§ 3.17 p.m.
§ THE LORD BISHOP OF DURHAM rose to call attention to the problems and possibilities arising from the need in any future educational policy to provide for education in a multi-racial Britain; and to move for Papers. The right reverend Prelate said: My Lords, in moving the Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper, I should like to express my appreciation that a place has been found for it before the Christmas Recess, and to say how grateful I am that so many Members of your Lordships' House have expressed their intention to speak on this subject.
§ My own particular interest in the topic dates back to the time when I was chairman of that Commission on Religious Education which produced as its report, The Fourth R. At one point we were considering the significance for religious education of having in Britain so many immigrant communities. It was plain that one the one hand we had here great opportunities for deeper understanding and greater sensitivity in an area where superficial knowledge breeds prejudice and where mutual ignorance breeds strife, and where bad teaching can be deeply divisive. At the same time it was equally clear that in a multi-racial society there could arise a better understanding of the deep and universal significance of religious faith; a better realisation of the abiding influence of religious belief, for good or ill, on cultural patterns and political and social structures. In other words, there was the possibility of seeing other religions as religions, living and influential in society, and contributing at many points to its attitudes and practices. Asian religions, for instance, and Islam as a particular example, can open our eyes to the significance of religion here in England, where familiarity may have bred indifference, if not contempt.
§ In England as well as Asia social patterns and cultural attitudes have emerged from centuries of a religious tradition. In a multi-racial society we thought that religious education was the more likely to draw out the full significance of religion, and as education it 1138 could have an increased value, not only because of the wider and fuller information which it could communicate but also because it could foster attitudes much more likely to be free from ignorance and prejudice. Here, it seemed, could be novel and important opportunities for training in openness and sensitivity, enabling the pupil to see better just how other people—at first sight that is very strange—come to say and do the things which we hear and see. So far, there seemed to be nothing but splendid possibilities in this multi-racial context pointing to the building up and the enrichment of our society. Here seemed to be possibilities of gaining insights into Eastern and West Indian life and thought which at one time would have been beyond the reach of all but a few, and to those few only if they managed to get outside the walls of the local Hilton. So far nothing but splendid possibilities.
§ Yet, on the other hand, if, as seemed reasonable, we were to encourage teaching and worship in the child's own faith, the faith he shared as an immigrant, there would always be the possibility that this might at the same time encourage segregation and be socially and politically divisive. There was the danger and there was a risk that the presence of other religions might renew that divisive sectarianism which at long last, and to our shame only at long last, is disappearing from the Christian Churches. Further, could we be sure that other religions would be taught by methods which we would judge to be educationally sound? There could be little educational defence of teaching other religions in ways in which in the case of Christianity we condemn as educationally disastrous indoctrination of the most authoritarian kind. Sauce for the goose, be it Eastern, had to be sauce for the gander, though it be Western.
§ Here were some of the problems. I shall say a little more at the end about this matter of religious education in a multi-racial Britain. But the point about education in general may even now be clear. It is this. Education is one of the most powerful social influences we have. If it neglects, or, worse still, refuses to take account of, the multi-racial character of our society, we are heading for divisive polarities and social disaster. If education, however, grasps the unequalled arid inspiring possibilities that are now around 1139 us where they have never been before, society can be unified and enriched as it has never hitherto had the chance to be.
§ We may put the point another way, asking ourselves, what is education'? The significance of education can be derived, as I am sure your Lordships know, from the word itself, which from its Latin origin brings with it, I understand, a context of enabling something to fulfil a purpose. 'The word "education" I understand to be derived from Latin words which speak of leading ships out of harbour, armies from camp, water from a reservoir. Ships in harbours, armies in camps, water in a reservoir, if they remain there, fail to fulfil their purpose. They do this only when the ships sail on the seas, the armies march out for action, the water reaches dwelling houses. Education is only true to its name if it enables those educated to fulfil more adequately their purpose in society, and indeed in the universe. It must, therefore, deal with concepts like social harmony and personal maturity, and grow through diversity. Here is education, by its very name, directed to community development and personal fulfilment. In other words, to be faithful to the ideals and practice of education is to ensure that a multi-racial society will be characterised by unity and not division, that it will be fulfilling and not oppressive.
§ The Motion posits a multi-racial Britain. It is true that there are parts of Britain where there are very few, if any, immigrants; parts where, for whatever reason, prejudice is often as strong as it is elsewhere, and in some cases even stronger. There are also parts where, by contrast, there are very many immigrants indeed. In any event, whatever the local variations, we are all of us in a race-conscious and colour-conscious Britain. So a multi-racial Britain is not something that may or may not happen. It is something, one way or another, already with us. Nor is it, I hope, something we grudgingly and reluctantly accept. I should say it is something to be welcomed.
§ It is in this context that there is urgent need for the kind of education which can so learn and understand human variations of colour and outlook and attitude as to see better the deeper bonds which make all men one and bring us together 1140 in a common humanity. One way or another, educational policy should provide at one and the same time for increasing variety in relation to the needs and aspirations of children and adults, as well as helping them to realise their common purposes, not to say the deep humanity which, despite our diversity, unites us in social, national and, we hope, increasingly international groups.
§ But now we must recognise some difficulties and problems in the present situation. Not least at a time when society is characterised by unprecedentedly rapid social and industrial change, people yearn, understandably, for what remains the same—the familiar town, the old village, the old patterns of leisure and culture, the old ideals and the old practices. And for the immigrant the more unsettling and the more unsatisfying is the new country, the more, like the Englishman, he will wish to hold fast to his old traditions and customs. What at any time is the Attractiveness of, say, the Caledonian Society in London or the Ulster Society in Birmingham or the English Club in San Francisco becomes all the more attractive when the old patterns in society are disappearing. I have heard the same views expressed by West Indians themselves who wish at all costs to preserve their traditions, whether by social and cultural clubs or by national literature.
§ I am quite clear that educational policy in this respect must not repeat the mistakes of missionary activity in the last century, mistakes of which every missionary society is now well aware, and from which by this time much has been learned. This was the view—now, I am happy to say, rejected—that the only light and health for society came from our own tradition; that we have nothing whatever to learn from those to whom we went, who were in utter darkness and ignorance. As has been well said by the noble Lord, Lord Wade, in a publication to which I shall refer later, the danger is not the widespread introduction into Britain of strange customs which will alter the character of a town. On the contrary, the problem is how to retain those values which can be a real contribution to British life, so that we are not all reduced to a common level of economic materialism. The British social and political tradition, we may 1141 remind ourselves—not surprisingly, if I may dare to say so—like the Anglican tradition of the Church of England, is one which has endeavoured to enclose variety in comprehensiveness, which has been always suspicious of the uniform and the stereotyped, which has preferred loose fitting clothing to straitjackets, and yet has aimed at some overall unity, a widely varied unity. No tradition in the world—if it cannot be said in this House it can be said nowhere else—is better suited to provide for a multi-racial education. I only hope that we are serious and determined about it. All the encouragement is already here from our long social and political and, I hazard, Christian traditions.
§ In one sense the basic problem is how to cope with dual loyalties; loyalty to the country of origin, and loyalty to the country of adoption. Our problem is to reconcile, through education, deep localised attachments with wider loyalties. But the Ukranians in Yorkshire, or the Arabs in South Shields, show that it can be solved; that people can be integrated without loss of identity, and can be proud of their culture and traditions while being in no sense a closed community.
§ Our educational policy must certainly neither be aimed at a poverty-stricken uniformity, nor be content with developing segregated groups. Educational policy has to be such as recognises elements of lasting value in the many social and cultural strands which those from overseas bring alongside our own, and it must aim resolutely to produce from these different social and cultural strands something which is a continuing creative synthesis. Such an attitude indeed is true toleration. In fact, the problems and possibilities that confront education in a multi-racial society can be expressed in terms of this concept of tolerance. Education must, let it be granted, not be based on that so-called toleration which tolerates differences only because it thinks so little of any point of view other than its own. It must also avoid the so-called tolerance which can easily be tolerant of that with which it never comes into contact. Both these so-called "tolerant" attitudes spring from a self-satisfaction which is but another name for arrogance, contempt and superciliousness. True tolerance does nothing to deny diversity, 1142 but rather recognises some common affinities between all that is diverse and looks to a constructive, creative synthesis building on all the differences. In other words, we come again to the possibility of education in a multi-racial society leading to a social unity all the richer for bringing together different cultures and different patterns of understanding man and the universe. The practical problem, of course, is how to create such a unity; how to help create such a unity without being destructive or negative of what is novel and challenging in points of view other than our own.
§ May I point up these broad reflections in some particular respects. In what practical ways will an educational policy, dealing constructively with the problems on the one hand, move positively towards the rich and powerful possibilities that a multi-racial Britain sets at our feet? How can education in this new context be a creative means of community building? Here, with his permission, I give a few practical examples from what, if I may say so, is a splendid report on community relations in Yorkshire, Yorkshire Survey, written by the noble Lord, Lord Wade, and published by the Yorkshire Committee for Community Relations:
"Practical instances. Asian and Caribbean stories as told by mothers to children under seven have been collected here for use in primary schools. Stories about homes and families and travel, about caring for animals, caring for one another. About moral values like forgiveness, and courage, and concern for others. To read such stories is to give the Asian and West Indian child a pride in his own heritage on the one hand, but it is also to build together, albeit at that simple level, traditional British culture on the one hand and Asian and West Indian culture on the other, and in this way to synthesise all of us into something better than either; better than either traditional British culture or traditional Asian and West Indian culture."
§ Another example in all schools, as your Lordships will readily recognise, is the language problem, which is a basic one. Nor is it just a matter of learning English. A greater, more embarrassing, complicated, yes, and more frustrating difficulty, as the noble Lord, Lord Wade, remarks in his book, is the language barrier, for example, that exists when West Indians —who, as those of you know who have been out to the Caribbean, regard themselves as British and regard Britain as their motherland—are told, when they come here, that they do not speak English 1143 because of variations in accent and tonality. Here again is the knife-edge between an education that is divisive and rejects people and one which is integrated and accepts them. Again, a booklet, East conies West, produced by that Yorkshire Committee after long discussions, has proved of great help to teachers, home visitors such as midwives, police, works managers and trade union people, because it explains ever so simply. It is educational, and it explains Muslim religious holidays, why certain babies are shaved at birth, the controversy of the shalwar-Kaneez worn by ladies and girls, or the controversy over Sikh boys and girls being allowed to wear the burathkave. (the bangle) around their wrists when other children are not allowed to do so. Here in this booklet East comes West is an educational project which clears away ignorance, dispels prejudice, and builds up the community. By contrast, schools can so easily breed hostility; a hostility which can be found by textbooks which portray the European in a position of what might be called "easy superiority". It is not surprising, in these cases, that a 14-year old boy can conclude his essay, "So they should clear out."
§ I was reminded, when I read that, of a book I once picked up in the airport at Atlanta, The Southern History of the Civil War. How can we hope to build creatively on differences if books like that, translated into our contemporary terms here, form the basis of education? Certainy in our secondary schools the greatest care should be taken of the textbooks. But we learn as much from living together as from reading together, and in secondary schools especially every attention should be given to organising social occasions. Mr. Peter McPhail, a Director under the Schools Council of the moral education curriculum project in Oxford, whose findings and materials are due for publication, I understand, next year under the title Lifeline, records already the strong impression that not enough time is spent in many secondary schools on meeting the personal and social needs of boys and girls, to tell them better to live in harmony one with another.
§ Yet, again, in relation to this broader context of education, social education, mention must be made of splendid 1144 attempts in Yorkshire to interest and attract British people to the festivals; the West Indian Carnival, the Indian Festival of Diwali, the celebration of independence days. By the same token, we can welcome the multi-racial play groups which provide social education for children under five, as well as assisting them to learn the language. We can admire the immensely successful York family project, designed primarily as a gesture of interracial friendship, which provides a brief country holiday for hard-pressed West Indian mothers from Huddersfield, together with their preschool children who enjoy the benefit and experience of a play group. My comment is: Should not these be a much more common feature of our educational life in all those parts—and there are many—where we have a multi-racial community?
§ At other levels of education, let us ask ourselves the question: Do our colleges of education make adequate provision for the training of teachers in relation to their working in schools with multi-racial communities? Is it not essential for all our training colleges to take seriously this challenge and all the exciting possibilities of multi-racial education? And as for universities, the noble Lord, Lord Fulton, who particularly regrets that he cannot be with us to join in the debate to-day because of absence abroad, has, I know, made a novel suggestion of degrees being offered jointly by universities in this country and elsewhere, depending, as I understand it, on a sharing of students and teachers. I shall not elaborate. I merely give that as an example of the kind of novel and visionary thinking about education which a concern for a multi-racial society should provoke.
§ Before I conclude, I turn briefly, as I promised, to religious education. It is here, as I said at the start, that problems and possibilities arise as vividly as anywhere else. If I may, I should like to make only two points. Here, especially, education will not deserve that name if it results only in a ghetto mentality, be that Christian or any other. Whatever be the religion that is taught, the basic aim must be to transmit to a child what can be called the sense of mystery or transcendence, to enable that child to know, in one way or another, what we can speak of as an adventure of the spirit; to have the child's experience enriched by being brought to moments of wonder, 1145 awe, reverence and mystery, call it what you will. This will be that common bond which can hold together all theological diversities.
§ In this context, I am glad to know that there is virtually no evidence of religious education in our schools being for immigrants an irritation, or being divisive. I recognise that this is partly because West Indians are mostly professing Christians already, and Hinduism. as might be expected from its thought background, is extremely accommodating to different religious views. But even Sikh and Islamic groups do not seem to object to their children knowing something of the faith of the West, provided of course that the teachers do not set themselves up as evangelists. None of us, for entirely different reasons, would wish that, still less defend that. What is quite clear, however, is that there is no merit whatever—educational or otherwise—in trying to produce a sort of L.C.M. of religion. In a multi-racial Britain, it seems to me that the different religions have a claim to be taught. But, to recall that difficulty which I mentioned at the beginning, we must so style our religious education that we work towards religious enrichment, rather than sectarian impoverishment.
Further, as we said in that Report, The Fourth R,
. … it would be from every point of view undesirable if other religions were introduced only to show how wrong and odd they were in comparison with Christianity.
We granted in the Report that,
On the face of it, the Christian faith makes rather narrow and exclusive claims for itself. It states that God is known sufficiently and finally through his self-revelation in Christ.
We acknowledge that,
It has been frequently taught on this basis, that God is known solely in Christ; and that all other religions arc at the level of heathendom.
There is the familiar hymn—I devoutly hope not too familiar by this time of the day, because that is part of my argument—
The heathen in his blindness
Bows down to wood and stone,
Can we, whose souls arc lighted
With wisdom from on high,
Can we to men benighted
The lamp of life deny?
I am glad to say that in The Fourth R we commented:
This is neither a reliable account of the empirical facts, a sound statement of Christian teaching, nor an adequate understanding of other religions.
§ What is left after that, I do not care about. Yet I fear it has sometimes been the presupposition of Christian religious education, and that must be acknowledged. My argument this afternoon is that it would be doubly disastrous, if now it were transformed into the secular area to define the attitude to education taken by the host community to immigrant guests, if, as we hope, both grow together into a multi-racial society.
Let it be said explicitly that this is not arguing, as I have already said, for any watered-down Christianity. We recalled in paragraph 122 of the Report that there has been a good, substantial
… traditional, theological defence of claiming distinctiveness for Christianity, while at the same time granting a significance to other religions.
If I may say so quite briefly—and it seems rather technical—
This has been in terms of a logos theology which considered there to be"—
if I may quote a phrase which I hope many of your Lordships will hear on Christmas morning—
a ' light which lighteneth every man that cometh into the world'.
This was the bond in Christian theology
between the Creator and all his creatures—a lumen naturale."
So it was that the early Christian Fathers
… could speak of ' Christians before Christ' and regard Greek philosophy as sharing with Judaism in the preparation for the gospel.
It is in that context, we said, that the claim of Christianity to be distinctive rests not in an exclusive uniqueness, but in an inclusive uniqueness. I have said this much only to show that there is
… justification for a religious education which seeks to embrace other religions besides the Christian faith, and, whatever other defences might be given of the exercise, what is clear is that Christians can have their own particular defence of it
§ with integrity as well.
Certainly it has to be emphasised, as we said in the following paragraph, that:
To take Christianity as a base for religious education does not at all preclude the pupils learning something of the beliefs and sharing in some of the occasions of
worship of other religions. The most that the Christian would ask is that as part of the study of other religions there should be a willingness to explore the reasons why Christian claims and beliefs are considered to be distinctive, though naturally this exploration will take place against a recognition that perhaps in the final analysis an individual may decide against the claims of the Christian faith as he has understood them.
§ It is in that context that I am delighted to know about the project which the Education Department of the British Council of Churches is sponsoring at the moment, examining some of the issues that arise in a debate about religious education in a multi-racial society.
§ I understand that study groups are meeting regularly on topics such as these: the training of teachers in a multi-racial community; worship or "threshold for worship" in schools; common misunderstandings between people of different faiths; the attitude to freedom of individual choice in different religions; the attitude to the Scriptures in different religions—is a common critical approach possible?; the special problems of minority communities; the concept of God in different religions; the implications of basing religious education on educational principles; and the exploration of differences which may lead to mutual enrichment. The whole project, your Lordships will be glad to know, is being planned by an InterFaith Committee consisting of two members of the Jewish faith, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, two Humanists and six Christians. I am delighted to know that in Birmingham the agreed syllabus, for instance, is being revised by Sikhs and Humanists as well as a number of Christians in different traditions.
§ What is the moral I am going to draw from these practical and theoretical reflections on religious education, embracing both Christianity and other religions? It is that, this having been started at a voluntary level, could I not commend to the Department of Education and Science the need of a similar survey over the whole area of multi-racial education? Could not the Department be inspired and encouraged by such voluntary effort as that, to say nothing of the Yorkshire survey? A survey and further consideration needs to be undertaken of the literature and the practice, the research and evaluation studies which have already been done 1148 in relation to this topic of education in a multi-racial and multi-cultural society such as Britain now is. It will not do to claim that something like this has already happened, for instance, or is bound to have happened, in the United States, because the situation in Britain is, I hope, characteristically and importantly different.
To conclude as I began, education can build up or break down a society. It can breed hostility, or it can point to harmony. Education has an opportunity to work for the cohesion and unity of society in a way which makes for variety and enrichment, rather than a cause for fanning divisions and tensions which already exist. Within the whole intricate context of race and colour prejudice, education is the one area which is amenable to some kind of planning, where something can be done, where a policy can be erected and developed from comparatively few variables. As the noble Lord, Lord Wade, remarks on page 20 of his book, the steps we have taken in Britain in relation to the education of immigrants have been "largely haphazard". He says:
There was much more discussion",
as your Lordships will remember,
about numbers than about the welfare of those who were to be allowed to enter. There was no advance planning …
§ in that wider area.
