school in the evenings. Some of us think that this is what every generation says, but I came across an instance this week which shocked and alarmed me to a considerable extent.
I visited a residential training centre connected with a major industry. I found that the principal of that centre was taking in 130 pupils every three months, or more than 500 a year. He carries out an intelligence test on every group when they arrive at the centre. The shocking result, which he has plotted and graphed in his room, shows that between 30 and 35 per cent. of the students arriving at that centre at the age of 16 are not able to read or write intelligibly—those were his own words.
Those children come from many counties of Scotland, so maybe this is a cross-section. I do not want to make too much of it, so I merely inform the Minister that those figures are there for him to see, and that they have been taken by a fully-qualified man. It is not often that we have the opportunity provided in this case, where the children are tested a year after they leave school.
§ Mr. Harold Davies
I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Gentleman, because I am interested in his speech, I agree with it, and I think it is a valuable contribution to the debate. I hope, however, that the hon. Gentleman will not emphasise the point about intelligence tests. I have made some study of them, and I find that 1684 a Zulu can emerge from an intelligence test better, and appear to be brighter than, a mathematician. There are more people who can permute and combine on Littlewood's pools in Britain today than there were in our generation. One must be very careful, therefore, about using intelligence tests, which I believe have not been proved, to make a point. I have used them myself.
§ Mr. George
I thank the hon. Gentleman for his intervention. I said that I was not an educationist. I am only giving the facts recorded by the principal of a training centre, who considered them to be important. He was conducting an intelligence test laid down by the industry concerned, and those were the results. I should like that matter to be looked into.
I come now to the question of attracting girls—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] That strikes a chord apparently—Iwas about to say, attracting girls into technical courses. [HON. MEMBERS: "Ah."] That is not nearly so interesting, I gather. While one hesitates to give figures about other countries, I will give the figures for Russia with regard to girl graduates in engineering. I think we must pay attention to them. I find that there is a remarkable growth in technical education in Russia, and the figures should be known to every hon. Member of this House. When one studies technical education throughout the world today, one finds that the only country which is making a real bound forward is Russia—not the United States, not this country. The figures are dramatic.
I gathered from reading an American publication on higher education that the standard in Russia is as high as ours, and that of the total number of higher technician graduates between 20 and 30 per cent. are women. It is interesting to note that at one large new colliery in the Ukraine visited by a group of miners it was found that the technical officer in charge of the 3,500 men in the mine was a woman graduate. So obviously women are capable of doing technical jobs, and whereas we have for long looked upon woman's place as in the home, in this new age it seems that we should be turning our minds to using those deft fingers and nimble brains to helping us with our technical problems. I trust, there- 1685 fore, that the Minister will give that matter his attention.
Time does not permit me to show the remarkable increase in output in Russia due to basing everything upon a wide and skilled technical education. The data are staggering and reflect a degree of concentration on expanding the basic economic might of a country which is without parallel in human history. That all flows from a recognition by Stalin—or whoever it may be—of the importance of technical education to Russia's industries and, as a result, the educational system was altered accordingly and Russia got her reward.
I have here a few figures all of which apply to the last five years. Coal output rose from 286 million tons to 400 million tons, which is 43 per cent. Steel increased by 62 per cent., petroleum by 85 per cent., copper by 90 per cent. and power by 80 per cent. Those are dramatic increases, based on better technical education, whereas we crawl forward by a mere 1 or 2 per cent. annually.
Therefore, we must face up to the position, and face up to it quickly. I believe that the White Paper on technical education does that, but it must be implemented with the necessary speed.
There is one important point to which I draw the attention of the House, about which I feel strongly, and which was touched upon lightly by the Minister and by an hon. Gentleman opposite early in this debate. I have referred to the glittering financial prizes accruing to those who equip themselves technically and scientifically. The prizes are not only financial ones.
I lay great stress upon this. The social prestige attached to higher education is substantial and precious, but the social prestige which flows from the possession of a degree is infinitely higher than that attached to a mere diploma of a technical college. To put the point simply, a man with, on one side of him, a neighbour possessing an A.R.T.C. of Glasgow, and on the other side a neighbour with a B.Sc. degree of Glasgow accords the man with the B.Sc. degree a much higher prestige value, and so does the whole community. We must change this situation quickly.
We are seeking ways and means of diverting people into technical courses, and a heavy factor in the scale against 1686 taking a technical course is that at the end of it there is only a diploma. A diploma has nothing like the social prestige of a degree. However generous the provision of buildings and equipment may be, we must still attract the young people, and I believe that, in the eyes of young persons and their parents, the status attached to a career is closely linked with the academic qualifications required to practise it. If the qualification is a diploma, the career will rank in their eyes as something lower than one for which the qualification is a degree. Therefore, I submit that our highest technological courses must lead to a degree, even if these courses are provided in institutions other than universities.
For about a thousand years the universities have had a monopoly of degree-granting powers. In modern phraseology, this is an example of a restrictive practice, which, if not superseded, can do the gravest disservice to British industry. The universities cannot possibly train the number of technologists required without becoming totally unbalanced. Therefore, they should be ready, willing and eager to see their powers spread over a wider area.
In the U.S.A., Germany, France, Switzerland and Scandinavia, the best technologists are trained in institutes of technology with degree-granting powers, and experience in these countries has shown that institutions specialising in the applications of science have an atmosphere, a drive and an intensity of purpose which a faculty of technology in a university can never acquire. The industrial economy of this country literally demands the immediate establishment of a few such degree-granting institutions.
I submit that such a dramatic move would be a proper recognition of the importance of technology in our industrial economy, and would do more than anything else to attract the attention of parents and young persons to careers in this field. In Scotland, there are already in existence two or three institutions which should be given independent degree-granting powers at once, and others could be gradually developed in selected centres.
I have dealt with this question at some length because I believe that we are doing less than justice to the gigantic task which we are bound to face, if we do not elevate 1687 our technical education to a level obviously equal to the highest in any other sphere.
§ 6.13 p.m.
§ Mr. Frederick Peart
(Workington): The hon. Member for Glasgow, Pollok (Mr. George) has made an excellent and vigorous contribution, especially in that part of his speech dealing with aspects of higher technological education. But I was glad that he expressed the view that there was no urgency behind the scheme, and in this sense he criticised the Minister—
§ Mr. George
I did not say that there was no urgency. I quoted the Joint Under-Secretary, and whether his remarks reflected Government policy.
§ Mr. Peart
If the hon. Member will read his speech again, he will see that he deplored the lack of urgency behind the plan. He said, to quote his own words, that "they may not meet the needs." That is surely a criticism. At any rate, I will leave the hon. Member to judge his own speech when he reads it tomorrow.
We say that the White Paper, as far as it goes, makes a contribution, and in that sense, although we have an Amendment to this Motion, we welcome the provisions of the scheme. But today I detected a lack of urgency in the Minister's speech. He said that we should not pay too much regard to what is happening in other countries. He forgets that even in the White Paper, in Appendix A, comparison is made with other countries. We agree that we must consider the broad aims of education, but, after all, this problem today is a matter of our economic survival, and I am afraid that the Minister of Education does not appreciate that fact.
I believe that the former Prime Minister gave a sense of urgency and drama to this problem, but as yet the Minister of Education does not appreciate it. I thought that today he made a rather slow, pedestrian speech and that he had no sense of urgency or dynamic in his approach to technical education.
1688 My hon. Friend the Member for Fulham (Mr. M. Stewart) put a lot of questions to the Minister. Many were answered, but I still feel that we need more detailed proposals. We need specific plans for different regions. Over and over again, proposals have been put to the Ministry by various people, including manufacturers and employers who, through the F.B.I., recently produced an excellent memorandum asking for targets for each specific area and requesting proposals and priorities within each region. This information has not yet been forthcoming. Despite answers given today by the Minister, there is still a vast amount of vagueness, and I am afraid that in the end the proposals which have been put forward in the White Paper will be affected by economy measures which are the responsibility of the Treasury.
I have asked on previous occasions whether or not the £100 million cuts will affect technical education, and we have been assured that that will not be so. I hope that next week when the Chancellor makes his statement we shall have specific pledges in that direction. I am not certain that technical education will not be affected. We have had experience of Conservative administration over the last few years. On many occasions, the previous Minister of Education announced increased financial assistance to education and a larger programme, and then in the end a circular was issued stating the need for economy. Today, under the present Administration, there is no talk of a cut; but there is talk of a postponement of a start. That is the new terminology. But whether the Minister likes it or not, there is certainly a feeling in the educational world that already a cut has been made.
I want to ask the Minister a specific question, although he gave certain answers to my hon. Friend the Member for Fulham. Will Circular 306 really affect technical education in our secondary-modern schools and grammar schools? Surely, if there are to be postponements of starts—which, in effect, means delay in completing a building programme—technical education in our proposed secondary-modern schools and grammar schools will be affected.
Technical education cannot be divorced from our general school system. Indeed, the White Paper itself stresses 1689 this fact over and over again. We cannot separate the broad educational system from the needs of technology and the technical programme which has been referred to in the White Paper. If this circular, which was criticised so vigorously by the Association of Education Committees at its conference at Southport only yesterday, means what the Government think it does, I am certain that our secondary educational system, which, after all, will feed our technical colleges and universities, will be affected. As yet we have had no specific answer from the Minister. From reports in the Press and careful study of the circular itself I have come to the conclusion that, in the long run, technical education will be seriously affected.
§ Sir D. Eccles
The purpose of the circular is to make it possible to work off the backlog. The hon. Member will see that the circular gives the number of primary and secondary schools which are now firm to start in this year as almost exactly the same as for last year. In addition, there will be a bigger technical education programme. This is as much as it is reasonable to expect local education authorities to start. They may think that they can start a bit more and we have said in the circular that after the end of this year we are prepared to review the position again if the national circumstances and the load on the building industry permit.
The maximum damage that could be done—I put it like that—is the postponement for six months of secondary schools which were in the programmes for this year and next year. It will not happen, because not all the starts will be postponed for more than six months, and the average will be less. The net result of what we are now doing, which is to make an efficient programme, will not have much effect. I agree that it will have a little effect, but it will not be much.
§ Mr. Peart
We had the same story from the right hon. Member's predecessor. The right hon. Lady the Member for Moss Side (Dame Florence Horsbrugh) argued that very effectively from the point of view of the party opposite. She said that postponements of starts need not be cuts, but, as we know, in the entire educational world it was accepted as a cut.
§ Mr. Peart
I have given way. The Minister has made a second speech, and I am glad that he did. Here is a very responsible association—if the Minister thinks that it is not a responsible association, let him say so—which has considered the circular and the Government's programme and has no doubt negotiated with the Minister. It regards the postponement of six months as a cut. In reply to a supplementary question today the Minister mentioned the figure of £11 million.
Mr. C. I. Orr-Ewing
I suggest that the hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Peart) is muddling propaganda with facts. There has been a great deal of propaganda about this from educationists on the other side. If the hon. Member studies the facts, he will see that more school places have been completed and a larger technical education programme approved and carried out under the present Government than were ever conceived under his own Government. That is shown by the very fact that £3 million was approved for technical educational buildings in the last year of the Labour Government and £9 million has been approved for next year and £15 million for the year after, under the present Government. Is that not expansion?
§ Mr. Peart
I am dealing with Circular 306, dated 16th June. I do not see how there could have been much propaganda since the issue of that circular and I suggest that the circular means a cut which will affect the base of the pyramid.
If we are to win the battle for an increased number of technicians and technologists, we must have a sound base. That is why I wish to see a great drive not only at the top in university education, but in secondary and primary schools as well. This is an aspect which we should also consider. There are many different views on how we should develop, and I have argued this in previous debates.
Many people feel that the recommendations of the Percy Committee, in its very valuable Report on technical education and its provisions for the creation of more junior technical schools, should be developed and that our secondary technical 1691 education should proceed along those lines. I want to know what the Minister intends to do in that direction. Is it the official policy of the Government in secondary technical education to encourage junior technical schools, or rather the schools which have been created out of the old junior technical schools? I want to know what the policy is.
Strange to say, I do not agree with the expansion of those schools. The expansion should come in the secondary modern school and more provision should be made there in the way of technical facilities, laboratories, workshops, and so on. There should also be a greater emphasis on technical education in grammar schools. We should have an encouragement of more technical and applied sciences within the grammar schools. Too many students in the grammar schools opt for pure sciences. There should be more propaganda to encourage the study of applied sciences.
It will be the applied scientists who will go ahead higher up in the universities and the new advanced colleges of technology and become our technologists. I should like to know what the Minister is doing about that. Is he trying to give more encouragement in the ways I have mentioned? It is tremendously important, and I hope that if we have this greater emphasis the idea of comprehensive schools which have started in London and where technical facilities are being given will be encouraged.
I do not want to become involved in another argument, but I believe that the age of 11 is too early for specialisation. That is one of my criticisms of the White Paper itself, which refers to this on page 7, and asks for more specialisation. There is a peculiar division of thought, for paragraph 15, page 6, advocates a reduction of specialisation. The age of 11 is too early for specialisation. That is why I criticise the whole concept of separating children at the age of 11 into technical, grammar and secondary modern schools. I want those schools to give a good fundamental education in the early stages. At a later age, 13 or 14, the child will seek his or her own level. That is why I hope that the Minister will continue to encourage comprehensive schools which give facilities for technical education and which have been proposed by certain farseeing authorities.
1692 From schools we pass to the subject of teachers. I was glad that the Minister said that he was pursuing that issue and was looking into the college system which operates in London, Huddersfield and Bolton, that is colleges for teachers in training colleges. I should like also to see a broadening of the approach towards teacher training outside technical education. I am connected with one college and I wish that college would expand its facilities for a three-year course very soon and very quickly.
Moreover, in ordinary training colleges I want to see a greater emphasis on science with the provision of more laboratories. That is a problem which many training colleges have to face. My hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central (Mr. Short) once mentioned this in connection with a college which he and I attended many years ago. There had been an appeal for funds to build a laboratory within the college. That is a shocking commentary on our higher education system. We want more laboratories in our training colleges, and I hope that when training colleges approach the Ministry, the Minister will not cut down in that direction, but will encourage science teaching in training colleges where it is not provided at present.
Then there is the problem of graduate teachers in our schools, which, in the end, will affect the supply to our technical institutes, colleges, and universities. In April, 1955, in a debate on education, I asked a question on this subject. In reply, the Parliamentary Secretary said that we had 10,000 graduate teachers but in order to fulfil our requirements by 1960 we should need more than 14,000. I should like to know if that figure will be reached by 1960.
Is it possible for the Minister to give us any figures in relation to the supply of graduate teachers of mathematics and science? In his reply to my question, the Parliamentary Secretary added:At the present rate of increase that is not likely to occur, and it is for that reason that my right hon. Friend has taken and hopes to take further steps to accelerate the increase."—[OFFICIAL REPORT. 26th April, 1955; Vol. 540, c. 882.1I should like to know if the Minister has accelerated the increase of science and mathematics teachers.
1693 I know that it is now possible to raise the argument about salaries. The Burnham Committee will be discussing various proposals, and we shall no doubt have an agreement, but are any specific figures available to show whether there has been an increase in science and mathematics teachers in our schools?
§ Mr. Peart
The Minister nods his head, so I hope that we shall be given those figures during the debate.
Then comes the problem of the colleges themselves. Broadly speaking, we support the policy to raise the status of colleges. My hon. Friend the Member for Fulham very clearly explained the views of the Opposition. I know that many hon. Members on both sides of the House take the view that colleges of advanced technology should have university status and, where possible, be linked with a university. I do not favour the concept of higher technical institutes being divorced from other branches of learning. I know that when that viewpoint was expressed by the hon. Member for Pollok, he was supported by my hon. Friend the Member for Reading (Mr. Mikardo), and I know that many other hon. Members take that view.
It is a view which is accepted in other countries. Recently, together with many of my Parliamentary colleagues, I had the pleasure of looking round two technical universities in Germany, one in Munich and the other in Hanover. I hope that our system will not develop along the lines of those universities. I think that we were right to expand the Imperial College of Science rather than to seek a new institution, like the Massachusetts Technical Institute, which some people wished for. It was right to expand the College and retain its association and partnership with a great university. I hope that wherever possible our colleges of advanced technology will have close links with universities and other institutes of learning in their regions.
