HC Deb 17 May 1960 vol 623 cc1141-201

Order for Second Reading read.

5.32 p.m.

The Minister of State for Commonwealth Relations (Mr. C. J. M. Alport)

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

The purpose of this Bill is to provide two principal forms of assistance in the sphere of education for Commonwealth countries and at the same time carry into effect the second of the undertakings given by the United Kingdom Government at the Commonwealth Education Conference last year at Oxford. The House will remember that earlier in this Session it gave approval to the Commonwealth Scholarships Bill—now an Act —representing the first of the major undertakings which we gave at the Oxford Conference. The Conference recognised that in the long term progress in education in any country in the Commonwealth must depend on its own resources and efforts. But we believe, and they believed, that in the short-term additional help as is provided by this Bill could be of great value in enabling those Commonwealth countries whose education systems are not fully developed to make significant strides forward in this important sphere.

In February of this year my right hon. Friend the Minister of Education held a conference on "Teachers for the Commonwealth" with the object of drawing attention of the authorities and organisations in the United Kingdom to the needs of overseas countries and to consider practical proposals for making it easier for teachers to take up key posts abroad. About 250 representatives of teachers' associations, local education authorities and other educational bodies, as well as Government Departments, were present at Church House on that occasion. I know that my right hon. Friend was greatly encouraged by the response given at that conference to his appeal in which, incidentally, he was joined by other members of the Government and representatives of the Commonwealth High Commissioners in the United Kingdom.

At the conference my right hon. Friend put forward certain proposals, including the formation of a national council for the supply of teachers overseas, the preparation of a code of secondment for teachers going overseas to serve and a code of terms for the appointment of those teachers. It is hoped that in this way and in particular through the provisions in this Bill, we shall be able to provide teachers of the calibre and experience who, as is said in the White Paper, will be able to play a creative part in the educational development of those countries who need their services.

I should also remind the House, that the Prime Ministers of the Commonwealth, in the communiqué issued at the end of their conference, reaffirmed their belief in the value of exchanges between Commonwealth countries of persons with specialised skills and experience and agreed that further efforts should be made to encourage the exchanges. The communiqué continued that, they trusted that employers in Commonwealth countries—whether Governments, statutory bodies or private companies—would be ready, wherever possible to encourage members of their staffs to undertake a period of public service abroad and would do their best to ensure that their prospects in their home countries would not thereby be prejudiced. I should like to take this opportunity of renewing the appeal I made at the time of the debates on the Commonwealth Scholarships Act to employers, particularly in the world of education, and to the teachers themselves, to consider seriously the value and importance of service overseas both to them as individuals and to the countries of the Commonwealth in which they may serve. Whatever provision Governments here and overseas can make to provide the opportunities or the facilities for this form of service, the success of this scheme must depend —as, indeed, must our whole conception —primarily on the willingness of individuals to go abroad for two, three or more years to serve in the educational system of a Commonwealth country.

Despite the shortage of teachers in the United Kingdom, the numbers required are not, we believe, beyond our capacity to provide. They will rise from 75 in the first year to a total of about 135 in 1963, so that by 1965, at the end of the first five-year period, there will be about 400 teachers serving in schools and universities in the Commonwealth, additional to those proceeding overseas in the normal way. I must emphasise again that those teachers will, we hope, be of the calibre and possess the experience to enable them to fit into key posts in educational systems overseas so that they may make a particularly important contribution to the development of those systems in the years immediately ahead. We estimate that the cost of this section of the scheme will build up to about £700,000 a year by the end of the five-year period.

The other section of the scheme, as the House will know, deals with the provision of training facilities in the United Kingdom for teachers coming to this country from overseas. These will be called Commonwealth bursars, and we anticipate that in the first year of operation the full number of 400 or thereabouts will be coming to the United Kingdom to take up places at teacher training institutes here. The placing of these bursars will be carried out by a Commonwealth bursary unit representing the education departments, the Commonwealth Relations Office, the Colonial Office and the British Council, which will work in consultation with training institutions in this country. The period for which they will come for their training will be a year or perhaps in some cases two years or even longer. We expect that the cost of these bursaries will total annually to about £285,000.

I know that many of my hon. Friends and hon. Members opposite are interested in this side of the matter, and I can assure the House that careful arrangements have been worked out by the British Council for the reception and for looking after these people when they arrive in this country. The British Council will be responsible for their administration and welfare in the United Kingdom and full details of the arrangements in this respect are already provided in a handbook for bursars published this month by the British Council. This handbook gives detailed instructions to bursars coming to the United Kingdom with regard to their reception here, their stay in London prior to their journey to their training college, their teaming at the college, with any additional facilities which may be required, their expenses, questions of clothing and clothing allowance, health and health service, amenities, and even details of their eventual return home.

As the House knows full well, the British Council has very considerable experience in this field, and I feel sure that the arrangements it is making will enable each bursar from the time of his arrival in the United Kingdom to the time of his departure to feel at home in our country.

Nevertheless, I am sure that my right hon. Friend the Minister of Education and all those who are associated with this scheme will greatly welcome any further assistance which can be given by voluntary organisations and individuals here in Great Britain in ensuring that bursars coming to the United Kingdom have a friendly welcome and a happy stay amongst us and, at the same time, are able during their vacations to see something of the family and home life of people in Britain. If that is possible, I am sure that they will take back not only great advantages from the point of view of their training, but the advantages of a pleasant and, we hope, enjoyable experience while among us.

I turn now to the provisions of the Bill. Clause 1 (1, a) is so drafted as to enable bursars coming from overseas to include those who are not actually British subjects or Commonwealth citizens. Certain Governments, for instance in countries like those in East Africa, may well wish to send over here for training teachers who are not British subjects or Commonwealth citizens but who, for the sake of argument, might be Portuguese citizens from being Goanese by birth. Therefore, in order not to prevent them being able to take advantage of these facilities, this subsection is drafted in this way.

Clause 1 (1, b) is so drafted as to eanble the United Kingdom to provide experts other than those who are members of the teaching profession but whose services in Commonwealth countries can be of great material advantage to their education system as a whole. These would naturally include professional men and women whose expert assistance would be of help in special circumstances and on special subjects such as architecture, and technical instructors who would be available to give special instruction in skills in particular trades.

This subsection will also enable us to provide money facilities to enable teachers who are at present employed in Commonwealth countries, but not under this scheme, to have the advantage which will be extended to all teachers under the scheme, namely, to have their passages paid to the United Kingdom if at the end of their service in the Commonwealth country they are due for an interview on application for reabsorption into the education system here. We thought that this facility should be extended to existing teachers serving overseas, because we believe that thereby they will be given an indication of the practical benefits for them which the scheme by providing additional facilities includes.

Clause 1 (1, c) must, as the House will recognise, be read in conjunction with subsection (2). The Oxford Conference envisaged that co-operation in the field of education would extend beyond the provision of teachers. Therefore, by the Bill, and subject to Treasury approval, money can be provided for other forms of co-operation in the field of education—for instance, for the provision of advisers with regard to educational organisation or any matter related to education, but wider than the provision or training of teachers from overseas here in the United Kingdom.

Subsection (1, d) is not perhaps as important as it looks at first sight, but its intention is to enable the Secretaries of State to make repayment to the various agencies concerned with the administration of the scheme, such as the British Council, from funds which are at the disposal of the Secretaries of State in accordance with the Bill when enacted.

Subsection (3) sets the total of money to be expended under the Bill at £6 million, which is a figure already familiar to the House, being the total agreed by the United Kingdom and set out in the White Paper. We envisaged that the development in educational co- operation for which the Bill provides will continue beyond the initial five years, that is between now and 1965.

Therefore, under subsection (4) Her Majesty may by Order in Council extend the period of the time during which the scheme operates and increase the sum, provided that the increase in the total of £6 million shall not take effect until the end of the first five years, which is the first day of April, 1965. Therefore, there is proper and appropriate control.

At the same time we are able to look forward to a period beyond 1965 when, in the light of the experience we shall have gained during the initial five years, the scheme, which we believe very sincerely will more than justify itself, can be carried into a new phase of continuous educational co-operation on a Commonwealth basis. We estimate that out of the total of £6 million about £2¼ million will be available and needed for the Scholarship and Fellowship scheme, and about £3¾ million for the schemes dealt with in the Bill.

The Bill, together with the Commonwealth Scholarships Act, provides a most significant and important addition to the effort already being made by the United Kingdom in the field of Commonwealth education. We estimate that at the present moment there are about 30,000 Commonwealth students of all categories in the United Kingdom. Of these, about 12,000 come from independent member countries and 18,000 from dependent territories. Of these, 7,000 are at universities, 4,000 from member countries and 3,000 from dependent territories. There are also about 7,000 at technical colleges and about 730 already at teacher training establishments, their number being substantially increased as the result of the Bill. We have already had, even up to the present time, demands for 300 to 400 places at teacher training establishments under the scheme, for the first year of its operation, and about 75 for university and school teachers to go overseas under the scheme when, as we hope sincerely, the Bill becomes an Act and we can implement its provisions

Therefore, we can only conclude that the need for what we are trying to do is there and that the demands we have already received represent a challenge, not only to the Government and all of us here in Parliament, but also to individuals, the teaching profession, the universities, and others, to make the scheme a success. If the House passes the Bill, as I hope and believe that it will, I can assure it that those of us who are concerned with the Bill will leave nothing undone on our part to make the success of these twin schemes certain in the future.

5.50 p.m.

Mr. H. A. Marquand (Middlesbrough, East)

This, as the Minister has reminded us, is the second Bill to come before the House as a result of the Commonwealth Education Conference. As I said in the debate on the previous Bill, I am very pleased that such rapid results have followed from that most valuable conference. I welcomed that Bill, now the Commonwealth Scholarships Act, very warmly and, if possible, I would welcome this one even more warmly.

The previous Bill dealt with postgraduate education. This Bill goes right to the roots of education. It deals with the foundations of education and it is important that we should consider the needs and desires of the under-developed countries of the Commonwealth and deal as rapidly as we possibly can with these foundations. People today, or most well-informed people in the more prosperous countries, are thoroughly convinced by now of the need for assisting their economic development. It is clearly understood that they cannot be expected to do it by themselves, in view of the great problems which they have to face, and that we must help them. I do not think that it is always quite so well understood how vitally important are good health and good education among the people of the under-developed countries if the economic plans which we try to support are to be successful.

Men debilitated by disease cannot work effectively. Men, women and children who are illiterate or poorly educated cannot use the techniques and the tools of the twentieth century. We live in the twentieth century and we are trying to apply to these under-developed areas of the world the techniques of the twentieth century. We must give them the opportunity to understand and use these techniques by first assisting the development of their education.

There is another reason for helping to improve their educational services and the education of their people. We cannot explain a plan. We cannot enlist the enthusiasm of a nation for a plan unless that nation is sufficiently educated to understand the outlines of the plan. These plans vary a great deal in their success according to the ability of the Governments concerned to put them over to the people. That is one of the reasons why the economic plan of India, the first five-year plan, has not been so successful as was originally hoped. That is not the only reason; but one of the difficulties was that of arousing enthusiasm in the villages and securing a convinced, corporate enthusiasm for the adoption of the ideals and practices of the plan. So the development of education is extremely important.

I noticed in rereading the debate on the previous Bill that the right hon. Member for Sutton Coldfield (Mr. G. Lloyd) said that much economic aid might be wasted unless sufficiently trained and educated people were available to make the best use of it. He was quite right. I have mentioned the right hon. Gentleman, who was the former Minister of Education, and I should like to say how glad I am to see the present Minister of Education here. We look forward to hearing from him before the debate closes. He has an important part to play in the carrying out of this Bill when it becomes an Act, and I am sure that he will throw into it his characteristic enthusiasm for new ideas. We rely upon him to see that those parts of it for which he is responsible will be successful.