§ I recognise, of course, that this is sometimes called by that high falluting name "political pragmatism" by those who want a high-sounding phrase for laziness and ineptitude of thought. This is made all the worse when it is supposed to be a distinctive and characteristic glory of the British political scene. I see no merit whatever in refusing to think about problems in the hope that, by muddling through, some sort of solution will eventually of itself emerge; and if that characterises our political life we need not wonder that somethimes we are at the levels we are. What is quite plain in this area is that some hard thinking and forward planning, is wanted: and if it transpires that it needs both the D.E.S. and the Home Office to mount the kind of survey and project that I have mentioned, I hope that is a thought which will encourage, rather than deter, those who might take action to set up what is clearly needed if we are to move from 1149 the present situation to harmony rather than divisiveness, and to unity rather than disintegration.
§ I am much indebted to those noble Lords who have declared their readiness to take part in this debate, and to those who have come to support the speakers by their presence here; and I look forward very much to hearing the various contributions. It can hardly be a point of controversy that the topic under debate is important not only for education, but for peace; not only for learning, but for life. It is something, indeed, which is of the greatest significance for the future of Britain—yes, and indeed the world. My Lords, I beg to move for Papers.
§ 3.55 p.m.
§ LORD CHAMPION
My Lords, the right reverend Prelate has thanked those who are going to speak in this debate. I must admit that I do not know whether to thank the right reverend Prelate for introducing this vast topic into your Lordships' House or not, for the very fact that the Motion appeared on the Order Paper and that somehow it fell to me (something of a maid of all work) to speak on it, caused me to spend the whole of last weekend re-reading part of Herbert Spencer's Essays on Education, Percy Nunn's Educational Data and First Principles, Olive Wheeler's The Adventures of Youth, Richard Livingstone's The Future of Education, and dipping extensively into Lady Plowden's Report Children and their Primary Schools and the Newsom Report, Half Our Future, when I might have been watching rugby and spending a very pleasant and lazy weekend. But, my Lords, I do thank the right reverend Prelate most sincerely, not only for the topic which he has introduced for debate to-day but also for the humanity of his approach to it. The right reverend Prelate has made a speech which I shall long remember and one which I shall dip into in the future, should it ever fall to my lot to speak again on this topic.
It is inevitable, I suppose, that my approach to this matter is very different from that of the right reverend Prelate. It seems to me that educational policy in a multi-racial Britain divides into two parts: the one, the actual education of the immigrant's child; and the other, the preparation of our society as a whole for 1150 the multi-racial community which is to be with us for as far into the future as one can foresee. On the first of these I have not a great deal to say. for the problem of the education of the immigrant child is largely that of the child of the deprived areas. Those are the areas in which two-thirds of the homes of the unskilled workers have only five books or less, and whose parents get by in their conversation with six hundred or so words. The Plowden Report, in its examination and high-lighting of the difficulties to be overcome by those children, was surely an all-time classic.
If I were to start my life over again and had to choose between coming from such a home and continuing my schooling until 16 years of age, and coming from a home in which books occupied a prominent place and circumstances caused me to leave at, say, 13, I should unhesitatingly choose the latter of those alternatives. Perhaps I say that because it happened to me. I became a half-timer at school at 12 and, having passed the labour examination at 13, I was adjudged to have received a sufficiency of formal education to fit me to face the world. I then left school for full-time work. But I had the tremendous advantage of a mother with a fondness for reading and a home where, within easy reach, a dictionary nestled side by side with the Bible, with Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress and with many other books; and, perhaps as something of a counterbalance to those, the Union Jack, the Magnet and the Gem came my way. So reading came to me as easily and as naturally as having my breakfast.
Communication was not a problem to me, I think. How well Plowden summaries the initial difficulty for the child from the deprived home in this sentence:The psychological trauma of placing a child without adequate powers of communication in a new social situation can be serious.If it is serious for the child of British parents, how much more so must it be for the child handicapped by language and the other circumstances mentioned by Plowden in the chapter headed "The children of the immigrant". The ratio of teachers to children clearly needs to be even higher for the areas with a large proportion of immigrant children than for the otherwise deprived areas which 1151 latter the Report classified for its purpose as "the education priority areas".
Of the books and Reports that I looked at over the weekend, only the Plowden Report gives any space to the problem of the immigrant child; but perhaps that is understandable, for by October, 1966, the date of that Report, the problem was becoming glaringly obvious, if not acute. It surely is the case that if the difficulties of communication are not resolved in childhood the effects for most will last for the whole of their lives. This is a point on which the Report, Half Our Lives, enlarges. It says of this:This matter of communication affects all aspects of social and intellectual growth. There is a gulf between those who have, and the many who have not, sufficient command of words to be able to listen and discuss rationally; to express ideas and feelings clearly; and even to have any ideas at all. We simply do not know how many people are frustrated in their lives by inability ever to express themselves adequately; or how many never develop intellectually because they lack words with which to think and to reason. This is a matter as important to economic life as it is to personal living. Industrial relations as well as marriages come to grief on failures in communication.My Lords, what I have just read seems to me to be true, and one could add to it, with perhaps even greater force, that failures of communication will prevent the multi-racial society from ever becoming a harmonious one. If that is the case, then the first priority towards creating the sort of society visualised by the right reverend Prelate is to get the possibility of communication right at the primary school level. But that can be only the start; for from that base, somehow, the child and the adolescent need to develop in such a way as to enable them in the multi-racial society to live with their fellows, appreciating and respecting their differences, understanding and sympathising with their feelings. A question that I have had to ask myself is: what do we mean by multi-racial society? The right reverend Prelate has given a definition over the course of the whole of his speech. I go along with H. G. Wells who put it admirably, in another context, in this way:The weaving of mankind into one community does not imply the creation of a homogeneous community, but rather the reverse; the welcome and the adequate utilisation of distinctive quality in an atmosphere of understanding. The community to which 1152 we are moving will be more mixed—which does not mean interbred—more various and more interesting than any existing community. Communities all to one pattern, like boxes of toy soldiers, are things of the past rather than the future.I am sure that the right reverend Prelate will agree with that definition which, though not perhaps related to the subject immediately before us, seems to me to fit admirably this idea of a multi-racial Britain towards which we have to work.
The problem we have to tackle is: how can we, through education, bring about that sort of society? How is that to be done? I think it is quite clear that it cannot be done by adding another subject, such as one that might be called "citizenship in the multi-racial society", to what I rather think are the already overloaded curricula of our primary and secondary schools. The approach to this problem has to be more subtle than that if we are to offset in the youth of our country the invasion of adult attitudes and preconceptions of race, and particularly of race superiority. Most of our attitudes and the social ideas that we hold, as adults, are vitiated by fantastic ideas of our inherent superiority and of historical inaccuracies culled from our history books, so many of which seem to be designed to present us to ourselves as a nation in a dominating and satisfactory light. I have read and re-read those history books, some of which I read as a child, and I see the nonsense contained in them. But there is a way in which they please my egoism. I am delighted to think that I am a member of a nation which has in the past so dominated the rest of the world and in which we emerged in such a satisfactory light. But this is not the way to bring about either a world of peace or a multi-racial Britain. All nations do this sort of thing to put themselves in the best possible light. But it does not make for harmony between peoples.
My Lords, the preparation of the first part of this speech was comparatively easy, for it deals with something over which various authorities have some control. Government can help with the provision of additional teachers for the areas in which there is a large proportion of immigrant children; by giving monetary incentives to attract teachers to such areas (and upon this I rather hope that the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, will be able to tell us something), and by 1153 influencing courses of teacher training towards an increased knowledge of how to deal with the language difficulty and similar problems. This can be done but these are the tangibles. These are things that one can see, grasp and understand immediately. But when it comes to creating an atmosphere of understanding and of mutual respect for individual human dignities, we are entering the realm of the intangibles, a realm in which no one of us has a specific, a cure-all—and I am certainly not sufficient of a quack lightly to propose a nostrum.
Nevertheless, I cannot leave it just like that. I am positive that the best teachers feel in their bones, with Wolfenden, that aschool to be healthy and in the best sense successful, must always be looking outside itself for the end which it should itself be trying to be the effective means.I go along with that statement and so, I am sure, would every sensitive teacher. No school can look outside itself to-day, particularly in the areas where there is a mixture of races, without being conscious of the strains and stresses that exist in the world about it. In such a school the more sensitive teacher must know that his attitude to the problem, whether directly in his dealing with the immigrant child, or by his use of history books, is creating a climate of thought which may well be leading to the creation of a homogeneous community. How far the teachers at all levels, at the training colleges and the like, can be used to ensure a sensitive approach is highly problematical. I did, of course, hear what the right reverend Prelate said about this.
When discussing his approach, as the responsible Minister, to internal organisation and the curriculum, my right honourable friend Mr. Crosland said:The Minister's only influence is the indirect one that is exercised through H.M.I.s, through D.E.S. participation in the Schools Council and through Government-sponsored research projects … . The nearer one comes to the professional conduct of education, the more indirect the Minister's influence is. And I am sure this is right.I wonder whether his words on the effect of Government-sponsored research give us a clue to the next step in education towards that at which this debate is aiming. I think that they do.
What I should like to see resulting from this debate is a searching examina 1154 tion of the problems by a committee of the standing of that Committee which gave us the Plowden Report. It was of that Committee that the noble Lord, Lord Boyle of Handsworth, himself a great Minister of Education, said, in discussing the various education reports of recent years:Then there was the Plowden Report which was the first of those Reports to be backed by proper research and some adequate costing and feasibility planning.In my opinion we need to have the problem considered by a committee at that level, and similarly backed by adequate research. Whether the terms of reference of such a committee should embrace research into the problem of the education of the adult world outside the school system is a matter for careful consideration. I am not going to venture into the field of changing attitudes outside the schools, for my speech is already over-long, except to say that that aspect is perhaps even more important than the schools aspect, for if we could create a favourable climate of opinion towards the creation of harmonious race relationships in adults that would rub off on the rising generation.
Some work is being done in this field. I am indebted, as the right reverend Prelate certainly is, to the noble Lord, Lord Wade, for the excellent report which he produced on what is happening in Yorkshire. One would like to see similar reports on the rest of the country brought together and added to as a result of research by a very responsible committee. I think that might help us in this great problem with which we are faced. In suggesting this, my Lords, I know full well that I am in danger of being accused of employing the old trick—if you do not know what to do, appoint a Royal Commission or a committee to consider the matter. But I make no apology. It is a useful device for instructing Ministers and others, and particularly if such a committee is backed by proper research. If funds were placed at its disposal and a chance provided to look at the problem in depth, I think it would be extremely helpful in respect of the matter we are discussing to-day. My Lords, I conclude with more words from H. G. Wells:Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.1155 I believe that to be profoundly true. I can only hope that to-day we may do a little towards assisting education in such a race.
§ 4.15 p.m.
§ LORD WADE
My Lords, I should like at the outset to join the noble Lord, Lord Champion, in thanking the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Durham for introducing this Motion in a really inspiring speech. I think that we all appreciated the breadth of vision which was shown in that speech. I must express my thanks for the kindly references which have been made to my book, both by the right reverend Prelate and also by the noble Lord, Lord Champion. I feel somewhat overwhelmed by the number of quotations and I must hasten to tell the House that I do not claim to be an expert just because I have written a book.
The noble Lord, Lord Champion, gave us a definition of "multi-racial". I do not want to start criticising the Motion but, on balance, I prefer the word "multicultural" to "multi-racial". After all, Britain is such a mixture of races already and always has been. Every century and every decade there are further additions to this mixture. So we are multi-racial, but I think we are moving towards a multicultural society to an extent that we have not experienced for quite a long time.
My Lords, the other comment I would make on the Motion (and here I know that the right reverend Prelate agrees with me) is that there are these very important long-term considerations, but we must not overlook the immediate needs. The extent to which these immediate needs are met will, I think, determine the success of future policy and therefore I shall talk for a little while about the present. The Motion is forward-looking, and rightly so. But if I may look back for a moment, I think we have to admit that Britain has not shown as much foresight as we would wish in preparing for the accommodation of newcomers, or for the education of the children of newcomers. We have in mind particularly those who come from the Commonwealth. As a result, and as the right reverend Prelate pointed out, there has been a great deal of improvisation 1156 by local education authorities, by teachers and by social workers, in dealing with the problems of language, of dress, of diet, of religious scruples and so on. Teachers have had to cope as best they can with the new situation.
I would say that the teachers have had to face four distinct but inter-related problems: first, the differences in culture, religion and historical background; secondly, in language and accent, and I agree that we must mention accent; thirdly, the handicaps arising from the economic conditions in which many newcomers live, especially those in deprived areas; and fourthly, some degree of colour prejudice. Even if colour prejudice did not exist at all, the first three factors would present some formidable tasks for the teaching profession. Therefore I propose to make only a passing reference to colour; I do not think that colour prejudice is a major consideration in our school life. There was a very interesting discussion between a number of adults from different communities who were talking about the experiences of their children at school. The conversation turned to the subject of discrimination, colour prejudice, which still occasionally does arise, and one adult said, "I tell the children not to take any notice. It is just ignorance. It may be that the parents of white children are ignorant and don't know any better." Perhaps if some of the members of the host community had overheard that, it might have had a somewhat chastening effect. But whether it is due to ignorance or inherent prejudice, we have found that there is very little of it among the younger children. So far as the parents are concerned, it is more pronounced among those who are not living in close contact with the immigrant community. So much for colour prejudice.
I think that a much more serious matter is the tendency to equate cultural differences and language handicaps with educational subnormality. Here I should like to refer briefly to the Report entitled Slow Learners in Secondary Schools: Education Survey No. 15, published by the Department of Education and Science about a fortnight ago. One gathered from the Press that it was all about immigrants, whereas in fact it has very little to do with immigrants. There is, however, one paragraph on page 22—and this, I 1157 think, was what the Press picked on—from which I propose to quote. It says:In some areas, to the problem of providing satisfactorily for the slow learners had been added that of providing for large numbers of immigrant children, many of them new to our language and our culture. Although the initial attainment of many of these children, judged by purely English standards, is understandably low, the potential of some is considerable and their distinctive needs are generally unlikely to be met by their inclusion in slow learner' classes. When, nevertheless, they are so included, their presence may reduce the number of places available for other pupils in need of special help.Then some statistics are given in support of that. I should like to ask what the views of the Government are on that point; to what extent is the information given in that book still valid, since a few years have elapsed since the actual survey took place; and what steps the Government are proposing to take. The views in that survey seem to be confirmed by the Report of the National Foundation for Education Research, sponsored by the Department of Education and Science and written by Mr.H. E. Townsend.
As to remedies, obviously it would take too long to dwell on them at length, but I agree that there is need for a greater allocation of resources, including teachers. Secondly, I think there is need to recognise the value of pre-school activities. In Yorkshire, we have found that those classified as non-English-speaking children mainly Asian—where they have been able to enter normal school activities, including pre-school play groups, have been able to enter normal school classes without going into special reception classes. There is little doubt of the value of these pre-school play groups and also extra school activities. But of course very often they are limited by lack of financial support.
On the subject of educational handicaps, I agree with the point—I think it was made by the right reverend Prelate—about accent. It is rather a delicate matter when discussed in connection with the West Indians. After all, the West Indians are much closer to us in culture than are the Asians, and sometimes they are at a disadvantage because of the assumption that they speak English. It can be quite embarrassing. I remember talking to a young West Indian who was 1158 really most sensible and level-headed. When I talked about what we could do to help overcome the handicaps of West Indian children in this regard, he said: What do you mean? What is the problem? The West Indian children speak English. That is their language." So one has to be a little careful. I have no doubt that anybody talking broad Yorkshire would not be understood by a Cornishman, and vice versa. Yet neither a Yorkshireman nor a Cornishman would like to be told that he did not speak English. This problem does exist.
The figures on page 53 of the Townsend Report are rather disturbing. They show a considerable imbalance against the West Indian children: there is too high a proportion treated as subnormal. Again, if the Government have anything to say on this subject, I shall be glad to hear it. This is not a criticism of the teachers—many arc responding to the challenge of teaching children with a different culture and background—but I think it is fair to say that we cannot go on relying solely on the enthusiasm of a few dedicated teachers and the efforts of volunteers in these extra-school activities, admirable as they are. There is really need for a major project. The aim, surely, is to try to ensure that talent is not wasted and that these handicaps do not prevent boys and girls from attaining the kind of life that might be possible for them, and to save them from suffering for the whole of their lives because of these handicaps in childhood. Another aim, I am sure, is to try to avoid a situation where cultural differences become associated with differences in economic status.
This Motion covers potentially such a wide range of subjects that one has to impose considerable self-restraint, and this I will endeavour to do. My noble friend Lord Gladwyn will be speaking later about students, and I will not touch on that aspect. However, I should like to say a few words about the implications of the multi-cultural society of the future. Sometimes one hears the word"pluralism"—I think I have it right. There is a distinction between pluralism and a multicultural society. I do not mean that children should all conform to one pattern; I do not think anyone wants every child to conform to one pattern. But, as I understand it, pluralism seems 1159 to imply self-development for each community: and there are dangerous connotations in that. I think it is the wrong concept. A multi-cultural society implies an understanding of, a respect for and a desire to learn about each other's culture and history. It means much more than just teaching Asians English. It means that our children should know more about the religion and culture of their classmates. It is not enough just to teach in the sixth form something about the Hindu religion, Sikhism and the Moslem faith, because many youngsters never reach the sixth form.
If this emergence of a multi-cultural society is to be taken seriously, it will involve a re-thinking of the curriculum and syllabus in our educational system in the future. Here I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Champion: it will require rethinking in depth, and we cannot—I come back to my original theme—rely solely on improvising. If we accept the implications of the multi-cultural society, then we must prepare for it, especially in the realm of education. I would conclude by saying that the right reverend Prelate has performed a most valuable service in drawing our attention to these needs.
§ 4.30 p.m.
§ THE PARLIAMENTARY UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE, DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND SCIENCE (LORD BELSTEAD)
My Lords, the spread of interest and expertise which the right reverend Prelate's Motion for debate this afternoon has attracted certainly is remarkable, and already after only three speakers I must say I find the task of being expected to reply to all your Lordships who will be speaking not a little formidable. May I say just one thing at the outset—that when the noble Lord, Lord Champion, calls, as he has every right to do, for a major survey (possibly inter-departmental) over this whole field, we are, I hope, showing our goodwill towards this sort of approach when not only am I here attempting to speak on behalf of the Government but I have with me my noble friend Lord Windlesham from the Home Office, who has already been listening to part of the debate and has given me advice.
1160 I hope that some of your Lordships who will be taking part in the debate will remember the humorous advice that was once given on the growing of asparagus: "First, dig a trench five years ago." We are indebted to the right reverend Prelate for reminding the House that this advice is really no more helpful to education than it is to the aspiring gardener. If only plans are laid in time, faith in the ability of our education service to draw from individuals what is valuable and to reduce, to some extent at any rate, inequalities between them may indeed be fulfilled; and education can strengthen the tolerant instincts of the very young and thus act as a positive force for better race relations. But although the right reverend Prelate quite rightly held that education is one of the most powerful of social factors, is it not also important to recognise the limitations as well as the potential of the education service? For no educational system works in a vacuum. Its institutions in any country or at any time in history are always responding to pressures, whether they are subtly or crudely expressed, in the human society they serve. There are a variety of ways in which the teaching profession promotes the development of young people outside the classroom walls; but education cannot by itself, I suggest, effect fundamental changes in the quality of life unless it is a constituent part of a significant force for change in the community in which, after all, pupils spend the majority of their daily lives. However devoted the teachers and however imaginative the curriculum, the education system really can, not take on the whole burden of social reform. I suggest that it is only in cooperation with agencies for social welfare, and supported by a public opinion which wills the economic means, that education can fully make its contribution.