I now turn to the question of scholarships for students, and I wish to emphasise a minor but important point mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Fulham, namely, technical State scholarships. That is a matter which the Minister should look into. An increase 1694 from 120 to 150 is not really very much when we consider the programme itself. We can have a much greater expansion of technical State scholarships. Can the Mininster give me an assurance that planning has taken place upon a regional level? Have priorities been worked out for industry? I understand from the Advisory Committee on Scientific Manpower that we need an increase of 33 per cent. in engineers each year. If the demand goes on, and a terrific pressure is put upon our industry as a result of competition in exports, that percentage will have to increase. What is the position with regard to engineers?
I am not happy about technology at the universities, despite what has been said. I have other figures, which have just been reproduced in an excellent article by Lord Simon of Wythenshawe, and I should like to quote some figures from a pamphlet which is a reprint of his article in the "Universities Quarterly" of February, 1956. He says that in 1950 there were 3,593 technological degrees and diplomas awarded by universities in Great Britain; in 1951, there were 3,481; in 1952, there were 3,442; in 1953, there were 3,364, and in 1954 there were 3,359. In other words, we are faced with the disturbing fact that in spite of our need for technologists the supply from the universities has actually decreased.
§ Mr. Ian Mikardo (Reading)
The point which my hon. Friend is making is a very important one. In the light of what he says, how does he justify his contention that institutes of higher technological education ought to be tied to universities?
§ Mr. Peart
The fact that the supply of graduates coming from these institutions has decreased is not the fault of the universities. The responsibility is upon the community. The hoped-for increase in the numbers of students going in has not developed. That is why I argue that we should have more technical State scholarships of the kind which have been issued. This unhappy situation is not the fault of the universities. They have not said that students should carry on other studies. They can deal only with the material supplied by other institutes of learning at a lower 1695 level. No blame attaches to the universities. I am certain that they would welcome an increase in this kind of education.
§ Mr. James Johnson (Rugby)
The global figures of entry to universities have increased. Many more students are at the university, and yet we still have this decrease in regard to technology. Why is that?
§ Mr. Peart
My hon. Friend asks me why it happens. I am merely stating the facts. If I am wrong, I hope that the Minister will correct me, but I think that my figures are fairly reliable. If so, we are faced with the alarming fact that, despite our need to extend facilities for technological training, we have a decrease in degrees and diplomas.
I want to emphasise the importance of this matter in another connection which receives but slight mention in the White Paper, namely, agricultural education. There is a feeling that the Minister has taken no notice of this very important question. The White Paper refers to it in only one small paragraph—paragraph 10, page 5. We must have technicians not only for industry but for agriculture. We must have agricultural engineers, soil scientists, and more veterinary surgeons. In a previous debate I mentioned the fact that the Colonies, which used to look to us for their supply of veterinary surgeons, are now looking to other countries. It is happening in the Commonwealth, too. New Zealand is now looking to Holland. A greater emphasis should be placed upon the need for agricultural education.
In my county we have the reverse process, because of the activities of this Government. Higher education has been cut already. I raised this matter on a previous occasion with the Minister of Agriculture, who also has a responsibility. If we are to secure our economic survival we must not only develop industry but also see that agriculture is not neglected. Although the White Paper devotes only one paragraph to this point, I hope that the Government will consider it very carefully.
Agriculture is also affected because of the fact that the status of the scientist is inferior to that of the normal civil servant. A scientist with a good honours degree. employed in an advisory capacity in agriculture, receives less pay than an 1696 administrative officer. That is wrong. I know that the Institution of Professional Civil Servants has raised this matter over and over again, and yet there is still a bias against scientists, even in industries where science is being applied for the benefit of our country. We must encourage more technical education, especially in agriculture.
I would refer again to other fields of activity and the need to have an improved survey of our country's resources. We have never had a proper geophysical survey of the mineral resources of our country. That has been stressed over and over again. We still have only 60 per cent. of the country surveyed. Each year from the universities we produce a hundred honours graduates in geology. America produces twenty times that number. The percentage per head of the population is six times more. If we are to develop our resources, we must have proper technicians in that field, in oil and mineral development, and that is why it is so important to give assistance—
§ Mr. Peart
Yes, and to the student at the lower level, so that he can go up to the universities.
For these reasons, and many others about which we have not the time to go into detail, we stress the importance of this debate. We stress the needs of home industries, of our exports, and the need for development in the Colonies and Commonwealth. Above all I would stress the importance even of foreign affairs and foreign relations. In the Middle East we now see that Russia is offering technical aid to the undeveloped countries. It is a warning.
We shall play our part in world affairs by our ability to provide technical assistance specialists to the peoples of the world. I am glad that that phase in world activities has been achieved. It is better to send technicians than to send soldiers or diplomats to get us out of trouble. I know that there are international agencies in which we have to take our share, such as the Colombo Plan and the Agencies of F.A.O. and United Nations. But we can give a leadership in that direction.
This subject is not the narrow one of education. It is something which will 1697 affect our country's future, something which affects the leadership of Britain in the world. We stress the importance of liberal education, and I hope that we shall continue to do so. But we must also relate it to that background. I want a liberal education for scientists, technicians and technologists, just as I want the arts men to have also a scientific education. As a Chinese writer stated recently, we want round men and not one-sided men.
I want liberal education. As Mathew Arnold said, the aim of liberal educationis to enable a man to know himself and the world.That is why we welcome this emphasis on technical education, and this emphasis on science in a science world. By doing so we shall, at the same time, not only give an impetus to theoretical and practical development of technical education but we shall make a real contribution to the future of our country.
§ 6.43 p.m.
§ Mr. I. J. Pitman (Bath)
On the whole, the House has been acting as a Council of State, advising the Minister in the light of the constructive suggestions which he has made in the White Paper. There has been a singular lack of real criticism, and in so far as there has been criticism, it reminds one of Tweedledum and Tweedledee and their famous battle. The hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Peart) has not produced anything more than a kettle-lid with which. to berate the Minister.
I found what was said by the hon. Member for Fulham (Mr. M. Stewart) very agreeable and acceptable. He pleaded in particular for a degree instead of a "dip. tech." In that he was agreeing with the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee which, in its Report, took that line strongly. I think we should all argue that just as a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, so, if there is a smell of the rose, and all the other attributes are also there, let us call it a rose and have done with it. In effect, the thing is a degree in its status and standard, so let us call it a degree and have done with it.
The hon. Gentleman also joined with the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee in approving technical colleges having a complete free trade—as the Minister said—and the governing of these technical 1698 colleges being a national job and not a parochial job. Where a child has to go back to dinner and attend a school where his mother can take him every day, it is a parish job, and one for the local education authority to govern. But where there is a considerable journey involved in pursuit of a national interest, it is clearly a national job, and I am glad to find hon. Members opposite agreeing.
§ Mr. Pitman
I like the idea of county colleges—because that virtually is what we mean when we talk of universal day release. It means a priority for county colleges, and therefore we should do everything we can to increase that priority.
§ Mr. Pitman
I agree with the Government, because they are moving that way as fast as possible.
The real criticism is not in terms of the material, but in terms of the spiritual. The real trouble which the Minister is up against is the spiritual one, that technical education is "non-U", whereas academic education is "U". My right hon. Friend is up against this problem in relation to every official in his own Ministry. At Southport, education committees represented will be full of most worthy people who have been brought up on what they consider "U" education which, in point of fact, puts them into an emotional state in which they do not like "non-U" education. Technical education is definitely servants' hall", if not "scullery", whereas academic education is" drawing room" or "upstairs".
At all stages in the Ministry, in the offices of education committees and in the schools, the Minister must be most careful about watching people who consider that they are protecting education against the good ideas which he is advancing. They are loyal, and full of intelligence and goodness, but they will misdirect their efforts, because they cannot conceive that what the Minister is after—and I suspect this House is after— 1699 is really in the interests of the children and the nation.
I think that our trouble began through the Civil Service Commission. When we abolished patronage, and rightly made the selection of high civil servants the responsibility of the Civil Service Commissioners, in effect—and here I pay a compliment to the Minister—we brought it about that an education at Winchester followed, shall we say by an education at Oxford, winning the Craven Scholarship was the way of selecting the best possible civil servant. When he and others like him reach the top at the Ministry of Education, they exhibit a natural tendency to act like Narcissus, throw out their chests and say, "We now have to look after some 5 million poor kiddies. Look what education has done for us. Our duty is to do the same for them to the best of our ability". Before we know where we are, they are fighting technical education conscientiously and fervently, at every stage. Of course, they would deny it, just as the best chaperons in the best drawing-rooms deny that they are snobbs or are in any way class-conscious.
I compliment the Minister on his decision to retain the Bolton Training College. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Bolton, East (Mr. Philip Bell) played a prominent part in keeping open that college. But it is immensely important that the Minister decided that that college should be kept open. The argument of the typical class-conscious official against it was that there was no use for such training colleges and the sooner they were shut up, and a good honest education given, the better.
I should say that per contra in our present society the value of purposive education, as distinct from academic education, is becoming yearly more appreciated. Before the war the junior technical schools and the Air Training Corps proved the tremendous value of purposive applied education as a valuable supplement to or even replacement of academic education.
In that context I recall that I was present at Blackpool when the Minister addressed the Conference of the National Union of Teachers on his plans for an alternative line to the top for children who had not embarked on the line through the grammar school which leads 1700 to the university. That speech was acclaimed with tremendous enthusiasm. That is the essence of what we are talking about today—to give the person in the lower stages of the grammar school, in the technical secondary school and those in the higher stages of the secondary modern school as good a through line of passage right up to a degree as has his brother in the top sections of the academic side of the grammar school.
The Hives diploma of technology, particularly if it is called a degree, will be the ideal pinnacle, or, if we like to say the terminus of arrival, for that new through line in our educational system which we are seeing unfolded in this White Paper. It is the charter for the practical man, the resurgence of the junior technical school, its matriculation class and its path to the university.
The junior technical school was an innocent casualty of the Butler Act because the taking of the junior technical school out of the control of further education and putting it into the control of secondary education people meant that it came away from the control of those who believe in purposive applied education and came under the control of those who regarded it as "non-U". Virtually the poor thing suffocated and almost came to death.
Within this field special technical teacher-training is obviously the very essence of the problem. I think that all of us are agreed that teacher-training is most valuable, and it is probably even more valuable for people who are already experienced in other walks of life and are going to teach the application of what they themselves have acquired by such experience. These three schools are tremendously valuable and, as we know, they are organised under their respective universities under the area training organisation. The move to close Bolton has been mentioned. I have received from the Minister figures of the yearly output of teachers from Bolton, London and Huddersfield in engineering, as placed in teaching posts in further education. They were: 20 from Bolton, 13 from London and 20 from Huddersfield. That was 53 as an average for the whole of Great Britain yearly over the last five years. For secondary education the figures were:
1701 seven from Bolton, three from London, one from Huddersfield—a total of eleven per year. Those figures are far too small, and I was delighted to hear from the Minister that he is to take in hand the provision of the training of technical teachers in these technical training colleges, or others like them which are to be constructed. Otherwise, the whole of the White Paper policy would break down.
It is important to make a clear distinction between these training colleges and the other kind of training colleges. To begin with, there is the factor that these special colleges receive only those who are already adult, whereas other training colleges have people coming straight from school. The special colleges have people who have already earned good money, whereas the other colleges have people straight from school who have not yet earned anything. It is a fact that the applications for these special colleges are very satisfactory, but the mortality between application and going through the course is overwhelmingly high. That, of course, is because, whereas to the applicant to the other kind of training college the course means the prospect of a salary, with an intermediate grant, to the man who is already an engineer there is a considerable drop in income. Even when he accepts the loss of income, receives his relatively small grant and completes the course, there is a dead period between June and September or October during which he is literally paid nothing as he is waiting for his first post. When he gets that it is not so very attractive, because the money will be much less than he has been earning. No wonder there is this falling off of applications and that they fail to fructify into real teacher-training posts filled.
There is clearly a tremendous demand. The figures of 53 and 11 per annum just get us nowhere. It is no use saying that the existing training colleges can do this work because if a teacher is to teach an applied subject that can be based only on the fact that he has applied it himself. One may learn pure science at an ordinary teacher-training college, but one must have applied science oneself before one is able to teach application. If we want to provide that kind of teacher to teach applied science and engineering he has to be treated altogether differently 1702 from the other kind of teacher, and so have his instructors. I heard the other day of a chartered accountant who came from one of these training colleges, and when he began to teach he received a salary greater, I am glad to say, than his instructor had received. We have therefore also to look at the Pelham scale in so far as it affects these colleges.
My final plea to the Minister is that on the new Committee which he is to set up he will see that there is at least one principal from one of these three training colleges who may know the special factors involved, that he will also see that there is no academic snobbery attitude to this whole question among any of the other members of that Committee. If the Committee is to be made up largely from those experienced in the other kind of training college there will be an attitude of mind which will lead them to say, "Our type of education is so much better and anyhow we can do the job better", whereas the essence of my thesis and, I believe, the feeling of the House is that only if we can provide teachers for technical training from the technical training colleges can this White Paper he made to be truly satisfactory.
§ 6.57 p.m.
§ Mr. Goronwy Roberts (Caernarvon)
The hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Pitman) seemed to be enthusiastically congratulating the Government on attitudes which both the Minister and the White Paper were at pains to reject. For instance, I wish I could be as hopeful as he seemed to be that we are going to create county colleges. That really would start something.
At times in this debate we have been discussing a problem on which I would almost agree with the Manchester Guardian, which yesterday said this is a major problem affecting the question of recruiting the right kind of students and staffing these new colleges. My hon. Friend the Member for Workington (Mr. Peart) said a great truth when he urged the House to consider utilising more seriously the modern secondary schools to recruit the right type of student. I would say that the start of the pipe-line of both students and potential staff for this vast new departure could well be a system of county colleges in which the learner-earner really begins to combine industrial experience with technical study.
1703 As my hon. Friend the Member for Reading (Mr. Mikardo) interjected, the Government do not intend to set up county colleges.
§ Mr. Pitman
I was agreeing with what I imagined the hon. Member was saying, that voluntary day release is something good and something to be encouraged and that is growing and doing very well. We have to play on that and eventually reach—the words are "eventually reach" —compulsory attendance at the county college.
§ Mr. Roberts
That is rather different from compulsory attendance of all school-leavers, who have entered industry, at recognised county colleges. Day releases are not really what is meant by a system of county colleges.
My main purpose in rising today is to draw attention to the position in Wales and, in so doing, I do not think I shall be stressing an exclusively Welsh question. I am rather concerned with the possibility of enhancing as far as possible the contribution of the Principality to the general United Kingdom effort to attain economic viability. Hon. Members in all parts of the House, I am sure, will have been surprised, and indeed perhaps shocked, at the brevity and perfunctory character of the references in this important White Paper to the Principality. It is true that the six paragraphs which deal with the position in Wales do contain an amount of truth and good sense; they were probably written by a member of the Minister's Welsh staff, but no attempt is made to work out the implications of the truths contained in those paragraphs.
The Government, in fact, do not appear to have grasped the fact that, proportionately to area and population, Wales is one of the most highly industrialised countries in Europe, if not in the world. During the past 20 years or so, a veritable industrial revolution has overtaken the Principality. It used to be a country of a few massive basic industries—coal, steel, tin and slate quarrying—not highly mechanised, as a rule; but, since the war, the old heavy industries have undergone very great technical changes, becoming more and more mechanised and calling for more and more technicians.
1704 Coal is an excellent example, and in the future, with the by-productive aspects of coalmining becoming more and more important, the technical aspects of the coal industry, especially in South Wales, will equally become increasingly important. Furthermore, apart from these basic industries, a very large number of new industries has become established in Wales in the past 10 or 15 years, and many of them are engaged in engineering. This process of industrialisation will almost certainly proceed further in the future in the Principality, for the following reason.
Wales is a country very rich in natural resources. My hon. Friend the Member for Workington said something extremely important when he asked for a proper geophysical survey of the whole of the United Kingdom so that we may know what we have in the way of resources. I would confine myself this evening to asking for a proper geophysical survey of the Principality. However much coal and iron has been mined from the soil of the Principality,the wealth which still remains in Wales is considerable, and it is time that we had some sort of inventory of what there is.
For instance, there is evidence—1 do not want to quote the reports—of the mineral wealth that still remains to be exploited in North Wales—minerals which are of increasing importance to modern industry, some of them rare minerals. There is the great abundance of water which is locked up in the Snowdonian Range and other mountainous areas of Wales, and, as we know, water is becoming increasingly important in modern processes in industry, especially in textiles and chemicals. The White Paper does not show a grasp of the present industrial situation in Wales, and still less of the immense potentialities of the Principality in this field.