When one speaks of education in these under-developed countries one has to remember not merely the acute need for it but, fortunately, the acute desire for it on the part of the people concerned. My hon. Friend the Member for Southampton, Itchen (Dr. King) referred to it in the last debate. I will not take up time by quoting what he said, but it is worth looking at it again. He referred to his experience in Africa and what a problem a poor young half-trained student was faced with when trying to teach a large class of African children when he himself had only reached quite a lowly grade of achievement in education.

I have seen this myself in Kenya and other under-developed countries. The difficulties that there people have in undertaking this training is acute, and we shall be helping them by passing this Bill and putting it into practice later. They do it because the desire of their people is so passionate. The reason that they have these enormous classes crowded into inadequate huts and the like is that the people of Africa, like the people of under-developed territories everywhere, value education extremely highly and want to get all they can of it. The demand is there. The desire is there if only we can supply them at this moment with the vitally necessary technique of teaching.

This plan is based upon the recommendation of the Commonwealth Education Conference, which stated: In the short term, help for other Commonwealth countries could be decisive, provided that it is carefully chosen and directed to the most sensitive and influential part of the recipient country's educational system. The purpose of the Bill before us is not so much to provide more teachers, although it does that, but its main purpose is to provide opportunities for Africans, Indians, Pakistanis, whoever they may be from the Commonwealth, who are capable of benefiting from it and using it to come to this country to learn to be themselves trainers of teachers. Trainers of teachers are extremely scarce in those countries.

I feel, therefore, that if the Bill is passed and brought as rapidly as possible into action, it will have quicker and more widespread effect than one might first expect when one heard that 300 people had already been accepted or, at any rate, had applied for these jobs. If it is successfully put over in the right quarters so that they will go to training centres and get this advanced teacher training and so that, in turn, they can train teachers, we may have an opportunity of training fifty or a hundred times as many teachers as the numbers first brought here. We can then get something like a chain reaction in those countries which will be of the greatest possible value.

I suppose that a Parliamentary purist might object to or criticise the very wide powers set out in Clause 1 (1, c). I do not object a bit. I think that it is a good thing here and now. After all, there is a global figure of expenditure which safeguards Parliamentary control the Executive here. It is a good thing to give considerable latitude to Ministers as to how they spend the money allotted to them within the confines of the Bill. Some experiment may be necessary. I was pleased to hear from the Minister of State that as many as 75 teachers of this country had already come forward and indicated their willingness to go out under the provisions of the Bill, if it is passed by Parliament.

Mr. Alport

I used two figures. One was 75, which was the number we hoped to send out in the first year. I do not know the exact number available. The other was 70, which was the demand we might be receiving from countries overseas for posts which are not necessarily all filled.

Mr. Marquand

I am sorry that I misunderstood and was too optimistic. Perhaps the feelers have not yet been put out to find how many are ready to go. Perhaps there is more reluctance than one would expect among teachers of this country to go abroad and undertake this sort of work. I was told of a recent experience of the London County Council when it notified its teachers of this opportunity and it provoked a rather disappointing response. If that is so, I hope that measures will be taken—I am sure that they will be by the Minister of Education—to give more publicity to the possibility of this service. Certainly, the Bill will enable him to offer more attractive financial provisions than have been offered in the past. That may help to elicit a response.

I hope so indeed, but the appeal should not be merely a financial one. It should not be merely the suggestion, "You certainly will not be worse off and, if necessary, you can be accompanied by members of your family", and that kind of thing. It should be an appeal to adventure, an appeal to service. There should be the practical statement, "If you undertake this sort of service in other countries you will widen your horizons enormously. You come back not only a better teacher than you went out, more competent and better able to take a better job than you had before you went out, but when you come back you have a great experience in your storehouse, as it were, for after life —something to look back on, to reflect on with pleasure and pride that you have taken part in this great, constructive effort to help under-developed countries." I hope that it will be put in that sort of way.

I come now to the question of recruitment of teachers who go abroad and enter this new type of service. I refer particularly to university teachers. Paragraph 13 of the White Paper says that Similar arrangements will be made to encourage teachers to take up key posts in universities and university colleges in the oversea Commonwealth. but paragraph 10 previously states that: The measures proposed for teachers who take up key posts in schools and in educational institutions other than universities will include the payment of special allowances.… In addition, fares to and from the United Kingdom may be paid for the teacher and members of his family … Does that mean that whereas specially favourable provisions for allowances and travel for families are to be provided for teachers in primary and secondary schools, there is no intention of doing anything of the sort for university teachers? If that is so, why is it so? In what respect is the university teacher at any greater advantage in going abroad than the—I shall not say "ordinary", for that is a silly word to have chosen—than the school teacher? I should like an explanation about that.

This question of enabling a certain number of university teachers to go out from our country to the oversea Commonwealth is tremendously important. At present, there is no doubt whatever that the supply of teachers to overseas universities suffers very greatly because of a feeling in the minds of those who are asked to go not so much that they will make a possible financial sacrifice but, above all, that they will not be able to get back into academic life in this country. This is a matter on which I really am an expert, and can speak with complete authority. When I was a university teacher I came across many opportunities—one was offered to me and many were offered to my friends— to undertake teaching of this kind in the overseas Commonwealth.

More than once our seniors advised us not to take them "because", they said, "if you go out there you will be forgotten and will never get back. You will find yourself left in Australia, or wherever it may be, for the rest of your life. It is all right if you want that to happen, but, if you do not want it to happen, do not go". I have every reason to believe that that remains true today. It ought not to be true. Some means ought to be found for encouraging first-rate academic teachers to go to overseas universities for a time, or on a tour of duty, with all but a certainty that they can come back and take part later in the academic life of their own country if they so wish.

I have with me a letter, part of which, if the House will permit me, I shall read. It is from a university professor. I shall not say in which university he is, nor do I intend to give his name. He says: I left a Readership in Mathematics in the University of X to go out to Y as Professor in 1952. The University of X is, of course, in Britain— I stayed there for seven years. From the moment I resigned my Readership I was written off, academically speaking, and although the University was glad to get somebody to go, any suggestion about my return was always met with 'But why can't you stay?' I did stay, for quite a long time! When I left, and my Chair was advertised, nobody from Britain applied. In this University, still an overseas university— which has a fine reputation, we have recently advertised for a Professor of Applied Mathematics. Once again, there have been no applications from Britain, and only one application in all, from a Dutch school teacher who does not possess the necessary qualifications. My Chair in Y was filled by a Jugoslav. He could always return to his Chair in Belgrade. A lectureship there was filled by a Czech, the only applicant. He always has a post to go back to. Professor Z … wrote to me recently and said, ' I regret that I cannot persuade anyone to share the risks you so nobly take! ' The risks do not arise from being abroad, but from the practical impossibility of getting back to a post at a similar level to the one left on going abroad. I assure hon. and right hon. Members opposite that this is a serious practical problem which should be tackled. So far as 1 can see, it could be tackled by means of the large blank cheque contained in the Bill, within the overall figure of £6 million.

I wish now to say something about the further measures in relation to the provision of places in training colleges here for those who will become teacher trainers later and the provision for students to come here. There are further measures envisaged. I welcome very strongly what is said in the White Paper about the need for expanding the numbers of Commonwealth students in technical colleges over the next decade and to expand training facilities for Commonwealth students in United Kingdom industry. I know that the Minister of Education is very keen on this subject. I am sure that he will do what he can to fulfil the ideal which is set out.

There is reference, also under the subject, "Further Measures of Educational Co-operation", to the teaching of English as a second language, which interested me very much. I had not heard of the specialism, or specialty, of teaching English as a second language, I must confess, until I went to India, Pakistan and Ceylon in 1952–53, where I met men on the staff of the British Council who possessed this particular expertise and were engaged in trying to hand over that expertise to Indian teachers.

I was very much impressed by what I saw and heard. I thought it tremendously important, because in each of those countries they had established one of their own languages as the national language so that every child in India, for example, should learn his mother tongue—Gujerati, Maharhastra, or whatever it may be—and then have to learn Hindi, the national language, and, finally, if he was to learn English which is rapidly becoming the international language, he had to learn a third language.

There was obviously in Chat situation the great danger that over the years the knowledge of English in India would decay until it almost disappeared and would be confined to a few people in the top levels of society and Government. It seemed to me extremely important that the new technique was being developed by the British Council. I remember talking to Lord Swinton about it when I came back and conveying to him the seriousness with which I thought the subject ought to be approached, and he expressed agreement with what I said. That was in 1953, and now we are in 1960, and in the White Paper the teaching of English as a second language is referred to as "a relatively unexplored field". That seems most disappointingly slow progress, and I hope there is a strong intention rapidly to accelerate the progress.

We are told that a group of Commonwealth experts in the teaching of English as a second language is to meet at the beginning of 1961 to study problems in this "relatively unexplored field". Cannot we proceed a little faster than that? Is it so unexplored as all that? Are Commonwealth experts, for example, the only experts in this matter? I find that the Russians that I meet nowadays are able to speak English remarkably well, just as well as I do, it seems to me. When I was a member of the Council of Europe Assembly, at Strasbourg, I met Scandinavians and Dutchmen who could speak English fluently and without error and make speeches in English without reading them.

It seems to me that those are the people who are the experts in the teaching of English as a second language. They learn it as a second or third language and seem to learn it perfectly. I wonder whether we are being a little insular about this. I hope that I am wrong, but are we enlisting the aid of the Scandinavians and the Dutch, who are famous for their expert knowledge of English and their widespread ability to write and speak English? I am sure that their help would be forthcoming.

The Commonwealth Education Conference was an outstanding example of practical co-operation. The extent of the agreement reached and the speed with which results have followed the recommendations represented a remarkable achievement. I should like to know what consultation there has since been at home, how far the co-operation and consultation with experts which proceeded so satisfactorily at Oxford has been followed up at home. The success of the plan to bring teachers here for training and to persuade other teachers to help others and widen their horizon by going abroad will evidently depend upon the enthusiastic collaboration of the training colleges and university institutes of education.

Are they being brought into full consultation? I do not know that they are not, but I have been told that hitherto the arrangements have been made mostly by officials of the various Government Departments and that there is a sense among some specialists in education overseas that they have not been consulted as much as would have been desirable.

The Minister of State welcomed the help which might come from voluntary bodies. I am sure he will welcome the help which comes from the specialists in overseas education, the sort of people who are to be found in the Institute of Education in the University of London. Perhaps this help—it is not only in London by any means that the experts are to be found; they are to be found in Scotland and Ireland and elsewhere— could best be enlisted through the creation of a centre not only to help in working out these plans but also to gave experienced aid and advice to the very large number of overseas students who are now in this country without any official scholarship at all. Many of them are existing on their own means, such as they have been able to gather together, and many of them—I have met some of them, and I am sure that other hon. Members have—are a little at a loss and do not always go to very reputable institutions for their education, and they certainly need help.

The suggestion has been put to me, and I do not necessarily endorse it because I have not had full opportunity to discuss it, but I wonder whether the idea will be discussed of a centre of Commonwealth education which would organise conferences and assistance to visitors as well as make contact with individual students, giving advice to those who asked for it, and generally build up a sort of super-university of Commonwealth education? No doubt it would have to be based in London. Could a Commonwealth education centre of some kind be established, perhaps being supported to a modest extent from the £6 million which we are asked to provide under the Bill? It seems to me to be a good idea. If the Ministers desire more information about it, it will readily be provided by the newly-established Commonwealth Education Council.

I am tremendously interested in this whole project, as I hope I have convinced hon. Members. I wish it every success. I am sure that it will be pursued with enthusiasm by the Minister of Education, who will be primarily responsible for infusing into the schools and training colleges the energy which will be necessary to carry it out. I hope that it will be tremendously successful and that at the end of the five years the Government will be able to come to the House for more money, stating that the scheme has been a success and must be multiplied many times.

