HC Deb 12 March 1990 vol 169 c16
63. Mr. Jacques Arnold

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress is being made in supporting the teaching of English in Latin America.

The Minister for Overseas Development (Mrs. Lynda Chalker)

New English language teaching projects are about to be agreed in Peru and Colombia, and a further project is in prospect in Bolivia. These will be in addition to existing projects in Brazil, Ecuador and Paraguay.

Mr. Arnold

May I welcome the support that has been given to the Culturå Inglesa in those various countries and congratulate it on the excellent job that it does in teaching English? Bearing in mind that Latin Americans prefer to learn English rather than American, and that they are ready to pay for that teaching, can my right hon. Friend tell us what more may be done to help the teaching and infrastructure of English in those countries?

Mrs. Chalker

I understand that the British Council has some self-financing programmes for teaching English anyway. There are, additionally, commercial courses teaching English in a number of South American countries, but we top up that undertaking with the sort of programmes that I have just mentioned which I believe will teach English well and show the people of those countries the benefits of knowing English and of being able to do business with Britain.

Sir Dudley Smith

My right hon. Friend did not mention Chile. Will she bear in mind that advances in regressive countries deserve consideration, and that Chile has now advanced to democracy again?

Mrs. Chalker

My hon. Friend will be aware that the income per head in Chile would rule out any aid programme. I believe that there are a number of totally self-financing commercial courses teaching English in Chile, and we should of course welcome more initiatives of that kind.

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