The Minister this afternoon met the demands of Welsh hon. Members to some extent by saying definitely that we shall be given one of these colleges of advanced technology in that the technical and commercial college in Cardiff will be expanded on these lines. I want the Government to be more specific on that point tonight. The consensus of opinion in Wales and among Welsh hon. Members generally is that we need a college of advanced technology at which the very 1705 highest reaseach and study relating to our great basic industries and our new engineering industries should be concentrated. I am not saying that it should exclusively serve the Principality. I can well imagine that there would be links between it and neighbouring advanced colleges, and with other centres of study and research in the rest of the United Kingdom, but it would have a good deal of work to do to research into and to assist the considerable industry that already exists in Wales, as well as the new industries which, for the reasons I have given, I am quite confident will probably come into Wales in the future.
It could be an entirely new foundation, or it might be the result of the development and expansion of an existing technical college. This is what the Minister has in mind in proposing the expansion of the existing college at Cardiff. Whatever happens, whether it is in fact the expansion of an existing institution or a new foundation, the important thing is that it should in reality be an advanced college of technology and one which has what we might call university status.
I want to refer to this question of university status for a moment. One or two hon. Members have tended to decry what they regard as the exclusiveness of the traditional universities in the field of degree-giving. There is really no need for any conflict between the traditional universities and these new advanced colleges of technology. One way of overcoming the difficulty, as has been suggested by my hon. Friend the Member for Fulham (Mr. M. Stewart), is to link up these advanced colleges with, or make them constituent colleges of, certain universities. That is one way of getting over the difficulty, so that a graduate of an advanced college could aim at a degree granted by the university which is the federal authority for that college and others. There are great advantages in that course being followed.
There is, in fact, a case for making every advanced college of technology, not only in Wales but throughout the country, a constituent college of a university. There is a case for bringing all the colleges under the aegis of the university, because that would give them real status, and, without real status for these new advanced colleges, we shall attract neither the students nor the staff that such institutes are designed to attract. They will natur- 1706 ally prefer to go to the traditional universities.
The traditional universities have a very fine record of scientific teaching, and I hope that my hon. Friend the Member for Reading will not confuse the teaching of pure science and the teaching of technology. It may be true that the number of technological graduates from the universities may have gone down, but if we compare that with the increase in the number of pure science graduates, equally necessary in an industrial country like ours, we shall find that our universities have done very well for the country.
§ Mr. Mikardo
What is happening is that the universities are gradually retreating, as the hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Pitman) suggested. They started off by thinking that only the classics were good enough, and would not accept anything new. They have now gone one stage further and have reluctantly accepted science, and in another 20 years they may accept technology, but that will be too late.
§ Mr. Roberts
I am sorry that the hon. Member for Bath is not in his place. I have been interested in these references to Miss Mitford. I only wish Miss Mitford had written the White Paper; it would have been rather more readable. Clearly the universities do not regard science and technology as new. There is nothing to this, however. I was a fellow and senior lecturer, for the brief period of a year, before I entered the House, on the arts side of the University College of Swansea, which has a fine record in technology and engineering, and I can tell the House that the attitude to scientific study and to technological study in that university college was completely favourable. In fact, they tended, I thought, sometimes to give it an undue place.
That is as it may be; I was referring to the obvious advantages of making these advanced colleges part of the university system. It would give them real status and would lead to greater integration and exchange of staff, equipment and facilities.
§ Mr. Roberts
I agree; and students.
That brings me to the question of liberalising the scientific education which is spreading throughout the country and, 1707 indeed, throughout the world. We must guard against a sort of automation of the mind. We should not have much science if we had not had a few classic writers. We should not have any geometry without Euclid, and I regard him as part of the classics and one in the classical tradition.
I hope that this continual argument between science and the arts will stop and that the coming of these advanced colleges will be the signal for a new integration of the artistic and the scientific mind, for liberalising science and for bringing the knowledge of science to the artistic and the student.
However, making the advanced colleges constituent colleges of a university is not the only way to tackle the problem. I myself would prefer a formal system of constituting these colleges within universities, but if that is not possible, if a university is averse from taking in a new constituent college, as may sometimes be inevitable, this kind of advanced college might well be constituted as a university college of technology, for we already have independent university colleges.
The name given to these new colleges might well be reviewed. We propose to call them advanced colleges of technology. Why not use the name, "university college of technology", linking them with a degree-giving university from outside, with no federalisation at all, but simply by the external link of one independent technological university college with another? I think the relationship of the London School of Economics with the University of London is one which we might study if we are opposed to constituting these new colleges as completely part of a university.
I pass quickly to a point which I want to make about the proposed development in Cardiff. Hon. Members from Wales generally will support this proposed development, and I do not think we shall quarrel about the location of the advanced college of technology in Wales. Cardiff is an excellent site for it. I feel freer in supporting Cardiff today, because I gather that the university college at Swansea is to be greatly strengthened and expanded in pure science and chemical engineering. If we have both developments—the development of the university college in Swansea and the creation of a 1708 new advanced college in Cardiff—Wales will have taken a very big step forward.
I want, however, to make a very friendly and loyal appeal to the people and the authorities of Cardiff. We have heard something about the pride with which local authorities regard their technical and training colleges, and of course Cardiff is entitled to great praise for the services it has rendered as a city to technical education at very high levels not only in Wales but throughout the country. The time has come, however, when it is both the duty and the opportunity of Cardiff, as the newly created capital of Wales, to regard its college of technology as national rather than local. If it does that, then credit will redound to Cardiff itself. I hope that these few words of friendly and loyal appeal will commend themselves to my friends in Cardiff, as no doubt they will.
§ Mr. Callaghan
As I represent part of Cardiff, I should like to tell my hon. Friend that he can rest assured that both the city fathers of Cardiff and everyone else concerned with this problem have no desire to take a narrow, parochial view of Cardiff's responsibilities. There is every desire in the city that this advanced college shall be elevated to the level of a national institution and that all other local authorities and other bodies, in South Wales particularly, shall take their full share in its government and its organisation. I will not go into all the details which my hon. Friend raised. But, of course, Cardiff must remain proud of what has been created and will, therefore, want to take a prominent part in its future development.
§ Mr. Roberts
I will say to that, "Spoken like a real capital city "—with one or two provisos.
I do not want my hon. Friend to commit himself any further, but at present the Cardiff Technical College is governed by one local authority, with some representation from industry and a small representation from the university. If it is to become a really advanced college of technology, it must become, as to its government, independent of any one local authority. I believe that quite soon that will be officially intimated to cities such as Cardiff. It must draw its governing body from all over Wales, possibly from all the local authorities of Wales, and 1709 must also give greatly increased weight to industrial representation. I would almost say that on the governing bodies of these advanced colleges the industrial representation should equal the local authority representation.
§ Mr. Roberts
This is a matter which requires to be carefully studied, and l stated it in that form in order to stress the importance of having a considerable voice from industry in the government of these new institutes. In addition, there must be an appreciably bigger representation from university circles so that the influence of the liberalising and broader spirit and study of the universities is felt in the deliberations of the governing body.
That is the main point which Welsh Members wish to put before the Minister today. There are others, of course, which I will not pursue this afternoon, except to say that there is the question of the almost complete lack of technical education of any sort at any level in most of north and mid-Wales. One hon. Member said that agricultural technical education should be linked with the kind of technical education which we have been discussing. That is probably the only way in which nowadays we can tackle agricultural education. So much of it links up with physics and chemistry that really the days when we could divorce agricultural from scientific education generally have passed.
The reason why we have not any technical education to speak of over three-quarters of the area of Wales is, of course, the lack of industry, but there is no real reason why there should not be more industry in those areas. As I have said, they are rich in natural resources, and if the people of north and mid-Wales are to live and are to make their proper contribution to the British effort they will need some science as well as scenery. I hope that the Minister in driving ahead with proposals for extending technical education in Swansea and Cardiff will also spare a thought for what one of my Scottish hon. Friends called the "resounding vacuum" which, in the field of technical education, unfortunately characterises so much of Wales.
§ 7.31 p.m.
§ Mr. J. C. Jennings
(Burton): I welcome this White Paper as a considerable step forward, and I also welcome the many details which have been filled in this afternoon by my right hon. Friend. This whole question of technical education must be viewed against the background of a vastly changing world. Compared with pre-war days, we now have a world, in the main, of full employment amid expanding populations. We have had great increases in the production of food, raw materials and manufactures. We have also seen tremendous changes in production methods and a great development in transport. The world has seen a general rise in living standards.
The one significant change which makes this whole question of technical education so extremely urgent is that we must fight harder for our share of world trade. I do not subscribe to the view that education nowadays is valuable only for its own sake. It is valuable as a weapon in the trade war which looms ahead and in which, in fact, we are now taking part. We must realise that no longer have we the monopoly of world trade that we enjoyed in the last century and that we are fighting for trade against Russian, American, Japanese, Indian and Chinese expansion.
We have also to ask ourselves why there has been this great increase in world production. The answer is that we have made fuller use of available manpower. There is a wider application of scientific production methods, and keeping in mind the White Paper, we have to see where we stand in all this continuous and rapid change. Even to maintain our present position of increased production means developing technical education as rapidly as possible. How best to do that is the purpose of this debate.
We have heard a lot about the pyramid, at the top of which are the colleges of advanced technology—of which the Minister has said we shall probably have ten. I listened to and was very impressed by the thoughtful speech of the hon. Member for Caernarvon (Mr. G. Roberts). I agree with him wholeheartedly that the colleges of advanced technology should have some form of university status so that the highest award will have degree 1711 standing. I do not mind whether that is effected by making such colleges constituent members of the nearest university or by some loose affiliation with it, but I do want to see the status of technological awards the highest possible.
Then there is the intermediate part of the pyramid—the 20 or 30 regional colleges, the 150 area colleges, and the 300 odd local colleges. We have, however, to make the base of the pyramid absolutely sound and firm and, as was stressed by the hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Peart), the base of the pyramid is the schools. It seems a far cry from the infant and the primary school to the advanced technical college, but there is a vital connection, and when we look at the base of the pyramid, at the infant and the primary school, the secondary modern, the secondary technical and the secondary grammar, we can see that we must make our education there as sound as possible in order to provide the people who will, as students, go on to the superstructure of the pyramid.
There are other factors which I should mention before dealing with the schools. There is the influence of the home, which bears on this problem of boys and girls staying at school and going further in technical education. There is the influence of the firm, of the industry itself, and there is the need to educate the public to a changed attitude towards expenditure on education.
Perhaps the House will permit me to spend a few moments on the subject of schools. It is estimated that out of our school population, roughly 20 per cent. go to grammar schools, 5 per cent. to secondary technicals, and 75 per cent. to secondary moderns. The swing in grammar schools towards scientific subjects has been very marked in the last few years, and it is now estimated that 60 per cent. of the students in grammar school sixth forms now show a bias towards science and mathematics, much of that bias being towards pure science. We are told that this is likely to increase in the next ten years to about 80 per cent. That is all to the good, because we need this type in our modern industry today just as we do the arts and humanities side.
1712 As I say, 5 per cent. of our school population goes to secondary technical schools. I am one of those who believe that we should have more of those schools. I have always believed that children who are technically inclined—and they can be spotted even in the infants' school, never mind the primary—are the ones who, if there has to be a division at eleven-plus, should be sent to the technical schools as first choice, and should be regarded as of the same calibre as those who go to grammar schools. They should not be treated at 13 years of age as the "left behinds" of the grammar schools. We must raise the standards of the secondary technicals.
When we realise that 75 per cent. of the children are going into the secondary modern schools, it is perfectly obvious that there must be a vast potential in the secondary moderns for a drive into the technological colleges, of whatever description. At the top end of every secondary modern school there must be a group of boys and girls who probably just missed the grammar school for some reason. They have, perhaps, developed later, or perhaps because they are happy there their parents have changed their minds and do not want them to leave. In the secondary modern schools, which have experimented for ten years and in many cases have now found the direction in which they want to go, there is a vast potential of material with which to feed our technical education. In 1952–53, out of 2,700 students who obtained the higher national certificate of mechanical engineering, 23 per cent. Were found to have come from secondary modern schools.
Then we come a little further down the pyramid and get to the real base, the infants' school and the primary school. From my experience as a teacher, I know a little about this. In the post-war years, we had in the infant and in the primary schools a tremendous swing towards what we called activity methods. It was a bold experiment—and education is nothing unless it experiments. In those experiments we tended to place a different emphasis on the three R's particularly.
I for one, as a practical teacher, am delighted that in the last two or three years we have seen a gradual swing back to the three R's. Nothing is more important in the development of technical 1713 education than the problem of children learning to like arithmetic at an early age.
Children who have learnt to read like to get books and to make use of them, but we do not find the same yearning for arithmetic. Far be it from me to impose upon the House a dissertation on the right methods of teaching arithmetic, but it is obvious that if at an early stage we can so plan our work that a child feels that if he can do his sums, and not constantly get them marked up and thus be filled with a feeling of no confidence in himself, if we can get the base of the pyramid right at an early stage and create in the child a recognition that he can do arithmetic and wants to do it, we shall have created the base of confidence for the later mathematics and higher mathematics which are so important.
In the ever-quickening tempo of this changing push-button age, it is a sobering thought that children at school still have to learn their tables. One of the greatest lessons we can learn from a study of the White Paper and from our debate on technical education is that we will get nowhere unless we instil in our children discipline in learning, for people will not get anywhere unless they are prepared to discipline themselves.
I have said that other factors influence the attitude of children towards entering technical employment—and by "technical", like the White Paper, I include the full range of technology, technicians and craftsmen. The attitude of parents is all-important. If we are to have sufficient craftsmen, technicians and technologists, our children must stay at school. If parents discourage a child from staying at school and say to him at the age of 15, "Your pal along the street is getting so many pounds a week at the pit or elsewhere; go and do likewise" we shall lose for temporary expedience a valuable source of supply for our industries in the technological sense. If, however, parents say "Stay at school; we would like you to do so", and if there is this firm home influence, our future technologically will be far happier. We must educate parents to this extent as far as we can.
Another factor concerns firms, businesses and industry. Firms can help schools by supplying equipment and 1714 books. It is the duty of the State to do this, but whatever the State does, even if we are satisfied that the State is doing all it can in education, I see no reason why local firms should not work with the schools to the extent of saying, "We will provide you with a supply of technical books from our industry so that you boys can see the kind of colourful industry you can enter."
§ Mr. Jennings
It might be a profitable idea from the Income Tax aspect anyway.
As a free-lance, I have been interested for quite a long while in works schools. Training in industry is in its infancy. There is a vast potential before us if we can get the right attitude by firms towards their apprentices or their young people. Where there is a skilled and sympathetic training officer in the works—it must be works of a substantial nature, of course —who will guide his apprentices or young people and encourage them to do part of their work in the factory or in the business as part of school and then go out on sandwich courses to the nearest technical institute or college, a tremendous amount can be done.
As for the public, people must be encouraged to get rid of their prejudices about the amount of money that is spent on education. We have to recognise that in the next ten or twenty years, while we might think that we are saving Our physical skins by the fact that many people consider that a hot war in the foreseeable future will not arise, we may be in danger of losing our economic skins; and some of the money which might be saved in defence, for example, in the next ten years might have to be diverted to education to place it in the forefront as a weapon of defence in the trade war.
Much has been said about the supply of students, and in this debate we are somewhat complacent about the fact that by 1961 the "bulge" in the numbers of 18-year-olds will be at its peak and there will be no difficulty in getting students because of the numbers of people of that age. What we must think of, however, is that we want willing students who are willing to go into the colleges and technical institutions.
1715 The most important factor in ensuring a sufficiency of full-time students in particular would be the abolition of National Service. I do not want to go into wider politics now, because that is not the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Education—
§ Mr. Jennings
It is indeed. I am not putting it from a party point of view, and I would not wish hon. Members opposite to take that kind of view. I am looking at it from the practical point of view of the youth who up to the age of 18 has been taking his evening classes and wants to take his City and Guilds examination. When he goes into the Services, after his two years he loses the desire to continue where he left off and he goes elsewhere to make more money as a temporary expedient. If we could get rid of National Service by, say, 1958, it would be the greatest impetus to technical education and to an influx of students.
In view of the changed pattern of defence and in view of the extension of the cold war to a trade war, with technicians in the front line, the Government should set the target for the abolition of National Service by 1958.
