HC Deb 13 November 1969 vol 791 cc602-3
23. Mr. Hunt

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will seek powers to prevent the universities from requiring an O level General Certificate of Education pass in Latin as a condition for a university place.

Mr. Fowler

No, Sir, but I hope universities will keep their entrance requirements under constant review.

Mr. Hunt

Does the hon. Gentleman agree that it is totally absurd, for example, that a student wanting to read music at Bristol, Durham or Exeter cannot do so unless he or she has an O-level pass in Latin? Is not the universities' continued insistence on this dreary and archaic language—[HoN. MEMBERS: "No."]—a most undesirable form of academic sadism?

Mr. Fowler

As, I think, one of the better Latinists in the House, I must defend the language against the charge of being dreary and uninteresting. But, although this is a matter entirely for the individual university authorities, I hope that they will give due and serious consideration to whether Latin is a requisite for particular courses. It may well be for some English or modern language courses, but I think that in many areas they could have another look at this.

Mr. Hogg

Will the hon. Gentleman take note of the fact that not all hon. Members on this side of the House would endorse my hon. Friend's description of the Latin language?

Mr. Fowler

Nor on this side.