HC Deb 24 March 1960 vol 620 cc663-4
35. Mr. Pavitt

asked the Minister of Education how many local authorities are following the example set by the Willesden Education Committee, which is sending 6,000 redundant school textbooks to Sierra Leone; and what action he is taking to encourage this practical assistance to education in underdeveloped countries.

Sir D. Eccles

I understand that the Wood Green Divisional Executive has also sent some redundant school books overseas. It is for local education authorities to consider how far they can help in this way. It is important that the particular needs of under-developed countries should be ascertained before books are sent out. This is a matter on which I am sure my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies would be glad to give advice.

Mr. Pavitt

Can the Minister say how many of those local authorities are Labour-controlled, and is he aware that these actions make a substantial and constructive contribution to breaking down the barriers between coloured and white people, not only in this country but also in the countries for which the books are destined?

Sir D. Eccles

I cannot answer the first part of the supplementary question, but I imagine that authorities of all political complexions would like to do this. I should like to stress, however, that it is no use sending Victorian text-books out to Africa, as happened in one case.