§ 6. Mr. Proctor
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will estimate the number of pupils in primary and secondary education whose mother tongue is not English.
§ Mr. Proctor
What response has my hon. Friend made in the light of the EEC directive and the pressure on the United Kingdom Government from the EEC Commission for the improvement in mother-tongue teaching in this country?
§ Mr. D. E. Thomas
Does the Minister accept that there are as many speakers of mother-tongue languages other than English in England, as there are Welsh-speaking people in Wales? Is it not time that the Department spent as much resources in that direction as it does on the Welsh language?
§ Mr. John Fraser
Will the Minister recognise that it is a mark of a civilised and educated society to recognise that it has more than one root to its culture and that his Department ought to encourage the teaching of mother languages, whether they are Gujarati, Greek or Gaelic?
§ Mr. Alton
Is the Minister aware that many of the 17,000 Vietnamese boat people who came here five years ago still do not have a grasp of English? Does he not agree that there is a need to increase the provision particularly to teach those people the fundamentals of English, and, in 722 that respect, will he have a word with his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and the Home Secretary, to try to have section 11 of the Local Government Act 1966 extended so that extra provision can be made for non-Commowealth citizens?
§ Mr. Eastham
Are not the numbers in the Minister's estimate concentrated mainly in the inner city areas? Are not the Government very much curtailing the funding and support for children in this category who need such assistance?