§ Mr. Jennings
Let us try 1958 and we might get somewhere. I would welcome it.
Consider the question of students who maintain themselves. Many students feel that to enter colleges on maintenance grants would make them far worse off than if they were simply earning in industry and not trying to educate themselves. If young people have the necessary brains to become the expert technologists of the future, they should be the responsibility of the State. Such a boy or girl is an asset and should be financed entirely by the State. If he can prove his worth at the level of State scholarship, he should be given complete maintenance at the technical college without any means test. I believe that that boy should be treated at 18 as a man, and not merely the son of his father, whether he is with or without means.
I have been going on too long, and so I shall conclude without saying anything 1716 about the supply of teachers. I welcome this White Paper, and I congratulate my right hon. Friend on bringing it forward and on having the debate and setting the tone for it. The post-war years have been a time of immense challenge. The future challenges us to keep world peace, to abolish poverty and to raise the standard of living. The application of science to production is one of the ways of answering the challenge. The technologist, the technician and the craftsman literally hold the world's future in their hands.
§ 7.40 p.m.
§ Mr. Edward Short (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central)
I hope that the hon. Member for Burton (Mr. Jennings) will forgive me if I do not comment in detail on his speech. I agree with most of what he said. Indeed, I do not know, when I hear him make a speech of that kind, why he sits on the benches opposite.
I want to make one or two suggestions briefly under four headings: the designation of the colleges; sandwich courses; teachers; the so-called base. It sounds rather a lot, but I shall be brief. The Minister designated eight colleges today, and said another two were coming up. I think he is absolutely right in keeping the number small. Our resources are so limited that any over-dispersion of research or of teaching ability would he extravagant. However, I think that the Minister has, perhaps, gone a bit too far.
I think that the number should have been rather more than ten, perhaps twelve or fifteen, because he will see, if he considers how the designations are spread, that there are many spots in the country left uncovered. I know we should not take a parochial view of this matter, and that there will have to be residential places in the colleges, but there are big areas in the country quite uncovered.
The right hon. Gentleman mentioned the North-East. I have no doubt that he has been subjected to a good deal of pressure from at least four quarters in the North-East, and I have no doubt that the pressure has been very pretty equal from all four quarters, and that that is why he has not been able to make up his mind. If he wants to avoid over-dispersion of research facilities and higher teaching ability, however, there is obviously one place in the North-East which should be designated. Newcastle not only has by far the biggest research 1717 centre in King's College, which is only a few hundred yards from the technical college, but it has by far the biggest aggregation of teachers of the requisite calibre in the North-East, or, indeed, in the country. In addition it has a very big agglomeration of industry. It is the centre of the Northumberland-Durham coal field, is a shipbuilding centre, and has many other industries. Also it is the centre of gravity of population in that part of the country. I hope that the Minister will bear all these things in mind when he decides on the college for the North-East.
The right hon. Gentleman has left this matter in the hands of the local authorities. On this matter I disagree with some of my hon. Friends. Being an old local authority man, I think that the Minister is right on that score, too. However, if there is to be a small number of these colleges the local authorities will have to work very closely together, and although, of course, the Minister knows this already, I would still warn him that the existing machinery for the co-ordination of technical work is not adequate. It simply does not function as it should, and if the Minister is going to have this small number of college and local authority control, there must be better coordinating machinery.
I come to the question of sandwich courses. As I understand the development of higher technical education, the sandwich course is becoming, and probably will become, the main course beyond the higher national level. The student does six months in college and six months in industry alternately for four or five years. As a number of hon. Members have mentioned, it is the policy of many progressive firms not only to pay the man's wages during his period in college but to pay his college fees as well. Not unnaturally, of course, the Government welcome that development. It has its good points. It attracts students; it encourages the co-operation of industry with the colleges; it stimulates interest in industry; it strengthens the bonds between firms and their students.
That development has, however, an inherent disadvantage, and I would ask whoever is to reply to the debate for the Government to comment upon this. The inherent disadvantage in this system which is evolving is that the selection of students 1718 for the courses necessarily rests largely with the firms. That is the big disadvantage. I know that colleges can and in some cases do recruit students directly from school, but that is difficult. It is difficult for the colleges to place them for the industrial periods, and it is difficult financially for the students.
I know also that many firms are using sandwich courses to attract students straight from school. It means, I think, as the system is developing on a considerable scale, that the student who has come up the hard way and gained the ordinary national certificate has much less chance of selection in a big firm than a student who has been attracted in from school, perhaps from a public school, because of the bait of a place in a sandwich course. So I think the student who comes up the hard way is being penalised by the way in which this system is developing.
As the old method of entry into higher technological courses becomes outmoded, and so long as further education remains voluntary, I think it is essential that the method of selection for these courses must not be distorted by what is, we must admit, the generosity and progressiveness of some industrial undertakings. I ask the Minister to pay attention to three considerations to deal with this inherent difficulty. The first is that the apprentice who has come up the hard way and attains the ordinary national level should not be at a disadvantage compared with the student who has been attracted in from school. It is not, I am sure, beyond the wit and ingenuity of the Minister to devise some means of allocating places in courses on some pro rata basis—I am not sure how it can be done, but I am sure it can be done—to ensure that the apprentice gets a fair share of the sandwich course.
Then there is the position of the apprentice in a firm which does not release students for sandwich courses. So long as the system remains voluntary that difficulty will, of course, exist, but I am sure that if the Minister and the colleges did more propaganda on the importance of day releases they could persuade many more firms to release their students. Of course, the real answer to the problem is to get rid of the present basis.
Then there is the financial position of the college-based students, the students recruited by the colleges directly from the 1719 schools. Obviously, they are at a financial disadvantage compared with the others who are released by firms and who, nevertheless, get their wages. That is a difficulty, and one which it is within the power of the Minister to put right any time he wishes.
Now I say a word about the teachers. It has been said today, and it is obvious to anybody who has given a moment's thought to the matter, that the teachers are the heart, core, spirit and soul of the, whole system. No matter how much we spend, even the whole £70 million, or how many schools we erect, unless we have a sufficient supply of teachers of the right calibre, the system will not work. I am sure that the hon. Member for Burton will agree with me that a good teacher in an old, dilapidated, condemned building can get excellent results, while the poorer teacher, even in one of the new palaces, often cannot get results at all. The quality of the teachers is very important indeed.
There is no big untapped source for recruiting new teachers unless it be, as my hon. Friend the Member for Fulham (Mr. M. Stewart) mentioned, the men who are being released from the Services. I do not know whether that source would yield many, but it may yield a new source. Technical skill is today a very scarce commodity, but technical skill plus teaching ability is extremely scarce. Quite obviously, everybody with technical skill cannot put it across to other people, no matter what training they receive.
The Minister gives a figure of £70 million of new building in five years—£9 million in the first year, £15 million in the next and £15 million in the third. I do not know how many additional teachers these new buildings will require, and I do not know whether the figure that I give to the House even approaches accuracy, but I should think that at the end of five years we might require an additional 20,000 to 25,000.
§ Mr. Short
No, not all necessarily full-time, but I think that we shall need a number somewhere in that region if we take the Minister's target for doubling one kind of course and increasing another by 50 per cent. Four out of every five teachers in technical colleges are at present part-time, and paragraph 101 of the Technical 1720 Education White Paper mentions the possibility of reliefs.
Would it be possible to have a different kind of part-time teacher—a sandwich teacher, that is, not a teacher who is released for a few hours in the evening but one who is released for six months at a time? Could they not be co-ordinated with sandwich courses in the case of very big undertakings? For instance, if I.C.I. at Billingham released a batch of trainees, would it be possible for the company also to release a suitably qualified scientist, with perhaps supervisory duties in connection with them in the works, at the same time?
§ Mr. Chetwynd
Would my hon. Friend expect scientists at Billingham to go to his advanced colleges at Newcastle or Middlesbrough?
§ Mr. Short
I think that the Minister knows all the facts about the North-East. I have no doubt that he has made up his mind. Perhaps I have already convinced him where the colleges should be.
Administrative difficulties in connection with the kind of course that I suggest would be considerable. They always are in the case of part-time teachers, and may be more difficult still in this case, but if there were sandwich teachers for sandwich courses we should have some continuity of supervision over the trainees.
§ Sir D. Eccles
This is a very interesting suggestion. It is in practice in Holland. We are looking into it, and I am glad that the hon. Member has raised it. I think that it has possibilities.
§ Mr. Short
I thank the right hon. Gentleman. I did not know about Holland.
We have heard a good deal about the technical teacher-training colleges. I was shocked by the details given by the hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Pitman) about the trickle of teachers coming from them. I understand, from suggestions made by the A.T.T.I. and scientific workers, that the real difficulty is the maintenance grant, because on the whole a more mature kind of student goes to those colleges, and normal maintenance grants are not adequate, because in many cases these people have family responsibilities. That raises the question whether technical-teacher trainees should have higher maintenance grants than others. If they 1721 are mature people there is a case for it. I am sure that the matter will be looked into.
The point about the Forces has already been pursued and I will say no more than that I am sure—and I am not referring to any future running down of the Forces but to the normal output—that among them there are men who have had technical training and possibly instructional experience also on whom we could draw. There is a possible source there of some useful teachers. There would have to be professional safeguards which could be worked out with the teachers' professional organisations.
As to the so-called "base of the pyramid", I agree with the hon. Member for Burton that it is no use raising a great superstructure unless it is underpinned by a highly efficient school system in the primary and secondary stages. I hope that the Minister will bear in mind that any economies in the primary or secondary school systems will reverberate right through to the colleges of higher technology. The education system is like a big gong. If we strike it in one place it will reverberate throughout.
I believe that the biggest single wastage of technical ability in the country is the 1l-plus examination, because throughout the country children are selected for grammar school education up to the age of 16 or 18 on almost entirely academic criteria, and by "academic" I mean largely literary. So far as I am aware, there is no real attempt, except for sporadic experiments, at technical selection.
I am sure that there is such a thing as inherent technical ability, which cannot be discovered by testing a child in English, or arithmetic, or in the so-called intelligence tests which in too many cases are a lot of nonsense. Perhaps educational research, which I believe is partly supported from public funds, could get to work on the possibility of technical selection. I am sure that a great deal of latent ability in young people runs to waste at 11-plus when they go to unsuitable schools and proceed to all sorts of unsuitable occupations.
§ Mr. Harold Davies
I am grateful to my hon. Friend for an ideal which I consider would be a valuable contribution 1722 to the British economy. When I was in China recently I discovered that this method of selection is being used there. I sincerely hope that the Minister will listen to this novel idea, which may ultimately have a revolutionary effect upon our economy.
§ Mr. Palmer
I am sure that my hon. Friend is aware that there are such things as mechanical aptitude tests.
§ Mr. Short
I am aware of that. It is a very good test to give to a boy a lamp-holder, for example, and ask him to take it to bits and put it together again.
In connection with this question of the so-called "base of the pyramid", new salary scales for secondary and primary schools are very relevant. They have not yet been mentioned in the debate. The Minister, of course, has not yet approved them, but they offer a considerable overall increase. Anyone who has the interest of education at heart must welcome them. However, these salary scales are surely most unjustly weighted against the primary schools.
The job of the infant school teacher, who is at the base of the pyramid, is far more difficult, requires far more skill and is no less important than the job of any other kind of teacher. I am sorry that the N.U.T. membership has allowed its leadership to accept those salary scales. It is a distorted settlement in favour of teachers in the upper schools, the grammar and the technical schools. It is a distortion which cannot be justified on educational grounds.
The teachers have allowed their salaries to be settled in the same way as the prices of strawberries or cabbages—the scarce ones are to get more. If the teachers want to become a learned profession, they must cultivate an outlook which is based less on expediency and more on professional considerations.
The points which I have made have not been made by way of criticism. I do not think that the White Paper goes far enough, but I hope sincerely that the plan put forward in it will succeed, and I, for one, wish it well.
§ 8.1 p.m.
§ Mr. Airey Neave (Abingdon)
I thought that the hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central (Mr. Short) put his case extremely well and with great moderation. I do not agree with everything he said. I do not have his professional knowledge of teaching, and therefore I cannot follow some of his points, particularly on salary scales. However, this has been a helpful debate to many of us who are not closely associated with education, because so many hon. Members who have expert knowledge have been talking about the essential question of the future of technical education in this country.
I want to approach the matter more from the industrial and scientific point of view than from that of teaching. I think it is fair to say, judging from what I have heard, that so far no serious criticism has been made of the proposals of the Minister, and that my right hon. Friend has clearly shown himself to be in the vanguard of those who realise the vital importance of improving our technical education facilities.
There have been many interesting points raised in the debate. To my mind, one was the need for a geological survey of various parts of this country. It was mentioned last night by other hon. Members in the debate on the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. I mention that because, apart from the need for such a survey in this country, we need exactly the same thing in the Commonwealth, and it is a Commonwealth approach which is necessary towards technical training.
As it was mentioned last night, I shall not mention it again in great detail, but the mining of uranium is one of those essential functions which this country will have to carry out in the next few years for the promotion of the atomic energy programme. The building up of technical personnel for such a geological survey, partly with the assistance of D.S.I.R., will be an important part of the future technical training programme.
Now I come to the relations of industry and technical colleges. The hon. Member for Caernarvon (Mr. G. Roberts) suggested that there should be representatives of industry on the governing bodies of technical colleges. All of us have been saying that industry 1724 should take more interest, not merely through the medium of occasional company luncheons and speeches by managing directors, but by taking an active part in technical education. I believe that to be right. I could not see the objection of the hon. Member for Reading (Mr. Mikardo) to the placing on those boards of representatives of industry.
§ Mr. Mikardo
If I may interrupt, there was no objection to industry being represented. What my hon. Friend the Member for Caernarvon (Mr. G. Roberts) was arguing was that they should have 50 per cent. of the representation. I thought that was a bit much.
§ Mr. Neave
I concede that it might be rather high, but the principle is reasonable. We want to bring industry more firmly into the programme, and we want it to make a special contribution by its assistance because it will benefit greatly. It is possible for technical colleges, through their governing boards, to get into contact with local firms at the earliest opportunity and to work out the research needs of those firms. It has been said on one or two occasions by experts that it would pay even the smaller firms to go into this matter thoroughly. In many cases it would pay more of them to set up industrial research laboratories of their own where a certain amount of training of their own personnel could be carried on.
Finally, in the sphere of craft training there is the suggestion of group training schemes in which firms, both large and small, could pool their resources and pay for a certain amount of the craft training of their skilled workers. Although that is not exactly within the sphere of the technical college programme, it is some thing which industry should be encouraged to do.
Mention was made of industry supplying books and equipment to technical colleges. I do not know whether my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer would have been interested in the suggestion that industry should be given some tax relief for doing so. Indeed, I do not know whether the suggestion was made seriously, but even so, some contribution of books and equipment from outside State resources seems to be no bad thing, and it would bring 1725 those on the executive side of industry more closely into the programme, as indeed they should come.
One word about international competition. During the discussion on D.S.I.R. last night, I found myself in agreement with hon. Members on both sides of the House that we ought to look at the question of Russian competition in technical education with some caution. I would draw the attention of hon. Members, who may not have seen it, to an interesting article in Lloyds Bank Review of April, 1956, on Russian industrial production. I thought that was an excellent article. It was written by a gentleman called Mr. Nove who, I understand, is an expert on this subject. He made one surprising statement in which he claimed that within five years nearly all Russian children will be receiving full-time education to the age of 17. I am not clear what authority there is for that statement, but certainly the question of Russian advance in technical education, and in industrial production generally, cannot be laughed off by any comfortable generalisations.
On the other hand, we do not know very much about the quality of Russia's fundamental research. As was said by hon. Members last evening, do not let us suppose that because one can churn out quantities of automatically trained technicians, one is necessarily going to get the same quality of fundamental research. One will not. It is not wholly a question of money or numbers—
§ Mr. Harold Davies
I do not want to interrupt to make any political or party point, because this is a serious issue. May I recall to the mind of the hon. Gentleman the fact that when the Russian experts gave a lecture to our nuclear physicists in Britain, our physicists were amazed. Fortunately, I have had the opportunity of seeing much of the technical progress in places as far away from each other as Irkutsk, Moscow and Leningrad. Whilst I do not think that the finish of their work is in all cases as good as ours, there is something here which the British nation should seriously consider from the point of view of competition.