But schools can illumine the important issues of our time, not by presenting pupils with a pre-packaged set of "right" answers but by providing the conditions under which young people may acquire the skills and confidence to think for themselves, and the factual information on which to exercise judgment. To do this the school community needs to foster mutual confidence and openness of response, by leaving no doubt that all are 1161 equally valued as people and that their diversity as individuals, if I may follow the right reverend Prelate along this path of his argument, is respected. For indeed we are, all of us, individuals and, that being so, I believe that we are wrong if we generalise about immigrants. The many racial groups now present in the country really are not—and I am afraid I am saying this to your Lordships who know it very much better than I do—alike in culture or tradition. Within one group there will be all the variations of personal and social circumstances to be found in any community, and if it is necessary, as sometimes it is, to accept certain broad characteristics as common to particular groups, then surely it is important at the same time to remember that for largely historical reasons West Indians will come to this country with very different assumptions and ambitions from say, Indians, and their expectations will differ yet again from those of the Cypriot or the Nigerian newcomer. Some will seek assimilation; others will hope to find an accepted and respected place in the community whilst preserving what is distinctive in their own culture. The right reverend Prelate put that very well and very vividly.
Others will be anxious to preserve strong personal links with their country of origin. People of this nation, who in days gone by have invariably dressed for dinner in a variety of unlikely corners of the world and who, even in this hirsute age, still carry a distinctive manner when venturing beyond the shores of our own country—we, of all people, should recognise diversity in the newcomers here and welcome it as a potential enrichment, not a dilution, of our communal life. I am glad to be able to report to your Lordships from my brief experience that schools realise this. Many of them do not pretend that differences do not exist, but they set about developing all that is positive and distinctive in the culture and traditions of their pupils. I suggest that the motives for immigration and the response to immigration together form the touchstone of success or failure in this field. It is to the problems of our educational response that part of the Motion by the right reverend Prelate to-day draws attention.
What I should like to do now is to describe briefly some practical measures 1162 which the education service has taken to meet the special needs of immigrant pupils. May I add some figures to the general perspective that was given by the right reverend Prelate? The 270,000 immigrant pupils in maintained schools represent just over 3 per cent. of the school population and they are concentrated in relatively few areas. Over a quarter are in Inner London, rather more, I suggest, in the Outer London boroughs, and over half the remainder live in the West Midlands, West Yorkshire and South Lancashire. This means that sometimes over 20 per cent.—indeed, I think in one local authority area it is more nearly 30 per cent.—are of overseas origin; and there are some schools where the proportion is well over 50 per cent. Concentrations of this kind present severe problems which, I suggest, derive from any of three causes.
The most obvious, but not perhaps the most fundamental, is the absence of a common language. Secondly, a child of overseas origin may be socially and culturally deprived; and thirdly, a child direct from overseas may be bewildered by a totally strange environment. The excellent schools which are run by our Armed Forces overseas recognise what they call "turbulence" as a factor in the constantly changing life of children in families of the Armed Forces. I suggest that it must be a major factor in the lives of immigrant children, sometimes very young, for whom language, climate, customs, and to some extent even the family itself, may be new and completely bewildering. For this reason, as several noble Lords have already said—and particularly the noble Lord, Lord Champion, who drew attention to the younger children—nursery education can make a special contribution by providing a stimulation of environment in which language can be developed and special needs identified as early as possible. In a recent publication that I saw, a schoolmaster made the point that children new to the country need to rub shoulders with others but they also need special attention. That is precisely what nursery education does, and it can develop valuable links between home and school. Recently I visited a nursery school serving a multi-racial community in a deprived area in one of the cities of the West Riding of Yorkshire. The headmistress 1163 was making it her policy to welcome mothers in and involve them as much as possible in the life of the school. Under her enthusiastic leadership homes were being visited and the gap which many immigrant parents visualise exists between home and school was being bridged by this generous-hearted person. It was hard and time-consuming work, but initiatives of this sort can place schools in a unique position to establish relations with immigrant families, and especially with immigrant mothers in respect of whom, of course, isolation can be most marked.
May I couple with those few remarks to your Lordships about nursery education similar remarks about play groups. The noble Lord, Lord Brockway, in a debate in this House two years ago on colour and citizenship, devoted a short passage to play groups. I should simply like to say in passing—and it must be in passing because this is not a responsibility of my Department—that I believe play groups can fulfil a unique position in the care of young children, not least if it is possible—and it is by no means always possible—to attract parents into the school too, so that they may thereby benefit themselves as well as their children.
The school to which I have just referred, which was in the North of England, had been provided under the urban programme. I thought your Lordships might be interested if I gave the House a figure which we have not given in this form before, and perhaps you will accept it for what it is worth. Over 5,000 nursery places have already been approved under the urban programme in the 11 local education authority areas where the proportion of immigrant pupils exceeds 10 per cent. of the school population. This means that in these areas a not insignificant proportion of children will have the chance of an invaluable early start to their schooling, and one, I think, that provides, in the best possible way, a link between the home and the educational world. But the concept of school as part of the community goes right through the primary and secondary age range. I can particularly visualise a school—and I am sure your Lordships can do this better than I—in one of the great cities of the Midlands where the headmaster makes the two-way contact 1164 a practical ideal, by welcoming parents and pupils into the school at any time of the day but where at the same time I was informed that the pupil turnover reached something over 50 per cent. during any one year. The right reverend Prelate is drawing attention to the "problems" as well as the "possibilities" of multi-racial education. Imagine a situation of teaching a class where over one half of the pupils disappear and are replaced during the year. Imagine this situation if the teacher is a girl from rural Worcestershire or Warwickshire in her first job, as two members of the staff were on the day that I visited the school.
For obvious reasons the local education authorities have concentrated their efforts on the provision of facilities to meet the most urgent needs of immigrant children of compulsory school age. The most pressing but not the most fundamental of these needs has been help for those who speak little or no English. Almost all the local education authorities concerned make special arrangements, but they differ quite fundamentally. Some have a force of peripatetic language teachers; others adopt a policy of language classes. In the recent National Foundation for Educational Research project publication to which the noble Lord, Lord Wade, referred, Immigrant pupils in England, it was found that of the 71 local education authorities who make special arrangements, 51 used part-time classes at infants level, 54 at junior and 61 at secondary level—far the most popular method of teaching English as a second language. Of course, much of the linguistic research and the teaching methods developed for this purpose have proved applicable to the difficulties of pupils struggling with what is nominally their native English. I should also like to draw the attention of the House to the contribution which the Schools Council has made in this area in Working Paper 29 on Teaching English to West Indian Children. I apologise to your Lordships if this is familiar ground. It was referred to by the noble Baroness, Lady Gaitskell, two years ago in the debate on Colour and Citizenship. The noble Lord, Lord Wade, made specific reference to it in his speech. I should like to reply to the point he made about slow learners at the end of the debate.
1165 There must be many a school visitor who finds great difficulty in understanding some West Indian pupils, and I must say that I am one of them. This Schools Council publication reminds the reader that West Indian children will very likely speak "two distinguishable varieties of English": their own Creole dialect and an English dialect for communication with English people. It is this latter form of English which often mystifies the visitor and can engender wrong opinions about the aptitude of pupils. So it can reasonably be held that West Indians need a more fundamental approach than language correction; the N.F.E.R. survey points out that the English and West Indians had a common lauguage root three centuries ago, but since then the West Indian Creole has developed a different form of English. The N.F.E.R. Report suggests that these children need to be distinguished from those whose level of language development reflects a different general mental retardation.
In addition, there are of course separate Language Centres, either full-time or part-time, to be found, especially where there is an appreciable number of Asian pupils. In this respect the replacement of old primary schools is relevant, in that it can free old but sound buildings for language work. One of our Northern cities has recently taken the view that centres for infants should be of reasonable infants' school size, and no larger, and the replacement programme will make it easier for a policy of this sort to be pursued. There is a gap in the existing provision of which teachers, advisers and researchers are becoming increasingly aware. I refer to the need for continuing help with language problems for pupils who have achieved a basic working knowledge of English yet find difficulty in coping with the complex language requirements of the secondary school curriculum. Your Lordships may be interested to hear that the Department of Education and Science is about to publish a survey of this second-phase language work, in which truly "every teacher is a teacher of English". It is at this age that every moment in school gives more chance to the newcomer from abroad. In this context, I am certain that the raising of the school-leaving age is a step forward; and, with the noble Lord, Lord Boyle of Handsworth, 1166 taking part, I think for the first time, in an education debate in your Lordships' House, may I echo the words which he used in announcing the policy to raise the school-leaving age in another place seven years ago, by claiming that in this context it is surely a "levelling up" of opportunity.
The more rarefied atmosphere of the language centre and the hidden but pressing language needs of the secondary pupil throw into relief the need to develop better means of assessing the ability of immigrant pupils, or pupils of overseas parents. For instance, the absence of objective measures of linguistic proficiency makes it much more difficult to know when a pupil should be transferred to or from a language centre. It is to meet this very practical need that the Department have commissioned the N F.E.R. to construct objective tests of proficiency in listening, speaking, reading and writing; and the results should be available shortly. In addition, the Department have recently published the results of a survey by members of Her Majesty's Inspectorate suggesting considerations which should guide teachers in checking the progress of immigrant pupils and in determining their special needs at any particular moment. This point is vital. This debate is about a multi-racial Britain. Public discussion sometimes concentrates too much on the word "immigrant"(and I am afraid that I myself this afternoon have done just that), and this overlooks the fact that an increasing proportion of coloured people in this country were born and brought up here. It is also important to keep the issue in perspective in that it is sometimes forgotten that only about 2½per cent. of our population come from the new Commonwealth.
I think it would be the wish of the noble Lord, Lord Champion, that I should say a word about the training of teachers—a subject on which he touched in his speech. I must admit that when I go to schools that have children from overseas I always try to make a point of asking the teachers whether there was an element in their initial instruction so that they were trained for the teaching of immigrant children. It has been estimated that only about one teacher in six is likely to meet any substantial number of immigrant pupils in his or her first 1167 teaching post—although life is full of surprises. The N.F.E.R. survey recorded one primary school teacher of French who was giving English lessons to an "immigrant group", but when the reader read further on a page or two it was discovered that the "group" consisted of one Chinese boy!
At this point, my Lords, may I say that I find myself in a difficulty in that for over a year now I have found myself in the very pleasant position that, whenever I have been asked any questions, or been challenged to stand up and say anything about the training of teachers, I have always, as it were, fallen upon the neck of the noble Lord, Lord James of Rusholme. On this, the first occasion when I have decided that it would be right to include in my speech a passage upon the training of teachers, who should be in your Lordships' House but the noble Lord himself! The system of teacher training which the noble Lord's Committee are studying may be flexible, but it cannot train teachers for every possible eventuality. We may estimate that about a third of the colleges now offer to all their students courses relevant to the teaching of immigrants, and that a further quarter offer such courses as an option. The development of these courses has been due not least to the continuing work of the Community Relations Commission, which has put in a great deal of effort into promoting arrangements with the colleges and has helped to disseminate examples of good practice, as its recent monograph, College Syllabuses, shows.
What I am hoping I can make clear—and I do not in any way blush for saying this is that a substantial proportion of training, particularly in specialist skills, must be provided in this field through in-service courses. The most recent estimate of the extent of in-service training suggests that between 1967 and 1970 there were about 300 courses on the education of immigrant pupils, attracting altogether about 10,000 teacher attendances. These courses ranged from one-year diploma courses to courses of perhaps only a day in duration. This emphasis on specific needs can justifiably be regarded as a first priority in the short term, and I am sure that it will continue to be so for some time to come. Over the past few years, increasing aware 1168 ness of the need for a curriculum relevant to a multi-racial society has been reflected within existing provision in a number of different subject areas. It would be fair to claim that some of the Department's short courses organised by members of Her Majesty's Inspectorate have been doing just this. And some of these courses for next year consciously aim to continue to break new ground. Religious education in world religions, the role of the school in the multi-racial society, and African studies, are just three examples of new courses.
We are also hoping to repeat next year the study visits for teachers, lecturers and advisers which have been successfully organised this year, with the help of the Joseph Rowntree Trust, to India and Jamaica. I had the good fortune to meet the teachers who were going off on the Jamaican course, and I have had the good fortune to hear at first hand what has happened on their return. There is very little doubt in my mind that, with the generous help of that Trust, it is possible for the few teachers who are able to go on those courses to come back and disseminate the experience and the information which they have gathered. May I add that I hope very much that, as more children of overseas parents receive most or all of their education here, more will be entering the colleges of education and higher education generally? At the same time, it is important to remember that a proportion of those who come here have qualifications which are acceptable for qualified teacher status. To assist such teachers to settle successfully into careers, courses have been held for some six years now, attracting grants, and the total number who have attended is 433.
I have sought to draw your Lordships' attention to just some of the problems raised by the right reverend Prelate's Motion to-day. I hope you will forgive me for the length of my speech and also for its numerous omissions. I know that I have said nothing at all about careers guidance;I have said nothing very much about further and higher education, except of course for the training of teachers. So far, too, I have not replied to the noble Lord, Lord Champion, on the question of research, but I hope that I may do so at the end of the debate. Nor have I even given recognition, as I should have done. to the marvellous voluntary work which 1169 is the subject of a good deal of the book of the noble Lord, Lord Wade. In that connection, your Lordships may like to know at this stage that, so far as the Youth Service is concerned, and following the Hunt Report of four years ago, just over half of the experimental grants which the Department of Education and Science gives out are concerned at the moment with work with young immigrants. However, the list of speakers, as I have said, is formidable and perhaps I may pick up these points later.
There is one further point: the possibilities, the second leg of the right reverend Prelate's Motion. May I touch on just one?—and my reason will be self-evident. The provisions in the Education Acts regarding religious education form part of the settlement reached between the Government. the education authorities and the Churches, and reflect the social structure and the moral climate of the day. To-day, however, the presence of children of other faiths is a significant new factor in some parts of the country —a factor to which the right reverend Prelate drew our attention earlier in his remarks. The Report of the Commission of which the right reverend Prelate was Chairman recognised the many complex issues arising on the religious education of immigrant children and recommended that this should form the subject of a separate inquiry.
In looking at this problem I think we must bear in mind, first, that one aim of religious education in a mixed society should be to offer opportunities for the exchange of information and the removal of prejudices; secondly, that the subject must not be allowed to degenerate into an academic study only of "comparative religion"; and, thirdly, and most important, that the problem is being tackled. I will most certainly draw the attention of my right honourable friend to the Lord Bishop's recommendation of a survey by the Department of Education and Science over this whole field, in the same way as Lord Champion put it forward: but the right reverend Prelate himself described a tremendous amount of work that is already going on in this field, chiefly the British Council of Churches' project described in some detail by him. In addition, in some areas committees of Christians and other faiths are examining the issues involved. The 1170 right reverend Prelate mentioned them. The Schools Council have a current project on religious education for secondary pupils of differing religious convictions. The Social Morality Council, a joint venture on the part of Christians, Jews and Humanists, has set up a working party of teachers of various faiths to examine religious education in primary schools. What is known as the Shap Group for the study of world religions and education—a Group of which the noble Viscount, Lord Combermere, who is going to speak in the debate, is an active member—organises conferences for teachers and publishes a bibliography which I myself receive and which is, I believe, so useful that I understand its publication may he assumed by the Community Relations Commission. Then, earlier this year a small study conference was arranged by the National Society and the Department of Education and Science. It was attended by representatives of all non-Christian Churches;and I had the good fortune to be able to go and meet the members who were attending.
This process is not a watering-down (to quote the Bishop of Durham's phrase) of Christianity. Behind all these approaches, it seems to me, there lies the issue of commitment, referred to in paragraph 217 of the Durham Report, where it was held that if the teacheris to press for commitment, it is commitment to the religious quest, to that search for meaning, purpose and value which is open to all men.If this concept provides common ground for new thinking and further advance in religious education, I wonder how readily many of us will grasp that the possibility for the teaching profession is one of immense responsibility. For if it is true that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then in the search for "meaning, purpose and value", inescapably responsibility must rest with the teacher's own quest for his or her own ideals. Over the last few centuries Britain has gained great benefits from successive waves of immigrants, and some individually have made vital contributions in difficult times to our national affairs. Most of us would agree that these people, while often retaining their cultural identity, have also been able to play a full part in the life of our country. I believe that our latest immigrants will, in time, do exactly the same. It is the business of the education 1171 service to help in seeing that their children are given the opportunity.
§ 4.59 p.m.
§ LORD BOYLE OF HANDSWORTH
My Lords, I join in the congratulations and gratitude to the right reverend Prelate for having put down this subject for debate to-day. I should also like to thank the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, for his kind reference to me and to say that I shall be referring in a moment or two to what seemed to me his significant and important announcement about second-phase language teaching. I have no doubt that this subject of education for a multi-racial society is a highly important one for three separate reasons. It is important for coloured children, because it forces us to ask ourselves the question what contribution our schools can make to help them to achieve a sense of place, and a sense of involvement, in our society. Secondly, it is important for white children. That is to say, what contribution do our schools make to their understanding of an interdependent world in which toleration and diversity is a paramount ideal that affects all of us? And thirdly, it is important for society as a whole; that is, we think to-day of the contribution of the schools to the achievement of a harmonious and a just multi-racial society. I agree wholeheartedly with all that has been said already in this debate about harmony and about tolerance, but I hope I shall not be thought to strike a note of discord if I just remind the House that Mr. Ian Smith has also talked about "harmonious" race relations, and surely we want to achieve a society marked by justice in our race relations as well as by harmony and tolerance.
May I say that I also very much agree with the noble Lord, Lord Champion, when he said that this afternoon we are really dealing with a double problem; that is to say, the problem of immigration and also the problem of race relations. So far as the language problem is concerned, I think it is important neither to be too gloomy nor to be too cheerful. On the one hand, if I may just say this to the noble Lord, Lord Champion, I think the figures to-day are more encouraging than they were at the time of the Plowden Report, which appeared at the end of 1966. I should like to give one 1172 set of figures to the House because I think it is significant. The proportion of pupils in maintained primary and secondary schools in England and Wales who needed special tuition in England in 1967 was 254 per cent. That proportion had fallen by 1970 to 16½per cent., which is a significant fall in percentage. And if one takes, for example, the West Midlands area, where there is a particularly high concentration of immigrants, the proportion there fell from 34 per cent. to a little over 26 per cent. over the same period. Therefore, there has been a significant improvement in recent years in regard to these language difficulties.
And yet at the same time I feel that we should not be too complacent about this, for the reasons that have been so clearly stated both by the noble Lord, Lord Wade, in his speech and also by the noble Lord, Lord Belstead. After their initial adjustment and their learning of elementary English, immigrant children in inner city schools often share in a general pattern of disadvantage. Limited language skills play a large part in this for Asian pupils, West Indians, and of course native English speakers as well, and often we categorise them as "slow learners". In this context it is a combination of high technical skill and also dedication that is needed on the part of the teacher, if the teacher is to help large numbers of these children to gain a measure of success during their period at secondary school.
