HC Deb 11 April 1963 vol 675 cc1457-9
10. Dr. King

asked the Minister of Education if he will increase the number of exchanges of teachers with the United States of America.

Mr. Chataway

No, Sir. This is a valuable scheme, but the conditions have only recently been revised to take account of the growing financial difficulties experienced in the past few years by British teachers in the United States. My right hon. Friend has told the British Interchange Committee that he is ready to have a look at numbers again later on. In the meantime he has been informed that the English-speaking Union of the U.S.A. have generously offered £4,000 for the coming year which will enable another eight exchanges to be made, bringing the total for 1963–64 to over 80.

Dr. King

I appreciate what has been done to make the financial conditions better for our teachers under this scheme. But is the hon. Gentleman aware that this year there were more than 100 suitable applicants, in the view of the Selection Committee, but that over one-quarter will have to be rejected? Since it is enormously valuable to our teachers to see American education, will the hon. Gentleman ask the Minister to take another look at this to see whether it might not be possible to step up this year the number he is prepared to back financially?

Mr. Chataway

I think that there is little possibility of further increasing the number this year, but I know that my right hon. Friend is willing to talk to the hon. Gentleman about it, as, indeed, he has stated that he is willing to talk about this again with the British Interchange Committee.

Sir H. Harrison

Is my hon. Friend satisfied that under this new regulation the finances of our exchange teachers will be on a par with those of exchange teachers from other countries visiting the United States? Is he further aware that when I was in the United States last time a number of our teachers complained to me that they were worse off vis-à-vis than other foreign teachers? Has that been rectified?

Mr. Chataway

We accepted that the grant of £375 was inadequate, so the rate has been increased to £470 for teachers now in the United States, and it will be £475 next year. I understand that this will put them on a much more equal footing with other visiting teachers.