§ 29 and 30. Mr. Swingler
asked the Secretary of State for Air (1) what progress has been made in the provision of new school accommodation for the children of Royal Air Force parents at Aden; and when he expects to be able to provide all the children with school places.
(2) in how many cases he is still unable to provide school places for the children of Royal Air Force parents at Aden; what educational provision is being made for these children; and what help has been given by his Department.
Work on the new school at Khormaksar is well advanced, and part of it is already in use. As I told 1263 the hon. Member on 16th December, it should be completed early next year. Meanwhile my Department is paying fees for 121 children at civilian schools. No children are without school places.
§ Mr. Swingler
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that on several occasions he has said recently, and as recently as the Air Estimates debate, that he is going to move very rapidly on this project? Does he recall that this very long delay has put it three or four years behind and that it is really a disgrace that 120 children still cannot be accommodated who should be accommodated by his Department? Therefore, will not he do something to urge this project on more rapidly?
On the contrary, this new school is making excellent progress. Certainly, during the Air Estimates debate I gave this date of early next year, and that is still the date. As to the delay which the hon. Gentleman has alleged to have taken place, I have explained to him several times the various factors which have complicated the schools problem in Aden. I hope Chat he will be glad to hear that we are now making good progress.
§ Mr. de Freitas
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the payment of school fees does not answer the main and most serious problem, that there is an obligation to Service families sent abroad to provide places for the education of their children without swamping the limited local facilities provided by the Colonial Government for a quite different purpose?
We are doing our best to provide places for everybody. As I said, this should be by early next year. The hon. Gentleman knows very well that the population of Aden has increased so rapidly that it is physically impossible to keep pace and build all the school places we need.
§ Mr. Swingler
Will the right hon. Gentleman not run away from the fact— I do not want to recall the Question I asked in 1956—that this school accommodation was definitely promised by his Department for the year 1957 and that by the time that these children are accommodated it will in fact be 1961?
The plan which was originally designed to be finished in 1957 1264 was a quite different and much smaller plan. Since then the population of Aden has increased so rapidly that we have had to alter the plan twice since then.