In this context, I thought the announcement by the Government this afternoon about "second-phase language work" was of high importance, and I hope perhaps the noble Lord may be able to say even a little more about this when he replies at the end of the debate. After all, these teachers at secondary schools at the moment do not get special training in language work, and the schools do not share in E.P.A. programmes. Perhaps the noble Lord may he able to tell us a little more about how this second-phase language work is to be carried out: what kinds of training they will get and, frankly, also, who is going to pay for it? I gathered from the noble Lord's remarks that a considerable part of this programme may be achieved through in-service courses, which would clearly be right, but I would also suggest that the question of finance is important here. I well understand the noble Lord's point 1173 that we should not expect too much of the education service, and yet so much can be done by the Government putting their weight behind certain specific key objectives. May I just say to your Lordships that I have always believed that the whole country has gained immeasurably by the new initiative in thrusting the education service forward that was undertaken by the noble Viscount, Lord Eccles, when he became Minister in 1954. That really was the start of a new period of forward movement in education, and therefore it seems to me that we should be neither too optimistic nor at the same time too coy about the initiatives that a Government can take to push forward advance in this service.
Turning to the second aspect of education for a multi-racial society I come on now to the problem of race relations, and to the influences at work on coloured children. It seems to me that one ought to consider this aspect under four headings: home, neighbourhood, the general social climate, and, lastly, the contribution of the schools. So far as the home environment is concerned, may I just suggest to your Lordships that the experiences of first generation immigrant parents can have a most important effect on the way in which the second generation child sees his own place in society, and it is for that reason that justice to the first generation is of such importance. Whether the children of first generation immigrant families come to believe that ours is indeed a fair and open society will depend in considerable measure upon whether, as a society, we have been able to deal fairly by their parents.
It was for that reason that, as I think is well known, I was always a supporter of the 1968 Race Relations Act. I am glad it is still on the Statute Book, and, incidentally, I greatly welcome the judgment in the important appeal case that was reported only this morning. I hope it is not improper for me to say that. I do not believe there is any inconsistency between the most careful judgment of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Denning, and what Parliament thought it was doing when it passed the Act in 1968.
Next, on the subject of the neighbourhood and race relations, of course in the first years of immigration it was not unusual for immigrants to settle in certain concentrated areas. Indeed, as the 1174 noble Lord, Lord Belstead, has just reminded us, even to-day there are these large concentrations;but if they remain in these areas, and these areas continue to deteriorate, this will be an important factor in changing the way in which children see themselves and their life chances. That is why I have personally always strongly supported the approach of writers like Elizabeth Burney, as she used to be. who stressed in her book, Housing on Trial, the importance of local authorities providing something in the way of additional services, be it only something like an adventure playground in those areas where there cannot be a major redevelopment scheme for a number of years. I believe that in those areas even piecemeal progress and development is so much better than none at all.
Thirdly, regarding the social climate—and here I speak as Chairman of the Conciliation Committee of the Race Relations Board for Yorkshire and the North East—we should not delude ourselves or be too comfortable about the present situation. There is a great deal of unrest and a good many attitudes which we simply cannot afford to ignore and I am thinking especially of attitudes among the minority communities. A survey of young immigrants was conducted by the polling organisation, Marplan, in November and December of last year and published in The Times in February of this year. It showed that just under 40 per cent. of those who were polled thought that race relations were getting worse, and of those the majority cited the speeches of Mr. Enoch Powell as their principal reason, followed by the view that they felt "white people do not like or understand us". This sort of climate is bound to affect children while they are at school, and in this context I wonder whether I might just make two suggestions. The first is this. Seeing the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, with us this afternoon, there is one suggestion that has been made to me about the work of the Community Relations Council that seems to me to be well worth considering. Surely, the aim must be to get youngsters and their parents involved in a neighbourhood community, but the fact is that community relations councils, which are doing very good work in drawing immigrants in to events designed for them, do not always include people who are the neighbours of the immigrants, who work alongside 1175 them, or whose children attend the same primary schools. It seems to me to be of the highest importance—and I think the noble Lord, Lord Wade, will agree with me on this—that immigrants should be brought into contact as often as possible with those people whose sympathetic interest and tolerance needs most to be engaged, and I believe in many cases can be engaged.
The other suggestion I make to your Lordships' House is this. If I may say so, I think this House, which I fear I am very irregular in attending, has seldom done more useful work in recent times than in the Amendments it made to the Immigration Bill before it reached the Statute Book. One of the more important Amendments, and one for which I feel most grateful to the Government, was to the clause on repatriation, making it quite clear beyond any peradventure that there was no desire on the part of Parliament to encourage immigrants to leave this country if it was not in their interests to go. I hope we shall not be backward in reminding people that this is now the law of the land—a very significant redefinition, as it were, of the original clause that was presented to Parliament.
Then I come, fourthly, to the schools themselves. So far as the schools are concerned, of course some very considerable changes have taken place compared with 10 years ago, and I think we ought to acknowledge this. There is very much better provision now for the teaching of English as a second language. Colleges of education are engaged in special courses for trainee teachers for the requirements of multi-racial schools and schools in deprived areas. I think, for example, of colleges like Edgehill College in Liverpool, which some of your Lordships may know. That college pioneered the courses called "Education for a Multi-Racial Society". Teachers have really begun to come to grips with the changes in curriculum which naturally flow from the fact of having multi-racial, and, as the noble Lord, Lord Wade would say, multi-cultural classrooms. But having said this, once again I feel that we cannot be complacent, for a number of reasons. One of them has been touched on this afternoon, and it is a very bothering matter; that is, the 1176 excessively large proportion of West Indian children in educationally subnormal schools. I ask your Lordships to take this point seriously, because it is causing very great resentment in this country; and I am not egging this on; it is here, among members of the West Indian community. I hear this on a number of sides. For example, the chief Education Officer for Leeds, who I know would not mind being quoted in this debate, says:West Indian parents and children are becoming increasingly sensitive on two issues: the high proportion of West Indian children in special schools, which may be partly due to language difficulties, and employment opportunities in a time of increasing juvenile unemployment.I think we ought to remember the important reference in the Townsend Report to the views of P.E. Vernon, who is a real expert in this field, when he says:There is no such thing as a culture-fair test. When teachers ask about the potential ability of an immigrant child we should answer that there is no scientific way of finding out … and that their best bet is to watch how the child progresses as he begins to pick up standard English and to settle into school.In other words, what he is saying, and others are saying, is not, dogmatically, that no West Indian child should ever find his way into a E.S.N. school, but that our system of education should not be in too much hurry to send them there. One or two L.E.A.s which have carried out research on this subject have found remarkable improvements in schools over a comparartively limited period of time, as the child's adjustment to life in England and knowledge of English have improved.
I have already referred to employment opportunities, and this subject is also, of course, bound to have effects on children's motivation. There are two other subjects which I think have not been very much mentioned, though they have been just touched on in this debate. I am glad that the right reverend Prelate referred to the question of textbooks. There are still too many textbooks being printed which misrepresent the history and culture of people in this country, as well as of people from other countries; and these books are often at their worst when they are being most painfully and elaborately polite. One of the least happy 1177 examples I have had referred to me concerns an Australian character called "Albert the Aborigine". One section in this story says:Many aborigines are in fact clever people. Some have become doctors and parsons, teachers and artists. Natives like this often live in the towns and cities;they have accepted the white man's way of life.I think your Lordships will agree that it is simple-sounding expressions such as "in fact" and "like this "which give such an exasperating tone to that kind of book.
I am very glad the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, referred specifically to teachers. May I say that it is very easy, in the comfort of this Chamber, to forget the dimensions of this problem as it affects the ordinary class teacher. I have here what I am bound to say I think is a moving report from the headmaster of a school in Yorkshire which is very severely beset with the sort of problems we have been discussing this afternoon. Again I want to read one or two sentences. He says:This school is generously staffed. I am confident that there is some very good work done here, but young teachers at the bottom of the basic scale are poorly paid; they positively need the extra money that a Scale I post affords, and they go in search of it after they have worked here two or three years. There is little in the school to encourage them to depart from the safest form of organisation that they can conceive, and the best teaching here is in a very conservative mode.I believe that we should always remember the problems that face the young class teacher, not over paid, concerned about his career, the temptation, even if he is a conscientious teacher, to play safe; and here, I believe, the tone can so much be set by the Government and by progressive local education authorities.
Lastly, we have to remember that schools are not the only influences at work on children. Indeed, in some situations, when the influences of home and neighbourhood are pulling in a different direction, the school may be able to do very little by itself. In order that schools may make their contribution to the creation of a multi-racial society we need to create a social climate which is not constantly undoing whatever good may be done at school. In this context I should like to say how much I agree with the emphasis laid earlier in this debate on education for adults as well. I think that 1178 too little is done for adult immigrants. May I suggest that women's classes can be held most successfully during the day? Most are expected to go to evening classes, which is often very difficult. The importance of having more classes during the day seems to me very worth while considering. Another valuable suggestion I have heard from Sir Alec Clegg, the Chief Education Officer for the West Riding, is that we should try to make it easier for teachers who teach immigrant children during the daytime—that is to say, teachers who provide initial language training—to teach the parents of the same children at further education classes later in the day. That may seem a very difficult thing indeed to carry out. The load of those teachers during the day would have to be lightened, but it would mean that thereby we could build up a stronger relationship between the newly arrived immigrant child and the teacher who first introduces him to the language and habits of this country. I think that, if it were practicable, that would be a very valuable idea.
I am sorry to have gone on longer than I meant to, my Lords, but I should like to end with this thought. What is indeed the object to-day of educational policy? The noble Lord, Lord Champion, described the lengthy course of reading he had carried out over the weekend. I was interested to hear that he included Herbert Spencer among his literature, and I could not help being reminded that it was Herbert Spencer who said that his grandchild playing on his knee gave him more pleasure than all the books he had ever written. I believe that success in our education policy should mean more to us than all the reports presented to Parliament. Surely, if we do believe in integration, schools will have to give far more thought to curriculae which genuinely reflect, and give a proper weight to, cultural diversity. On the one side, coloured children need to be given a sense of the worth of their cultural backgrounds. On the other side, education for integration involves white children as well as coloured; schools with no coloured children, as well as schools with a high proportion of coloured children.
My last thought for the House is this. I feel the very special importance of the 1179 need to develop teachers' sensitivity to the cultural implications of what they say and teach, so that both their attitudes and the curriculum acknowledge that the school serves a multi-racial society. Harmful though open acts of prejudice may be, I suspect that they may not always be so destructive as prejudice by neglect—the sins of omission, the assumptions we make about other people's values and the value of other people. I suggest that the genuinely multi-racial school reveals itself through the whole life of the school, through its work in assembly, its curriculum, and its whole ethos. And this will not come about simply by knowing more about immigrants; it also means knowing ourselves.
§ 5.21 p.m.
§ LORD WALSTON
My Lords, I have listened, as others of your Lordships have, with great interest to all the speeches, and with gratitude particularly to the right reverend Prelate for giving us a chance to discuss this extremely important matter. I must confess that I was somewhat disturbed at the opening remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, when he said, perfectly correctly, that education by itself cannot take on the whole burden. That is perfectly true, but I was rather afraid that he was using that as an excuse for inaction on the part of the Government. My mind went back to a debate in this House nearly ten years ago on the Second Reading of the Racial Discrimination Bill, which I introduced at that time, and the reply of the noble and learned Viscount, Lord Kilmuir, the Lord Chancellor, in which he said:Only patient education of public opinion by example and expressions of view … can achieve lasting results.He went on to say:Social habits must be determined by education … — [OFFICIAL REPORT, 14/5/62;col. 519.]That was perfectly right, but in that context it was to some extent being used as a reason for not bringing in legislation of the type which we now fortunately have with us. I probably did the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, an injustice by having those fears—although they are still in the back of my mind, because it is 1180 always useful to have reasons for not doing things. Having listened to his speech, I think it is quite clear that his heart, and the heart of many of his colleagues, is in the right place, and that good things are being done. One's fear is that not enough good things are being done and that what is being done is not being done fast enough. In other words, the trench for the asparagus is not being dug to-day, and we shall have to wait not five years before we get the asparagus plant but another 15 years. There is in this matter very great urgency indeed.
I was glad that my noble friend Lord Champion made the point that the problem of the immigrant child is basically the same as the problem of any deprived child. The difference is that more immigrants, in this respect at least, are deprived than are other members of the population. It would be misleading for us to look on this solely as a problem of the immigrant it is a problem of those people who, by their background, their home environment and their probable opportunities have fewer privileges and fewer opportunities than have the rest of the community.
Language has been mentioned by many speakers, and it is of very great importance. I think it was the right reverend Prelate who pointed out that even those who speak English, such as the West Indians, find considerable difficulty in making themselves understood. In some cases it may be even more difficult for them, because they feel they really know, and they cannot understand why they are not being understood. I am not in any way qualified to speak of the technical aspects of education and how one can overcome this problem, but probably neither can many of your Lordships. I read with interest in the Sunday newspapers over the weekend of a system known as I.T.A. (the Initial Teaching Alphabet), which appears to have very great success in teaching those who find it hard to read and hard to speak and express themselves. I do not know whether the noble Lord, when he comes to reply, will be able to make any comments on this system, but if it is a useful method, as some reports assert, it may make a valuable contribution to the solution of a problem which is very serious indeed.
1181 What in many ways is of greater importance than the actual teaching methods is the feeling of difference that there inevitably is among immigrant children. We all must agree, if we look back to our own childhood, however we may have developed later, that there was a great desire for conformity. We did not want to be different at that time from the other children with whom we mixed. If we were unfortunate enough to have red hair, or to have a cleft palate. or to have rather different clothes, or a different accent from the accents of the other children with whom we were associating, even if in fact they treated us well and showed no bias against us, we had a feeling of being different, which was a real handicap. If we, with the security of our background in this country, going to a school—as most of us did, whatever type of school it may have been—with children of the same background, the same social and economic class, suffered, or saw other children suffering, from that sort of feeling, how much greater must be the feeling of the immigrant child coming first of all with his black face, in some respects a different shape, with his entirely different background and different culture, and on top of that with the knowledge (and the noble Lord, Lord Boyle of Handsworth, very rightly mentioned this), that among some at least of the people with whom he is mixing he is regarded as an undesirable. He will have heard about Mr. Enoch Powell's speeches and read in the newspapers what is written about immigrants and their undesirability. There is an enormous handicap here that must be overcome if education is to do its job. That is something which the noble and unfortunate teacher has to cope with.
How can one expect the young girls from Worcestershire that the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, mentioned, with their one or two years' experience, possibly to be able to do this? I am not suggesting that it should be part of every teacher's training to deal with this sort of problem. They have to learn far too many things as it is before they can become qualified teachers, and in many cases they will never need that knowledge. But I believe they will always need a tolerance and understanding of the problems of all their pupils, wherever they may be and wherever they may come 1182 from. Something is already being done and a great deal more can be done, and must be done, to take teachers out, after they have completed their training and during their actual teaching life at different levels, in order to give them special training which will help them to cope with the very real problems that they will continually be coming up against, particularly in those schools which have a high proportion of immigrants. Some good things are being done in this regard already.
There is the admirable Commonwealth Foundation bursary scheme, which sends certain people who come in contact with immigrants to those countries from which the immigrants come. I myself met one of them last year in the West Indies and was enormously impressed, both with the person who had been selected and with the value which that person was receiving from that experience. But the scheme is a very small one. It started only in 1970 and, altogether, only 18 people have gone. Five teachers went to the West Indies and one went to India, while the others were social workers and policemen. All were very valuable and important people to send, but only six teachers have been able to benefit from this scheme. Here is a case where Government finance—not from the Commonwealth Foundation, but direct from the Government—and (why not'?) from local education authorities also, should be made available, so that the number of teachers can be enormously expanded in order that they can really understand the problems and the background of their pupils in the countries from which they, or their parents, have come. When they return to this country, could not arrangements be made for the experience which they acquired while they were there to be spread among their fellow teachers, by special short courses, seminars or what-have-you?
The second point to which I should like to draw your Lordships' attention, is that some eight or nine years ago there was a scheme run under the auspices of the Royal Commonwealth Society for bringing teachers out on a short course of a week or 10 days during their holidays. It was a prestige course, with certain comforts and amenities. specifically designed for them to mix with a certain number of coloured teachers from overseas, and to have courses on the history of some 1183 of the Commonwealth countries and on some of the social problems and sociological aspects of the immigrant situation as a whole. Unfortunately, that scheme did not continue, but I hope that it can be revived with help and encouragement and, possibly, even money from the Government, again, from the Community Relations Council or from one of the bodies which interests itself in these matters. Because I believe most firmly that the best way in which the education of immigrants, in the widest sense, can be achieved is by educating the educators in the first instance; in other words, by making it possible for the teachers themselves to know what are the problems and to understand them.
I should like to move briefly to a further point which, again, I think the noble Lord, Lord Boyle of Handsworth, mentioned; that is, the very great importance of teachers knowing the families and the backgrounds of their pupils, of mixing as much as possible with the parents and not simply with the immigrant children, of involving the parents—and I know that some schools do this, and more credit to them—in school activities and, wherever possible, although it is much harder because of the time and energy of the teachers, of visiting the parents' homes so that they can see for themselves the sort of background in which the children live. Those are some of the small but vital points which must be looked at. if we are really to overcome these inevitable handicaps under which the immigrant children cannot fail to labour.
But it is not only a question of the immigrant children; it is a question of other children, too. They must—and this is another point which was rightly made by the noble Lord, Lord Boyle, at the end of his speech—be brought up in a school atmosphere which is (to use a word that has been used so often) tolerant. But, as the noble Lord, Lord Boyle, said, tolerance in itself is not enough. There must be justice with tolerance; but I believe there must be more than that. We do not want to have a tolerance which is remote, possibly superior, possibly paternalistic and just. We want to have a tolerance which also contains in it understanding and, above all, respect, Unless you have that, all the tolerance 1184 in the world will be of no avail. That respect for the customs, for the conventions, for the differences of other people can be achieved only by the school itself—by the atmosphere. by the attiture of the teachers and, above all, of the headmaster being one of respect for different types of people.
All of us who are in any way concerned with this subject, and, above all, the teachers, will have to make a very conscious effort to remove ourselves from the innate feelings of superiority which we cannot fail to have acquired, because of the books that have taught us history; that have taught us about the superiority of the white man, and about the great blessings which the British Empire has brought throughout the world. Those are feelings which we have imbibed. Even though we may, to a certain extent, rebel against them in after-life, the scars have been left with us—and they are scars and we need a very special effort to overcome them, so that the immigrant children who come do not feel that they are being treated kindly, but condescendingly, but have no feeling, no consciousness, of this at all, other than the feeling that they are part of a diverse heterogeneous group of young people who are growing up together with common aspirations and with a common aim in life.