6.18 p.m.

Mr. Philip Goodhart (Beckenham)

The right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Marquand) made an eloquent plea for helping university teachers who would go out from our colleges to universities in the Commonwealth. I certainly support his plea. At the end of 1958 I visited the university in Singapore, which has a very fine reputation. I was alarmed to hear last week, from a person well qualified to judge the situation, that that university, in a most important area, is having the very greatest difficulty in recruiting and retaining staff of sufficient calibre.

I believe that the first objective of the Bill can be accomplished relatively easily. So long as we are prepared to put up the money and provide the places in the teacher training colleges and other establishments, I have absolutely no doubt that there will be a continual flow of well-qualified teachers from the Commonwealth anxious to come here to receive part of their training. But I join the right hon. Gentleman in thinking that we should not underestimate the difficulty of persuading British teachers to serve part of their career in the Commonwealth, particularly those parts of the Commonwealth where they are most needed.

Some of these difficulties are of our own making. Every time teachers' salaries in this country go up—and they have gone up a great deal in recent years—it becomes a bit more difficult to persuade teachers that it is desirable to go out to a remote place in Africa. A few weeks ago I visited a secondary school in Uganda with a senior official from that territory's Ministry of Education. He told me that British teachers were returning from this country and saying to their colleagues, "It really is true that they have never had it so good over there". That is, in this country. They say of their colleagues in the teaching profession here, "They never have had it so good".

This was having a substantial effect in lowering the morale of those teachers who were considering whether they should sign on for another tour of duty in Uganda. I think that we must bear in mind that every time we improve the condition of the teaching profession in this country, every time that salaries go up, so we have to raise the ante for persuading teachers in this country to go overseas.

I do not want to make out that those teachers who go at present are a grasping, materialistic lot. On the contrary, they are essentially, I believe, an idealistic group, a group of the very highest ideals, but they have material obligations, as we all do. They have families to maintain, and in teaching, as in all other professions and avocations, money does count.

Then, of course, there is another difficulty, one which can at the very best be laid only indirectly at our door, and that is the problem of local agitators.

In Nyasaland today there is only one secondary school for boys which provides pre-university courses. Every Nyasaland boy who wants to go on to higher education has to go through the fifth and sixth forms of that school. When I was there a few weeks ago I was told that there was the very gravest difficulty in retaining the British teaching staff, and, of course, this secondary school was entirely dependent on British teaching staff. I was told that it was exceedingly difficult either to retain staff or to recruit them, and so there was, and I expect that there still is, a distinct threat that the sixth form in that school will have to be closed. If that happens it will mean that higher education will be closed to all the young men in Nyasaland. If that were to happen I should consider that it would be a disaster of major proportions for that country.

Why is it difficult to fill these positions? The money is there, waiting to be paid out to those anxious to fill the jobs. Undoubtedly, the difficulty there is political. The teacher thinks, "Why should I go to Nyasaland? There is a possibility that my wife and children will be insulted, stoned, injured in a riot. There are pleasanter places where it is possible to carry on my job." It is possible to carry on this difficult but rewarding job in pleasanter and more salubrious circumstances. After all, if I were a teacher thinking of going out to Kenya, where the need for teachers in the secondary education system is as intense as it is anywhere else in the world, I am convinced that I should be most put off by all the perverted whinings and yappings which go on for the release of Jomo Kenyatta.

Professor Arthur Lewis, in a justly famous analysis, has said that no emergent State can aspire to a tolerable standard of efficiency unless 4 per cent. of each generation has a genuine secondary education. No territory in East or Central Africa comes close to that minimum, although much-maligned Southern Rhodesia may well soon be approaching it.

At the same time, at least 50 per cent. of all the graduate teachers in the secondary schools in every academic system in East and Central Africa are expatriates from Britain. If there is to be, as there must be, an expansion in genuine secondary education, then the number of expatriate teachers must increase. If we look for a reasonable but still unspectacular increase in secondary education, and if all the schemes for increasing the number of African graduates from universities are successful, I cannot Chink of a single East or Central African Territory where the educational system will be really independent of expatriate teachers within the next twenty-five years.

The size of this problem is vast, but it is also manageable. Recently, I sat in the office of the Director of Education in Tanganyika and I looked at the graphs which had been prepared. At the bottom there was a large black blob. That represented the very substantial number of African children who were receiving primary education, and I saw how this blob was narrowing—tragically narrowing—to a thin streak which represented the number of African boys and girls in higher secondary education. The Director of Education told me, "If only we could have 25 or 30 of the right British teachers the situation could be transformed, and be transformed quickly." It seems to me that the proposal to provide for an additional 400 teachers overseas, although it may not look very spectacular, will, if it is achieved in the near future, provide in real terms a spectacular advance.

The Minister of State, in opening the debate, referred to several suggestions which had been made at the recent conference on African education over which the Minister of Education presided. I believe that there is ample room for action above and beyond the financial provisions in the Bill. We must encourage young, enthusiastic, ambitious teachers to go and tackle the challenge of the Commonwealth. They will not want to make their whole career overseas. It is right that they should not, because, obviously, the senior administrative posts and the headmasterships will increasingly be filled—many are now— by local men and women. Our own teachers will go overseas for a short time and then look to this country for promotion.

When I sat on a head teachers' selection sub-committee, I considered it a mark in favour of the candidate that he or she had taught for a time overseas, but I am not sure that all my colleagues took quite such an enlightened view. It would be helpful if the Minister of Education, continually by speech and circular, made it plain that, when promotion is in sight, service overseas should be a mark of merit and not a sign of noble eccentricity.

There is also the fact to which the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, East referred, that many teachers who go overseas feel isolated from the main stream of British education. They fear that when they return they will find themselves looked upon as outsiders unconnected with the local authorities' systems in any particular area here. What a wonderful thing it would be if local education authorities could adopt special areas in the Commonwealth, if, for instance, the mighty London County Council would accept a special responsibility for helping the secondary schools of Uganda to find qualified teachers, or if the County of Kent would help the Coast Province of Kenya to find the qualified secondary teachers who are so badly needed there. Co-operation between nations within the Commonwealth is an excellent thing. It would be equally excellent if this could be supplemented by local co-operation.

The Bill is as important as the Merchant Shipping (Minicoy Lighthouse) Bill which we have just discussed was unimportant, but I hope that we shall give it an equally enthusiastic reception when it is put before us for acceptance later this evening.

6.34 p.m.

Mrs. Eirene White (Flint, East)

Like hon. Members on both sides of the House, I warmly welcome the Bill and I hope that it will have all the results envisaged in the White Paper and discussed at the Commonwealth Conference.

The Minister of Education referred to this matter when speaking recently in London. I am glad to find that he is using the occasions of his public appearances in the country to draw attention to the very great need for teachers to go overseas and for us to be willing to take teachers from the Commonwealth into our own training colleges and institutes of education. In passing, I must say that I was rather disturbed to find that he used these proposals as one excuse for not wishing to commit himself to implement the proposals of the Crowther Report. I think it right to draw attention to that.

The number of teachers mentioned in the White Paper, the expected total of 400 going overseas by 1965, is, after all, of very small magnitude compared with the total number of teachers needed in this country to implement any of the proposals in the Crowther Report, and I do not think it was a very statesmanlike attitude on the part of the right hon. Gentleman to make that comparison. I hope that he will not repeat it when discussing the matter again.

Apart from that, which I take to be an error of judgment on his part, we are glad to know that Her Majesty's Ministers are really trying to do something definite and positive in the interchange of teachers. The need is really beyond the knowledge and almost beyond the imagination of many people in this country. If the facts of the need for teachers in some of the countries with which we are concerned were really known, there would be far less hesitation about volunteering.

The experience of the London County Council and, I believe, of the Kent education authority and others who have tried to be co-operative in this matter has been rather daunting. I believe that after the last appeal made by the London County Council not one person volunteered, or, at any rate, no one firmly volunteered, although there may have been one or two inquiries. It is right, therefore, to draw the attention of the House and, I hope, of members of the teaching profession, through this debate, to the really desperate need for teachers in certain parts of the Commonwealth.

I am particularly concerned about East and Central Africa, countries which are feeling their way towards political independence, countries in which any idea of democratic government cannot be realised unless there is some basis of education among the peoples concerned. When I looked at the facts, although I knew them in general terms, I was horrified by the details of the education problem in those countries. I will give one or two examples.

In this country, all children who attend a primary school receive some form of secondary education and some of them have the opportunity to go to grammar school. The figures vary from one education authority to another, but in the very worst areas of England, with the lowest proportion of all, one child in ten can receive a grammar school education. In most parts of England, one child in three or four can go to grammar school. Needless to say, in Wales the proportion is better still, and in most parts of the Principality one child in every two or three can go to grammar school.

In Nyasaland, according to the latest statistics I have been able to obtain, one child in 270 managing to attend primary school—not all, of course, go even to primary school—has an opportunity of going to secondary school. That is shocking. For some of the other countries the figures I have are approximate, but I believe them to be reasonably accurate. In Kenya, for instance, there is one place in a secondary school for every 150 African children going to primary school. In Northern Rhodesia, the position is a little better, roughly one place for every 120 children. The figures in respect of some of the other territories are not quite so easy to find, but the comparisons I have given provide a very telling illustration of the urgent need to increase the number of secondary school teachers in order to allow children who have just the first taste of education to go on, to have something really substantial and a proper basis for a career in life.

The number of children who go to primary schools at all is relatively small. In Northern Rhodesia, it is about 60 per cent. of the children; in Uganda between 40 and 50 per cent.; and in Tanganyika in 1954 only 14 per cent. of children of school age were able to go. It is true that there has been an improvement and that the figure is now over 30 per cent. Even in West Africa, where conditions are so much better, in Western Nigeria the figure is 70 per cent., and in Eastern Nigeria 80 per cent.

We find even more startling figures if we look at the number of teachers in the schools in these territories and their qualifications. I asked for details of the number of teachers in certain territories, those who were graduates, those who were not graduates but had completed a secondary school course, and figures of those who had not even completed a secondary school course, but were nevertheless teachers. I will give these figures.

In Kenya, out of the total number of teachers of all races of just over 19,000, no fewer than 15,880 had not completed secondary schooling. That is the number of teachers who are teaching there but who have not themselves even completed secondary schooling. In Nyasaland, of about 7,000 African teachers, 6,500 had not completed secondary schooling. In Northern Rhodesia, of 5,250 African teachers, 4,845 had not completed secondary schooling, and in Uganda, similarly, out of 17,400 teachers, 15,500 had not completed secondary schooling.

So we see the fantastic handicap of people in these countries who are trying to obtain some sort of education. If we look at those trying to go on to universities to graduate and then return perhaps to teach in their own countries, we find that the figures for Kenya are not so bad, that those for Uganda are moderately good, and that in Tanganyika at least they are an improvement on what they were. But in this country of roughly 8½ million people, there are only 250 students at the moment at Makerere and at the Royal Technical College, Nairobi, and about 50 overseas.

In Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia, it is more difficult to get the figures, because higher education is a Federal matter, and the Federal Government in their report on education, do not give figures for university students. This is a matter of information which might be drawn to the attention of the Commonwealth Relations Office, because it is information for which we are entitled to ask, and we cannot obtain it readily from published material. In 1958, there were 16 students in Nyasaland and 33 in Northern Rhodesia, receiving public grants. Nyasaland has 2 million people and Northern Rhodesia 2½ million. I have given these figures because it is only when one has concrete illustrations of this kind that one realises what a tremendous problem education is in these countries and how absolutely desperate is the need for teachers.

