HC Deb 02 May 1968 vol 763 cc1266-7
13. Mrs. Renée Short

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what action he plans to take to encourage more women students to take up unfilled science places in universities.

Mrs. Shirley Williams

Of those who apply through U.C.C.A. for science and technology courses in universities, a slightly higher proportion of women than of men is admitted. Only a fifth of the pupils taking A level science courses in school are girls. The Dainton Report has drawn public attention to the scope for attracting more girls to science and technology; teachers, parents and employers can do much to encourage girls to study these subjects.

Mrs. Short

Will my hon. Friend assure the House that she will do everything she can to persuade teachers and career mistresses to encourage girls to take science? Would she agree that her Department should take a tougher line with medical schools, which are now controlling about 15 per cent. of the intake of women students with science qualifications?

Mrs. Williams

I share my hon. Friend's feelings on the first point. I believe that we will be in great difficulties, particularly from the teaching point of view, unless we encourage many more girls to take science, mathematics and technology. To answer the second point, my hon. Friend will be aware that this matter arises out of the Report of the Royal Commission on Medical Education, and since we have not yet made a statement about that, I hope that she will be willing to wait a little while.