This is one of those subjects which one is tempted to say is probably the most important single subject with which we have to cope in this country to-day. I resist that temptation but, for all that, I believe that our, success or failure in the years ahead in creating a genuine multi-racial or non-racial society where people are accepted regardless of their race, their beliefs, their religion and their colour, can come about only if the rising generation—the children who are at school to-day, be they immigrants or be they natives—are brought up and taught in such a way that the prejudices which we have all acquired in our youth are overcome; and if we recognise that the difficulties are not simply the ordinary everyday difficulties which one comes across in trying to educate any child, but are specially enhanced by the other factors which have been mentioned. This is not a matter in which we can rely solely on the admirable voluntary work 1185 of many organisations and individuals, on the admirable individual efforts of teachers and head teachers, or on the admirable influence of some churchmen and politicians. We need something more organised, more planned, more directed than that to assist and encourage the voluntary workers and, clearly, to make an impact on something which, unless it is dealt with in this way, will have terrifying and devastating effects on the future generations.
§ 5.39 p.m.
§ LORD GRIDLEY
My Lords, it gives me great pleasure to follow the noble Lord, Lord Walston, and I was able to agree with a great deal of what he said. It is most important that we should try to be tolerant and to understand the immigrants' point of view; the cultural traditions, the customs and the religions of people who come here from other countries. This is axiomatic when one considers the Motion that we are debating to-day.
I am particularly grateful to the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Durham for introducing this debate because, quite obviously, as was said by the noble Lord who preceded me, this is one of the most critical and important subjects that face us in this country at the present time. Boundaries are going down; the speed of travel is increasing; national boundaries are coming ever closer; and it is quite obvious that, in the circumstances which face us here in this country, we are being brought into ever closer contact with other peoples in the world generally, and that they are going to come in and go out of this country with a far greater freedom of movement than has ever been the case in relation to previous generations. For that reason alone, this debate, quite obviously, assumes a great importance.
But, my Lords, with the situation that I have described, what sort of society do we envisage in this country in the future? When the noble Lord, Lord Wade, said that he would have preferred the words "a multi-cultural society" rather than "a multi-racial society", I felt myself in a great deal of agreement with him. I believe that it is of manifest importance that we should try to preserve the cultural traditions, customs and religions of those peoples who are living here 1186 among us at the present time. Obviously, we want good relations between our own British people and the coloured peoples of the countries from overseas who are settled in Britain to-day. Some people will say that we shall not get this, and shall not get good race relations, by segregation. But one cannot shut one's eyes to what is happening at the present time: segregation is already with us.
During the last few evenings I have taken a walk in Clapton, in East London. The coloured people there are segregating themselves all the time. Row after row of houses in that area, all adjoining one another, are occupied by coloured people. They do not intersperse themselves among white people; and, so far as I know, the same is true in other cities in our country to-day. Birmingham is another example. We have to take notice that this is a fact. There may be some in your Lordships' House who will say that coloured people do this through fear. But I submit that this is not the whole picture or the whole truth. They do it, among other reasons, because they have come to a strange country, and it is only natural that in these circumstances they want to be near to their own countrymen.
On this question of fear, if fear has any credence and is the sole reason, why is it that in countries overseas—and I have been in quite a few of them people of the same race segregate themselves into various communities? In Africa, for example, there are Indians living in their own community, separate from Africans; and the same is true of the Chinese, who live separately. It is the same in Malaya, where you have the Indian community, the Chinese community, the Bengali community and the Malayan community all living in separate enclaves. They are roughly of the same colour. I should like to submit that the prime reason for this, as I have said, is really not fear: it is a natural desire for various races to live with people of their own cultures, religions and customs, and to preserve these. I would ask your Lordships to consider, in relation to this problem of segregation, that in a sense it is perfectly natural for this to happen in this country, and that it may be difficult for us to say that we should absorb people.
1187 My Lords, this brings me to our educational system. We should not necessarily try to make African boys, Indian boys or Pakistani boys into British boys. This is my point; and I think that the right reverend Prelate spoke about this when opening this debate, when he drew attention to this situation. I feel that in our educational system we should endeavour to bring into the curricula of our schools a teaching of the history, of the customs and even of the various religions, on which the right reverend Prelate touched. We should certainly bring religious teaching, and religious teaching of all kinds, into the curricula of our schools in this country. I think a great deal of advantage and understanding would emanate from this. We should respect these cultures. It will not only make for a better understanding between coloured and white: it will make coloured and white realise above everything else that both have a part to play in a better understanding of each other's points of view, and in the world outside. It is not only important that coloured people should come to an understanding of us: it is also equally as important, as the noble Lord, Lord Walston, said just now, that we should he able to understand coloured people. This can be done. I suggest, if some of the suggestions made are followed out in our schools.
When my noble friend Lord Belstead spoke I thought I detected a defence of his own Department as it exists to-day rather than a cognisance of what previous speakers had said in the debate up till then. I know my noble friend will forgive me for mentioning this, but I feel that it is most important that a good deal of imagination should be brought into this debate, and I hope—and possibly the noble Lord will deal with this when he speaks again—that some of the suggestions which emanated from speakers before me will possibly be taken into account in formulating Government policy in the future.
To give just one example, there are many hooks on Malaya—and probably the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, knows this as well as I do. There is Hikayat Abdullah (the History and Story of Abdullah), which would be quite useful in English schools and which gives a 1188 factual account of the time when the first Europeans went out to that country, how they were received and what was being done there, as seen through the eyes of a person who was living there at that time. Then there are folk stories for the younger children, such as Sang Kanchil, which, when translated, means "the Mouse Dear". All these can be used in English schools to get people to understand some of the things seen through Malayan eyes. These books can be translated. We cannot afford to ignore the possibilities which exist for us to use, with a little bit of imagination; and that is why I am so grateful to the right reverend Prelate for introducing this debate. Then, if I may, with all humility, say it. I think we have to be extremely careful, and not become too conceited in believing that it is axiomatic that every African, Indian or Malayan boy wants to become a coloured Englishman. I am quite sure they want to preserve their own identities.
The only other point I wish to touch on—and I am bringing my speech to an end—is that I have also discussed with teachers the difficulties in the schools at the present time. The noble Lord, Lord Boyle, touched on this, and drew the attention of my noble friend Lord Belstead to the situation. I have also spoken to an English teacher, who said that there is a good deal of friction among the European community at the present time because they feel that their white children in certain schools are being kept back owing to the fact that immigrant children are unable to understand the English language. It seems to me therefore to be important that consideration be given to educating some of these immigrant children who arc backward in the English language, and perhaps instituting a crash programme.
Finally, racialism, as I see it, will have to become more blurred and we shall have to look at it in that light in the future. At present we are moving towards internationalism; and if we go into Europe our interests will have to be blended in with the interests of other nations. The process is under way. With our past experience we are well equipped to play our part in this understanding, probably in a way unequalled by many other nations. I hope that we shall play our part. I am not sure at the present 1189 time about integration or the absorption of others. Above all, I feel at this particular stage that we should protect individualism, particularly that of the immigrants, and endeavour to learn all we can about their religions and so on. If we do that, I am convinced that all our efforts will not have been in vain and that we shall play an important part in the future happiness of the many coloured people who are here to-day.
§ 5.51 p.m.
§ LORD GLADWYN
My Lords, I suppose the main purpose of this debate is to consider what policies should best he pursued in Britain in order to produce a genuinely multi-racial—perhaps I should now say multi-cultural—society in other words, how best to prevent the perpetuation of cultural and racial ghettoes. Here, unexpectedly, I find myself to some extent in agreement with something that was said by the noble Lord who has just sat down. I doubt indeed whether it should be our aim in the measurable future to abolish immigrant communities or even to anglicise them beyond a certain extent. In America, after 100 years these minorities are still minorities. The object of our policy should continue to be that these minorities should not develop a ghetto mentality but should be contented and able to participate in our general national life. But there is one aspect of this general question which might with benefit be emphasised during our discussion; namely, the problem posed by the continued presence in this country of no less than 74,000 overseas students—which figure includes nursing students most of them from the so-called developing countries and therefore coloured, to use a quaint old-fashioned phrase.
It must be clear that the way in which these young people are treated and the extent to which they succeed in their academic ambitions must react, favourably or unfavourably, on the general atmosphere in which our efforts to produce a multi-racial society are made. Besides, it must also be obvious that their experience here will have a very real effect on our prospects and reputation in the countries that they represent. In this connection, it must be recognised that education, and more particularly technical education, is something which is potentially much more valuable than 1190 aid in a conventional sense. Finally, it must be recognised, so I think, that it is in practice very difficult to get the public to distinguish between immigrants; that is to say, people who come to this country with the intention of staying, and students who for the most part have no such intention. It is these various aspects of the problem to which I propose to devote my few remarks this afternoon.
As a preliminary, perhaps I might just say flatly that it would be scandalous as well as unwise for us, whatever our economic situation may be, to shake off responsibility for doing our best to give profitable educational aid to young people from all the countries of our ex-Empire who wish to make use of the English language that we taught them in order to improve their position in the independent States in which they find themselves, and who have somehow scraped together the necessary cash and the elementary qualifications to enable them to do so. After all, we did pretty well out of the Empire while it lasted and we recognise this fact to some extent by organising what is called aid to the various countries concerned. This is not the time or the place to investigate aid in general, beyond saying that it is increasingly under fire as something which occasionally—and I only say occasionally—tends to help the donor as much as or even more than the donee and which, the terms of trade being what they are, can therefore at least with some truth be represented as a form of neo-Colonialism. This is in any case the thesis developed recently by the highly intelligent, even if to some extent misguided, American Senator Frank Church in a speech which should at least be pondered over by all those connected with the administration of official aid.
There is, as I say, one aspect of aid which, if properly grasped, administered, and above all financed, is capable of having an immense effect for good, and that is education—more particularly technical education. And there are distinct signs that this fact is appreciated by the British public if one may judge from the study of opinion on aid prepared by Mr. L. Ruta for the Overseas Development Administration. Unfortunately, and no doubt partly owing to the unenlightened policy of the Labour Government in 1967 1191 in substantially raising the fee paid by overseas students—against which, as the House may recall, I took the initiative in protesting on February 17, 1967 there has been recently a certain drop in the numbers of overseas students from the developing countries while facilities for technical training, the most important factor of all in creating good will, are still sadly lacking, although it is true that some improvement has been made as a result of our debates here during the last three or four years.
At this point, it is worth noting and pointing out that among the European countries with whom we propose shortly to associate ourselves—and to which reference was made by the noble Lord—we are, so I am informed, the only country to charge more than nominal student fees and the only one in the whole of Europe (with the partial exception of Austria) to discriminate in this respect between home and overseas students. I believe that the Dutch are contemplating following our bad example, but that is really no excuse for our persisting in our evil ways. Once, therefore, we have joined the E.E.C., if not before, we certainly ought to work out a common policy in regard to the whole question of technical education for people from the developing countries. We always say that a great new policy for aid is likely to result from the formation of "Europe". Well, now is the moment to begin that process and to begin it by reconsidering our own policy on education as a form of aid. It would be monstrous if European students in this country paid lower fees than those from developing countries, chiefly ex-Commonwealth countries. What is wanted is one policy for the whole of Western Europe.
If we are to achieve this we must pull ourselves together and radically reform our present rather hopeless system for coping with the problem—so different from that of the efficient Germans or, indeed, from that of the intelligent French. In Whitehall, my Lords, there are no fewer than eight Govermental bodies who occupy themselves with the problems of overseas students;all excellent, all hardworking, but none possessing any final authority. The unofficial agencies. such as the United Kingdom Council for Overseas Students Affairs, UKCOSA, which deals exclusively with the 1192 affairs of students, is, as often as not, pushed from pillar to post without getting much satisfaction in the process. Take the British Council, for instance. Much good work is done by this institution which, however, and not unnaturally perhaps, is concerned with not attracting any critcism of neo-colonialism, and hence is rather inclined to "do good by stealth", coping only with a rather small minority of so-called sponsored students. Then there is the more restrictive policy recently enforced on the mere admission of students; for which the Home Office is responsible, to say nothing of the general attitude of the education authorities.
If I may be allowed to refer to one case, to which I most respectfully draw the attention of the Government and to which my own attention has been drawn, it may result in your Lordships appreciating the sort of thing which now goes on. On the strength of an assurance that the fees would be£168 for the first year, and£55 for each subsequent year, a Ceylonese student arranged to come to Britain to do a four-year "sandwich course", as it is called, in constructional engineering at the Twickenham College of Technology. At the end of the first year he was told that there had been a mistake and that he would have to pay£168 for every subsequent year of the course. He could not afford this sum, but under threat of legal action his wretched retired father paid up for the second year without the knowledge of the son, though he could not, after all, afford the money himself. Subsequently, in spite of tremendous exertions by UKCOSA, the education authorities concerned insisted on the payment of £168 for the remaining two years; but at last relented to the extent of reducing the fee to£106, which was already twice the fee originally quoted. This, my Lords, is simply not the way to help the underdeveloped countries, nor to create happy, unofficial ambassadors for Britain and prospective salesmen for British goods.
As if the general situation regarding overseas students was not bad enough in itself, it has to be considered in relation to the whole problem of colonial immigrants. How is the general public to distinguish between students, quite a few of whom are now accompanied by wives and families, and the great mass of colonial immigrants who are now to a 1193 considerable extent—in the opinion, at any rate, of some—rather unassimilable? But if we feel, or the Government feel, that the total number of students from the developing countries should, for this or any other reason, be limited, should we not at least work out, with our new European partners, a plan whereby some of our prospective students might receive practical training in industry and commerce in E.E.C. and ex-EFTA countries where, after all, English is almost a second language? The great thing is that those students who do come here should be happy and well treated and not, as so often, return home labouring under an acute sense of grievance.
Then take the hostels and other accommodation. Perhaps I am wrong, but my information is that in spite of the grants from the admirable Overseas Students Welfare Expansion Programme—OswEP—there is scarcely a hostel which does not stagger along from day to day loaded with debts. Anyhow, my Lords, most hostels of the London Education Authority are far too expensive for overseas students. I believe that some cost£l4.50 a week—more expensive, of course, since the arbitrary raising of the fees of overseas students. Such students, therefore, come up against a double discrimination—all for the sake of saving a few million pounds a year. All this, I think, is a reason for taking stock of training forces and employment forces as we now provide them. Should we not, for instance, hand something more to the returning student than a mere certificate or degree? Could we not give him a log-book giving the details of academic and training records here? That would be something. All this kind of thing wants thinking out in Commonwealth education conferences which, I believe, have met regularly and proved very popular; in considerable contradistinction, I am afraid, to their political equivalents. Yet many of these consequential proposals have, I believe, never been put into effect. Surely we can do more, to give another instance, to equate the English language in teaching and examinations with practical commercial and technical needs. In any case, all these questions need an urgent answer.
I hope that I have not gone on too long, my Lords, but, to sum up, I believe that if we could get the whole overseas 1194 student problem handled on new and, I would hope, more efficient lines; if we could provide a few million pounds for this purpose—which might perhaps be deducted from the present system of aid, much of which is, I am afraid, rather wasted—this not resulting in any strain on the exchanges; and, above all, if we designate one Ministry as the coordinator and final authority under the Cabinet on all matters concerning overseas students, we should go a considerable way towards helping to create the multi-racial society which is under discussion to-day. Why should not this authority be the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary and a great Department of State under his direction? Few things ought to be nearer to the heart of Sir Alec Douglas-Home than this, and if in the near future he is going to spend, as he says he will, many millions a year on the training and education of Rhodesian students the whole thing is surely likely to come to a head pretty soon. In short, what we have to do is to put an end to what seems, at any rate to many observers, to be a rather discreditable bureaucratic muddle and to produce a man and a plan. I trust that the Government will not take offence at what I have said, but will on the contrary take some slight notice of my expostulations, thereby proving that in this field, at any rate, they are slightly less reactionary than their predecessors!
§ 6.7 p.m.
§ LORD WILLIS
My Lords, I wish to attack this question from a different point of view. I am going to talk a little about the role of the mass media, and particlulary television and some publications. Before I do that, may I thank the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Durham for putting down this Motion which, I think, deals with one of the most crucial questions of our time. At the same time may I apologise to him and to both Front Benches because I shall not be able to stay until the end of the debate. At 7.30 this evening I have to be at a school for a purpose not entirely unconnnected with this debate.
Before I come to the mass media may I make one or two general observations, and pick up a point made by the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, who said, I think rightly, that there was a limit to what 1195 education could do and that one had to take account of the social climate existing in the country at this time. I should like to emphasise, as a background, what is the social climate. The fact is—and we must face this if we are not to be complacent—that if we have not already created a depressed minority of black people in this country (I use the word "black" because it is the term they use themselves, and "black is beautiful") we are well on the way to doing it. And equality in terms that we are supposed to understand in this country is a farce. They have the worst housing of anybody in the country. They have the worst and the dirtiest blind-alley jobs. They have the worst schools, because they arc in the decaying areas of our cities. They have the worst prospects, because even with a degree a black man cannot hope to have the same chance as a white man. They have no security because they know that when there is unemployment they will be the first out. They have replaced the Jews as the butt of jokes in our music halls and clubs; and though many people say that this kind of humour is harmless, in my view, many of the jokes have a poisoned centre. They do not destroy prejudice, they feed it.
That is the social background that we are facing, and I think we should be very complacent if we were to forget it. In those circumstances, I should like to join with the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, in paying tribute to the work that so many of our teachers do in these incredible conditions. I think that many of them have a devotion to the idea of a multi-racial society and to education which goes far beyond the call of duty.
The other point that I should like to make, in reply to something that was said by the noble Lord, Lord Gridley, is that we have to face the fact that a lot of these little black children are going to grow up as black Englishmen. That is what they want to be. I know that they will want to have some connection with their old culture, their parents' culture, and the country of their distant origin. But the fact is that pressure will be more and more upon them, socially and in every other way, to be the same as their fellows: and they will be black Englishmen. As I say, we have to face that fact.
1196 It seems to me that there are three schools of thought about how we are going to deal with this big problem. There is, first of all, the school, which personally I cannot stand, which says that really there is no problem; that we are basically British—tolerant, wise, kind, humane, and all that rubbish—and that in time all will be well. To my view, that attitude is hypocritical and unrealistic. I was working for the Labour Party League of Youth in the East End of London just before the war, and I remember that there you only had to scratch some of these humane, wise and tolerant people to find that they were anti-semetic and everything else.
The second point of view was expressed by the Soothsayer of Wolverhampton in an article in the Sunday Express last week, which said that we are going to be overwhelmed by the coloured community and that the only answer was to pack them all off back home. The article was full of emotive words like "aliens", and "the 20th century equivalent of the Yellow Peril". That I think the majority of people would recognise as vicious and mischievous in the extreme, particularly because it puts forward no other alternative, and arouses the very fear which can create violence, which he claims to condemn. He denies prejudice. But it would be more convincing—and I have never yet heard this said by this eminent gentleman—if he were to get on his hind legs only once and say: "Some coloured people will stay in this country even if my policy is accepted; and nothing that I have ever said must be interpreted as being an intention towards violence, a provocation towards violence, or inequality towards them. "As I say, I have never yet heard that noble gentleman say those words.
The third point of view is the attitude put forward by the right reverend Prelate, and which has been expressed by most noble Lords in the debate: that we are by any standard of measurement going to have a large number of coloured citizens in our midst—and I stress the word "citizens". They are going to be coloured Englishmen, Scotsmen and Welshmen; they are going to join the Caledonian Society, and do all those other things, and therefore positive action 1197 must be taken to break down this prejudice and those things that divide the communities and people.