In speaking today, I have in mind two people, one of whom has written to me and the other whom I saw only yesterday, and who spoke to me on the even more difficult matter of education of girls and women. If it is difficult for a boy to get secondary or higher education in these countries, it is infinitely more difficult for a girl. In East and Central Africa, I am told, compared with boys, about one girl in eight has any hope of getting any sort of secondary education. The girl I saw was from Kenya, and was an extremely talented person who had wanted secondary education. In fact, she had wanted university education, but had managed to get the intermediate schooling and had been able to qualify as a nurse. She was obviously the sort of person who ought to have gone on to Makerere.

This girl said that she came from Nyanza and that for nearly 1 million people there was only one secondary school for girls. She said, "If you do not get into that, you have no hope at all." She was here with her husband, who is a graduate of St. Andrews and is doing research work there, and she told me, "I am trying to find some way or another in which we can start another girls' school in that province." She made me feel ashamed that there was so little prospect for intelligent girls like herself even now to obtain the education for which they were so obviously fitted by character and ability.

From a close relative of mine who wrote to me the other day, a teacher in Tanganyika in one of the very few girls' schools there, I learn that they are almost in despair because four of their teachers have left. They have no domestic science teacher, and no science teacher, having had to allow their one science teacher to go to the one school which prepares students for the university in Tanganyika. She said that if only teachers in Britain would realise what a satisfying and exciting life they could have there, and the wide responsibilities which they have for the girls they teach, surely more would go. I feel that very strongly myself, and I think that we ought to make a greater appeal, especially to the younger teachers, to go out to these countries and to enjoy the life out there, because it can be very interesting.

I was speaking at Oxford this weekend to some of those concerned with the training of teachers, and they told me that they are very much encouraging teachers to go overseas immediately after training. In some ways, it would be better if they had a little experience in this country before going out there, but they told me that there is much to be said for someone who has taken a degree and gone for training to the Institute of Education going straight away overseas and getting their experience there. The differences in conditions are considerable, and, on the whole, there is much to be said for learning on the job. I very much hope that we shall be able to send to some of these schools and university training colleges one or two people like the woman from Kenya to whom I spoke yesterday, who could talk directly to some of the students and tell them something of the kind of life which would be open to them.

I know that those concerned with trying to recruit teachers feel that much too little information is given about the more professional aspects of their job. They are told about the climate, what clothes to take and how to avoid malaria, and so on, but there is far too little professional contact, explaining to intending teachers overseas just what the job involves in terms of teaching technique, teaching content and methods and that kind of thing. They feel that there should be much better liaison, and that it is all done far too much at the administrative level and that there is far too little of professional interchange. They feel that the appeal should be from teacher to teacher and not merely from administrator to teacher because, they say, that the administrators do not make the appeal in terms which can be understood.

I should like to make one or two points about teachers coming to this country for training. It is true that there is not likely to be a lack of candidates coming to this country, but I am told that there are some quite acute problems in certain university centres about accommodation for teachers who wish to come here. The Minister is probably aware that at Oxford there is an acute problem of accommodation. The authorities there are very much concerned about how they are to house teachers under this scheme who wish to go to Oxford for training. I hope very much that the scheme, which is a good one in itself, will not be spoilt by any cheeseparing or niggardliness in making proper provision for people who want to go to a university or training college, provided they are prepared to accept them. I hope that they will not be prevented from doing so because of shortage of accommodation.

I also hope very much that we shall have an organisation, on the lines suggested by my right hon. Friend the Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Marquand), for teachers who have gone overseas, which will enable them to keep in touch, to which they can turn and which will keep a sort of personal record of these people with the qualities and character needed for this job. Educationists have told me about people who go overseas on a short contract. For example, people went to Malaya on community development work when they were particularly asked to go. Some of them did a very good job and then seemed to vanish in thin air because no one bothered very much about what happened to them after the contract work had come to an end. Unless there is an organisation in this country on the lines suggested by my right hon. Friend there will be a similar wastage under this scheme. For this reason, and because of the need for people who are teachers and not administrators to get together and to keep in touch with one another, it is very necessary that we should have an organisation of this kind here.

I am not clear what the functions of the National Council for the Supply of Teachers Overseas are to be. I am not sure whether that is a body which could act as a Commonwealth Institute of Education or could be extended so to act. I should be interested to hear from the Minister about what it is intended this Council should do and whether there would be any physical habitat. People who are part of a Commonwealth teaching or education service should recognise that it is a service worth belonging to and we should not simply think in terms of a certain number of people going overseas for two or three years and just coming back.

We have suffered in the past from the superannuation arrangement which allowed for five years overseas when everyone knew that the normal tour was three years. One was not covered for two tours of three years by the shortsightedness of the superannuation arrangements. Most people will agree that people are very much more useful on their second tour than on their first tour, yet the administrative arrangements were such that it was not easy for a person to complete a full second tour. I hope that we shall not get into that sort of tangle in this scheme. I am sure that it is not intended that there should be difficulties of that sort, but I hope very much that the people doing the job will have their voice heard and that the matter will not be dealt with simply on an administrative level.

I am sure that all of us in the House want to encourage anyone who we know has the right qualities and is free to do so to take this scheme seriously and to volunteer to go overseas. It was very disheartening to see a cri de coeur in the Daily Mail on Monday. The head of the Ismaili Community Education Office in Tanganyika was camplaining of the difficulty of obtaining teachers from this country, and he said: The spirit of adventurous crusading seems dead in England at the present time". I hope very much that that is not true and that the publicity given to this service by this debate will bring a warm, generous and speedy response from the students and teachers in this country.

6.56 p.m.

Mr. John Howard (Southampton, Test)

I have a particular reason for commending this valuable piece of Commonwealth co-operation to the House. Last autumn, I was fortunate enough to be one of the United Kingdom delegation to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Conference, in Canberra. At that conference I took part in a debate on technical and educational development and co-operation in the Commonwealth. Various aspects of Commonwealth relations were discussed, but there was a special appeal for the new and developing nations in education.

As has been said, a good deal has been done in this country in this sphere, and the Minister of State referred to the number of Commonwealth students undergoing training in this country. My hon. Friend, however, did not refer to one particularly interesting experiment, namely, the arrangement with the Government of Malaya, whereby they pay for two training establishments, one at Liverpool and the other at Wolverhamp-ton, at each of which 300 students are trained by teachers in this country. That is a particularly useful illustration of the way in which the scheme can be extended.

The debate in Canberra showed clearly that the work of the Commonwealth Education Conference at Oxford was of great interest to all nations in the Commonwealth. It certainly captured the interest of those new nations which regarded the proposals as a means whereby their political and economic progress could be considerably accelerated.

The first of the two major schemes dealt with in the White Paper and by the Bill concerns the training of Commonwealth teachers in the United Kingdom. Paragraph 8, on page 5 of the White Paper, refers to arrangements whereby members of the staffs of teacher training institutions in the United Kingdom at which Commonwealth teachers study can visit parts of the Commonwealth in order to see something of the environment in which these teachers will work on the completion of their training. That is an important provision, because it gives an idea of the sphere in which the finished products of our training colleges will have to work and the local material on which they will work.

Throughout the debate at Canberra, speakers, particularly those from the Continent of Africa, stressed the need for the provision of more teachers from the United Kingdom. The hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White) gave many examples of where teachers clearly are urgently needed. It is equally true to say that it is more valuable that teaching should be conducted on the spot rather than that a number of individuals should be sent to Britain from Commonwealth countries. There are several disadvantages in this. First, there is the cost of travelling and maintenance in this country, and, secondly, there is the strange environment into which they are plunged. Those conditions must inevitably limit the number of students from the Commonwealth who can travel to this country to be trained as teachers.

Her Majesty's Government agreed at the Oxford conference that they would endeavour to increase the number of teachers who would be prepared to take a post overseas. This Bill provides the means. Not only must the financial conditions be right, but the teachers who are prepared to undertake this valuable work must not be handicapped by loss of promotion prospects when they return home. Promotion and superannuation are safeguarded by the Bill, and again I am glad to see that there is provision for travelling expenses from whatever overseas area the teachers are working in during the last few months of their tour of duty so that they can come home and attend interviews when they are on the short list for jobs in this country. This will encourage people to feel that when they are overseas they will not be overlooked and that they will be invited to take posts in this country when their contract comes to an end.

While it is impossible to write into the Bill instructions to local education authorities and other employers of teachers and university graduates to reengage those who have served overseas, I was glad to hear the hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East and my hon. Friend the Member for Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart) refer to this problem. I should have thought that the broader outlook and knowledge of the Commonwealth obtained during a tour of duty overseas would have enhanced a teacher's prospects of accelerated promotion on return to the United Kingdom. Apparently, that has not been the case so far, and the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Marquand) read out a rather disturbing letter in which the difficulties faced by a university graduate who had accepted a post abroad were enumerated.

Mention has been made of the discouraging experience of London County Council when it has tried to recruit teachers for service overseas. In my own town of Southampton there is an exchange arrangement with the United States. Teachers come over here and we send teachers to the United States. It would be nice to think that Southampton, or any other county borough, could adopt an area in the Commonwealth to which teachers would be encouraged to go on a three-year contract.

We have talked about the lack of adventure, which the relative of the hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East claimed exists. I do not believe that we are less adventurous in this country than we used to be. The emphasis in the problem which we are facing must inevitably be on male teachers. Judging by the figures which the hon. Lady gave, more male teachers will be required.

Mrs. White

It is true that the present provision for girls is lamentably inadequate, but we hope that it will improve rapidly and that there will be a considerable demand for women teachers.

Mr. Howard

I share the hon. Lady's wish, but I am referring only to the present situation.

We have now ended National Service and it may well be that more men teachers will feel that they are able to devote two or three years to service in the Commonwealth which in the conditions prevailing during the past few years they were not prepared to do. They served their two years in the Armed Forces and then perhaps wished to settle down, or wished to make permanent strides in their profession and were reluctant to take posts overseas.

This problem of re-employment is one of the most important when we are dealing with teaching overseas. I hope that my right hon. Friend the Minister of Education, in replying to the debate, will tell the House the forms of persuasion which he hopes to adopt so that employers of teachers, the local education authorities and the universities, will treat this problem seriously and take every step to engage teachers who have had experience in the Commonwealth.

The pooling of resources and mutual assistance, which the Bill emphasises, is the breath of life to the Commonwealth. Whilst I was at the conference in Canberra the word one heard most frequently in relation to the Commonwealth was "family". In no sphere is the family spirit of the Commonwealth more evident than in co-operation in the education of the children and young people of all the Commonwealth nations. I am convinced that the Bill means a further step forward in improving Commonwealth co-operation.

7.6 p.m.

Mr. John Dugdale (West Bromwich)

I should like to say how much I agree with both hon. Members opposite who have suggested that there should be schemes of adoption and that certain local authorities or areas in this country should adopt areas in the less well-developed parts of the Commonwealth. It is an excellent idea, which. I hope, will be carried out.

I completely disagree, however, with the hon. Member for Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart), who talked about the terrors of riots which were threatening people going abroad. He gave us to understand that they would have more effect on present-day teachers than did the terrors which faced missionary teachers who went out into the jungle and met lions and tigers and other dangers but still continued to do their work. Apparently, teachers today have not that courage. I think that the hon. Member is wrong and I believe that the hon. Member for Southampton, Test (Mr. J. Howard) is inclined to agree with me on that point.

I agree profoundly with my right hon. Friend the Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Marquand) in saying how much education is desired by people in the underdeveloped countries. I remember so well asking people, particularly in Africa, what they wanted most. In this country, they would probably say that they wanted a house more than anything else. Certainly, they would say that in my constituency, but in Africa they wanted, before anything else, a school. Their desire for education is manifest.

