HC Deb 13 June 1961 vol 642 cc176-8
6 and 7. Mr. Swingler

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies (1) what steps his department is taking to encourage students in Northern Rhodesia to take up offers of educational facilities abroad;

(2) how many Northern Rhodesian African students are at present studying in the United States of America; and how many scholarships in the United States of America have been offered to Northern Rhodesians in the last twelve months.

Mr. Iain Macleod

Every advantage is taken of offers of educational facilities abroad, especially where appropriate courses are not at present available locally and where the quality and condition of courses abroad are known to be satisfactory.

I understand from the Governor that fifteen Northern Rhodesian African students are at present studying in the United States. During the past twelve months a further eight scholarships have been awarded.

Mr. Swingler

Is the Secretary of State aware that I have been informed that, within the last three months or so, scholarships have been offered from the United States to Northern Rhodesians, conditional on certain expenses being covered by the Federal Government, and that the Federal Government have turned them down? The result is that these facilities are not available. Will the Secretary of State check whether this is correct and, if it is, will he take appropriate action?

Mr. Macleod

I will indeed check on this matter. I have seen a report which, I think, may be the one to which the right hon. Gentleman has referred, in the Guardian some time ago on this matter, but I understand that the position is not, as far as Northern Rhodesia is concerned, that these have been rejected, but that they are still being considered.

Mr. G. M. Thomson

Does not the Secretary of State agree that this raises an important issue and will he do everything he can to discourage some of his officials in Africa from looking down their noses at offers of American educational assistance and regarding this as our private educational preserve? Will the right hon. Gentleman do everything he can to encourage co-operation in educational matters with the United States authorities?

Mr. Macleod

I am sure that that co-operation is there but, naturally, one can form an adequate scholarship level of people going to universities only where there is an adequate secondary school educational level from which to draw these scholars. It is largely on that matter that Governments in East and Central Africa have been concentrating.

Mr. G. M. Thomson

But often the objection is at the other end in the view taken of the quality of the education being offered at American institutions. Will the Secretary of State bear in mind that, in view of the tremendous educational needs of these areas, it is a serious matter to turn down reasonable offers of educational help from the United States?

Mr. Macleod

I agree, but, on the other hand, it is necessary that the Governments of those territories should be satisfied clearly of the quality of the education offered to them.