A great deal has been said in this debate about the education of black children in the schools. As I have said, I do not want to touch on that subject. I want to deal with the role that the media are playing. It seems to be absolutely extraordinary that, with the power of television and mass publication to-day, this power to reach into every home and to approach almost every individual in the country, we should even have to debate this question to-day, because here we have the most powerful antidote against prejudice known to man. It seems to me that we are not using it. It is not being used because the attitude is negative. The suggestion is that the problem does not exist. I have spent a little time this week studying comics. I have been wading through the comics and the weeklies. I have been up to my neck in Rover, Hotspur, Twinkle, Wizard, Scorcher, Buster, Teddy Bear, Beano, Countdown and a couple of dozen others; and I am happy to inform the noble Lord, Lord Champion, that Billy Bunter lives. It is in a strip cartoon that might distress the noble Lord; but he lives, just the same. I must say that I hunted vainly for an old favourite of mine, Tiger Tim, and I could not find hint
These comics have a vast sale—something like 10 to 11 million each week, and more abroad. I must say that there was nothing really vicious or bad about the vast majority of them. But they are being read by millions of children, and they give a basic impression that we have a completely white society. That is the first and most negative thing about them. If you were to read the majority, you would think that we did not have any coloured people here, and they had never been heard of. Out of 33 comics, which was one newsagent's entire weekly stock, 16 were absolutely all white; not one mention of a coloured person; not even the portrayal of a coloured person in any of the coverage, including the five comics with the highest circulation published by I.P.C. Seven had stories or images which were positively bad. They were coloured people or children portrayed as subservient; simple-minded Uncle Tom characters; written as though 1198 the British Empire was still intact, full of white Sahibs, and all the natives came up and touched their forelock and said "Bwana": not, lot me say, terribly harmful, except that they create the impression of a superior race and an inferior race, one born to be the carriers of water and the other born to drink it. Comics and stories are very powerful things in helping to shape young attitudes, and I think that some pressure ought to be brought to bear by the Government on these publications to take a more positive line.
The word "propaganda" comes up. They say: "Oh, well, it is not our place to make propaganda. "Quite frankly, I think this is a nettle that we have to grasp (and I shall come back to this point when I talk about television), and say "Yes; we want a bit of propaganda for good race relations." Propaganda for equality between human beings is Christian, and nobody objects to propaganda for the Christian Church, or humanist, and nobody objects to propaganda for the humanist principles. I think we should say to these people: "It is time to review the publication of your comics and see where they fit into this multi-racial society"—because they have a tremendous and important influence on children. They do give the overwhelming impression that the world is made for the whites and is inhabited only by those who are white.
This pose of neutrality that I mentioned before is very obvious when we turn to the mass media, because what the big brass hats on the sixth floor of that circular tomb at Wood Lane will tell you is that television, after all, is not a propagandist medium, but is a reflector and mirror held up to nature. As I have said, I do not think that this is enough. But even as a mirror it leaves a great deal to be desired. Neither the B.B.C. nor the I.T.A. have any cause to be proud of their record on this question of working towards a multi-racial society. Their attitudes are profoundly complacent, smug and even offensive. The noble Lord, Lord Avebury, who was down to speak, but who. could not do so, was kind enough to pass over to me a letter that he had received from the I.T.A. in reply to certain questions that he had put in preparation for this debate. They named a number of interesting and good 1199 special programmes which they had made over the years dealing with the problems of coloured communities and black people in this country. The programmes are all very good: but what is wrong is that they are special programmes, and they treat the whole thing as a problem; there is no natural approach to it. The Authority finishes up by saying:The Authority believes that its programmes as a whole do contribute to the maintenance and growth of tolerant values.My only answer to that is, "Rubbish! "
At a House of Commons conference held a few months ago some criticism was made of the treatment of news and features by the B.B.C. and the I.T.A. They said: "Well, our attitudes have to be objective; we are well-balanced and fair"—which really means that they deal with an immigrant only when he is news: in other words, when he takes an axe to somebody, or when somebody takes an axe to him. Nobody believes that they have any particular responsibility other than that. But if you look at the general output, apart from those special features which deal with it as a problem, what do you get? You get the occasional feature or play dealing with special problems again which sees the black man as a problem in our midst. You get the occasional radio special like "Make Yourself at Home", which is put out on Sundays at crack of dawn and assumes that all our immigrant population get up before sunrise. You get the occasional specialist nurse, doctor or passer-by in a television series who comes nipping in quickly just to remind us that there are a few black people in this country. Apart from this, in the general level of output one would hardly know there was a coloured community in Britain.
My Lords, I probably have to search my own conscience in this because I do not think that perhaps, as a writer, I have done enough. I no longer write the "Dixon of Dock Green "scripts, but I was looking at "Dock Green" and at "Z Cars", and although both these series are based on heavily populated industrial areas where there must be coloured communities, this aspect gets little or no reflection in either of these very famous and very successful series. What is needed in television is the natural 1200 treatment of black people, and their natural involvement in natural situations, so that they are seen as citizens of this country working alongside, and part of, the communities of this country. We must end the position in which we always have problem programmes about black people or in which black people are introduced only as stereotypes or as illustrations of a particular problem. I think this is the approach which both the I.T.A. and the B.B.C. ought to make. I should like to see the Government approaching the B.B.C. and the I.T.A. to ask for a review of the content of their programmes and to ask them to recognise more clearly and to make recommendations to their writers and producers to the effect that what is needed is fewer problem programmes and more programmes with natural involvement of the coloured community.
I think the Government also ought to say that it is time the big T.V. studios, companies and corporations opened their doors to some of our immigrant population. How many coloured technicians are there behind the cameras? What are the B.B.C. and I.T.A. doing to ensure that coloured people have a chance to produce programmes? The B.B.C. did a brilliant one some time ago—and so did the I.T.A.—when they called in a black Englishman to produce a programme; and it worked beautifully. But I should like to see more black Englishmen—or black Welshmen and Scotsmen, if you like—in prestige positions on television. I should like to see their faces on "24 Hours". I want to see a black "David Dimbleby ", black news-readers;I want to see people reflecting this problem in the key positions in front of the camera, as well as behind it. I remember some years ago a young coloured girl reporter on the Eamonn Andrews programme. Within six weeks she had disappeared. To be truthful, the argument may be that she was not very good, but this was largely because she was not very experienced. I should hate to think that Thames Television had made that one brief experiment and were doing nothing else about it.
If I may refer especially to children's programmes, famous programmes such as "Blue Peter" and "Magpie", I should like to see involvement at the top level 1201 of some of our black citizens in producing and presenting these programmes—not just as a black face at the back of the crowd. Again, it might help if the Government could approach the I.T.V. companies and propose that we scrap this nonsensical business—a matter that I raised some time ago—where each individual I.T.V. company produces its own children's programmes. Let us pool all the money, and have one I.T.V. children's network competing with the B.B.C. children's network. We might then get better-quality programmes and a central authority which could judge the quality of the programmes and see that these make a proper contribution to the problem we are discussing to-day.
All this would be a beginning, but only a beginning. We ought all to be concerned, because for all our profession of tolerance and liberalism, for all the existence of the Race Relations Act, the boards and institutes and all the race relations industry, the evidence is, as Sir Geoffrey Wilson, of the Race Relations Board, has pointed out, and as the noble Lord, Lord Boyle, also said to-day, the problem is getting worse and we are creating a permanent black minority of second-class citizens. The full resources of the media should be used to check this drift. I use again the word "propaganda". We must see that the media do not take a neutral attitude but become an active agent of change.
§ LORD PEDDIE
My Lords, before my noble friend resumes his seat, may I say that there is just one small point which troubles me? He emphasised that both Press and television should make it quite clear that there is no special problem and that we should work towards a natural assimilation. How does my noble friend reconcile that with this present debate, which tends to heighten the existence of a colour problem?
§ LORD WILLIS
Well, my Lords, I think that both should be done. Let me be quite fair about that. I think there would be a need from time to time for special debates on the mass media on special problems connected with the black communities of this country. But, by and large, I think we ought to have passed that stage. To debate it in a Government centre, in a sense, like the House of Lords, is a different matter, 1202 and we are dealing with certain problems. But continuously to face the population of this country, through their screens, with the idea that "black is a problem and this is something which we have to discuss", simply has the result that in the end they get bored and switch off, so reducing the value of the currency. It is much better in the mass media if the subject is treated naturally and black people are introduced as natural elements in the whole process.
§ LORD GRIDLEY
My Lords, may I ask the noble Lord—he is connected with "Dixon of Dock Green"—this question? Why not have some coloured people appearing in that programme? I have not seen any, although there may have been some.
§ LORD WILLIS
My Lords, I wonder whether the noble Lord was in his place when I said precisely that.
§ 6.29 p.m.
§ LORD AUCKLAND
My Lords, if I may refer a little more relevantly to the Motion, I should like first to express my own thanks to the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Durham not only for introducing this very valuable debate but also for his very clear-cut and rational speech. Since Durham was the ancestral home of my forbears, it is a particular pleasure to follow him in this subject.
One of the problems with this Motion is that we are facing a situation which is almost certain to happen, though we know not when and to what extent. Therefore, to some extent, anything that is said in this House may well have to be qualified one way or the other in the future. But this is no reason why the subject itself should not be debated; and this is an admirable time at which to discuss this topic. I am sure that one thing will be common ground, and that is that racial harmony—if such a Utopia is indeed possible—will begin, if anywhere, in the schools. Racial harmony can be established only at the roots, and that means among children. If racial harmony does not exist in the schools it will not exist on the shop floor, in the market place, in business or in commerce.
As your Lordships know, I spent some time in New Zealand earlier this year and came into considerable contact with 1203 the Maori population. While it would be ingenuous to put too much emphasis on the comparison between Maoris and the subject we are discussing to-day, one thing which struck me in visiting one of the several schools in Auckland and the surrounding areas was that in one coeducational school the head girl was a Maori and the head boy was a white New Zealander, if that is the correct way of putting it—indeed, I find it difficult to explain it in another way. The harmony which existed in that school between the Maori children and the other New Zealanders was admirable. They have learned to come to terms with the problem. It is a problem which, in the future, with the increasing Maori population, they may not find so easy to deal with, particularly as their social services are stretched to the hilt. Of course they have only the one race and we have a number with which to integrate. There is a great deal which can be learned from that.
We have heard of a great many of the problems; we have not heard very much about the solutions to them. There are one or two points that I should like to put to my noble friend the Under-Secretary of State which he might care to consider. I was interested to read in the Report for 1970 from the Department of Education and Science that the number of education Ministers and senior education officials who visited this country in 1970 was twice the number who visited it in the previous year. I should like to know from my noble friend—I have not given him notice, so he may not be able to answer off-the-cuff—whether there are any plans afoot to have come here education Ministers and other senior officials from the countries which are directly concerned in this debate, so that they may have discussions with the Ministry and visit schools which are relevant to the problem. I cannot help thinking that it is true that many of the problems cannot be solved, but they can be made to look not quite so difficult.
The language problems are perhaps the hardest problems of the lot. As a nation we have always been notoriously lazy at learning foreign languages. People in other countries seem to pick up English a good deal more easily than we pick up foreign languages—perhaps it is because 1204 they are thrown in at the deep end much sooner than we are. Clearly, there is a problem here, and I wonder how much use is made of language laboratories, and facilities of that kind, in the schools in question. As has already been said, particularly in the admirable speech of the noble Lord, Lord Boyle of Hands-worth, there are some areas in which this problem is obviously more acute than others. The name of my right honourable friend the Member for Wolverhampton South-West has been mentioned. Let me say right away that I and many of my colleagues do not agree with the tone of his speeches on this subject. We may feel that the substance of some of them may, in the long run, have some truth, but we do not approve of the tone of the speeches. Having said that, I would add that there are some areas in which his utterances may not be so objectionable as in others. I live in the relatively "easy" area of Surrey where the problem is by no means as great as in the West Riding of Yorkshire and the Midlands. There it is a desperate problem. The main problem faces the teacher, not so much the children, for it is the teacher, particularly the headmaster or headmistress, who has somehow to integrate the children and deal with the petty squabbles and other troubles which take place.
The other problem is that sometimes the communities themselves have differences of opinion with one another. This is not confined to schools. Those who, like myself, serve on hospital committees, where a number of the nursing staff of the hospital come from India. Pakistan or Guyana, find that many of the frictions do not necessarily represent problems of colour, but of race and caste. One wonders whether some of the problems at these schools are not of that nature. There is much that can be done through cultural aids, particularly music. Indian and West Indian music is becoming more and more popular in this country. It is a small drop in a large ocean, but teaching and encouraging our own children to listen to Indian music, which may be rather strange and grotesque at first but, as it grows on one, can be quite fascinating, will give some insight into these particular races. Similarly, if our friends from those countries can 1205 listen to some of our music, and try to enjoy the music of our native composers, much can be done here to integrate the races culturally. This may be an over-simplified suggestion, but one is looking for suggestions and this is one which, if it has not been adopted, should be given consideration.
A few years ago I went to a conference in Kensington where there were a number of resident students from the countries which the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, mentioned. There were students from Zambia, Fiji, and other countries, and I was asked to give a lecture on the workings of Parliament. I went to this conference with a feeling of great trepidation, wondering what kind of views the students would have. I had a most fascinating hour of question time. The knowledge which those students had of our ways was quite revealing. This is encouraging at a time when there are questions as to how educated some of these people are.
The real problem here is that we are trying to catch up on years of neglected legislation. As I have said before in the few debates on immigration in which I have taken part, it was not until the early 1960s that anything very specific was done. To anyone who has the benefit of hindsight in politics, it is easy to say that we should have done something in the 1920s or 1930s. I cannot help feeling that many of these problems are coming on us because successive Governments have—"failed" is perhaps an unfair word—not been able, for some reason or other, to deal with the matter in time. Having said that, I believe that there are great opportunities to be put into practice. A long time will be needed and many snags will be met. More school buildings, teachers and, above else, tolerance, will be required. But, whatever views we may have on all the implications, we all hope and pray that, even if it takes many years, the solution will eventually be found.
§ 6.40 p.m.
§ LORD BROCKWAY
My Lords. I propose this evening to take a rather unusual course. Although I am bursting to do it, I do not propose to make a speech. Instead, I will be reading to your Lordships two letters. One is from a teacher in a multi-racial school. As I have 1206 listened to the debate I have been impressed by the fact that in the series of speeches—those of the right reverend Prelate, the noble Lord, Lord Wade, the noble Lord, Lord Boyle of Handsworth, among others—points have been made which have been expressed in the personal experience of this teacher. She makes a number of suggestions, even including the subject of music which has just been mentioned, which I think deserve the attention of this House. The second letter is based on experience within the educationally sub-normal school. It bears out in detail what the noble Lord, Lord Boyle, has said upon that subject. I received the first letter last week in anticipation of this debate, and this is it:
§ "Dear Lord Brockway,
§ "My interest is as a primary school teacher who has spent many hard but happy days in multi-racial schools. You can either decide to endure children of other races—we had Indian, West Indian, Arab, Cypriot, Maltese, Spanish, Italian and Chinese children—or you can enjoy the different qualities which they bring to the community. They bring life, vivacity, temperament, much humour—and mischief and laughter. They are mostly very loving and kind, particularly West Indians, who when they first come over here have beautiful manners. They like to help teacher and comfort any children that are in trouble. All this has a leavening effect on the more stolid Anglo-Saxons, who can teach the others steady perseverance.
§ "Sometimes when they first come to school West Indian children particularly need a lot of love and encouragement before they cast off a deep suspicion of us. How natural this is in view of all the remarks made in Parliament, newspapers, and on television about what a problem they are! They get cast down very easily and need a tremendous amount of encouragement. I have seen this transform children regarded as slow into very able and competitive scholars.
§ "I cannot emphasise too strongly that there should he much more mention of the positive qualities and contributions of immigrant people to our society. They see nothing but bad reports about themselves. Often people were greatly respected at home and doing a lot of social work, but here they are not asked … .
§ "I would like to see minority papers such as the Jamaica Weekly Gleaner in school libraries. Children could then see pictures and read about coloured people governing themselves and welcoming British and American delegations with a dignity they are denied here.
§ "Our Royal Family set an excellent example —no prejudice there—and our coloured Britons take a great interest in them. I wish they could find a little time to visit more multi-racial schools. These schools could do with 1207 other visitors. They do not generally make enough use of lecturers from the Commonwealth Institute. (Too few visits are made by schools there, also.)
§ "It would be very interesting if, for instance, a cookery class could see a demonstration of an Indian dish, or a metalwork class of Indian jewellery-making by Indian people. Parent-teacher groups could help by organising African or Indian evenings, with music, food, fashion shows, talks, et cetera, to give more information on Eastern cultures. This sort of thing can have a remarkably good effect and leave a good impression.
§ "Another difficulty is that Indian, Spanish, Cypriot and Italian women very often do not know English. Any notes the children take home are incomprehensible—and these mothers rarely appear at school. An Anglo-Indian friend of mine suggested that Indian women are very keen on their home and 'kept down' by their husbands—but their husbands wouldn't object to their going to learn English at their children's school. Volunteer teachers or students should not be hard to find.
§ "My friend also suggested that if an Asian interpreter could go round with health visitors to Asian mothers, she might be able to encourage them to send pre-school children to nursery schools to get a bit of basic English. My own feeling is that there should be much more information given about England to immigrants before they come, and about the background and cultures of immigrants to our own people, to help understand them better. Talking about help, some local authorities give you no help whatsoever information-wise or any otherwise, while some—like Southall —are very helpful."
§ The writer ends:
§ "With every good wish,
§ Yours sincerely,
§ Joan Salter (Mrs.)"
§ Then there is a postcript:
§ "Re textbooks, we'd like to see infant readers depicting children of mixed ethnic groups. My daughter, feeling that children tend to identify themselves with the hero of a telly serial, would like to see a coloured hero or heroine in children's television. Also more mixed television audiences in children's programmes. David Kossoff always used to have an all-white audience—it is particularly noticeable in other religious programmes, too—when he told Bible stories. It gives people the idea that the Gospel is for white people."
§ The second letter reads:
§ "Dear Fenner,"—
§ I like that: Dear Fenner—
§ "A few months ago I met a young teacher who told me she was teaching at one of the largest E.S.N. schools in London. There were then 331 children;205 of them were immigrants and 189 of these were West Indians. She said she chose to work in a school for educationally subnormal children because she had been told that this was most valuable work and helpful to the children who could not get on in the ordinary schools.1208
§ "However, she found the opposite. The children themselves felt there was a stigma attached to being in an E.S.N. school and talked about it as a ' dustbin ' school.
§ "Staffing standards were not better than in the ordinary schools. There is a terrific turnover and teachers often stay only one term. She had never seen an inspector in the school and nobody had been into her classroom to see what she was doing.
§ "She says that no special qualifications are required for teaching E.S.N. children. In many cases frustration and aggression result from the fact that the child cannot read but no teacher has special training in teaching them to read. One remedial teacher comes two to three times a week but none of the children are given individual help in learning to read.