I want to confine my remarks to one particular set of teachers. I shall not refer to teachers of science, or of history, or of law. I want to refer to those teachers who teach children to be able to speak. People go out today and try hard to teach children, who are completely unable to speak or to hear, to be able to have some communication with the rest of the world. In this country, there are approximately 7,000 deaf and dumb children and they have 700 teachers, that is, one teacher to every ten children. Many people think that that number is not enough, because one must have very small classes for such children.

But let us compare the position in the Commonwealth. If one took the same basis of population and obtained figures comparable with those which apply in this country, there would be in Ghana 700 deaf and dumb children. According to the information which I have obtained from the National Deaf Children's Society—which says that its figures may not be strictly accurate, but are the best that can be obtained; and I think that they are better than those that are obtained in the Minister's Department—there is only one fully trained teacher to deal with these 700 children. In Uganda, on the same basis, there are 800 children and, again, one African teacher. There may be a European, but certainly there is only one trained African. In Nigeria, the situation is even worse. In Nigeria, on available figures, there should be approximately 5,000 deaf and dumb children. There is one qualified African teacher in the country.

In Tanganyika, which is the responsibility of the Colonial Secretary—I am sure that if he were here he would agree that the situation there is very serious —there are approximately 1,000 deaf and dumb children, and yet there is not one trained teacher for them. In Malaya, the situation is better. There is a school —founded by Lady Templer—which has six teachers. That seems a lot compared with the other countries I have mentioned, but in spite of it there are 600 children on the waiting list who are unable to obtain any instruction at all and who will, therefore, remain deaf and dumb for the rest of their lives. In the West Indies, it is the same story. I understand that in India only one deaf and dumb child in ten gets any kind of education. India has quite a lot of schools, but so vast is her population that the figure is only one in ten.

The general situation is, therefore, one of the most serious facing our schools in the Commonwealth, and I hope that it will receive full attention. I hope that the Minister will be able to tell us that teachers of the deaf and dumb will at least be allowed to apply along with others for these teacher-training scholarships. I hope that Commonwealth countries will send them. There is need to persuade them to include these teachers among the applicants for bursarships in this country. I hope, too, that the Colonial Secretary will tell Colonial Governments that they should send applicants under this scheme.

The Colonial Office is about to undertake in Africa an important survey of the problems of deafness throughout a great many countries in the continent, with the help of one of the big foundations, and at the suggestion of the Commonwealth Society for the Deaf. That is a very useful survey and it will no doubt reveal what ought to be done, but we can be certain even before it takes place that there is a definite demand for teachers and I hope that we will not have to wait until after the survey before doing everything possible to get teachers trained in this country.

I hope, too, that it will be possible for the Secretary of State, under this scheme, to tell us that teachers from this country will be sent to train deaf and dumb people in the various parts of the Commonwealth. Some are already going out to do that, but not nearly enough. Let us hope that this scheme will do something to encourage the sending of such teachers abroad. Finally, I hope that the Commission that is to be set up will select among its applicants at least some teachers of the deaf and dumb and not only scientists. Scientists are important but there is a tendency to say that only teachers of science should be selected. I hope that teachers of the deaf and dumb will also be selected.

I said that I would speak on only one particular problem and I have done so. Thousands of these children—and this applies to this country also, but even more to those parts of the Commonwealth which are so ill-equipped—have no contact whatever with the outside world. They are locked inside their own prison of silence. This Bill provides a key by which some of them may be released from this prison, and I hope that those responsible will use it.

7.15 p.m.

Miss Joan Vickers (Plymouth, Devonport)

I am pleased to be able to follow the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Bromwich (Mr. Dugdale), because I know something of the work which he has done and is doing for the deaf children and how very sincere he is in this work. I wish him every success and I hope that this Bill will help. The hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White) gave some very vital and interesting figures which also proved how important is the Bill.

I agree with what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Marquand) said about the question of English. The first time I had the pleasure of meeting him was in India, when he was on the tour which he mentioned. There are numbers of people, other than English, who are quite capable of teaching English extremely well. In a great many educational establishments overseas I have met all sorts of people who are able to do so. I suggest that we could use, in this way, more persons who are Stateless. There were two people in Tanganyika who were Stateless persons and were doing excellently. These people might fill a gap if we could engage them to teach the language.

I am interested in this Bill for several reasons, for I have given some service overseas. I can assure the hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East that people who went out on short-term commissions were usually picked up again—I am thinking particularly of Malaya—by the Colonial Office, and, for example, many gave further service, particularly in West Africa.

I agree that the recruitment of teachers does not seem satisfactory, and I wonder what are their exact terms of reference. Has the actual amount which they are to be paid been settled? Have the recommendations on pages 46 and 47 of the Report of the Commonwealth Education Conference been agreed? There is, particularly, one recommendation, on page 47, concerning the recognition of service abroad and the increments for salaries. It said: It became evident that there is considerable variation in the recognition given by different countries for service abroad. Some countries give only partial credit: e.g. two increments for three years' service. The Committee sees little justification for giving less than full credit for relevant service. I hope that my right hon. Friend can tell us whether this has been settled and whether all territories will give full increments for relevant service. This could have a great effect on recruiting for overseas. Through this new two-way service we shall get more than educational advantage. We can get—and I believe that this is the only means now of getting —a better understanding between the countries of the Commonwealth, because the civil services are gradually becoming staffed by the peoples of the countries they serve, not from overseas. This scheme, which we envisage going on for some considerable time, may be the best means that we have of getting to understand one another better.

Are we quite certain that we have sufficient vacancies in teacher-training colleges? We have been told in past education debates that there is rather a shortage for our teachers. I would be grateful if we could be assured that there will be enough vacancies without crowding out the teachers we need for our own people. I support what my hon. Friend the Member for Southampton, Test (Mr. J. Howard) said about teacher-training staff going overseas—and this is mentioned on page 8 of the Report—to find out for themselves the conditions in which people are living before they receive teachers in this country.

I know from my experience in Malaya that a number of people arrived there with no knowledge of the type of work they have to do. That happened soon after the war and there may have been difficulties about recruitment, but some of the people who arrived there broke down and had to go back to England because they had not the knowledge or the background to enable them to do the work which was expected of them. It is also important that those who are to teach in training colleges should go overseas to find out what life is like in, say, Uganda or Malaya, before they are brought here, because I think that we might get the wrong type to profit from the teaching in this country.

That brings me to another point. I hope that my right hon. Friend will ensure that some of these courses are adapted to suit people from overseas, because courses that suit teachers in this country do not necessarily help those coming from overseas. I remember the frustration experienced by the students that were sent to Malaya. Having attended social service courses, they wished to give the services in the manner in which they had been taught in England, but they found that they did not fit into the country in which they were going to work.

For that reason, I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Test that the Malayan training courses have been a great success, although I do not necessarily want to bring people from various countries and put them in a teachers' training college which is entirely for people of their own country. It is better for them to mix with other people, but one can learn a lot from this type of training college because the curriculum has been adapted to suit the country in which the people will eventually teach.

I will now deal with three aspects of the kind of people who will come from other territories and the kind of training which we hope they will receive. First, informal education. Will the people coming to this country, and those going overseas from this country, for training, be allowed to teach in other than Government schools? Will they be allowed to teach in mission schools, or in schools run by voluntary organisations? One must realise that we are not going to supply a large number of teachers. It is proposed to supply 400 by 1965, and I hope that a proportion of those teachers will be used for what I call informal education, because, while there is a shortage of teachers, it is better that they should be able to teach a larger number of people by informal education—such as is done by the Workers' Educational Association and adult informal education—than to stick to one class in a school or college.

In most overseas territories the need is for the greatest number of people to be educated. I should like to hear from my right hon. Friend whether he thinks that this scheme will bring a selected number of people up to a higher standard of education, or whether the net will be spread as widely as possible to educate as many people as possible. If it is the latter, it will mean using this system of informal education. I should like to see a large percentage of these teachers used to spread the net as widely as possible.

I hope that we shall include teachers of domestic science and agriculture, because knowledge of those two subjects is particularly necessary in most of the territories concerned. Furthermore, there is the question of community centres. Shall we be able to run evening classes in these community centres? Will we train the extra-mural type of teacher who can go to these community centres and hold classes there? I want the greatest possible number of people to be educated, and very often women can afford to attend informal classes only in the evening.

I support what the right hon. Member for West Bromwich said about handicapped persons. I notice that Command Paper 841 says that because of pressure of time the Oxford Conference was unable to discuss this important subject. I am interested in handicapped persons, particularly the blind. Blind people can be very useful if trained, but if they are not trained they cannot do normal work and must depend on begging for a living. It is possible to make blind people into useful citizens, but I realise that because of the shortage of teachers it may not be possible to have specialised teaching as we have in this country.

The Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind, in which I am interested, is starting an integration scheme in Nigeria. The teachers we hope to train may be able to help. The idea is that a blind child will go to a sighted school —and this has already worked quite well in the United States of America—and be taught in the same way as sighted children, provided that the teacher has some knowledge of the way in which to teach blind children.

I hope that when some of these teachers come over here they will be allowed to spend some time studying the system for teaching the blind so that this integration scheme can be started in other countries. The scheme is only just being started in Nigeria, but because of the shortage of teachers I draw my right hon. Friend's attention to it well beforehand. It is, of course, necessary to have in the area a person in overall charge who has been fully trained in teaching the blind. He must keep an eye on what is happening and visit the various schools and supervise the teachers. This scheme has been tried with great success in one school in Zanzibar.

In the Princess Elizabeth Home for the Blind in Malaya all the teachers were trained in this country. They are now in the position of being able to train others, and this might be a possible training centre for the Commonwealth countries in the Far East, for Indonesia, and other countries if they so wish. If we can build up the number of trained teachers they can help not only other countries in the area, but the integration scheme to which I referred.

The right hon. Gentleman gave some figures about the deaf, and I should like to give some figures about the blind. There are at least 55,000 blind children in the Colonial Territories, of whom only 1,300 are at present at school. In India alone there are 100,000 to 150,000 blind children, but only 3,000 are in schools.

The other question I wish to raise is that of teachers being given the tools of their profession. From the correspondence that I have had it appears that teachers go to these other countries with inadequate tools; in other words, there are not sufficient books or materials to enable them to carry on their work.

The right hon. Gentleman mentioned that there was one qualified teacher for Nigeria. I know that one teacher has just gone back, having spent a year at the University of Manchester. I met her the other day and found that she was going back with no equipment to carry out what she has learnt here, and I gather that she will not get it until the Estimates for 1961–62 are approved. If we are to bring people to this country and train them for a specific teaching job, I hope that we will see that they have the necessary tools with which to carry out their work when they return.

The hon. Member for Flint, East mentioned the question of training for people leaving here for overseas. I would like to see more encouragement given to the Corona Club courses and the courses run by Mr. Holland, which are mainly for men. It is important for people to have some knowledge of the country to which they are going before they leave.

Cmd. 841 states that a small Information Service should be set up. It is extremely important to have an Information Service here which can help to co-ordinate the needs of people leaving here and also those coming here. If this Information Service has not already been set up, I suggest that we might consider using the Royal Commonwealth Society headquarters, in Northumberland Avenue. They are known to many students, and they have an excellent reference library. They hight easily be able to provide a centre for this service.

I also hope that we shall see a greater interchange between the teachers of various Commonwealth countries. I know that the Bill provide for exchanges between this country and others, but I hope that we will encourage, for instance, Indians to go to Africa, and Africans to go to India, so that the people in Commonwealth countries can obtain a better knowledge of each other.

This has been an interesting debate, and I am grateful for the opportunity of having been able to take part in it. I wish the scheme well, and hope that we shall be successful in recruiting the necessary number of teachers to go overseas in the not too distant future.

7.33 p.m.

