HC Deb 13 February 1973 vol 850 cc1120-1
6. Mr. Douglas

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is her policy with regard to the proposals of the International Management and Engineering Group relating to higher education.

Mrs. Thatcher

The proposals are being examined by my Department in consultation with the Department of Trade and Industry to determine what contribution education should make to meeting the requirements of the industries concerned.

Mr. Douglas

I thank the right hon. Lady for that reply. Is she aware of the imperative need, as expressed by the IMEG Report, to facilitate the expansion of offshore engineering education in our universities? Will she pay particular attention to establishing such institutions or supporting such institutions as the Heriot-Watt University where we already have an institution of offshore engineering which, in my view, is inadequately financed?

Mrs. Thatcher

The hon. Gentleman has previously made that point about the Heriot-Watt in other ways. I think that we need first to determine whether there is an extra need for specialist courses over and above those needs which are already being met. Once we have done that we will certainly do our best to help.

Mr. Laurance Reed

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind in these deliberations that in America the Federal Government now spends up to 6 million dollars a year in this direction and that many of us feel that our Government will have to make a comparable effort if the nation is to reap the full rewards from this exciting development?

Mrs. Thatcher

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. We have one specialist course in this sphere. We are looking to see whether there is a demand for more. I assure my hon. Friend that I am most anxious that the university system should respond to the needs of industry and commerce and be seen to be meeting those needs.