HC Deb 21 July 1964 vol 699 c250
7. Mr. Dempsey

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations and the Colonies what consideration he has given to introducing compulsory education for children between the ages of 5 and 15 years in the territories for which he is responsible; and if he will make a statement.

The Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations and for the Colonies (Mr. Nigel Fisher)

The education policy in each territory is decided by the Government concerned in the light of local circumstances and of the resources available.

Mr. Dempsey

Would not the hon. Gentleman agree that the resources available are determined to some extent by the assistance which may be forthcoming from Her Majesty's Government? Will he realise that if we are to overcome the challenge of tribal traditions in achieving the democratic concept of the Commonwealth, the finest way to accomplish this is by way of education? Is it not time that he gave us something more practical instead of indulging in platitudes?

Mr. Fisher

We have given something much more practical—we have given money. We have given £13 million for primary and secondary education in the last five years, and £13.9 million for technical and higher education. This is always a matter of priorities. There are other social services and also the claims of economic development which is needed to increase revenue.