Dr. Alan Thompson (Dunfermline Burghs)

I strongly support the Bill and the educational objectives embodied in it. I know that when we talk about educational objectives we run a grave risk of repeating platitudes. I can think of few subjects which lend themelves to so many platitudes as the subject of education, and I realise that I may fall into that trap.

The educational liaison proposed by the Bill is an excellent objective. Our relations with countries abroad are too often channelled exclusively through political and governmental agencies, and we do not manage effectively to present to the people of other countries the diversified character of British society and culture. This is true of our diplomatic relations, as I said in an Adjournment debate on the Foreign Office, but it is also true of our relations with Commonwealth countries.

In Britain we have a pluralistic society—plural in its free institutions and the freedom of individuals to travel as they wish without representing or being bound by Government policy. The great advantage of our society over a totalitarian society lies in the fact that we can reflect the interests of free individuals. But we do not make use of this facility in our contacts with other countries. These unofficial contacts are of the utmost value. Speaking as somebody who has studied abroad for a short time, I believe that the Britisher who goes abroad should not consider himself to be too consciously an unpaid ambassador, representing his Government unofficially, in a rather laborious way. I found that the most popular Britons abroad were those who were just themselves—who reflected their own cultural attitudes and backgrounds spontaneously without considering themselves unpaid plenipotentiaries. Those who did act as unofficial ambassadors were considered rather as bores by those with whom they worked.

Although we have not done enough in multiplying these contacts, we have done a great deal in training students coming to this country. Last year at our universities, colleges and advanced schools we had 40,000 students from overseas, as compared with 10,000 only ten years ago. Two-thirds of those 40,000 were from Commonwealth countries. Our educational system absorbs more overseas students than does the educational system of any other country, and this superiority is heightened even more so if we take into account our proportionate population.

Of the 40,000 students I have mentioned, however, a comparatively small number were doing teacher training. That is why I welcome the Bill. Last year only 730 were thus engaged at teacher training establishments—660 in England and Wales, 68 in Scotland and two in Northern Ireland. The university departments of education were more widely used than were the teacher training colleges. To some extent this probably reflects the difference in standards. As my right hon. Friend said earlier, there should be more consultation with training colleges. I hope that there will be a two-way consultation.

I know that it is improper for Governments to put pressure upon free institutions, but the petty restrictions imposed on students in large numbers of our teacher training colleges leave a lot to be desired. Thinking back to my student days, I found that to those graduates who left the freedom of universities to go to teacher training colleges it was like going back to school again. It is surely unnecessary to restrict teaching students in such a way as to make them feel schoolchildren rather than people on a higher level. I hope that whoever sits on these bodies in our teacher training colleges will bear that point in mind.

It is interesting to compare the English and Scottish figures. In England, the overwhelming majority engaging in teacher training every year were training for secondary school teaching. In Scotland, however, 30 out of 68 were training for university and college teaching. For some reason Scotland seems to attract potential university and college teachers from abroad to a much greater degree than does England. The Scottish figures also show a very heavy bias in favour of African students. Forty seven out of 68 last year were from Africa—which is a very good thing.

In order to persuade teachers to go abroad we must guarantee, if necessary, to make up their salaries—and the disparity may be very wide in some cases. We must also take into account differences in local income tax, and make sure that those who go abroad are not penalised by heavy rates of tax. We must also consider cost-of-living bonuses, superannuation rights and security of contracts. If, when a teacher is abroad in a strange country, he is sacked, or suddenly finds himself accused of some misdemeanour, he is in a very tricky position. All the time these people are abroad we must watch over their position in order to see that their contract rights are guaranteed, as well as their living conditions and those of their wives and children.

When they move out of the ambit of our free National Health Service they sometimes have to pay very heavily for medical services. Normally, they must also pay for domestic help, which they would not have at home. There is also extra expenditure in connection with refrigerators and air conditioners.

Finally, we must give them some sort of guarantee of a suitable job at home when their tour is over. Since 1957 the Ministry of Education has done quite a lot to spread among teachers the feeling that when they return home their promotion rights will be guaranteed and they will be reabsorbed into our educational system. But the universities, as my right hon. Friend said earlier and as other speakers have mentioned, are in a different position here. This is not the task of the Government. It is for the vice-chancellors and principals and courts and senates of universities to get across to their staff that service abroad does not prejudice promotion at home. There is a feeling that once a don has left our hallowed shores and sailed to some remote Asian or African coast he is academically finished. His decision to go abroad is frequently received with astonishment by his colleagues.

I had a long discussion with a friend of mine who was offered a chair at the University of the West Indies. He was filled with doubts and apprehensions about accepting, but finally decided to go. He has since filled the chair with distinction from the point of view of scholarship and teaching, and I think that he has forged a valuable link between his Scottish university and the University of the West Indies. But the grim fact remains that he may have lost his place in the queue for academic promotion. Probably in no other field so much as that of university chairs and Oxford and Cambridge fellowships does the old adage apply so forcibly— Out of sight, out of mind. The idea, which is sometimes held by the public, of university professors and lecturers being indifferent to worldly claims and sitting in book-lined studies absorbed in weighty tomes, indifferent to the desires of promotion, is far from the truth. There is no reason why it should be true; university teachers are human and they want to get on, and we must take account of this in the inducements which we offer to try to persuade them to go to other countries.

My second point refers to the selection of those going abroad to fill teaching posts, whether at senior level or university level. I hope that there will be flexibility about the methods used. I am glad to see from the White Paper that there will be no officially recognised United Kingdom recruitment agency. I have a high opinion of the British Council, which I think does splendid work, but I should not like to see it the sole channel through which the many appointments to universities and schools abroad are made.

There is a feeling among provincial universities and the Scottish universities that for the higher educational and cultural posts abroad the British Council shows a marked preference for Oxford and Cambridge graduates and we should not like to see that extended or perpetuated. I should be reluctant to see appointments to university posts exclusively in the hands of small academic committees. I have the highest opinion of British university professors in the sphere of scholarship. I have worked among them for a number of years. But I have a lesser opinion of their unfailing capacity to select the right people for senior jobs in countries abroad. Often they have an inadequate knowledge of what is wanted.

I remember being interviewed by a small committee of professors for a fellowship. One of them, an Oxford don, a very irrascible, bad tempered and slightly neurotic gentleman, had only the slenderest idea of the kind of country to which he was appointing me or to which I hoped I should get appointed. It was not until afterwards, when he had given me a thoroughly bad-tempered and, I thought, ill-informed interview, that I realised that one of the young men waiting in the corridor outside was one of his students whom he hoped would get the job—and he did. Since then this well-known don has appeared on television, and I notice that in the intervening years he has lost none of his bad temper nor his vanity.

So please do not leave it exclusively to the professors. They are great and grand people, and in the field of scholarship British professors are second to none, but often they reflect inter-university jealousies and sometimes are ignorant about the rest of the world outside our shores. There are, of course, many exceptions—some of my best friends are professors—but there is this danger. So let the selection methods be wide and do no let us have a small body exclusively appointed for this work. I hope that the various committees and councils likely to be consulted will bear my words in mind.

My final and perhaps in some ways a more serious point refers to Cmnd. Paper 1032 recommendations from which have been adopted in this Bill. Paragraph 3 of the White Paper states: The free association in the Commonwealth of countries which share a belief in the common principles of justice, a democratic way of life and personal freedom, affords a special opportunity for the pooling of resources. There is an obligation on those with more highly developed educational facilities to help their fellow members. But all races and people have made their characteristic contribution to the building up of knowledge, culture and values, and all have something to give. There are no frontiers to human knowledge; knowledge is not the exclusive prerogative of any nation or group of nations. Here, I think, we are under some difficulty in pursuing the aims of Commonwealth educational co-operation in our relationships with South Africa, because South Africa is unique in being the only university in the Commonwealth which directly bases its university and school education upon the superiority of one race over another.

I should like to know whether any special relationships are contemplated under this Bill with the Union of South Africa. The native and coloured peoples have been debarred from the main South African universities, the English-speaking and Afrikaans-speaking universities, and new Bantu colleges have been set up. They violate the educational principles embodied in this Bill. These are not colleges open to all races and peoples or colleges which teach all subjects. They are tribal colleges set up in tribal reserves, and here education has been deliberately down-graded. The University College of Fort Hare, opened 44 years ago by General Botha and planned to lead Africans to the liberal, wide and advanced education envisaged in this Bill, has been disaffiliated from its parent university and—

Mr. Alport

Perhaps I can help the hon. Gentleman by saying that up to the present we have had no intimation that South Africa is taking part in this scheme, so that the problem which he has raised does not apply.

Dr. Thompson

I am glad to have that information. I hope that if South Africa does apply the Minister will bear in mind the educational system in that country seems to be in collision with some of the objectives of this Bill.

My right hon. Friend and the hon. Lady the Member for Plymouth, Devon-port (Miss Vickers) mentioned teaching English and expressed surprise at learning about this new field of research and training in the teaching of English as a second language. May I be parochial for a second time and say that at the University of Edinburgh there is established a school of applied linguistics with research and training in the teaching of English as a second language. It gives a special one-year diploma for senior teacher training and English language teaching specialists from the Commonwealth. The Department of Applied Linguistics and the Department of Phonetics in Edinburgh, under the direction of Mr. David Abercrombie, enjoy an international reputation and are visited by scholars from all over the world, who come to study their methods and techniques. I hope that the University of Edinburgh, whose activities unfortunately do not seem so well known in this House, might be consulted in some of the work involved in this sphere.

I urge the merits of this Bill to the House and consider it the kind of Bill with which hon. Members on both sides may be proud to be associated.

7.49 p.m.

Mr. R. P. Hornby (Tonbridge)

I wish to emphasise the real importance of this subject at this time. We are witnessing a very rapid political development in many parts of the Commonwealth, and as these new countries develop they are depending for their administration, teaching and for many other services on a minute university population. That is a fact which we must remember when-looking at this Bill and considering what we are trying to achieve by it.

I will quote very briefly two or three figures from a recent publication on Commonwealth education produced in this country. They show the number of full-time students in Commonwealth universities at the present time: Ghana 320, with an extra 355 in this country; Nigeria, with a population of over 30 million, 560, with an additional 881 in this country; Malaya, 1,570, with an additional 263 in this country; Central Africa, 70, with an additional 116 in this country. Comparing those figures with our university population of about 100,000 and Canada with about 75,000, one sees the gap that one is trying to fill by this Bill.

Of course, we cannot fill the whole of that gap by direct action, by the export of suitably qualified teacher trainers, doctors, agricultural advisers or whoever they may be. But we may be able to place a sufficient number of properly trained people in key positions at the request of the receiving countries in such a way that in an academic generation's time the picture may be very different and those countries may be able to do far more for themselves. That, it seems to me, is what we are trying to do.

About these key posts, I think that this Bill can help very considerably. To those who are worried lest we are taking away from ourselves teachers whom we can ill-afford to spare, I think that it would be a mistake to under-estimate the willingness of people in this country to undertake adventures such as this once they understand the need and once it is shown clearly how that need is to be met in clear, detailed administrative terms.

I turn briefly to the provisions of the Bill. It looks, as some people have said, as if it is a very modest Measure. I am not so sure that it is. In the inflated terms of the day, £6 million spread over the next five years sounds fairly small fry. Let us look at what it is going to achieve. In terms of training places here —and I think that I heard my hon. Friend rightly at the start of the debate—we are probably going to provide for something like 400 extra people in this country. That is on top of the existing figure of 730 people being trained for the teaching profession from the Commonwealth in this country and is a pretty substantial increase.

Secondly, as to the traffic going the other way, this (Bill will provide in a few years for 400 extra people permanently serving abroad. How does that compare with the numbers abroad in the Commonwealth at the present time? I gather that the figures are about 3,000 people a year going abroad to parts of the Commonwealth for teaching purposes. Of that 3,000 probably one half or more are going to the old countries of the Commonwealth, Canada, Australia and so on. The parts with which we are particularly concerned in the Bill are the younger and particularly the African and Asiatic countries.

