HC Deb 07 November 1961 vol 648 cc783-4
24. Mr. Boyden

asked the Secretary for Technical Co-operation what plans he has for assisting in the improvement of adult education facilities in the Commonwealth countries in which Her Majesty's Government have responsibilities.

Mr. Vosper

Social education, which comprises most forms of adult education, is an important item on the agenda for the Commonwealth Education Conference in Delhi next January. I hope that in the light of the discussions at the Conference I shall be able to give the House some further information on the plans we shall be making in this field.

Mr. Boyden

More immediately, and after consultation with the Minister of Education, would not the right hon. Gentleman consider increasing grants to the British residential colleges where there are a great number of applications from the Commonwealth and the Colonial Territories? Would he further intensify the efforts to get in touch with students coming to England so that they can take advantage of adult educational facilities in England before going back to their own country to carry on the work there?

Mr. Vosper

These are all matters which my Department will consider. But as the Delhi Conference has chosen to make this a major item on the agenda, I thought it right to put our proposals to that conference.

Mr. Woodburn

Has the Minister consulted the Trades Union Congress educational organisation? Is he aware that if we do not educate people coming into the trade unions abroad, the Russians will do it very effectively? Is it not a great contribution to peace that we should allow these people to come to this country to co-operate with our own trade unions and get the benefit of their experience rather than gather experience from Russia?

Mr. Vosper

I shall have regard to what the right hon. Gentleman says.

Mr. Mayhew

Will the Minister give a clear assurance that he will not cut the British Council's educational activities in the Commonwealth?

Mr. Vosper

The hon. Gentleman's second question relates to something completely different from what he asked about earlier. The two questions are quite unrelated.