HC Deb 25 July 1973 vol 860 cc1609-10
42. Sir John Tilney

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether, owing to the lack of space for most teenage students to work at home in Hong Kong, he will consider granting some scholarships for Hong Kong students in direct grant and independent boarding schools in Great Britain.

Mr. Anthony Royle

I share my hon. Friend's concern for students in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Government are improving education and social conditions there, and Her Majesty's Government will give them all possible support and encouragement.

Sir John Tilney

Will my hon. Friend bear in mind that in California 36 per cent. of foreign students come from Hong Kong? Would it not be better that in future at least a proportion of the potential leaders of Hong Kong were British rather than American-oriented?

Mr. Royle

I agree with the latter point made by my hon. Friend. We have allocated £35,000 to the Hong Kong Government for training purposes this year. This is on a recurrent basis, and, under the programme during the current financial year 39 students are expected to follow postgraduate vocational and professional courses in this country. I recognise that that is not what my hon. Friend is getting at, but, in addition, the Hong Kong Government are paying for an additional 107 students to take similar courses here.

Mr. James Lamond

Will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that Hong Kong is a Crown Colony for which we bear a considerable responsibility, and from which we obtain considerable financial benefit? If educational matters are in the sort of state outlined in the Question and if 36 per cent. of Hong Kong students are taking courses in the United States, is it not time that the Government considerably increased the assistance given to Hong Kong, so that we may discharge our responsibilities there?

Mr. Royle

I recommend the hon. Member to read the speech that the Governor made to the Legislative Council last autumn. It was an outstanding speech, and outlined extensive plans to improve the quality of life of everybody in Hong Kong, including educational and social conditions. I am grateful for what the hon. Gentleman said.

Mr. Marten

Does my hon. Friend believe that, unless circumstances show that they come from a developing country, overseas students who come to this country for postgraduate courses should pay the full cost?

Mr. Royle

That is another question.