It seems to me that 400 extra permanently serving abroad as compared with perhaps 1,500 or slightly less now —probably considerably less, I would guess—going to those younger countries is a fairly substantial addition. I would say to those who criticise this pioneering Bill, because that is what it really is, as being inadequate and minute, let them look at the proportionate increase compared with what is happening at the present time.

The main point that I want to make, having set our mind to this purpose and produced this Bill, is that we should get the administration of it right. I would like to mention four points to which I think we want to pay particular attention. Some of these have been particularly mentioned.

First there is the question of selection. It is no good our just saying that we will send teachers for this purpose. We must send very good teachers, otherwise we might very well defeat our own objective. Secondly, if we want to recruit people to this service—I am thinking particularly of the outward traffic from this country—we must make certain that they are fully informed of what is wanted and conditions to which they will be going. In addition to selecting good people, we do not want, having done that, to find frustrated people, dissatisfied with their conditions of work, feeling let down and that they have come to something which they did not expect.

Thirdly, I think that the Bill is absolutely right in being broad and generous in its financial terms to the individual. It gives real powers to meet the individual needs of people going to particularly selected posts. That is what we want to do. In choosing these selected posts we should be working very much in co-operation with and alongside the receiving Governments. Fourthly— this has been mentioned several times, and I shall not re-emphasise it again— there are the provisions for making proper return to this country, and, I would add, in the traffic back from this country to those who come here to train. Those provisions are important. Several safeguards have been mentioned already.

On the question of people coming to this country for training, by and large I am fairly satisfied with what I have read and heard of what people are now trying to do to get it right. I am sure that a great deal of thought has been given to this since the Commonwealth Education Conference at Oxford, and I think that most of the relevant points have been met and people are now trying to put them into effect. I am thinking of things like proper living accommodation, proper reception facilities, and the proper sending of information to people before they leave their own countries, making certain particularly in the universities that there is a persona] responsibility accepted by someone for incoming students. All these things are important, and I think that attention is being given to them.

I am a little less certain that we have thought quite as hard about the problems concerning those going from this country to the territories overseas. There is selection, for instance. How is this to be done? Presumably it will be done largely by representatives of the Governments to whom the person is going. Will there be opportunity for the pooling of some common experience in this field, as to the sort of people who are suitable and the sort of local difficulties that occur? If so, who will do that pooling of experience?

There are many Ministries and Ministers accepting partial responsibility in this matter. There is the Commonwealth Relations Office, the Colonial Office, the Ministry of Education, the Scottish Office, and so on. It seems to me that there is probably scope for the setting up of some adequate and proper liaison organisation to see that experience is shared without setting up one single selection body.

I think that the question of some central unit or single unit applies also to the problem of recruitment. If and when we want to get large volumes of recruits coming forward, as I hope we shall, to undertake this work, to whom do they write? To each of the individual High Commissioners in this country? To the Ministry of Education? To the Colonial Office, or to whom? It seems to me that we would get better response from people interested in this if we could advertise the fact in the teaching journals of one single authority that could at least dispense information about opportunities that may or may not be available, not just in one part of Africa, but in other parts of Africa and elsewhere in the world. One would at least get a better flow of information going outwards to people who may be interested.

Thirdly, there is the question of information and what I would call pre-training before leaving this country. If we are sending someone out from this country for three years, which is basically an expensive term and one recognises it as such, it is important economically that he should be as well informed and as well trained as possible before he leaves this country. Teachers have fairly long holidays during which I think they would be willing to prepare themselves for what they are going to undertake. If we can organise on as full a scale as possible an effective training before anyone leaves this country, the person leaving this country will be as nearly as possible at the peak of efficiency when he gets overseas at an earlier stage in the three-year course than he otherwise would be. That would be an effective and economical thing to do.

Fourthly, as regards application for appointments after the tour of duty is over, I hope that the local education authority which a teacher leaves will keep in touch with the teacher and ensure that he is plied, particularly towards the end of his term, with information about possible posts to which he might be interested to return. I do not think that that would be difficult. Local education authorities are usually only too anxious to keep tabs on good people whom they have lost. One hopes that it is the good people who are going out under this scheme.

Fifthly, and perhaps most important of all in the long term, is the education of public opinion concerning the vital need for the promotion of this work. How are we doing this? What do we intend to do? Who are the key people who are to applaud the temporary emigration of good teachers from this country and will then welcome them back? Are they directors of education, Chairmen of education committees, or whom? Whom are we going to try to impress with the necessity and importance of this work? I understand that the Ministry of Education quite recently held an important conference dealing with this whole subject. I hope that we shall not leave it at that, but will consider every possible means of following up this work, so that we continue to make ground with influential public opinion, particularly in the educational world.

I conclude with two comments on the whole field. In our zeal for bringing people to this country for training, I hope that we shall recognise that there is some danger sometimes of reducing the prestige of local universities in the overseas territories. In a sense, the more opportunities there are for coming to this country or going to America and elsewhere, and the higher the prestige of what is being done here, the greater will be the need for emphasising and helping in every possible way the development of local universities, colleges and institutions.

In that respect, something can be done by encouraging where possible—here one might sometimes look at the outside funds from foundations and so on— temporary visits on a fairly short-term basis of distinguished fellows or lecturers of one sort or another who would add to the prestige of the universities and colleges they visit.

With those thoughts, and again reiterating what I believe to be the very vital importance of this educational work at a time when our administrators are retreating from many overseas territories, I wish the Bill well and hope that, when the next Commonwealth Education Conference takes place in the Autumn of 1961 in New Delhi, we shall be able to report that this Bill is flourishing and effective and look forward to still further measures of educational co-operation within the Commonwealth.

8.4 p.m.

The Rev. Llywelyn Williams (Abertillery)

It is a very pleasant experience to address the House in a debate on a Bill which so obviously is receiving the warm commendation of every Member of the House. Nothing but good can come from this very far-reaching Bill. It may not be as ambitious as some of us would wish it to be, but to the extent that it carries out the enlightened conclusions of the Oxford Commonwealth Education Conference it must receive our blessing and wholehearted support.

Reference has been made already to the tremendous need for this Measure in the Commonwealth at large. Most hon. Members who have addressed the House so far have drawn from their experience of the great Continent of Africa. I am unable to do that, because I have not visited Africa. However, last year I had the great privilege of visiting our territories in the Caribbean. I can testify to the very great need, which the Bill will in some measure satisfy, which exists in our territories in the Caribbean.

While the debate has been in progress, I have been thinking of a memorable experience I had in the Caribbean, which will remain with me for many years. It was a visit I paid to a school in the heart of a mahogany forest estate, in British Honduras. It was a very simple and primitive building. There were no sides and no partitions. A few hundred children, ranging from tiny tots to husky young lads, and their counterparts amongst the girls, were all herded together. Teachers were scattered all over this strange concourse trying to do what I thought was the impossible—to impart to these youngsters of varying ages the tremendous thrill that education can mean to those who are benefiting from it. But every one of these teachers was untrained.

There is no doubt that the need is terrific. I am certain that we shall be able to do much under the Bill, to meet the need. We shall have done a very good day's work in the House in giving the Bill a Second Reading.

Reference has been made also—I can testify to the truth of this—to the tremendous passion for education. One must use a strong word such as "passion" to describe the attitude of parents in the overseas territories. There is a tremendous passion for education. There is a desire amongst parents which will brook no easy opposition or hindrance that their children will receive what they call education. Some of us may have become a little cynical or sophisticated in our approach to education. Perhaps at one time we, too, thought that education was the alpha and omega of everything and that, if we had free education and ample facilities for education in this country, we would have reached the great Utopia.

I do not think that all of us share that view now. At least, we are not completely bemused by education. We know that we need something in addition to education to achieve anything like the type of society which we would describe as ideal. I should not like that remark to be misinterpreted. I should not like anyone to think that I in any sense have anything but the highest regard for education as one of the paths leading to progress, but some of our illusions have been dissipated by sad experience in the last few years. We are possibly not as naive as we were in our attitude to education.

But the people in the overseas territories still live in that wonderland, in that wonderful climate of public opinion, in which they believe that when their children receive what they call education Heaven will have appeared on earth. The passion is tremendous. A number of people engaged in educational work in overseas territories have told me that mothers, without batting an eyelid, will tell the most obvious untruths about the ages of their children so that they might get them into school.

School accommodation is limited and often the entry age is eight, but it is a common experience to find mothers bringing three-year and four-year olds to the school and insisting to the headmaster that they are small for their age, but really eight years of age. This is to be found in many of our territories. We have done a tremendous amount for these people and are prepared to do a tremendous amount in future, but the illustration I have given is evidence of how much education means to them.

I have cheated about my age only once, I think, and I am not particularly ashamed of the deceit. I was a voracious reader as a youngster and in my town we did not have a children's library. When I was nine years of age, I wrote on a form that I was 11, because that was the permitted age for entry to the facilities of that library. So I can quite understand how these people feel and how they indulge in an almost Gilbertian situation by trying to convince educational authorities that four-year olds are very small for their age and are really aged eight.

I have heard of mothers who have told ticket inspectors that their boy, who obviously was eight was only five years of age and, therefore, was eligible for a half-fare on the railway. We in Wales and our Scottish cousins, possibly more than the English, used to have a great passion for education. Our fathers never regarded any sacrifice as too great if it were made to give their children educational advancement. It may well be that today everything is being taken for granted in this Welfare State, but I assure the House from my experience of overseas territories that there is a tremendous need, an eloquent need. It has been testified to by other hon. Members during the debate. The hunger and thirst, the passion for education, is something moving and gripping in its effect.

When I visited a school in the Grand Cayman Island I saw one of the most beautiful island of the world. What I saw in the Grand Cayman Island prompts me to refer to a danger which can happen in that part of the world more easily than in other parts in the matter of denominational schools. Goodness knows, I am no supporter of denominational schools at home, but, generally, I should have to agree that the dark picture which prevails where schools in the Commonwealth are concerned would be much darker were it not for mission schools.

I do not think sufficient testimony has been paid in the debate to what religious missions from this country have done throughout the centuries, not only in building schools, but in sending out missionaries regularly to do educational work as well as medical and more specifically spiritual or religious work. Today, in the mission field, there is a great dearth of candidates, so the problem of school teachers in many of those overseas territories is intensified by the increasing lack of candidates for mission work.

The influence of the Southern States of America is being increasingly felt in the Cayman Islands, as I am sure the Minister of State for Commonwealth Relations will know. I want to be charitable and not to indulge in polemics against other creeds or forms of religion, but I am worried about some of the strange esoteric sects which emanate from the Southern States of America. I had an instance of this in the Grand Cayman Island. There is a school in this British territory run by the Seventh Day Adventists. I entered that school and could sense at once that my presence was not particularly welcome.

I looked around and picked up some of the school books, especially history books. There is a very definite anti-British slant, or bias, in the history which is being taught in that school. I should like the Minister to ask for a report from the district commissioner to see whether what I am saying is right. I did not like it. I think that it is a situation which needs to be looked into very carefully.

I have nothing in the way of anti-Americanism in my spirit. I have visited America and I am fond of that great country, but I do not want any anti-British slant introduced into schools for which we are responsible. A curious thing about us is that, even though we may be far from being flag-waving jingoists at home, and sometimes are critical of our Commonwealth, abroad, in these Colonies—I speak for myself, for I cannot speak for anyone else—I feel a real sense of pride in what we have done as a Commonwealth. I do not like to see that Commonwealth denigrated by any anti-British colonialism taught by some of these strange religious sects emanating from the Southern States of America.

