HC Deb 19 March 1985 vol 75 cc770-1
11. Mr. Wallace

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many mature students entered further and higher education in 1982, 1983 and 1984, respectively.

Mr. Brooke

In 1982 and 1983, 37,400 and 39,000 home students aged 21 and over entered a course of full-time higher education in Great Britain for the first time. Figures for 1984 and directly comparable figures for non-advanced further education are not available.

Mr. Wallace

Does the Minister accept that if economic revival is to become a reality in the country it is necessary to have as much retraining and as many opportunities for developing the skill resources of the population as possible? What part does he envisage further and higher education playing in this, and what steps is he taking to encourage mature entrants?

Mr. Brooke

The Department of Education and Science is participating in the adult training strategy, which was launched in collaboration with the Department of Employment. The projections for mature students in higher education show a continuing increase on the projections which we published last year.

Mr. Sheerman

Will the Minister take on board the recommendations in the report of the Association of University Teachers published this week entitled "Expansion, Expansion, Expansion"? In terms of the House of Lords Select Committee report on the shortage of high tech qualified people, whom we need, and in terms of reports from Government Ministers about the appalling lack of high tech graduates, would not adult students be attracted into this kind of course, and is this not where it is vital to have the expansion about which the AUT speaks?

Mr. Brooke

The AUT has been good enough to send me a copy of its booklet, so I have had an opportunity to read it. The hon. Gentleman will know that in the booklet the AUT is arguing for an expansion in all subjects, and not simply in high tech.