§ Mr. Neave
That is true. On the other hand, do not let us exaggerate its importance until we are clearer about the quality of the research. Mr. Kurchatov came to 1726 Harwell, in my constituency, where he made a speech about thermo-nuclear energy. I am told that he arrived with a large number of bound translations into English and that the speech was carefully followed by the scientists there, and that it showed a considerable advance in thermo-nuclear matters.
What we do not know at this stage is how the research work in the thermonuclear field in Russia compares with that in the United States and this country. I suggest that we should be a little careful in arousing too much anxiety about this. I think it is an important spur to our technical education, but, as we go along, let us get it into perspective. I am sure that would be the best way of approaching this question of international competition particularly from Russia which is—let us face it—a real threat.
My next point relates to agriculture. As other hon. Members have said, I should like to have heard more about the co-operation between local education authorities and farm institutes on education matters. There is not much about that in the White Paper, and I think it is fairly said that we ought to hear from my right hon. Friend anything that can be said about the results of working party set-up by the Ministry of Agriculture.
There is a great deal to be said for the application of nuclear science to agriculture—in particular, the use of radio isotopes in connection with the fertility of the soil and the growth of plants. This, as I suggested in regard to another matter just now, should be a matter for the Commonwealth approach because it is in the Commonwealth that we are going to find great opportunities for the use of new techniques for improving our agriculture.
There is one final matter concerning the relationship between industry and these technical colleges to which I would like to revert. It is very important that a professional engineer, for example, should be the type of person who can assume responsibility for development work and superintending others. It may well be described as a predominantly intellectual job, and in that field it is very important that the closest possible collaboration in the selection of people of that quality should occur between the technical institutions of various kinds and industry.
1727 Reference has been made to German technical advances. That is another matter which the House must seriously consider, as well as whether the fact that they depend largely on full-time courses is not of warning to all of us.
Again, in connection with the industrial side of this matter, I would like to refer to some excellent work that has been done recently by the Birkenhead Technical College where there has been a sixteen weeks' introductory course in atomic energy. I suggest that other technical colleges might, with the collaboration of the Atomic Energy Authority, have similar courses.
This matter is of some importance to our industrial future. In the United States, at the Oakridge College of Reactor Technology, they have in the past two or three years turned out something like 400 very high grade students. No less than 50 different private firms in the United States employ people who are fully trained in reactor technology. We have a long way to go, although we are doing our best by means of the reactor school at Harwell and other sources. Here is a great opportunity for this country. The Minister of Education is fully aware of it, but I am sure that he will appreciate the constructive arguments that have been put forward in the House today.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir Charles MacAndrew)
There are still quite a number of hon. Members who want to speak, and if the length of speeches could be cut down a little, more hon. Members could take part in the debate. It is no aflair of mine, but I do know that to be a fact.
§ 8.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Arthur Moyle (Oldbury and Halesowen)
first, I should like to tell the Minister of Education that the reason why some of us are slightly incredulous when we hear statements from him about the plans for further education is that our judgment is affected by his unfortunate history. For example, we recall the statement that he made about the school building programme some months ago, which gave us the impression that there was to be no further retreat in the field of education. Yet only last week we were 1728 told that there was to be an amendment to this school building programme.
When my hon. Friend the Member for Workington (Mr. Peart) described it as a cut, as indeed did the Association of Education Committees at its annual conference this week, the right hon. Gentleman tried to ride away on the alibi that it is not a cut but purely a matter of rationalising his building programme. We shall want some firmer assurances from the right hon. Gentleman that this scheme for a further advance in technical education is something more than a plan, and I hope that he will be able to convince us and the authorities who will be responsible for carrying it out that the scheme is to be implemented. I must warn him that he will not have a happy time at Southport tomorrow, because the sense of scepticism with which his statements are received is entirely due to his own record at the Ministry.
Coming to a more agreeable aspect of what I have to say, I was very glad to hear the right hon. Gentleman refer to the Birmingham Technical College, and to learn from him that it is to be promoted to the higher levels of technology and, indeed, that it is to receive the status of a top-grade college of technology. From that, of course, I assume that it will have within its authority the right to confer diplomas upon those capable of achieving that standard of technical education. That statement will be received with real gratification by people in the Midlands, for, as the right hon. Gentleman and his Parliamentary Secretary know, Birmingham University has played a very great part in technology, particularly in recent years.
What I regard as this silly antithesis that exists between the universities and the technical colleges—or, to put it in its proper and simpler setting, this silly antithesis between the humanities on the one side and the industrial arts on the other—is doing a great dis-service to education. It does not exist, except in the minds of those who have never had a university or technical education.
It is all a matter of loyalties. While I am always in favour of rivalries between loyalties, we do a great dis-service when we start with the assumption that it is wrong for the universities to have control of the technical colleges, because of their alleged hostility to them. Having had neither a university nor a technical 1729 education in the sense expressed in the White Paper, I believe that it would he unfortunate if we supported a policy of a kind of exclusive technical education divorced entirely from our existing universities.
To set up the ten technical colleges, to which the Minister referred, as completely independent of the universities and responsible only to the Minister and not to the universities, would be a most radically reactionary step. We must not forget that community life is a factor in education. I hope that there will be the closest co-operation among students of technology and technical students and other students, because the more they mix together, the better will be their education.
For example, I Should like to see the closest possible association between the College of Technology at Birmingham and Birmingham University. Let there be the most complete freedom of intercourse, playing games, conferring together, discussing educational problems and so on. The more that is done, the more successful will be the education on both sides, namely the humanities and the industrial arts. I hope that the National Union of Students will, in the light of the White Paper, study its constitution, and make those students at London Polytechnic institutes and other technical colleges as eligible to join the National Union of Students as are those students at our established universities. I was delighted to hear the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Caernarvon (Mr. G. Roberts), who spoke in support of having technical colleges made constituent parts of our universities.
Another matter to which I want to refer was a point most effectively made by the hon. Member for Burton (Mr. Jennings), who in other days was a schoolmaster. He spoke about the importance of the basis from which this pyramid of technical education will spring. I must confess that I was disappointed by the Minister's apparent indifference to this very factor. He scarcely referred to it. He got himself into an ivory tower of the more rarefied levels of technology, and he forgot the base. I want to reaffirm what was said by both the hon. Member for Burton and my hon. Friend the Member for Workington.
1730 Only 4 per cent. of our school population goes to technical schools; 20 per cent. goes to grammar schools; and 76 per cent. to the secondary modern schools. I want the Minister to express some sense of urgency about the secondary modern school position. Two basic principles were laid down in the Education Act, 1944. The first was that every child had a right to a secondary education. Under that Act privilege disappeared. The second principle was that every child should have an education according to its age, ability and aptitude. We have a long way to go before that can be achieved in secondary education, particularly in the secondary modern school.
In secondary modern schools there is an amazing disparity between one school and another. Even in the same locality one will find a secondary modern school where there is no equipment and where the school represents merely a primary school of the old days plus an extra year at school. In another school, one finds a vastly different standard with equipment, laboratories, libraries, gardens and special rooms for different arts and crafts. At such schools there is co-operation with the grammar school, and children are selected because they have shown a bent for an academic education and are transferred to the sixth form of the local grammar school, some making good and going to university via a secondary modern school. The Minister should consider the fact that this vast school population has to use inferior equipment. He should see whether we cannot speed up the improvement both of its accommodation, equipment and teaching staff.
Many localities in Wales and in certain remote parts of the Midlands have no technical schools. They have only secondary modern schools and grammar schools. How can we fit in the whole scheme of technical education to the secondary modern school? I suggest that secondary modern schools in such localities should be converted into bilateral schools, and that those children who show a bent for making things should be encouraged to take up a technical education, and to remain at the secondary modern school until they reach the age of 16. From there they can be recruited for further technical education at the local technical colleges.
1731 I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central (Mr. Short) that it is the teacher and not the equipment that matters, but a technical education cannot be properly given unless the tools are provided for the teacher to do the job. It is a much more expensive job, at the secondary school level, to teach children technical subjects, because capital expenditure is much greater than is required for the equipment necessary for the more literary subjects.
We should not be so complacent about the fact that two-thirds of our children are in secondary modern schools, and that we are not doing much about it. Until we tackle that problem and bring the standard of the secondary modern school up to that of the technical and grammar school we shall fail lamentably in any attempt to provide a proper education either in the humanities or in technical subjects. I am wondering how we shall ever get technicians and technologists from our secondary modern school population in present conditions, but unless we do our country cannot make the progress that is required.
We cannot sit back and look at the development of technical education in other countries, while remaining complacent about our own position. We shall be evading our responsibilities if we allow so many of our children who, by the law of this land, are entitled to have a proper secondary education, to languish at school waiting until they reach the age of 15, simply because the equipment and the tools are not there to enable teachers to do their job.
§ 8.32 p.m.
§ Mr. Arthur Tiley (Bradford, West)
I was ready to make a wonderful speech at 5 o'clock, but I was tiring a little at 6 o'clock, fading at 7 o'clock, disintegrating at 8 o'clock, and now I find that I am heavily curtailed at 8.30 in what I want to say. I shall try to be brief, because I know that other hon. Members wish to take part in this very interesting debate. I wish to assure my constituents that I have sat here since about 3 o'clock, but I also want them to know that I have enjoyed every minute of the day.
I want to join issue with the hon. Member for Oldbury and Halesowen (Mr. Moyle) about the so-called cuts, because we have made huge strides in the build- 1732 ing of schools and the provision of places in the last four or five years. Nowhere in the whole field of education have I seen any complacency. The very fact that the White Paper has been received with so much advice and so many helpful hints by hon. Members on both sides of the House shows that complacency is something that is only talked about. Not one of us believes that any complacency exists about the danger to the well-being of our country if we neglect our education.
The most important feature about the White Paper is that it is not too ambitious. Its proposals are capable of being achieved. I should have made a brief speech in any event, because my experience is not that of a specialist. I come from business and commerce, and the fundamental requirement in our industrial life is not to bite off more than we can chew.
I am glad to see that the Bradford Technical College is to be elevated and to receive the title of "College of Advanced Technology". Most cities would be glad to have such an elevation of one of their principal places of education, but the news was not so well received in my city, because we have been trying for half a generation to raise the college to the status of a university. But we must not look a gift horse in the mouth, and it is essential that the pride of the city in this technical college should grow and help to make complete the status which will be bestowed on education in the West Riding.
At the inception of the scheme it is probably a good thing that the interest of the local education authorities is being retained. With a minor revolution proceeding in technological education, we cannot afford chaos or delay; and local education authorities have such a vast and intimate knowledge of the needs of the industries surrounding our localities that at the beginning of the scheme it is better that their interest should be retained.
I was glad to hear the Minister say that this is not the last word, that we are not setting up a hide-bound scheme which cannot be opened. We are here delving into new problems, and there is no reason why changes should not be effected, because what is the right thing 1733 today may be the wrong thing next year. Provided the Minister watches the situation, I know that things will be put right. I hope my right hon. Friend will watch the attachment of the staffs to these advanced colleges, because, with the research to be done, we must get people of the highest calibre onto the teaching staffs. It may be necessary to recruit outside the Burnham scale and conditions. These jobs will be so specialised in research and consultation with industry that I cannot see how the people can afford to comply with Ministerial regulations.
The suggestion has come from hon. Members on both sides of the House, and I hope that at some stage it will be possible to set up a separate association of local authorities with a new technological committee, even under the auspices of the University Grants Committee, because the scheme may well be deterred by lack of local initiative or financial resources. It is obvious that on this new basis we need to plan nationally.
I was glad that we have heard the last of the "dip. tech." When I first read in the Sunday Times some months ago that this new diploma was to be called the "dip. tech", I thought what a bad psychological effect it would have on all interested in technical education and progress if at the very outset of the scheme we referred to a diploma.
We have M.A.'s, B.A.'s, and B.Sc.'s, and then we were going to get "D.T.'s". One can earn a diploma for breeding rabbits or growing cucumbers, or if one's Rhode Island Red lays a larger egg than one's neighbour's hen. One can also get a diploma for making ice cream or being a beauty queen. So I think that the word "diploma" has dipped low in recent years. It was a bad thing in the first place to associate such a phrase with something we all hope will have the same status as a degree. We might call the holder a "Bachelor of Technology," or a "Fellow of Technology," or a "Master of Technology" or an advanced "Collegiate of Technology." But it would be better still if the Minister would accept the advice given to him from hon. Members on both sides of the House and devise the machinery and means to make this new diploma into a degree.
1734 Many things have been said about the broad base of the apex which is to lead to an enlightened age in science and technology. My hon. Friend the Member for Burton (Mr. Jennings) stressed the need for scientific training in secondary modern schools. The balance must be maintained. There is in operation Ministry of Education Circular No. 281, issued in October, 1954, which allows deduction for Income Tax and Profits Tax on gifts by traders to technical colleges and so on for the purposes of vocational education or research.
The hon. Member for Reading (Mr. Mikardo) suggested that if a local firm gave some text books to a library it would get tax rebate, but that does not apply at all. I think a great deal of good would accrue to secondary modern schools and grammar schools if the circular were expanded so as to give tax rebate to those who make gifts or loans. Very often a firm of engineers, interested in a secondary modern school, might be prepared to lend £5,000 or £10,000 worth of equipment to it.
It is no good taking the joint out of the oven if the meat has not been put in early enough. If we look for a scheme to provide technical colleges without giving full thought to it in the early stages of education, we shall look in vain. This simple and not expensive manner of extending a facility which is in being now would give industrialists a deeper interest in assisting smaller schools, secondary modern schools and grammar schools, with equipment. Many of our modern schools are fine examples of our technical equipment, but many of the older schools are in a shocking state. Recently I went to a school which I left 30 years ago, and I found the physics laboratory and the chemistry laboratory were exactly as they were when I left.
§ Mr. J. Johnson
Would it not be better if that money came out of public taxation and the L.E.A. were not dependent on local gifts?
§ Mr. Tiley
Please do not interrupt again, because I am very pressed for time. In my city many of the finest schools were built largely through the help given by industrialists.
I hope that we shall educate parents to encourage their children into a scientific career, because, whether we like it or not, for the next 20 years it will be much more important to understand and to be able to quote scientific formulae than to be able to quote and understand Shakespeare.
§ 8.42 p.m.
§ Mr. Ian Mikardo (Reading)
The outstanding characteristic of this debate is that no hon. Member who has participated in it, from either side of the House, has shown any wild enthusiasm for the proposals in the White Paper. No one has seemed to suggest that he thinks the proposals in the White Paper are adequate.
Of course, many hon. Members have welcomed the White Paper as far as it goes, but,_as hon. Members who study the Motion and the Amendment will see, the object of the debate is not to discuss whether the account given in the White Paper of present provisions for technical education is an accurate account or not. Nor is it to discuss whether the new proposals made in the White Paper are in themselves worthy. The object of the debate is to decide whether those proposals are adequate to the current need. I have yet to hear an hon. Member, apart from the Minister, indicate that he thinks the proposals made by the Minister are adequate to meet our present needs.
I cannot see how hon. Members such as the hon. Member for Pollok (Mr. George), the hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Pitman), and the hon. Member for Burton (Mr. Jennings), after what they said in the debate, can possibly go into the Lobby in support of the Minister. In fact, three of the proposals with which the Minister principally nailed his colours to the mast -that the job should be left diffused for local authorities and industry, that we should have no county colleges and that degree status should not be given to the technological institutions-have been universally criticised from both sides of the House.
1736 Here we have the position today that a Minister has brought forward a White Paper which none of his supporters—let us leave aside those who sit on this side of the House—has said is adequate to meet the need. Here we have a situation in which the Minister, in his opening speech, laid down a number of principles, of which the three most important have been criticised from both sides of the House. Yet doubtless, at the end of the day, hon. Gentlemen opposite will flock like sheep into the Lobby to call down blessings upon the Minister's head.
The plain fact of the matter, as we have been told throughout the debate from both sides of the House, is that the proposals put forward in the White Paper are vague, woolly and inadequate. I shall try, in the time that remains to me, to comment particularly on six things in the White Paper which appear to me to be absolutely wrong.
The first is that it does not visualise the programme as a planned, combined operation. Our post-war interest in technical and technological education derives from the shock which we all got during the war, when we discovered how desperately short we were of scientists, technologists and technicians. It was because of making that discovery that we set up the Percy Committee to study the matter. I want to take the minds of hon. Members back to the prefatory note to the Percy Committee's Report, which stated that:Hitherto, the development of technical education has not been systemmatically planned. It was abundantly clear even before the war that the whole system requires overhauling.That was written and published in 1945. Now, we are in 1956, and not one ha'porth advanced from where the Percy Committee said we were then. In 1956, technical education is still not being systematically planned; in 1956, the whole system is still not being overhauled.