§ "She said that there seems to be no question of children being returned to the ordinary schools. They leave but only to go out to work at 15.
§ "She said that she felt heartbroken when she realised that these children would never get the chance of an education that would enable them to get any but the most menial jobs; that, in fact, they would be handicapped for life.
§ "Just imagine, she said, what would happen if a group of children suddenly had to leave the Scottish Highlands and come to London. If they were confronted with intelligence testing and made to answer questions in a form of English they barely understood they might well be regarded as being mentally deficient but surely no-one would say they should be deprived of a normal all-round education.
§ "West Indian children are too often in a similar position and it would be much better if special help were given to them in the ordinary schools, since they are, in the main, neither E.S.N. nor slow learners."
§ The writer of that letter is Kay Beauchamp, of the Joint Committee against Racialism. I would only add that those letters express more effectively than I could have done what I wished to say, and I hope that the Minister and Members of this House will study them when they appear in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
§ BARONESS GAITSKELL
My Lords, before my noble friend sits down, as the mass media of the B.B.C. and I.T.V. have had such a "bashing" this afternoon, may I point out that there are black storytellers in children's "Play School" and black children among the audiences, I have seen this often although I cannot say that I am "glued" to the television day and night. There are plenty of them, and I think it is a little unfair to say that there are no black children in these programmes.
§ LORD BROCKWAY
Yes, my Lords, although I am not sure that the writer of the letter actually said there were not any.
1209 However, it was a view that she expressed from her own experience; it is not necessarily mine.
§ 6.55 p.m.
§ LORD TODD
My Lords, like other noble Lords may I start by thanking the right reverend Prelate my very old friend the Lord Bishop of Durham for introducing this debate. He did so in a speech which I regard as rather typical of him. It was at once sober and impassioned, although I confess that at the end I was left in slight uncertainty as to whether he was optimistic or pessimistic. But we will let that pass.
I fear that I may take the line that I think the noble Lord, Lord Boyle mentioned at one point; that one should not be too complacent about the issues we are discussing. My interests in education, of course, lie mainly in the field of higher education, and especially, as noble Lords will know, in the education and training of scientists, technologists and technicians. I have no doubt at all that we should have new policies in higher education, but in these new policies I think the multi-racial character of a society will be largely irrelevant, except in the area of teacher training, a subject mentioned by several speakers earlier to-day, and notably by the noble Lord, Lord Belstead. I think it is very important there. However, it is surely in the schools that the main educational problems have to be solved if we are to achieve what we should all like and what we do not yet have: a society in which no differentiation is made on the basis of creed or colour, and in which people of diverse racial origin can live together in peace and harmony. It is important that we should ask ourselves what kind of multi-racial society we want, because it is clear that there are various approaches to this problem.
One way in which we can set about it is to aim at complete uniformity of education and upbringing for all children, irrespective of race and creed, so that in the course of a few generations all immigrants become assimilated into a uniform society, though perhaps with some variation of religion. The other, of course, is to try to establish the kind of society that I think was envisaged by the right honourable gentleman, Mr. Roy Jenkins, when he was Home Secretary when he said that integration "should 1210 not be a flattening process of assimilation but that a society should develop in which there is equal opportunity accompanied by cultural diversity in an atmosphere of mutual tolerance." Although I myself should very much prefer the second type of society, if it can be obtained, one must recognise that there are serious difficulties, however one sets about it.
The major causes of division between groups in any society are, to my mind, language, colour and religion. I think perhaps the right reverend Prelate underestimates the divisive character of religion, because I believe that religion quite apart from its ethical side, is really part of the social system of the society in which it exists. It is part of the framework, and it helps to maintain the framework of the social system in the countries where that religion operates. The main things then, are language, colour and religion, and any group in a society which differs from the majority in one or more of these tends to become the object of suspicion and distrust, and in certain circumstances that distrust can develop into what can can only be described as hatred. The feelings are usually reciprocated and they are shown both by the majority and by the minority. In a way, of course, this is all part of the innate conservatism of any animal species; the feeling that deviation from the norm is a danger to the group and must therefore be resisted.
If we look at things from this point of view, it seems to me that what we should aim at is to get rid of, or at any rate minimise, the differences between groups by giving them all the same type of education. If we are to do this it means, as has been pointed out by several speakers already, that we shall have to remodel, to a much greater extent than we have done so far, the curricula we employ. We shall have to remodel our teaching in history, in geography and in literature and make it less chauvinistic and regional in outlook; and very special attention will have to be paid—as indeed it has been paid and is being paid—to language problems. Even in science teaching one could probably do more than is done at present. It might be desirable to devote more attention in, say, biology, to broader issues, like the influence of climate and diet on the development of variants within a particular animal species, including homo sapiens. I do not claim that 1211 nothing is being done on these lines. It is being done, but I think we really need to do much more; I do not think we have gone nearly far enough in these respects.
One can argue that if one did this one would in one or two generations effect an integration. We know that, so far as language is concerned, where language is the only basis of difference, this can be done in the course of one or two generations. We see that in the cases of Italian immigrants in this country, the Poles who settled here after the war, and the numerous European races settled in the United States. In fact, someone was saying to me the other day that the only difficulty about immigrants whose only difference is language is that if you concentrate on getting rid of the language problem for children of the first generation at school, by the time you get to the third generation you have to start teaching the original language in order that the children may be able to communicate with their grandparents! At any rate, you can get rid of language difference relatively easily. But if you are using this general education technique, and if for any reason, be it environmental or genetic—and remember that we cannot really say the relative weight that should be attached to these factors—there is a tendency in schools for, shall we say, black children to become concentrated in forms at the lower level, then it is likely that our system will fail, because what will happen in that case is that if tolerance develops at all in the school it is likely to be associated with contempt; or if not contempt at least serious lack of respect.
If you take the other line of approach, it can be argued very reasonably that the Asian or African child should be taught the culture and history of its race, just as a European child should learn of the history and cultural heritage of Europe. But I am afraid that if you are going to do this properly you will find yourself involved in some form of separation or segregation, which, when added to colour difference, will make integration all the more difficult. We are all aware of the divisive effects of schools associated with various sects of the Christian religion in some parts of this country, not to mention the problems that have arisen between Hindu and 1212 Moslem schools in India. To me at least, the condition of India is clear enough evidence that the existence and maintenance of wholly separate cultures within one State, even in the absence of gross colour differences, can give, not a stable multi-racial society, but a kind of multiple apartheid, which we must at all costs seek to avoid.
§ LORD SOMERS
My Lords, may I interrupt the noble Lord for one moment? What he has said is most important, because I think that that is the basis of the whole question: whether we are seeking to have a multi-racial society in the sense of several little sections of races or whether we are really trying to turn them all into Englishmen. I personally think that the latter is the right way. I do not know what the noble Lord thinks.
§ LORD TODD
My Lords, I put the two possibilities. I think we must face up to the fact that both have problems. Whether you go for cultural uniformity or cultural diversity, you will have serious problems to face in your attempts. I frankly doubt whether one can expect to see these problems solved completely in less than two or three generations at least. I do not think we can get them solved until all members of our society, of whatever race or creed, have been educated in such a way as to make them tolerant and to instil into their children tolerance and respect for the rights of others. I think it is reasonable to hope that this may come as a result of the raising of the school leaving age and the spread of higher education. The important thing is to get tolerance and a respect for the rights of others. Only if our educational policies lead to that will they be of any real value.
I wish that I could be rather more optimistic than I am. We can see, increasingly, violence and dishonesty in our society, in our adult population, and also, not surprisingly, in the young and in schools. That to me suggests that intolerance rather than tolerance is on the increase; and that intolerance may be spurred on, perhaps, by the mass media of communication, which seem to revel in it. It may well be that violence is what the customers want, but it is a dangerous thing. I think this emphasis on violence in the mass media 1213 may be more important than some of the criticisms that have been raised earlier this afternoon about the presence or absence of coloured people in programmes. For, if adults do not instil tolerance into the minds of the young people, who will? And remember that children who live at home are really spending only quite a small part of each day at school, and that they can have all the school education undone in the family circle. And do not let us imagine that living in the family necessarily teaches tolerance. In many families they may teach tolerance as between members of the family, but the tolerance does not often extend outside the family. I think that in the last analysis the acquisition of tolerance is the major part of education, and I agree, therefore, very wholeheartedly with earlier speakers who have emphasised the need for us to devote more attention to adult education—and I do not only mean adult education as applied to immigrants I mean as applied to our own native white population.
§ 7.8 p.m.
§ BARONESS GAITSKELL
My Lords, I am grateful to the right reverend Prelate for this debate and for the wonderfully inspiring speech which he made, which makes us take a deeper look at the purpose of education. My contribution, I am afraid, will be on a much lower key, a much humbler key, and at this stage of the debate it is really very difficult to be at all original. I will try not to repeat some of the arguments that have been made, and I will be brief and not labour them if I do repeat them.
We have tried to define what role an educational policy has to play in a multi-racial society. I suggest that one role is to provide the educational groundwork on which is based equal opportunity in employment, the mechanics of reading and writing and the accumulation of facts. But a further role is to create a better understanding between different groups in our society to-day. A multi-racial educational policy geared only to the acquisition of knowledge will fail to produce any harmony. Nor can schools alone, as has been said many times during this debate, achieve harmony. We all have our part to play. Schools are not helped in their efforts when politicians—and some of 1214 them in the debate here to-day—speak of the multi-racial society as teeming with problems which are an insufferable burden on the white population. The emphasis is put, but there is no explanation which follows and no analysis of it. If the Departments such as the Employment Department, Health and Social Security—and especially Employment—would take a lead in acknowledging the contribution made by Commonwealth citizens in our productive and service industries, the task of our multi-racial schools (as has been said, about one-third of all our schools have pupils who are classified as immigrants), would be made much easier. This is the new challenge to our educational system. Are we to remain dominated by the problems—the noble Lord, Lord Todd, stressed them particularly—or should we put in enough intellectual and financial resources to enable us to seize the opportunities which this society throws up?
I agree with practically everything that the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, said, but what I criticise him slightly for is the rather bland way in which he suggested that a great deal was being done. I am not saying this in a partisan way. I do not think that the Labour Government did a great deal, and I do not think that the Conservative Government have done a great deal so far. To whom do we look for this opportunity? In approaching this task we look first and foremost to our teachers, as has already been said. We expect a great deal from our teachers. We expect them to be pedagogues, psychologists and even philosophers. Yet in the last ten years, since the influx of coloured immigrant pupils there has been minimal training in the training colleges to deal with these new problems. So far as I have been able to judge, little help has been given to young teachers on how to deal with the problems in the schools. I hear that the Schools Councils have some very good projects, but not enough of them.
We think that teachers who have young pupils have a better chance of eradicating racial prejudice. Of course there is some truth in this, but it assumes that all teachers are devoid of prejudice themselves, and we know that children become aware of differences—especially differences in colour—at a very early age, 1215 the age of three or four. Apart from the question of colour, I remember in the 1930s reading a study of child behaviour in a nursery class by a psychologist named Susan Isaacs. The children all showed varying degrees of hostility to any new child entering the group. Strangers were not welcomed at all. Therefore some of the tolerance that we suggest, some of the hopes that we have, is not so easily achieved, I am afraid, as we should like. In the main, it has been left to individual teachers with vision and humanity to take up the challenge of a new situation, and where the opportunity has been grasped the results have been enlightening and encouraging in that they have illuminated the way to improvements.
I am going to refer to one such head teacher who wrote a chapter in The Multi-racial School, a man called Hugh Cunningham, and give briefly the account of his experience in a Midlands secondary school. This is highly instructive. He proceeded, step by step, to introduce race into the curriculum, and examined the results of the benefits and the failures of the co-operative effort that he had to make with his staff. He confesses that the staff were not aware of certain educational weaknesses in the curriculum before the influx of European and coloured immigrant pupils. The paramount problem, as has been repeatedly mentioned here, was of course language.
I think people exaggerate the difficulties of teaching language. I believe they can be tackled if we mobilise as many resources as we can. The local authority remedial services and students of nearby colleges of education were called on, and they taught English in small groups. English became the concern not only of the remedial and emergency staff but of all teachers of subjects, so that a deeper insight into the relationship between language and learning was obtained. I must quote one short sentence from Mr. Cunningham's chapter, which was a revelation to me. He says:For many of our pupils the English we used in our lessons was nearly as incomprehensible as a foreign language.The result of those efforts was a general strengthening of the remedial department and a raising of its status. The goal was integration of immigrant pupils into the 1216 school community, and to achieve this the staff had to anticipate and prevent the growth of prejudice and the resulting tensions. Team games and the usual club activities were brought in, but the progress of mixing in unorganised games, though more rewarding, was much slower.
The most ambitious project which Hugh Cunningham brought into the school was the incorporation of discussions about racial problems in the contemporary studies for the fourth and fifth year pupils. These were not separated and isolated but were related to universal world problems—say of poverty, welfare, law and order, history and geography. Those who make a study of race relations agree—and this has also been mentioned many times this afternoon—that history textbooks give a whitewashed, insular account of world history in the last 500 years. On the whole, the story of European imperialism does not match the story of slavery and its cruel legacy of racial hatred. I wonder how many of our school children really know the history of slavery? I must refer here to something that the noble Lord, Lord Todd, said. I regard the mixing bowl in the United States as a wonderful thing. They have many separate communities, though they are all Americans. They have had a tremendous failure with their black community; and why is this? It is because for 300 years they neglected the problem of slavery. All this history should be a proper part of the education of all our children. I think that publishers have a great opportunity to put the historical facts in their social perspective and to get rid of the distortions. This would help to restore the pride of immigrants in their own culture and community.
We have a way—and I have done it myself this afternoon—of speaking of immigrants as if they were a homogeneous group. This is not only false but hinders the use which we can make of cultural diversity in the school community, and the recognition of distinctive racial contributions. Society in this country to-day is very complex, and race relations are the dominant problem of this century. There is a great need for British children to learn and understand the history and culture of Indian, West Indian and other immigrants; as great a 1217 need as for immigrant children to learn about us. It looks as if we shall all have to become educated in what I can only call—though I hesitate to use the term—world citizenship. Neither imperialistic nostalgia, nor even the European dream of the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, is enough to get nearer to the truth about what is happening in the world to-day. So in thinking about the problems and the opportunities in a multi-racial Britain, in trying to provide an adequate education for immigrant children, we are made to better the quality for all our children. Finally, my Lords, by the cooperation of teachers, administrators and Members of Parliament, we can try to reach the higher goal of better educational standards, as well as better understanding between all our different groups.
§ 7.22 p.m.
§ LORD RITCHIE-CALDER
My Lords, I want to join with everybody else in thanking the right reverend Prelate for initiating this debate, and for giving us this opportunity to discuss this very serious subject. I have deep and personal gratitude to him, because I feel that in his presentation to-day he has made it possible for many of us not only to take part but to clarify our minds. This debate is not about "them"; it is about "us". As a former member of the Community Relations Commission, I am naturally very much concerned with how we teach the immigrants the use of the English language, and the idiom of the Western culture to which they are being introduced. But, just as important—perhaps more so—and here I follow my noble friend Lady Gaitskell, is how our educational system can educate "us" as well as "them" to recognise the meaning of a multi-racial society. I follow the noble Lord, Lord Todd, in saying that this is as much a question of adult education as of school education or mass communication education or anything else you like. If I may say so to the Minister, that makes it all the more important that we begin to think very constructively about the urgent need for an education Act—and this is only one reason why we need one—which will take account of the circumstances of the time. And, if the Government would listen to the Working Group on Educa 1218 tion for the Eradication of Colour Prejudice, we could then introduce into an Act of Parliament, and into the handling of the educational system, the very important insights that we have had here to-day.
The world has shrunk to a neighbourhood which is a multi-racial society of 3, 600 million people. More parochially, this country embraces a multi-racial society. If we are to have a stable community here we have to get rid of racial prejudices through proper understanding of justifiably different attitudes, of different cultural backgrounds and of different religious practices. I am only emphasising and reiterating what has already been said. Perhaps, one day, those who have joined our community will merge their own cultural attributes with our own, or we will take for granted the different inflexions of culture, education and religion. But, meantime, we need a deliberate and conscious effort in our educational system to remove prejudice and promote understanding; and in the process we can hope that our internal concern will extend as a sympathetic awareness of our wider multi-racial world.
This, for far too long, has been a neglected area of our educational system. If we had recognised earlier the needs we are discussing here to-day, or if those who could have implemented these measures had anticipated our concern, the obscenities of racial discrimination and of malignant colour prejudice might have been avoided. When Enoch Powell wrote in the Sunday Express of December 12, "Will our children condemn us? "we know what he meant, and I should hope that your Lordships would condemn his intentions. But our children will condemn us if we neglect our present opportunities to create a proper understanding, and leave them a heritage of entrenched prejudice and historic hatreds such as we now see, without even colour prejudice—except orange and green—in the North of Ireland. What we are talking about here to-day certainly does not mean building Nissen huts or lean-to's on to our ivy-clad traditional education. It does not mean improvisation. It does not mean making token concessions by adding a few subjects to the curriculum and calling it "multi-racial education". 1219 It does not mean just encouraging "black studies", which were discussed in The Times of October 28, and which are supposed to be a counter-irritant to the overwhelmingly"white studies "emphasising Western superiority, and treating others as" lesser breeds beyond our culture".
From what I know of similar and much more extensive efforts at "black studies" of this kind in the United States, they serve only to polarise the issues and to encourage a counter-arrogance. Its activist manifestation is "black-power", over-compensating for the inferiority complex which white arrogance has induced in coloured minorities. Nor does what we are talking about to-day mean anthropological condescension, by which we treat other people as though they were interesting specimens under a microscope. On one occasion in the heart of Java, I was walking in the spoor—that is all I can call it—of an anthropological mission doing a kind of Kinsey survey of the Javanese. The people were already properly outraged when I, and some colleagues from the World Health Organisation concerned with their physical well-being, came along. We met their resentment even to the point of personal hazard. As an Indonesian doctor said to me, "One of these days we are going to send an anthropological mission to the United States. "We have constantly to remind ourselves with some humility, that there are areas of the world which had rich civilisations when our British ancestry was running around in woad, and it is the heirs of such cultures whom we now patronise and treat as inferiors.
I want to follow the noble Lord, Lord Auckland, in place-dropping and his reference to the Maoris. Ten days ago, I had a quite salutary experience in Canada, where in Montreal they have now established an Institute of Native North American Studies. We know about the bi-lingual problem of Canada and the assertiveness of the French of Quebec. But Canada has a much more complicated cultural problem which can fester. This, as in the United States, concerns the original inhabitants who were there before Columbus—the Amerindians and the Eskimos. Over the centuries, they have been oppressed or destroyed or, latterly, largely neglected. In Canada's multi-racial society, these 1220 minorities are now beginning to reassert themselves and to claim human rights which, in the open debate encouraged by the all-pervading mass communications, cannot be ignored or hidden. It is now a wide open debate in Canada. Even the Eskimos in the Arctic are becoming articulate, and Canadians are becoming contrite about what they did to what they like to call "their noble savages", the Indians. The tendency is to over-sentimentalise, but the Indians and the Eskimos do not want sentiment: they want a recognition of their human worth, and they want to recover their self-respect.