I do not want to prolong the debate unduly. Having spoken of the need, the tremendous desire and passion for education in these territories, my final point may be regarded as a practical one. It is not easy to recruit teachers, yet, if so many of our young teachers could see the tremendous challenge and tremendous thrill of this work, the enriching experience it would be for them to go to some of our territories in Africa and in the West, I think they would respond to the appeal. I suggest that the Minister of State and the Minister of Education might consider sending a representative from the Colonial Office, the Commonwealth Relations Office, or the Ministry of Education, to our training colleges to put the case to students in their last year when they are just about to leave college and start the great job of educating youngsters, opening young minds to the tremendous challenge of new ideas.

That is the best time to do this work. Once they have settled down, married, entered into commitments about the home, and so on, it will be much more difficult. I recommend the practical course of visiting the training colleges before these students have finally decided where to start in the great work of being a teacher so that we may put the case which has been made by so many hon. Members on both sides of the House today, relating it particularly not only to the benefit which it will bring to the development of the Commonwealth countries in the twentieth century but also to the tremendous benefit which it will bring to the intellectual, moral and spiritual development of the individuals concerned.

8.21 p.m.

Mr. George Thomas (Cardiff, West)

I apologise to the Minister of Education and to the House for not having been in the Chamber during the debate. I merely wish to say that the Minister must know that he has the good will of the teaching profession in this matter, as my right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) would be quick to tell him.

The teaching profession in this country is being quite magnanimous in realising that it must be prepared to make certain sacrifices for the good will of the Commonwealth. Although we are concerned about the fact that an adequate supply of teachers to meet our own problem will require tremendous efforts by the Ministry, the teaching profession is willing and anxious to co-operate to the full to ensure that the scheme reaps the success which it merits. I believe that it will be a good thing for the teachers concerned, since nothing broadens the mind more than travel: and travel in the British Commonwealth is an experience which inspires anyone, as it has my hon. Friend the Member for Abertillery (Rev. L1. Williams), with a sense of great pride in the achievements as well as a sense of the challenge of what remains to be done.

I do not wish to speak about the details of the Bill. I wish only to say that the teaching profession is one fellowship all the world over. One of the most notable characteristics of the great education conferences in this country of the postwar years has been the way in which teachers from the British Commonwealth have attended. The knowledge that our own people will be taking their gifts out to the Colonies will, I believe, be a fillip to those working in those parts.

I visited the Seychelles last year and I know what a tonic it would be if only one of these teachers could go and help those who are already labouring in a lonely little outpost like that. I hope that the smaller Dependencies will play as great a part in this wonderful scheme as those which are better known to us in this House. I wish the Bill well and I congratulate the Minister on the initiative that he has taken.

8.24 p.m.

The Minister of Education (Sir David Eccles)

My right hon. Friend the Minister of State and I have been deeply impressed and greatly encouraged by the sincerity with which all hon. Members who have spoken have welcomed the Bill. The Ministry of Education is entirely behind the Bill, and we shall do all that we possibly can to make it a success, but, as many hon. Members have pointed out, it is not a foregone conclusion. We have a great many things to do if we are to have the climate of opinion which is necessary, and a response is to be made by the individuals concerned.

I remember very well the day when we discussed education at the Commonwealth Economic Conference at Montreal. I think it is fair to say that a great many of the representatives of the old Commonwealth felt that the scheme for university scholarships would be the one that received the greatest welcome. The old Commonwealth countries welcomed very much, but nothing like as much as the new Commonwealth countries, the idea that we might help them with their primary and secondary school teaching. The speeches made then returned to my mind today as I listened to the figures given by my hon. Friend the Member for Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart), the hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White) and the hon. Member for Abertillery (The Rev. L1. Williams).

Moving as those figures were this afternoon, when they were given by the actual representatives of the countries concerned—they explained what the hon. Member for Abertillery called "the passion fox education"—I think we all felt that we really had to meet the need to the best of our ability. We followed that up with the Oxford conference, and after that we had at Church House in February a very remarkable conference of local education authorities, teachers' representatives, representatives of the churches, the institutes of education and universities, all of which pledged themselves in the fullest possible way to make the scheme work.

It is one thing to express these sentiments in general, which we all feel very keenly. It is another thing to find the teachers when we are very short indeed in this country. It is something to ask of a local education authority which is suffering under a rationing scheme proposed by me and which is, therefore, in almost every case, not getting as many teachers as it would like to have. It really is quite another thing to ask the employers—the local education authorities—to feel that the need abroad is so much greater than the need which they find on their own doorstep—which it is their duty as the representatives of the ratepayers to meet as best they can— and so great that we ought even now to start making these sacrifices.

Hon. Members have always agreed with the Minister of Education when he has said that we have too many oversized classes, and it is perfectly clear that we have. If we are to encourage these teachers to go abroad, and I am sure we must, we must reckon that it means a sacrifice for us at home, but it is a sacrifice which I am certain we should all like to make.

It is not just the call for service, which I agree is the overriding reason for doing this. We must also look to the conditions of the service. Therefore, we have worked out—I hope that with the aid of the money which Parliament will give us under the Bill we can bring it to actuality—a code of secondment which we hope all local authorities will adopt. It is a code under which they will guarantee to teachers who leave, having received the basic scale only as their pay, that they will get the basic scale when they return.

We have also worked out a further set of provisions for those in posts of responsibility, who were, therefore, receiving allowances over the basic scale, and the local authorities will give them a two-year guarantee when they return. If those teachers apply for posts under another authority than the one in whose service they were when they went abroad, then it will be agreed that the new authority, the new employer, will accept the references from the old employer and employ the teachers as though they had been in the new employer's service. If any hon. Member would like to see the conditions in the code of secondment I should be very glad to send it to him.

That, and also the conditions for safeguarding pension rights, are now being embodied in a circular which is just about to go out to all local education authorities, and which is the result of the February conference, when we put these proposals to them. I think it should at least establish clearly that financially the teacher going abroad from this country will be no worse off, and that it is the wish of the Government and of all those local authorities that on return it should be a mark of merit to have had this overseas experience.

Let me say frankly, that is not what teachers find today—at least, only a small proportion of them do. They may feel inside themselves that they have benefited from teaching in Africa or elsewhere, but they say that the benefit is not clearly recognised in most cases by their next employers.

It is that which we have to change, and that is one of the purposes of setting up the National Council for the Supply of Teachers Overseas: partly to get the climate of opinion right, so that there can be a general campaign going on all the time to help teachers who are wanting information before they go abroad, to get justice done to them when they come home; and, in general, to keep local education authorities and other bodies continually aware of what is going on and of the various needs. I think that a central body of that kind, on which we shall, of course, put representatives of the university departments as well, so that the teaching of English and other subjects will be thought about, will do a lot of good. I hope that that answers my hon. Friend the Member for Ton-bridge (Mr. Hornby), because he wanted just this sort of body to pull together the conditions surrounding this overseas service.

It is pretty clear, when the demand overseas is so colossal and so beyond what we in these small Islands can conceivably meet in the way of teachers, that the most rewarding way of helping them is in fact to train teachers who will then go and train other teachers in the overseas Territories. There is no doubt that if we put as much emphasis as we can on teacher training that will multiply the effect.

I can tell my hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth, Devonport (Miss Vickers), who knows so much about these overseas conditions, especially in Malaya, and my hon. Friend the Member for Southampton, Test (Mr. J. Howard), that if they will look at paragraph 8 of the White Paper they will see that we are going to send abroad members of the staffs of our training colleges so that they may study the local conditions and requirements of the teachers whom they are going to train in this country. We plan something like ten visits a year.

My hon. Friend the Member for Devonport asked whether students here would get experience, for instance, in evening institutes. Certainly I agree with her that we must try to see that that is so. There is, of course, a demand for adult education in the Commonwealth which is almost, I would say, insatiable; because it is impossible to apply modern technical methods unless one has some education, and many men in middle life want to try to catch up a little on their deficiencies. The students coming here will have special courses designed for them, and we shall naturally try to meet the requirements of the overseas Governments. The overseas Governments will state to us what they want the students particularly to learn, and we shall try to meet their wishes.

The right hon. Member for West Bromwich (Mr. Dugdale) knows a great deal about deaf and dumb teaching and the need to increase the number of teachers. I can assure him that, if the overseas Governments ask for places here for teachers to be trained in methods of helping deaf and dumb children, or, as my hon. Friend the Member for Devonport asked, blind children, we shall, of course, do our best to find the places. So far, we have not had any definite applications for places for teacher training for deaf and dumb children, but we believe that two are on their way from Southern Rhodesia. Perhaps what the right hon. Gentleman and my hon. Friend have said in the debate will stimulate some applications. I entirely agree that we know how to teach people to help these handicapped children, and I am sure that we can through our training help our overseas friends.

The equipment in schools overseas must be the responsibility of the local Government. It is a very expensive item. The other day, I was told by a publisher of educational textbooks that there are as many children of school age in Nigeria as there are in this country and, therefore, as many textbooks should be required there as in all our schools. One can appreciate the problem there merely in regard to textbooks. We shall have to do what we can to help, but the equipment of the schools themselves must be left with the local Governments. I do not know whether it would come under the commonwealth development and welfare funds. I do not know what my right hon. Friend would say about that.

The hon. Member for Dunfermline Burghs (Dr. A. Thompson) spoke about the universities. We value very much the work which is being done in linguistics at Edinburgh and at London. In the White Paper, the operative word is "relatively". This is relatively unexplored compared with other teaching techniques and, through the Commonwealth liaison unit which has been set up, with a distinguished Indian doctor, Dr. Jha, as the first director, we are suggesting a conference at Makerere next year where all the problems of the teaching of English as a secondary language might be studied.

The right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Marquand) asked me about allowances for university teachers going abroad. In paragraph 13 of the White Paper on Commonwealth Educational Co-operation, it is said that there will be a scheme similar to that for the schools. The fact of the matter is that the universities will have their own scheme but they will obtain the money under this Bill. Therefore, there will be the same scales of allowances applied to university teachers going overseas under the Bill as to school teachers.

Mr. Marquand

Does that mean that the apparent contradiction which I discovered in paragraph 10 was just a misreading on my part? Is it an unqualified assurance that the right hon. Gentleman has just given?

Sir D. Eccles

The opening words of paragraph 13 are Similar arrangements will be made to encourage teachers to take up key posts in universities and university colleges", and then it goes on to describe how the arrangements will be made. "Similar" means the same as the arrangements for allowances in respect of school teachers.

Mr. Marquand

Unfortunately, I have not the White Paper before me at the moment. Will the right hon. Gentleman look at the introductory words of paragraph 10 which suggest that there is a difference between what is planned for schools and what is planned for universities?

Sir D. Eccles

The words "other than universities" are there simply because the universities, being what they are, would not like the Minister of Education to have anything to do with the payment of their salaries and allowances. Therefore, we exclude them in paragraph 10 in order to bring them back on their own, in full academic freedom, in paragraph 13.

The hon. Member for Dunfermline Burghs, who knows so very much about the universities, stressed the fact that dons who went abroad were not highly regarded when they came home. I was asked what we could do about this, and he quite rightly said that this is a matter for the universities themselves. We can do something about teachers, with the aid of the local education authorities, to see that they get the jobs when they come back, but the universities—and I hope they will take note of this debate—will have to make their own arrangements, and I think it would be a very good thing if they did.

I was glad that my hon. Friend the Member for Tonbridge thought that the Bill was a good start, and I agree with him that it is only a start. No one can tell how far we can go in this direction. We know that the need is quite beyond fulfilment. We should like to do as much as we can, and we shall depend on public opinion. I think that the debate we have had today will do a great deal of good to get public opinion to realise that this is a problem which we simply must not just talk about and then do nothing.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read a Second time.

Bill committed to a Committee of the whole House.—[Mr. Peel.]

Committee Tomorrow.