HC Deb 26 March 1963 vol 674 cc1097-8
7. Mr. G. M. Thomson

asked the Secretary for Technical Co-operation if he will refer to his Advisory Committee on Low-Priced Books for Overseas the possibility of including low-priced, paperback, teach-yourself textbooks using programmed instruction techniques.

Mr. Vosper

The Advisory Committee is free to recommend publication of any low-priced books it thinks suitable, and several teach-yourself textbooks have already been published on its advice. I believe that it will keep the possibility in mind without special reference from me.

Mr. Thomson

Is the Minister aware that programmed instruction techniques look as though they may have special relevance to the developing countries in view of the tremendous shortage of teachers, especially in technical education? Will he consult his right hon. Friend the Minister of Education to make sure that the money that we spend on research into programmed instruction takes account of the needs of the developing countries?

Mr. Vosper

Yes, certainly. The Committee is free to consider any suggestion which is put before it by a publisher, or, indeed, by anybody else. Programmed instruction is still rather in its infancy and I think that the Committee is more likely to be attracted to established publications, but it will, no doubt, consider this aspect.

Mr. Strachey

Will the Minister once again reconsider the exclusion of Africa from the scheme? This is a well-worn point, but it surely remains a great scandal that the whole of Africa is excluded from the scheme.

Mr. Vosper

That is a rather separate question. I accept the point, however, and negotiations with the publishers are proceeding.