HC Deb 18 March 1965 vol 708 cc1447-8
4. Mr. Ian Gilmour

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what steps he is taking to encourage an increase in the number of language laboratories.

Mr. Prentice

My Department organises a large number of courses in which the importance of language laboratories is emphasised and encourages the use of the laboratories by teachers and local education authorities.

Mr. Gilmour

Would the hon. Gentleman agree that it would give a considerable boost to the export drive to have a language laboratory in every commercial centre? Would he encourage the use in them of such devices as face masks instead of microphones and amplifiers, which would make it easier and cheaper to run them than it is at present?

Mr. Prentice

The number of language laboratories is spreading rapidly, and I should like to pay a tribute to the schools and colleges introducing them and to the teachers organising their work. There are about 500 in operation at the moment and a further 300 in the course of being installed. I take note of the additional points made by the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Solomons

Would the Minister endeavour to see that the increased number of language schools are run and controlled by the local education authorities rather than by private, profit-making, so-called educational establishments which have started to cash in on them?

Mr. Prentice

The 500 schools to which I referred are language schools and colleges almost entirely under the control of local education authorities.