HC Deb 13 July 1972 vol 840 cc1819-20
3. Mr. Deakins

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what evidence she has relating to the relative academic performance of home-based students compared with other students.

Mr. van Straubenzee

The available evidence is not very substantial and is largely inconclusive.

Mr. Deakins

Will the Minister therefore encourage institutions of advanced education in England and Wales to give some degree of priority to taking home-based students rather than students living away from home, so that resource costs can be saved and used more expeditiously elsewhere in the education system?

Mr. van Straubenzee

I am grateful for the hon. Gentleman's support. He is absolutely right. I am sure he will be encouraged, as I am, by the recent initiative, for example, of the Vice-Chancellors, who have publicly circulated universities broadly on the lines the hon. Gentleman has just outlined.

Mr. Moyle

That being so, will the hon. Gentleman support the suggestion of the Vice-Chancellors that there should be a kind of public works loan board to provide money for the creation of more student accommodation? Does he not think that if there is any sorting out of people for home-based residence and residence away, those who have the least satisfactory conditions for home study should be the ones who have the first option of living away from home?

Mr. van Straubenzee

The idea that there is no expenditure on home-based students is one which I do not accept. There are sometimes problems, for example regarding places to study and other matters, but the hon. Gentleman will know that the universities have been remarkably successful in raising the necessary 75 per cent. from the private market in relation to their student residents. I should have thought that was a successful sector.