Of course, I am not saying anything against local initiative being exercised by education authorities and by industrialists. It is one thing not to discourage special local initiative in that way; it is quite another thing to imagine that we can catch up our great arrears in technical education, both intrinsically and by comparison with other countries, merely by letting the thing grow up, like Topsy. If 1737 we read the proposals in the White Paper, we see that they do constitute proposals for letting the thing grow up, like Topsy.
There is no co-ordination in the matter at all, and most of the time the Ministry is saying "We urge somebody to do this—somebody other than ourselves. We hope that somebody else will do that. We look forward with anticipation to the possibility of somebody else doing something else, but we are going to sit back and do nothing at all. We are going to let well-meaning people in the local authorities do something and let well-meaning industrialists do something. We hope that teachers will come forward. We hope students will grow on gooseberry bushes, but we ain't going to do anything."
That is really what is said in the White Paper. It is, perhaps, a somewhat foreshortened, but not altogether unfair, summary of what the White Paper stated. Let me give one example—the example of the lack of planning and co-ordination in the relation between the sandwich courses and the part-time release courses, between the teaching which a student gets at work and the teaching which he gets at school, either in the six months' sandwich course or in the day release course.
The last time I spoke in a debate in the House on technical education, now nearly ten years ago, I drew attention to the need for the co-ordination of these two separate parts of the student teaching, and I therefore felt a little glow of happiness when I noticed that the White Paper recognised that necessity, so far as I know for the first time in any official publication.
Paragraph 9 of Appendix B speaks of the importance of the college maintaining contact with the students during their work periods. Paragraph 11 says,The main consideration is that industrial training should be broad and closely related to the education in the college.That is important, because we sometimes create great confusion in the minds of youngsters when they work for a time in the factory and then go to school. When they go to school they are taught that the empirical methods of the factory are unscientific—which is perfectly true—and when they go back to the factory they are told, "Do not take any notice of all that `pansy' stuff they teach you at the college." The poor little fellow is torn 1738 between these two viewpoints. His education will not be complete and integrated unless, as the Appendix suggests, the education authority has some jurisdiction over what he is taught in the factory.
As I say, the White Paper recognises the problem; but it does not propose that a single thing should be done about it. Not a single proposal is made. There are so many problems of this sort—I have not time to instance them all—where over and over again the White Paper draws attention to the existence of the problem and then not only makes no proposal for solving it but does not even suggest any recognition of the Ministry's responsibility to put forward some proposal for solving the problem to which it draws attention.
The second glaring defect of the White Paper is that some of the most important objectives of our technical education programme are not defined at all. I do not know how anybody could publish a White Paper on technical education in this country without starting with some estimate, however rough, of how many technologists we shall need over the next few years and without that estimate broken down, however roughly—and it could only be roughly—industry by industry. Unless we put down some measurement of the size of the job, how on earth can anybody plan the job and how can anybody judge whether the plan which has been put forward is adequate? It staggers me that this White Paper contains no such estimate.
Thirdly, some of the objectives which are defined have their target pitched far too low. One target is that of raising the number of people on day release from about 300,000 to double that number—600,000. This sounds awfully impressive until we remember that the number in Western Germany is 2 million. That is done in Western Germany because for thirty years there has been statutory day release up to the age of 18. I do not know why the Minister says that we cannot do it on a stautory basis here, and why he says it must be voluntary.
He says that these people have ceased to be children and therefore ought to be allowed to decide for themselves. But we have gone on over the years, gradually raising the age at which children were allowed to decide for themselves what education they should have. We started 1739 with the age of 10, we went up to 12, we went up to 14 and now we have gone up to 15. I see no reason at all why we should not say that everybody between the ages of 15 and 18 should have some part-time education—and I know that here, at least, I carry with me the hon. Member for Bath who, by implication at least, spoke very critically of the Minister in this respect.
That is not the only way in which the sights are pitched very low indeed. What is described as one of the major targets of the enterprise is as soon as possible to raise the number of technological students—referred to in the White Paper in paragraph 56—going through advanced colleges from about 9,500 to 15,000. I invite the House to look at a Written Reply which was given by the Minister on 15th March to my hon. Friend the Member for Edmonton (Mr. Albu), in which he lists the categories of people who make up these 9,000-odd students. I have gone to some trouble to analyse them, and as nearly as one can do so I find that certainly not less than 7,000, and perhaps as many as 8,000 of the 9,000-odd are part-time students.
What does the Minister say? Is he saying that he intends to raise that number of 7,000 to 8,000 part-timers and the 1,000 to 2,000 full-timers to 15,000 full-timers, or is it to be 13,000 part-timers and 2,000 full-timers? If so, that is chicken feed. It represents nothing like the target we shall need.
Fourth, there is the question of girls and women in industry. The White Paper seems to ride off on the idea that girls go into industry only until they get married. There is some truth in that, we know, but there is much less truth in it now than there was a generation, or even a few years, ago, and the real obstacle now to getting women scientists and women engineers is the simple fact that there are almost no science teachers in girls' schools, and the White Paper makes no proposals at all for getting more science teachers in girls' schools.
Fifth comes a problem to which the hon. Member for Burton drew attention, and about which the Minister did not say a single word. The Minister spoke about the shortage of teachers, but it is not generally realised that there is a desperate shortage of technical, technological and 1740 scientific students. Only recently, the Advisory Council on Scientific Policy drew attention to the shortage of students in science and mathematics. Although there are many reasons for that shortage, one of the principal reasons is the inadequacy of scholarships and grants, which have not kept pace with the rise in the cost of living.
The same holds good about technological students. The London and Home Counties Regional Advisory Council for Higher Technological Education which has been given the job of starting fresh courses, has surveyed the present situation, and says that it is of no use starting fresh courses as we are not getting enough students to man the courses there are. That will always be so as long as the Government leave the job to be financed by employers, particluarly in relation to sandwich courses.
We have been talking about this matter today as though all employers were those great enlightened companies which know something about education and have gone in for these courses in a big way, but we have to remember that 96 per cent. of our factories employ fewer than 500 people. What we are getting is a gross inequality of opportunity for sandwich courses and other technical education, because the chance that a lad has of getting this education depends on whether he is working for a big or a smaller firm.
Finally, there is the great unfaced question that the Ministry always begs. I must say that I admire the courage of the hon. Member for Burton in drawing attention to it. I refer to the effect of compulsory National Service on all this matter. In one of its more strongly-written passages, the White Paper refers to the young people who feel, when they leave school at the age of 18, the urge to start their careers as soon as they can. Even allowing for the possibility of deferment, one has only to think for a moment to realise how young people who are dominated by that sort of motivation have all their ideas and plans "knocked for six" the minute they start to work out their timetable and find that somewhere in it there will be an unwelcome sandwich course of two years' wasted time in the Armed Forces.
Nothing is doing so much to limit the interest of young people in courses of technical and technological education, 1741 nothing is doing so much to induce them to look for blind-alley jobs, and nothing is doing so much to make employers feel that it is not worth while spending money on youngsters, as is the interruption of the careers and education of young people caused by National Service.
These are grave problems which the White Paper does not face at all, and it is on those grounds that my right hon. and hon. Friends are surely justified in saying that it is inadequate to meet the needs which the White Paper itself describes.
§ 9.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Norman Cole (Bedfordshire, South)
In the limited time at my disposal I want to deal with the last point made by the hon. Member for Reading (Mr. Mikardo). He made great play with the word "adequacy". I would refer the hon. Gentleman to paragraph 12 of the White Paper, which states:Against this background the Government have reviewed the system of technical education in Great Britain. They are resolved that it shall fully match the needs of modern industry and offer to every boy and girl the chance of seizing the opportunities which scientific progress is opening before them.In our view—and we shall go into the Division Lobby to support it—this programme endeavours tomatch the needs of modern industry.It is a programme which provides £70 million at a time when the country is experiencing economic difficulties.
I think that this policy also answers the criticism about urgency which has been directed at my right hon. Friend. This is a time of all times when the Government might have been forgiven for delaying the matter for a few months. Yet this White Paper was produced in February, and at the present time the Government are doing all they can to save money in other directions. That is an indication of the Government's lack of complacency and of their sense of vital urgency in respect of technical education.
One point to which I wish to refer is the new plan for having a five-year programme as distinct from knowing only for twelve months ahead what is planned. I believe that will be of great assistance to local authorities and others concerned.
The hon. Member for Fulham (Mr. M. Stewart), who opened the debate for the 1742 Opposition today, referred to the question of how far technical colleges should be the responsibility of local authorities and how far they should become national matters. I had the pleasure a few months ago of being present at the laying of the foundation stone of a college of further education near my constituency. I wish to pay tribute to the great pride shown in the area at the laying of that stone, and of all it meant in achievement and ambition. I believe that if we overlook the great sense of personal pride evinced in that area and in the large cities to which reference has been made today, we shall do a great disservice to this form of education, and, indeed, to any other form of education in which so much local pride is taken. I hope that my right hon. Friend will bear that in mind in considering the remarks made by the hon Member for Fulham.
I wish to conclude by referring to a point made today and one which is very near my heart. What would happen were we to neglect our technical education today? We should begin to feel the effects of such neglect in a few years' time, but the really serious effects would probably not be felt for another twenty-five years, when we should find that our lack of technical knowledge was becoming all too apparent.
Technical education is a matter in which there must never be a time-gap, not only because we shall fall behind other nations, but because technical education is vital to our way of life. I do not know whether the people of this country and we in the House realise that we really have no tangible assets in this country to justify our position in the world. We are not self-sufficient in the matter of the raw materials which we need for our industries. Every raw material of importance we have to import in greater or lesser amount.
The only thing which is indigenous to this country is our know-how, and in that respect we are in the front rank of the world. We turn that know-how into products which the world wants. That know-how consists of two things. It consists, first, of the technical education which we maintain in this country and, secondly it consists equally of that latent talent which we possess. But we must make sure that our technical education is adequate. What 1743 we do in this direction in the next few years will determine the standard of living in this country in twenty-five years' time.
§ 9.5 p.m.
§ Mr. James Callaghan (Cardiff, South-East)
I thoroughly agree with the last sentiment expressed by the hon. Member for Bedfordshire, South (Mr. Cole), and it is precisely because we on this side do not think that the needs of the country are being met by the Government's proposals that we propose to vote for our Motion this evening.
I was horrified at the complacency which the hon. Member expressed in the early part of his comments. If it is really his view and the view of his hon. Friends, as I suppose it must be, that the White Paper which we are discussing today meets the needs of Britain, I can only say that his party do not deserve to govern the country. If one looks at the comparative figures of what other nations are doing and considers the needs of industry today, there can be no doubt that this programme falls far short of what every independent critic and observer has to say about the situation that Britain is facing.
Having sat and listened to every speech except about two, I have been horrified at the complacency of the House. I assure hon. Members that the complacency which has been expressed is not shared by those outside who study these matters. The tempo was to some extent set by the language and speech, flaccid and vapid, of the Minister. We do not complain that he took a long time to make his speech. What we complain about is that he took a long time to say so little. He went into the minutiae of educational administration and told us some interesting things about the new super-technical colleges that we are to Have—facts that there is no reason at all for waiting until today to disclose. They could equally well have been put into a paper or an answer. Had he liked, the Minister could have discussed this programme in its broad setting and whether it is adequate to the needs of the nation, but he dodged that issue. Indeed, with lofty disdain he said that he hoped none of us would waste our time on it.
At that moment, I agreed with the Minister—I assumed that the case was accepted; but from what I have heard of the debate, it seems quite clear that 1744 the case is certainly not accepted on the other side of the House that Britain is lagging in industrial progress, that her technical resources are falling behind those of other nations and that a great effort is needed to pull us up level with what is happening in other parts of the world. That is the case, and it should have been discussed by the Minister, and that is the case to which he hardly referred in any remarks he had to make.
I do not know what is the matter with the right hon. Gentleman. He used to be a promising Minister. Perhaps his efforts on the Coronation exhausted him. He has never been the same since he has been at the Ministry of Education. In the view of many of us, he has fallen far below the needs of the situation today in the policy he has produced.
Because these figures are not accepted, I shall go over what is happening in other parts of the world; this must be relevant to our situation. In the U.S.S.R. today, per million of the population, the Russians are producing 280 graduate engineers. In the United States the figure is 136; in Western Europe, including Italy, 67; and in Britain, 57.
I should like the Lord Privy Seal to say whether he really believes that the increase in effort which is proposed, which will not even double our contribution in an unspecified time, will materially match up to what is happening in the U.S.S.R. As he is responsible for the universities—he is responsible at least for the University Grants Committee—perhaps he can account for his stewardship in this connection. Why, since the Government have been in office, has the number of graduates in pure science and in technology at the universities dropped from 9,600 to 8,500—a drop of over 1,000—between 1951–52 and 1954–55? Is this the way the Government are facing what they commonly call the second industrial revolution? If so, heaven help us. What I complain of in the attitude of the Government and of the Minister today is their complacency. Could I have the Minister's attention for a moment? I am alleging that he is complacent, that his heart is not in the job, and that he has not done what should have been done to put Britain right.
The second test whether this programme is inadequate is not merely to 1745 compare what we are doing with what other countries are doing. The Minister himself brought up the question of definition. He asked, "Adequate by reference to what?" Adequacy can surely be measured by whether the products of our technical institutions and universities today are sufficient both to meet the present needs of industry and to take advantage of the opportunities that science is laying before us. On both those counts I say the Government fail.
We had an estimate the other day from somebody who should know, Sir Harold Roxbee Cox, that industry today is short as to one-third of engineering technicians. Lord Simon of Wythenshawe, who was quoted also by my hon. Friend the Member for Workington (Mr. Peart), had this to say the other day:What is wrong in this country is that we have far too few graduate engineers to develop the ideas of our scientists and inventors as fast or as well as is done in other countries. It is notorious that the Americans, thanks to their wealth of engineers, frequently develop and successfully put on the world market the results of research by British scientists.Does this programme match up to that? Of course it does not. We know it does not, and so does the Minister. The best thing that the hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Pitman) could say in his defence of the Minister was to thank him for not closing Bolton Technical College.
The Principal of Manchester College of Technology has said that if the shortage of science masters continues…teaching in the schools of this country will be completely crippled, and it is hard to see how the universities will attract competent science students. Industry may grind slowly to a halt and half the population of this island may have to emigrate or starve.There is another eminent scientist whom I quoted yesterday who has said that unless we put a great deal more impulsive effort behind the programme—and he had seen the White Paper when he said this—Britain may be reduced to the level of Portugal within a generation. I think the Lord Privy Seal knows to whom I am referring.
What is the matter? Why cannot we put a little more effort into the programme, which, clearly is not sufficient? Whether or not we are able at the moment to meet the growing need of industry for technicians—and everybody 1746 knows we are not—the growing need of technicians, because of the fruits science is ready to offer us, certainly demands a programme akin to that which is being followed by the U.S.S.R. If the Government tell us, as they do in their Amendment, that they are developing…the facilities for this purpose as rapidly as resources allow…I suggest they send a mission to Russia as quickly as possible, because there they have been able in the space of ten years to multiply by 500 per cent. the number of technical students they have at work.
As my hon. Friend the Member for Reading (Mr. Mikardo) said, the incredible thing is that at this time of all times, instead of bounding forward in the training of scientists and technologists, we are slowing up. The Cardiff College of Technology five years ago had 25 engineers graduating a year. This year, I am told, there may be only one. Let us consider the number of applied science external degrees obtained by technical college students in the last few years. London external degrees in 1951 numbered 504. In the succeeding years the numbers have been 327, 333, 263, 218. We are going down; we are not going up.
The epitaph on the right hon. Gentleman's Ministry will be that he failed to take advantage of the opportunities that lay in front of us in Britain, and that he did not exercise the energy that is necessary to achieve the results that could accrue to the nation. I would go further and say that not only is this programme not adequate but that there will be very great difficulties in carrying it out. I give an example of what I mean.
