HC Deb 28 July 1966 vol 732 cc1875-7
22. Miss Lestor

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what further progress has been made towards establishing a University of the Air.

Miss Jennie Lee

The preliminary survey, including costs and television channels, has been completed. I will give the House further information as soon as I am in a position to do so.

Miss Lestor

While thanking my right hon. Friend for that reply, may I say that there are many who hope that this proposition is likely to become a little more concrete in the foreseeable future? Can my right hon. Friend say what degree of co-operation she has received from organisations already concerned with adult education?

Miss Lee

I have been very much encouraged by local authorities and the adult education world who know what we propose to do about a University of the Air. My only difficulty comes from people who at the moment are uninformed or misinformed about the nature and status of this project.

Mr. Hornby

Can the right hon. Lady give an indication of the costs involved as shown in the research which she says has been completed, and can she say what place this will have in the priorities of the education budget?

Miss Lee

I can give the exact figures, but I am not free to do so at the moment. I can only say that they are extremely encouraging to me, and I consider that we shall be able to do more for more people at less cost in the field of higher education once this project is under way than in any other part of the educational field.

43. Mr. J. E. B. Hill

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether, in view of the economic crisis and the need to concentrate all available educational resources where they are most needed, the proposals for a University of the Air will now be shelved.

Miss Jennie Lee

Most certainly No, Sir.

Mr. Hill

Would the right hon. Lady agree that the financial costs, which may be satisfactory but not disclosed, plus the costs in manpower are bound to bear hardly on the educational budget? If the University of the Air is not to be postponed, could she say what other educational services will have to be reduced to make way for it?

Miss Lee

An open university in Great Britain's circumstances today is not a dream. is not a luxury: it has become an urgent necessity.

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