Reference has been made from both sides of the House to the status of the diploma of technology. It is generally agreed that it ought to be called bachelor of science or bachelor of technology, or something of that sort. In view of the decline in the number of technicians that we are finding attending courses at present, is there not something to be said for changing the name? Does the Minister not think there is a real case, on grounds of prestige alone, for changing the name and trying to turn this into a qualification that would be recognised by those who work for it and graduate as being equivalent to a university degree, as indeed it will be? Let there be no doubt 1747 that it will be a hard job for anybody to qualify.
Then there is the question of training teachers for the technical colleges. I illustrate this as another difficulty which the Minister will find in the way of carrying out his programme. We are asking experienced men, and I hope women, over the age of twenty-five to leave their jobs in industry, to accept maintenance grants from the Ministry, and go to a college for training. Frequently, indeed almost invariably, the maintenance grant they get is less than the salary or wages they earned in industry and therefore they have to put up with hardship.
They give up their jobs to go to college at a lower rate of grant than they would be getting in terms of salary. There is also a gap at the end of their period of training before they take up their posts. Frequently, they receive no grant at all for vacation periods. Finally, when they get into the technical colleges as teachers, they frequently find that they are not advanced as far in the salary scale as they would have been if they had stayed in industry. All this needs radical attention, but from the Minister's leisurely speech no one would deduce that this is a problem fundamental to the growth of technology in this country. We want action and earnestness from the Minister both in his demeanour and his policy.
Many references have been made in the debate to the so-called sandwich students, that is, young men and, I hope in increasing numbers, young women who work at the bench for a short time and then go to college and perhaps have their wages paid by the firm. Such a student is given a grant by the Ministry, but a means test is applied to the parents. Therefore, it frequently follows that if the parent's income reaches a certain figure, and not a very high figure, the grant will be substantially cut into, and indeed there may be no grant at all.
We are asking these young people when they leave industry to take up a sandwich course to become almost entirely dependent upon their parents. Is this the way to face the new industrial revolution? I can only apply to it the Minister's own famous dictum, "Treat them mean and make them keen", which he used in 1748 relation to a Budget of which it is still true today.
We are short not only of teachers but also of students because of the difficulties of some of the smaller firms. My hon. Friend the Member for Reading was right. This is illustrated in South Wales where, apart from the nationalised industries, there are practically no large firms that can afford to release young men to take these courses. I have here a letter written by a South Wales firm to the Principal of the Cardiff College of Technology. He has given me permission to quote it. It was written a few days ago and stated:I have now had an opportunity of conferring with my Management on the subject of H.N.D. Sandwich course. I am informed and advised by our Management that we are so under-staffed that it is not possible at present to spare the personnel to attend at your courses, much as we appreciate the excellent aims you have in mind. It is hoped that at some time in the future that we shall be better positioned to add our support.That speaks for itself. Of course we are short of students. Small firms of this kind naturally feel that they cannot afford to let experienced and skilled persons go either to assist as part-time teachers for the sandwich courses or as students.
What remedy has the Minister got for this? The right hon. Gentleman was very unenthusiastic about raising the age for part-time education. He rather damned the county college idea when we asked what was his objection to it. I say to the Minister now that it is the view of this side of the House that if his plan of doubling the number of students who are released for sandwich courses is to be successful, he must consider very early indeed making part-time education compulsory up to the age of 18. If he does that, he will not be merely adding a frill to the welfare state but will be saving the industrial future of Britain.
At this stage I want to pay a tribute to the work being done by the T.U.C. and by the F.B.I. Both, in combination, have been doing a great deal to bring to the notice of industrialists and of their members the need for these courses, and the consequences that will flow if they are not provided. We know that the real difficulty of the Government, the reason why they have put down an Amendment to our Motion, the reason why they say 1749 they are only going to carry out a programme "as rapidly as resources allow", is that they have so little control over the resources of this country.
What control have they got over the building industry at present? The reason why we cannot have any great extension of our building programme in education now, the reason why the Minister has to go and face a crowd of angry educational administrators tomorrow morning—and good luck to him—[HON. MEMBERS:"Why?"] Well, I voted against the continuation of hanging and have always been a humanitarian. The reason is that the Government have no control over the building industry. Great blocks are going up in the City of London, the petrol pumps continue to flourish, but there is no control, and so the Minister has to slow down the building programme.
What is the Minister doing about the salaries of teachers of technical education—quite apart from the award made recently—to ensure that there is a prospect that the salaries which will now be paid will be competitive with the salaries that are being offered in industry? How is the right hon. Gentleman ensuring that? Because, unless he does that, or puts a levy on industry and tells it that it has to provide these teachers for its own people in technical colleges, I see no way of achieving this programme.
I have promised to sit down in five minutes in order to give the Lord Privy Seal an opportunity of telling us what is happening in this sphere. I will finish by saying that our view is that first the programme is inadequate; secondly, I have enumerated a number of difficulties which will stand in the way of achieving even this inadequate programme; thirdly, what we need is a real break-through in technical education. At the present moment there is a vicious circle. We cannot train enough scientists and technologists because there are not enough scientific teachers to train the scientists and technologists who would be able to train the next generation of teachers. There we go, round and round in a circle. What we need is what we see no signs of from the Minister of Education at present, a break-through of the vicious circle.
The hon. Member for Pollok (Mr. George) said—and I agree with him wholeheartedly—that the U.S.S.R. is bounding forward and all we can do is 1750 to crawl. What on earth the hon. Member is going to do voting in the opposite Lobby tonight I do not know. He ought to be voting with us on these benches. Practically everybody who has spoken this afternoon has been critical of the Government. Nearly everybody has said that not enough is being done.
I come to one further point. We have got to break through and destroy this vicious circle. One way has been suggested by my hon. Friend the Member for Reading and by the hon. Member for Burton (Mr. Jennings). We have got to set a target date for the abolition of National Service. There are today 3,000 National Service men who are trained science graduates. That is practically the whole output for one year. They are languishing in the Services at present.
We have got to change our weight from one foot to another. We have got to overhaul this question, and it is my very strong view that this nation cannot afford to continue indefinitely with National Service at its present level, and there should be a target date fixed for its complete abolition. If I may use the words of the Minister of Defence, that should be well before the next General Election.
The schools and our educational system in general are rapidly becoming old-fashioned and out-dated. Neither the U.S.S.R. nor the United States of America segregate and separate their children at the age of 11-plus. Why we continue to go on doing it I simply cannot understand, in the face of the growing evidence that exists of the late developers who come along and do well—and there is statistical evidence about this—and in face of the fact that this educational system of ours no longer fits the scientific age into which we have moved.
I had a letter this morning from a master at a technical secondary school recruiting children at the age of 11-plus. That school is working within two or three miles of a well-known and long-established grammar school. This technical secondary school, which I agree has not been established very long, has had 120 applicants for entry next September. The well-known grammar school has had about 500. Are we really right at this stage to be in a position where there is no parity of esteem between these schools, where clearly one is 1751 regarded as much more desirable than the other, and yet we all know that the great needs of this nation are such that that secondary technical school has got to have some of the best brains that we have got?
I prophesy that this or the next Government will have to get rid of the 11-plus examination or reorganise our old-fashioned educational system in order that we can make certain that the fruits that the scientists are offering become available in the lives of the men and women not only on this island but also in the Colonies and Commonwealth.
There is a criminal waste of manpower in this field. There we are, with the resources on the Commonwealth unexplored, and the whole of these scientists working on colonial research today do not number more than 450. That is our contribution. We shall throw away the Commonwealth, we shall certainly throw away the Colonies, unless we import a much greater sense of urgency into our programme than is evident in this White Paper. My own feeling and the feeling of my hon. Friends is that we are not going to get a real programme of technical education until we get rid of the Government.
§ 9.30 p.m.
§ The Lord Privy Seal (Mr. R. A. Butler)
I am very glad to take part again in a debate on the subject of education. I have perhaps something to contribute because I had, when I was Chancellor of the Exchequer, a good deal to do with the universities, and I can perhaps modify some of the rather extreme and inaccurate statements made by the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) on the subject of our record in that respect.
I can support the remarkable record of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Education in pushing ahead, in a time of exceptional difficulty, technical education in a manner totally different from the neglect of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite in their period of office. I shall support all these contentions with a sufficient armoury of facts and figures.
The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East made a distinguished speech on science last night and he has followed it up with a more fighting and less 1752 temperate speech in order to rally his somewhat dwindling supporters this evening. Last night I thought he was quite scientific. Tonight I found him almost wholly political. Nevertheless, I think we should accept from the hon. Member for Fulham (Mr. M. Stewart) and the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East one single fact, and that is that there is unanimity in the House on the subject of getting ahead and breaking through, as one hon. Member said, on the front of technical education.
My hon. Friend the Member for Bath (Mr. Pitman) made a characteristic intervention, and said that technical education in many of its aspects—referring not only to the diploma but also to secondary education in schools—was "non-U" rather than being "U "; that is to say, it was not respectable rather than being regarded as respectable, according to one's special inclination and the interpretation of that magic letter.
My own impression is that when the right hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) and I introduced, in the time of the Coalition Government, the Education Bill, one of our major objectives, supported both in this House and in the country, was to introduce parity of esteem, as it has been referred to, between the man who works with hand and eye, the man whose skill is at the service of his country, and the man who merely replies to examination questions or is what we know, in ancient language, as a humanist. Our object was to get that parity of esteem and, to some extent, we have made progress; but, as I shall show tonight, there is a good deal more progress that we intend to make.
I reject absolutely any arguments which would lay at the feet of this Government the idea that there was any difference in social status between the technician and the man of arts. It is quite essential for our country that the status of those who pass through our technical colleges or those who get technological degrees, or those who pass through our universities in the technical subjects and in pure science, should be of the highest possible esteem not only in regard to quality but also in the regard of their fellow-countrymen. Without that, we cannot survive as a nation.
I shall take up the challenge of the hon. Gentleman to compare our figures with those of other countries, and I shall 1753 deal with some other matters as well. We have heard interesting speeches from the hon. Member for Reading (Mr. Mikardo), which I have noted, the hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Peart), my hon. Friend the Member for Pollok (Mr. George) and other hon. Members. I shall also be referring, in the course of my remarks, not only to the situation in Scotland, in answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Pollok, but also to the situation in South Wales, mentioned by the hon. Member for Caernarvon (Mr. G. Roberts).
I propose, therefore, to divide my remarks as follows: I propose to make a few general observations upon the general situation of technical education; then to take up the hon. Gentleman's request to compare our situation with that in other countries: then to consider my particular contribution, which is that of the remarkably forward programme which the University Grants Committee is to follow, and which I think will be news to the House and to the country; and finally I propose to deal with the structure of the technical education under the control of my right hon. Friend, and to give hon. Members some figures of the amounts which we are contemplating spending in the various areas of the country on higher technical education.
The result of this will be an answer to the main question put from the benches opposite. Despite the pressure upon our resources, both of materials and manpower, it is the intention of the Government not to economise upon technical or higher technical education, but to go forward with it in a manner unprecedented under any Government since the war or before it. That is an unequivocal answer, and it will not be found that anything which the Chancellor of the Exchequer says at any time in the immediate future will contradict what I have just stated.
This decision indicates that we attach first-class importance to this matter. The sooner the House realises that we do, the happier the country will be. The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East did us a service last night in drawing attention to the many revolutionary developments which have taken place in materials, biology, electronics and so on, and not merely in nuclear energy, but he did one slight dis-service—I will not go into any detail about it, because it is a matter of 1754 degree—in claiming that because we allowed only so much for D.S.I.R. and agricultural research, the degree of research going forward in this country was not remarkable compared with that of any other.
Our achievements, even in the realm of polymers, to which he referred last night, are outstanding; our achievements in the realm of physics, as led by Sir John Cockcroft, are unrivalled in the world; and our achievements in many other spheres of science and applied science stand level with those of any other country. It is a pity that so much attention is paid to quantity rather than quality, which has always been the basis of the greatness of this island.
I have only one other introductory remark to make in response to what the hon. Member said last night; that is, that it is most important to realise that this is a moment when country and Government must grip the opportunity which is available, as was done in the time of the founding of the Royal Society, under Charles II. At that time they learned how to understand the merits of both Newton and Plato. We have to do the same thing, and bring into our technological studies a sense of humanity and idealism. If we do, and also take account of some rather solid figures which I am about to give, we can really make progress and preserve our greatness as a nation. That is the challenge before the country, and I have no reason to suppose that there is a single hon. Member opposite who does not accept it in that spirit.
I now turn to a comparison with other countries. The difficulty here is to compare the forms and types of education given. First, I should like to deal with the question of pure science and its importance in terms of technology. In 1954, the number of graduates produced in this country was 105 per million of population. For the whole of Western Europe the figure is only 48. That is the answer to some of the depressing statistics which we get. For Russia, the figure is only 56, and for the U.S.A., 144. Without wishing to make any unduly disparaging remarks about that great country, I cannot guarantee that the average quality of their very large proportion of science graduates is up to ours. In the realm of pure science I can give these figures, which are perhaps not widely known, but 1755 which indicate that we are at least maintaining our position. It is important not to be defeatist, but to look ahead and be optimistic in this matter.
I now pass to the question of technology. If my memory serves me aright, the statistics in this respect are given at the end of the White Paper, and the hon. Member is perfectly right in saying that our university graduates amount to 57 per million. But the average figure for Western Europe is only 67, and that includes about 70 for France, 82 for Switzerland and 39 for Italy. Our comparison is not too bad there. [Horn. MEMBERS: "It is not too good."] I have not finished the story. Those figures refer only to university graduates.
When we consider the proportion of technologists, we have to realise that we produce from technical colleges also some 164 per million of the population. Even supposing we do not consider more than half of those as qualifying in the comparison made by the hon. Member, we come to a figure which, at any rate, compares with that of the United States. Although we do not come to so high a figure as that put forward for the Soviet Union, again I am doubtful whether all those numbers included in the "Technicums" in the U.S.S.R., which I have done my best to study, come up to the standard that I have laid down in taking only half of the 164 per million issuing from our technical colleges. That puts the matter a little more in perspective.
However, it would be wrong for the House to be optimistic on this score. The situation is not satisfactory, and we have to press ahead. There is no doubt that in the Soviet Union itself, and in the United States—our two great competitors—there is a great surge forward in this sphere. While I still believe that we have the lead in pure science and, generally, in quality, there is a great deal of leeway to make up in technology which it is now our business to tackle.
The hon. Gentleman was kind enough to make some rather disparaging remarks about the record of this Government in contrast with that of his own, so let us see what is our record and what was the record of the Socialist Government. Four months after taking office I, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced, in February, 1952, that we 1756 were increasing the Treasury grant to the universities progressively for the next five years from £16.6 million to £25 million. with the necessity in mind—and that was four years ago now—for the adjustment of the balance of the university faculties to allow for a greater proportion of scientists and technicians.
In July of that year, again under the Administration in which I was Chancellor of the Exchequer, provision for special grant was made at the rate of 75 per cent.—instead of 60 per cent, given for main grant services—of the net expenditure for advanced technological study and research in certain technical colleges. Then came the proposals, which I am coming to in a moment, for the expansion of the Imperial College, and the big expansion, which we have now decided greatly to enlarge, of the university sphere in the general technological programme.
Before I come to that, I must remind the House that in 1950–51, the last full financial year of the Labour Government, contracts placed for technical colleges amounted to £874,000; whereas in 1955–56, the most recent full financial year of the Conservative Government, actual expenditure on technical colleges was £7 million—that is over seven times as much as was vouchsafed under the Administration of the party opposite.
If the hon. Gentleman wishes to see the situation when his Government left office, and if the spirit of criticism is to persist, it is just as well, at any rate at this time of night, to introduce a little spirit of support for our own side by referring to some of the situations which the Select Committee on Estimates found in regard to technical education in the Session of 1952. The Committee said this, it was referring to Birmingham:Every practicable place has been allocated for teaching, in the corridors and, in fact, underneath the platform of one of the lecture theatres. Lack of air and the necessity to use artificial light in so many of the rooms add to the difficulties of those responsible for the College.That is a place we intend to develop, and that is typical of many conditions to which I could draw attention and which existed at that time.
The hon. Gentleman must realise that, as was said in "Education in 1951", the Report of the Ministry of Education at 1757 the end of the Labour Government's Ministry:Disused and ancient structures are common. Premises in one place have literally fallen down. In another, the technical institute is established in the railway station offices, and is getting ever nearer to the railway itself. There is now a class in one of the waiting rooms.It is no use nationalising the railways if technical education is to be of that quality. That was the point of departure from which we had to make the start to which I have referred, and from which we have carried on.
§ Mr. Callaghan
I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will not forget in this analysis that it was the Labour Government which raised the school-leaving age to 15. If he will undertake to raise part-time education to the compulsory age of 18 now, I promise not to use similar quotations against him in ten years' time.
§ Mr. Butler
I hope that the hon. Member will not forget that we have been accused, in the most definite language, of neglecting technical education, and a little tit-for-tat is quite a good thing at this time of night. Further, I hope he will remember that it was under a Government of which the Minister of Education was a Conservative, namely, myself, that provision was made for raising the school leaving age to 15.
Now I come to my detailed proposals for the universities. In December, 1954, we announced the special measures which we were taking to build up technological studies in universities. Our plans provided, as is known, for large development at Imperial College, at Glasgow, Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and many other centres. Most of the buildings making up this programme have now been started and the rest will be put in hand in the next nine months. That indicates to the hon. Member that we mean to make progress. The House will be interested to hear that the Corporation of Manchester, which has shown the utmost forward-looking patriotism the whole way, is prepared to reserve an area of 17½ acres for the development of Manchester College of Science and Technology, which recently received a Royal Charter as an autonomous institution.
As to the future, the University Grants Committee has recently examined the university building programme for 1758 1957–59 with particular reference to technology. All universities have been asked to put forward the technological building projects which they regard as necessary after March 1957, when the present special programme expires, and also to indicate the increase in numbers which they envisage. As a result—I am able to state this confidently—we can look forward to a rise in student numbers of 60 per cent. in the next five years, or an average increase of 12 per cent, per annum. This is really business.
There is little doubt that an increase of this order in the output of university trained technologists could easily be absorbed by industry. Ten years ago, for example, the Barlow Committee recommended that the output of scientists and technologists should be doubled. At that time that might have seemed rather startling, but it has been wholly put into effect, and still the demand is not satisfied. The investigations of the Advisory Council on Scientific Policy are likely to underline once again the urgent need for the most rapid expansion in the supply of technologists which is compatible with a proper level of quality.
In fact all the indications suggest that an increase of 60 per cent. over the next five years is by no means extravagant. That is an indication of what we mean to do, in the confidence that, if we plan on that basis, the students will in fact he forthcoming. The numbers at October, 1955, showed, as an example, a rise of 8 per cent. over the previous year. That I hope is an indication that the rise should increase on the lines which I have mentioned.
Therefore, we shall have to get on with buildings. The Government have accordingly decided—I am authorised by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to say so tonight—to authorise further buildings to be started in 1957 at an estimated cost of nearly £4½ million. That is a stupendous figure when we compare it with an average rate of building starts of about £1 million a year since the special programme was launched. It is more than four times as much as we had in the normal year.
The sum of nearly £4½ million will be applied to buildings, not only for engineering and other technologies, but also for basic science, physics and chemistry, in which technologists require 1759 to be well grounded. The details of this programme as it affects universities will be announced in the proper constitutional way by the University Grants Committee to the universities concerned. They number twelve and cover Scotland and Wales as well as England.
This is only an instalment of the longer-term plans which my right hon. Friend the Chancellor will be considering as laid before us by the University Grants Committee. Moreover, this £4½ million represents only the cost to the Exchequer and excludes sums collected by the universities towards the cost of their own buildings.
Therefore, I think that hon. Members will realise that, in the university sphere, which is an important aspect of our technological development, we are making very big advances. This sum excludes the general estimate of £15 million which is to be spent on the Imperial College; in this scheme new workshops for mechanical and electrical engineering have been completed; a new building for aeronautical engineering and chemical engineering is nearing completion; and demolition and site preparation for new buildings for physics engineering have been started. All of these amount to large sums of public money.
The House may be interested to have the latest news about the Imperial College site. The London County Council has now given outline approval for the east and west blocks of the proposed building on the island site in South Kensington, and work can now proceed on that part of the plan, with the concurrence of the Royal Fine Art Commission. On the central part of the scheme—on which, hon. Members will remember, there was some commotion—quite apart from the wish of the Royal Fine Art Commission to preserve the Collcutt building, the London County Council regarded the plan submitted by the College as somewhat overbuilding the site.
The Council is prepared to give permission for certain sites in Princes Gardens which are to be acquired by the College and reserved for residential development, to be used for the provision of common rooms and refectories. This will make it possible to transfer parts of these facilities from the island 1760 site in Princes Gardens and so reduce the density of the development.
Now I come to the controversial question of the tower. The College authorities have considered with great care, and in consultation with the London County Council and the Royal Fine Art Commission, whether, in the light of this development it would be possible to meet the wishes of the Commission in regard to the Colecutt Building. The conclusion is that it is still not possible to meet its wishes in full without reducing the scale of the expansion of the Imperial College on which the Government have decided and to which we attach first-class importance as being our major technological building at the present time.
I am glad to say, however, that a revised plan has been prepared, which not only gives a lower density of development, but will also enable the central tower of the Collcutt building to be preserved by the College as a free-standing campanile. Before a decision on the tower can be taken, it will be necessary for expert advice to be obtained on the stability of the tower as a separate unit. A Written Answer, with the views of the Royal Fine Art Commission on this matter, will be printed in the OFFICIAL REPORT tomorrow morning.
I think that hon. Members will realise from this development that we mean to go ahead, not only in London but also in Manchester and in Glasgow in developing university technological education, which is so much a feature of this country, and that we also propose to go ahead and spend money at Salford—about £750,000—at Birmingham—about £1½ million—at Bradford, at the Loughborough College, the Chelsea Polytechnic, the Northampton Polytechnic and the Cardiff College of Technology.
The answer to the hon. Member for Caernarvon is that we propose to go ahead with the college at Cardiff, and this I think will mean that with that development, the ratio of expenditure on education in Wales will compare very favourably in this sphere with that for the population of England and Wales as a whole; and we shall thus be doing our best to meet hon. Members' complaints in regard to education in Wales. The amount for 1956–57 also includes £100,000 for developments in Swansea Technical College, and that I think 1761 answers the hon. Member who has made these requests to me on this matter.
In conclusion, I come to the main point put by the hon. Member for Fulham, which was, why should we not make this "Dip. Tech.", this Diploma of Technology, exactly the equivalent of a university degree? That is summarising his argument. He asks why we have this somewhat haphazard development of technical and technological education. We have the universities, where we are now striding ahead and which are the pride of our technological professions, the advanced colleges of technology and the technical colleges, for which my right hon. Friend is responsible, with the local authorities. The hon. Member asks, why have we this haphazard growth?
In all this work we must not forget the girls and the women. If hon. Members think of the developments in Russia, they will realise that perhaps the most remarkable is the number of women students who are taking advanced technical courses. If they look at the developments recently in India, they will find that the women of India, in time of acute national difficulty, helped to save their country. I am convinced that the women of England will, in the technical sphere, take advantage of these courses and do much more for us than they have ever been able to do in the past in this great race for national survival.
If we consider them all—boys or girls, men or women—we shall find that the main thing for any one is to become a member of a professional institution if he is to be a technologist. That he can do at a technical college, at one of the advanced colleges of technology of the Minister, at the new Manchester, Imperial
§ College or Glasgow expansions, or the old university courses which we know about.
§ I am convinced that if any one of these avenues is followed, the young people of this country will have an opportunity which will be both social and economic. Their social opportunity will be to have a ladder to rise to a better position with their fellows in the arts and at the universities. Their economic opportunity will be to save our trade and save our economic situation at the present time. I am convinced that this opportunity will be taken, and we shall go forward with this programme in a time of difficulty—a programme upon which we do not propose to economise but which we propose to carry forward.
§ Mr. M. Stewart
Every speaker in the debate except the Minister has expressed the view that this highest technological award should be called a degree. Will the right hon. Gentleman at least indicate that the Government will reconsider that matter?
§ Mr. Butler
I have a minute in which to reply to the hon. Gentleman. It is not for the Government to decide, eventually, whether this will develop, as it has in the case of Manchester, into a university degree, or whether it will not. It depends upon the status attached to it. All we can do is to see whether this system will grow, as it has grown in certain of our great cities. into university status, and to give it every opportunity to develop.
§ Question put, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 169, Noes 218.1765
|Division No. 228.]||AYES||[19.59 p.m|
|Albu, A. H.||Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Cove, W. G.|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Brockway, A. F.||Craddock, George (Bradford, 8.)|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Grossman, R. H. S.|
|Anderson, Frank||Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Darling, George (Hillsborough)|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)|
|Baird, J.||Burton, Miss F. E.||Davies, Harold (Leek)|
|Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.)||Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)|
|Benn, Hn. Wedgwood(Bristol, 8.E.)||Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Deer, G.|
|Benson, G.||Callaghan, L. J.||Delargy, H. J.|
|Beswick, F.||Champion, A. J.||Dodds, N. N.|
|Blackburn, F.||Chapman, W. D.||Dye, S.|
|Blyton, W. R.||Chetwynd, G. R.||Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse)|
|Boardman, H.||Clunie, J.||Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Coidrick, W.||Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)|
|Bowden, H. W.(Leicester, S.W.)||Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead)||Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)|
|Bowles, F. G.||Collins, V. J.(Shoreditch & Finsbury)||Fletcher, Eric|
|Boyd, T. C.||Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)|
|Gibson, C. W.||Lindgren, G. S.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||MacColl, J. E.||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Greenwood, Anthony||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Grey, C. F.||McLeavy, Frank||Ross, William|
|Griffiths, David (Bother Valley)||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Royle, C.|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Short, E. W.|
|Griffiths, William (Exchange)||Mann, Mrs. Jean||Shurmer, P. L. E.|
|Hale, Leslie||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Mason, Roy||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Hamilton, W. W.||Mayhew, C. P.||Sparks, J. A.|
|Harrison, J. (Nottingham, N.)||Messer, Sir F.||Steele, T.|
|Hastings, S.||Mikardo, Ian||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)|
|Hayman, F. H.||Mitchison, G. R.||Stones, W. (Consett)|
|Healey, Denis||Moody, A. S.||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis)||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||Stross,Dr.Barnett(Stoke-on-Trent,C.)|
|Hobson, C. R.||Moyle, A.||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Holman, P.||Mulley, F. W.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Howell, Denis (All Saints)||Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|Hubbard, T. F.||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. (Derby, S.)||Tomney, F.|
|Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Oliver, G. H.||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|Hunter, A. E.||Oram, A. E.||Usborne, H. C.|
|Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Orbach, M.||Viant, S. P.|
|Irving, S. (Dartford)||Oswald, T.||Warbey, W. N.|
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Owen, W. J.||Weitzman, D.|
|Janner, B.||Padley, W. E.||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||West, D. G.|
|Jeger, George (Goole)||Palmer, A. M. F.||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Jeger,Mrs.Lena(Holbn & St.Pncs,S.)||Pargiter, G. A.||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Jenkins, Roy (Stechford)||Parker, J.||Wigg, George|
|Johnson, James (Rugby)||Parkin, B. T.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Jones, David (The Hartlepools)||Paton, John||Willey, Frederick|
|Jones, Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)||Peart, T. F.||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tillery)|
|Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Proctor, W. T.||Williams, W. T. (Barons Court)|
|Kenyon, C.||Pryde, D. J.||Woof, R. E.|
|Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Randall, H. E.||Yates, V. (Ladywood)|
|King, Dr. H. M.||Rankin, John||Younger, Rt. Hon. K.|
|Lawson, G. M.||Redhead, E. C.||Zilliacus, K.|
|Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)||Reed, William||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Lewis, Arthur||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.||Mr. Simmons and Mr. Holmes.|
|Agnew, Cmdr. P. G.||Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)|
|Aitken, W. T.||Cunningham, Knox||Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Currie, G. B. H.||Harvie-Watt, Sir George|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Dance, J. C. G.||Hay, John|
|Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Davidson, Viscountess||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel|
|Arbuthnot, John||Deedes, W. F.||Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. G.|
|Armstrong, C. W.||Digby, Simon Wingfield||Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W.|
|Ashton, H.||Doughty, C. J. A.||Hill, Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)|
|Astor, Hon. J. J.||Drayson, G. B.||Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)|
|Atkins, H. E.||du Cann, E. D. L.||Hill, John (S. Norfolk)|
|Balniel, Lord||Duncan, Capt, J. A. L.||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount|
|Barber, Anthony||Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David||Hirst, Geoffrey|
|Barlow, Sir John||Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)||Holland-Martin, C. J.|
|Barter, John||Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Hornby, R. P.|
|Baxter, Sir Beverley||Emmett, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.|
|Beamish, Maj. Tufton||Errington, Sir Eric||Horobin, Sir Ian|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Erroll, F. J.||Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Fell, A.||Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Finlay, Graeme||Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J.|
|Bishop, F. P.||Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F.||Hughes-Young, M. H. C.|
|Black, C. W.||Fletcher-Cooke, C.||Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'gh,W.)|
|Body, R. F.||Fort, R.||Hyde, Montgomery|
|Bossom, Sir A. C.|
|Bowen, E R. (Cardigan)||Foster, John||Hylton-Foster, Sir H. B. H.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A||Freeth, D. K.||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||George, J. C. (Pollok)||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)|
|Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry||Gibson-Watt, D.||Jennings, J. C. (Burton)|
|Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T.||Glover, D.||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)|
|Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||Gomme-Duncan, Col. Sir Alan||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)|
|Butler, Rt. Hn.R.A. (Saffron Walden)||Gough, C. F. H.||Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)|
|Campbell, Sir David||Gower, H. R.||Jones, Rt. Hon. Aubrey (Hall Green)|
|Carr, Robert||Graham, Sir Fergus||Joseph, Sir Keith|
|Channon, H.||Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich)||Keegan, D.|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Green, A.||Kerby, Capt. H. B.|
|Cole, Norman||Gresham Cooke, R.||Kerr, H. W.|
|Conant, Maj. Sir Roger||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Kershaw, J. A.|
|Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert||Gurden, Harold||Kirk, P. M.|
|Cooper-Key, E. M.||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Lambert, Hon. G.|
|Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Hare, Rt. Hon. J. H.||Lambton, Viscount|
|Corfield, Capt. F. V.||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Langford-Holt, J. A.|
|Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Leavey, J. A.|
|Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Maeclesfd)||Leburn, W. G.|
|Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale)||Stevens, Geoffrey|
|Lindsay, Martin (Solihull)||Partridge, E.||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)|
|Linstead, Sir H. N.||Peyton, J. W. W.||Steward, Sir William (Woolwich, W.)|
|Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Piekthorn, K. W. M.||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Longden, Gilbert||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Low, Rt. Hon. A. R. W.||Pitman, I. J.||Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington)|
|Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Pitt, Miss E. M.||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Macdonald, Sir Peter||Pott, H. P.||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|McLaughlin, Mrs. P.||Prior-Palmer, Brig. 0. L.||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Maddan, Martin||Raikes, Sir Victor||Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.|
|Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark)||Rawlinson, Peter||Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)|
|Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.||Redmayne, M.||Tilney, John (Wavertree)|
|Marlowe, A. A. H.||Rees-Davies, W. R.||Touche, Sir Gordon|
|Marples, A. E.||Remnant, Hon. P.||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Marshall, Douglas||Renton, D. L. M.||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.|
|Maude, Angus||Ridsdale, J. E.||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Maudling, Rt. Hon. R.||Rippon, A. G. F.||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.|
|Mawby, R. L.||Roberts, Sir Peter (Healey)||Vickers, Miss J. H.|
|Maydon, Lt.-Comdr, S. L. C.||Robertson, Sir David||Vosper, D. F.|
|Morrison, John (Salisbury)||Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lehone)|
|Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)||Wall, Major Patrick|
|Nairn, D. L. S.||Roper, Sir Harold||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Neave, Airey||Russell, R. S.||Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)|
|Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)||Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.||Whitelaw, W.S.I.(Penrith & Border)|
|Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch)||Sharpies, R. C.||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Nield, Basil (Chester)||Shepherd, William||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Nugent, G. R. H.||Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood)||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Nutting, Rt. Hon. Anthony||Soames, Capt. C.||Yates, William (The Wrekin)|
|O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)||Spearman, Sir Alexander|
|Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Speir, R. M.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)||Spens, Fit. Hn. Sir P. (Kens'gt'n, S.)||Mr. Wills and Mr. E. Wakefield.|
|Page, R. G.||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
Question put and agreed to.
§ Proposed words there added.
That this House approves the Government's policy for technical education as announced in
Command Paper No. 9703, and welcomes the Government's decision to expand the facilities for this purpose as rapidly as resources allow, thus enabling this country to take the fullest advantage of the discoveries of science and technology.