I was greatly impressed by the Institute of Native North American Studies, which is an inter-university project and an interdisciplinary project of which the Director is himself a Mohawk Indian, born and bred on the reservation and educated (if such a word can be applied) at the Indian Residential School, where to speak the Indian language was a severely punishable offence—an offence, incidentally, for which, if you absentmindedly spoke Mohawk, you were sent to scrub the bowls of the lavatories with a toothbrush. This Mohawk escaped from his origins and became a very distinguished professor. The educational approach to the Indians which is being encouraged by those studies is something which, in our less exaggerated situation which may become more exaggerated, could be usefully considered here. They include a discussion of the many theories of how they, the Indians, got to North and South America; and the history of the Indian tribes and nations, which, before the Indians became the "biddies" and the "savages"(which, of course, originally meant merely the people of the forest), had a dignified history and cultures and relationships which deserve respect. This is not vain-glorious stuff, but factual accounts to restore their self-respect, which has become degraded.
They also teach the history of Western civilisation, and also the cultures and religions from which it derived. They are teaching the Indians the history of mankind. They are being helped to understand the permanent values, and to be up-dated into modern society in which, hopefully, they can play a positive role. I hope that on the American 1221 scene or the Canadian scene this sort of communication will not be confined to the Indians, but will reflect itself in the education of Canadians in general. This is very important, because the Indians are no longer just those on the reservation but those who are becoming urbanised, with all the dire consequences of becoming inferior beings in a hostile community—and they are dire. I want to emphasise this again, because I think the Canadian scene may, in very exaggerated proportions, represent the kind of thing which is implicit here. An indication of the dire situation of the Indians in Canada is that the suicide rate among disorientated teenager Canadian Indians is four times as high as the national average for Canada.
In this country, except in localities where racial prejudice is deliberately fermented, the issues arc not as complex as they are in Canada or the United States, where, apart from the immigrants of many nationalities and from the well-established English and French speaking communities, there are the indigenous people of pre-Columbian America, and of the Metis, the half-breeds. This gives a depth and meaning to their problem. We in this country are not quite as bad, except that some of us indigenous Scots sometimes feel that we are a bit downtrodden. But here in this country at least we can afford, with frankness and honesty, to discuss cultures and religions and, if you like—and indeed I insist—historical mistakes as well. We can discuss human rights, the declaration of which we have signed, and which insists that,all beings are born free and equal in dignity and in rights … without distinction of any kind such as race, colour or beliefs".We can add to the enrichment of our own understanding and remind ourselves of what we owe to other cultures, and embrace in that understanding the common cultural heritage. I may say that, in acknowledging and accepting this with humility, we shall be reinforcing the confidence of the people who are, as I say, the heirs of these cultures.
This calls not just for lip-service nor, as I have already said, the gesture of adding a few subjects to our curriculum. Our whole education, every form of our education—including, I may say, what my noble friend Lord Willis was talking about in the form of the mass media— 1222 should be imbued with this purpose. It calls for, and lends itself with enormous possibilities to, inspired pedagogy, enlightened education in teachers' training colleges and comprehending attitudes in our schools and in our higher education. When we have achieved that, when we have acknowledged and indeed embodied that in a direct form by some new Educational Act (and, indeed, through the Department of Education and Science), then, perhaps, we can achieve the eradication of colour prejudice. I reiterate what the right reverend Prelate said about the toleration of diversity. Diversity is not divisive. Uniformity eventually divides, when it becomes an affront to the sensitivities of which diversity is an expression. At the First General Conference of UNESCO, the leader of the British delegation said:The white light of universal enlightenment includes in its spectrum the colours of all the cultures of the world".My Lords, I would modify that only by adding"the cultures of all the colours of the world".
§ 7.37 p.m.
My Lords, I should first like to thank the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Durham for initiating this important debate. Britain to-day is a multi-racial country, and it is therefore essential, in my opinion, that any future educational policy takes account of this fact. In any mixed society there is always the possibility of mutual suspicion, which is usually based on ignorance. Once the seeds of suspicion have been sown, then one can slide into intolerance and eventually, perhaps, to violence. Tolerance and understanding have never been more urgently needed than to-day. Therefore, the responsibility of the educational world to play its part in replacing ignorance with knowledge has never been greater. There are no doubt many ways in which this can be done, but what is required in particular is an educational policy which allows our children to understand the history and culture, the customs and beliefs, of the immigrant children they find in their midst.
No doubt those who are specialists in history and geography and related subjects will advocate the construction of syllabuses and methods of teaching that 1223 take account of the challenges and opportunities which will present themselves in the multi-racial context. History and geography are not within my field, but one gets the impression, as other noble Lords have already indicated, that school history books, even to-day, ignore the history of a country before the arrival of Western civilisation, while geography books, at any rate at the primary level, seem to give stereotyped images of, for example, the Eskimos in igloos and the Africans in huts, ignoring any changes that have taken place. No doubt a similar one-sided approach is to be found in literature and art.
My own field of specialisation is in the study of world religions, and here, picking up the topic with which the right reverend Prelate began his notable speech, one must report that very little attention is being given to this subject. This seems to me deplorable, because if a country is multi-racial, with, in many areas, schools taking in large numbers of immigrant children, and if the religion of the host country only is taught, then the strong implication is that the religion of the immigrant child is not worth bothering about. Moreover, it might be felt that it is not worth bothering about because it is uncivilised, or even pagan, to use emotive terms. The effect of this is probably two-fold. First, the immigrant child will be left feeling inferior and believing that his own religion and culture are of no account or, at worst, uncivilised. Secondly, it will also give our own children a feeling that this is so; and ignorance and false suppositions will remain. On the other hand, if immigrant children feel that their own religion is acceptable, then this can lead to their becoming engaged in their own cultural activities in the school from which everybody could benefit.
I do not believe that the multi-racial argument should be used exclusively to advocate the teaching of world religions in schools. This would be a great mistake, for I believe that very sound arguments can be made out, on academic grounds alone, for teaching this subject both to the immigrant child and to the indigenous child. It can be said that neither child is properly educated if it is not aware to some degree of cultures, customs and beliefs different from its own. 1224 But nobody would suggest that the study of world religions is to be confined as an academic study in itself. It is of course to be taught, and has been taught, like other subjects, in accordance with the age and level of understanding of the child.
Nor should my emphasis on the need for adequate teaching of world religions in our own State schools be taken to mean that I regard this approach only as providing an easy and quick way to ensure racial harmony. This would be naive. It is not the only approach, neither does it provide a quick or easy panacea to eliminate the growing pains of developing racial harmony. I emphasise this approach because it is a subject with which I am familiar and because I believe it is one of a number of important approaches that can be made in respect of this highly important topic, multi-racial Britain to-day. But while inclusion of the study of religion of the immigrant child is only one way of helping us along the road to racial harmony, it is, I believe, an important way, because religion plays a far larger part in the cultural and social outlook of the immigrant than it does in the life of men and women in this country.
There are a number of reasons why the teaching of religion in schools is still confined very largely to the teaching of the Christian religion; and these reasons suggest solutions. First, religious education is the only subject, as your Lordships are aware, in which the teaching is tied to an agreed syllabus set by the local education authorities. It is true that many teachers ignore the agreed syllabus —in which case one might ask: "Why have one at all?"—but that is another issue. Many agreed syllabuses make little, if any, reference to the possibilities of teaching world religions in schools; they are ill-adapted to the multi-racial situation and need radical revision. It is time the local authorities re-structured the committees that have drawn up the agreed syllabus to allow for members who belong to other faiths to sit. I am glad to hear that the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Durham indicated that this is to be done, at any rate, by one local education authority.
Secondly, and more serious, is the fact that when attempts are made to include the study in the classroom of, for 1225 example, Hinduism and Islam, teachers frequently have had no formal training in the subject. The result is that the subject is not only taught badly but also taught inaccurately. This can have serious results, in so far as children can come away with a distorted view of what their neighbours believe; and a distorted view of another religion or culture is, in my opinion, worse than total ignorance and can do untold damage in terms of a child's developing outlook, and in particular in terms of racial harmony. This could be rectified, first, by greatly increasing the numbers of teachers who go on secondment for in-service training to study this subject at an academic level. In this respect, it is essential that more grants are available to enable the schools to take on more supply teachers or to make provision for temporary appointments to fill the gap left by those going on such courses as I have advocated. Then again, colleges of education could include the study of world religions as an integral part of their main-subject, three-year courses in religious studies; but they are hampered by a severe shortage of qualified teachers.
Where are all these qualified teachers to come from? Most would come ultimately from the universities; but in this country the study of religions other than the Christian religion is confined to a handful of university faculties. Again, there is a reluctance to teach this subject on the ground that the role of the teacher is to instruct pupils in the Christian religion and hence turn out good Christians. This is an attitude that is diminishing, I believe, but it is nevertheless there, and it is dangerous. It can be argued on purely educational grounds that the aim of religious education is to educate and not to instruct or to indoctrinate. If one considers the multi-racial school, then the dangers of a doctrinal or confessional attitude to the teaching of the indigenous religion are too obvious to need elaboration. Finally, there is a reluctance to teach world religions in schools because, in the words of a director of education who will remain anonymous: "Surely we are trying to make them (the immigrant children) like us." It seems to me that this is just what one should not do. The aim must be to preserve immigrant cultures so that all can make a contribution to the varied school environment for the enrichment of everybody, immigrant and 1226 indigenous child alike. This is not to say that immigrants should not be educated to understand the British way of life, to participate in it and to fulfil their roles and duties as British citizens. This was very much brought home to me in a conversation yesterday with a Sikh colleague of mine who emphasised strongly his desire to exercise his role and duty as a British citizen, for Britain is his home, but who, at the same time, would have regarded it as an affront if his own culture and customs were to be regarded as of no account and hence to be submerged in another culture.
While the danger of total absorption is to be avoided on the one hand, an even greater danger is the risk of total isolation which will occur if the immigrant feels cut off in an environment that is hostile to him. Already, I believe, some Moslems have proposed establishing their own school to teach their own religion and culture. When this happens there is little hope of mutual understanding. Children from different communities are brought up in ignorance of each other's habits, customs and cherished beliefs; distorted views arise, and the seeds of intolerance are sown. I do not wish to drag Northern Ireland into this debate, but it seems to me that one of the many factors leading to the present situation is that the Roman Catholic and the Protestant children are educated in their own schools. This can only contribute to mutual intolerance, and in my opinion has done so.
I am sure that I reflect many views when I say that we need the vision to see the multi-racial world of the future of which Britain is a integral part. If we have this vision then our duty is clear: we must educate for it. This must involve not just an inclusion of world religion in school curricula, important though I believe this is; it must also include appropriate and imaginative treatment of other subjects—history and geography, literature and the arts. Those involved in curriculum development throughout the wide spectrum of education at all levels, from the primary to adult, must have impressed on them the fact that Britain is multi-racial and will continue to be so. This factor must be taken into account in their deliberations. Curriculum development is one way of recognising and dealing with the fact that 1227 we are a multi-racial society. Another way would be to develop and expand the idea of the community school and other alternatives of school organisation which defer to the fact that we are a multicultural society. There are of course problems in multi-racial education, and I would not in any way wish to minimise them. There is, for example, the obvious problem of teaching a child to speak and read English before his education can begin; and this by itself probably involves segregation in order to achieve integration. But I think that perhaps it is better to be positive and emphasise the opportunities, and then hope that the problems, while not taking care of themselves, at least will appear to be less formidable.
Finally, my Lords, I would advocate an educational policy that takes full account of the fact that Britain is multi-racial. Social necessity requires an appropriate and imaginative treatment of this fact in terms of curriculum development, group activities, administration and political decision-making. In any case, metaphorically, the world is getter smaller. People in all walks of life from all over the world will find themselves encountering fellow humans from all quarters of the globe with beliefs and customs very different from their own. Britain represents this fact in microcosmic form, and education must reflect it in terms of envisaging future British citizens as citizens of the world. Further, common sense alone demands that our future generations be adequately educated to understand and to be enriched by these beliefs and customs, without which a plea for tolerance becomes just empty pious hope.
§ 7.52 p.m.
§ BARONESS WHITE
My Lords, at this rather late stage in the debate I shall confine myself to a few observations and, I trust, one or two practical suggestions. I think it very important that we should keep in mind the terms of the Motion moved by the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Durham which, of course refer not to the education of immigrants in Britain, but to a policy "for education in a multi-racial Britain"; which, I hope, would mean that by far the greater emphasis of our thoughts should be on the education of our own children and not 1228 so much those of immigrants. It is, naturally, extremely important that we should provide the best possible opportunities for the immigrant children, and by now a good deal of experience has been gained in teaching English as a second language and similar technical matters of educational expertise. But I am very much concerned, not so much with the minority as with the majority attitude, because I think it is a far more difficult thing to tackle pedagogically.
There are problems in dealing with children of immigrant origin coming into what is, to them, a strange society; but given adequate resources and attention —this is being increasingly done—these problems are not insuperable. There are some very difficult areas, particularly that mentioned by my noble friend Lord Brockway, the very sensitive problem of West Indian children in the special schools, E.S.N. schools. This is a matter which rankles tremendously in the West Indian community. I do not wish to take up too much of your Lordships' time, otherwise I would read an extract from one of the Black Power papers circulating in London, which indicates all too clearly how deeply humiliated the West Indian community feels at what they have been told about the way in which their children have been dealt with. I will read one or two sentences from a letter from a reader, who says:There are countless amounts of black children who are put into E.S.N. schools, not according to their ability but because the education authorities immediately presume that a black child is dumb. They assess them on their language difficulties and not on their ability. Some English children speak, write and think worse than we do.So it goes on. If one read the entire letter one would see that it is a very deep wound, a very deep humiliation, and a situation into which we ought not to have allowed ourselves to drift. We are very much at fault, I think, for not having realised much sooner what was happening; although I grant that one of the initial reasons was possibly a well-meaning one, the desire not to suggest that West Indian children were linguistically deficient, without recognising that for many of them their language structure —not merely the actual intonation or pronunciation but the language structure —is different from the colloquial English used in this country.
1229 My Lords, apart from special situations such as these, as I say, I think we are at least gaining by experience, and we are attempting to deal with the problem. The other side of the equation, how to induce attitudes not just of tolerance, as has been rightly emphasised by previous speakers, but of respect among our own population seems to me a very real problem and a much more difficult one for teachers to tackle. I have a feeling that the Department of Education and Science has not yet paid adequate attention to this problem. If one looks, for example, at the publications from the Schools Council one finds that some are excellent. I have here their most recent handbook on the social background of immigrant children from India, Pakistan and Cyprus. This is intended to give a background to teachers who have children of these groups in their schools.
There are four paragraphs, in a book of some 90 pages, devoted to pointing out the benefits of cultural diversity, and this is very right and proper. But there is no reference in the introductory chapter to the problem of showing the indigenous children in the school the real value and interest of the differing background and culture of the children with whom they are being educated. I doubt very much whether enough is being done, because if one asks those concerned with the teaching of immigrant children—apart from trying to teach the indigenous children—what their attitude should be, one finds that one should by no means be complacent. I have here, for example, a letter from the Director of the Community and Race Relations Unit of the British Council of Churches who, before he took up that position, was 'himself a teacher in a London secondary modern school and later in a London comprehensive school.
As part of his duties he visits colleges of education speaking on the subject of community relations. He tells me that in general the position is very far from satisfactory. There are, of course, a number of colleges, as the Minister quite rightly said, in which some special attention is paid to the subject of community relations. But in many others there is a total absence of material on the background of immigrant children. There is a feeling that if the college of education 1230 itself is in an area in which there are not very many immigrants it is not necessary to deal with these matters at all, despite the fact that the students in the college, during their career, may very well find themselves in places where there are immigrant children. Quite apart from that, all teachers, in whatever part of the country they may be, ought to be prepared to teach children the outlook on community relations which we would all desire, whether or not they happen to be in areas of heavy immigrant settlement, because, again, the children may well find themselves in the course of their working life in relationships with people of other countries for which they ought to be prepared. The mere fact that you happen to live in North Devon, or where ever it may be, where there are not many immigrants at the present time, does not mean that you ought not to be mentally prepared for meeting them in the course of your working life.
Therefore it seems to me that the Ministry ought to enter into much more urgent consultations with the authorities, and particularly the colleges of education, about the way in which this much broader problem should be tackled. It is true that more attention is being paid to textbooks, for example—and we have had several references to this point during the course of the debate. But it is also true that local authorities vary very much in the amounts they spend on textbooks. One of the problems is that there are still in use in many areas outdated textbooks which would not be written or published to-day, and the children are still being brought up on books that illustrate attitudes of mind which most of us would hope have now been outgrown. This is especially true of history books. I am going to India in a few days' time, and I have been trying, quite inadequately, to look at the outline of India's history. In my own school days I do not think I was made aware of any history of India until the East India Company came on the scene, whereas in fact there are some 6,000 years of recorded history of which one should have had some slight inkling.
As I have said, I believe that a much more specific and positive effort is required. It is not easy to find out how much is being done in in-service training. 1231 An interesting report has just been published (it is Survey No. 13, on the education of immigrants) by the Department of Education and Science, in which it is said that it is very difficult to quantify just how much of this whole sphere of education is being dealt with in in-service training, apart from what is and what is not being done in the colleges of education. I suggest that possibly we should be concerned to make better use of the immigrant teachers who are available. I understand it is reckoned that there are some 3,000 qualified Asian teachers who have been unable to obtain teaching posts in Britain. One is well aware that on occasion their qualifications are not altogether suitable for our educational system. While it is true that we offer some courses at our various colleges of education to help them to qualify themselves in a way that would make them so suitable, I do not think we are doing anything like enough. I understand, for instance, that Whitelands College and Nottingham University Institute of Education have an arrangement whereby they have 38 places a year for supplementary training of immigrant teachers, and that for these 38 places they have commonly some 300 applicants. I am told also that the Leicester University Institute of Education have 8 to 10 applicants from immigrant teachers for every place for this supplementary training. Surely one of the ways in which one ought to be able to inculcate interest in other cultures is to have teachers from those societies in our schools, provided of course that they are fully qualified and adequately trained. We have a situation in which there are many more applicants than places, and we ought to try to increase the number of places available. I hope that this is something to which the Minister might be able to give further attention.
There are many other things with which I should like to deal, but, as it is so late, I will content myself by referring to something mentioned by my noble friend Lord Champion in the early part of the debate; and it has been referred to once or twice since. That is, the need for more research into what is being done not just to teach immigrant children but also the much more difficult challenge of bringing this aspect into the 1232 education of indigenous British children. I do not think that very much is being done. I am aware that the Social Science Research Council is financing the unit on ethnic relations at Bristol University, and that the research of that unit is not confined to Bristol; for example, I understand that they are doing a good deal of work at Leeds, and on a national basis. This can bring about some interesting results. We are concerned of course at the suggestion that has been made that the Government may be cutting the resources of the Social Science Research Council. The retiring chairman, Andrew Shonfield, gave some warnings about this as recently as last month. So far as the field with which we are concerned is to be affected, I hope very much that, far from diminishing, any expenditure on research will be increased. The total expenditure on educational research in this country, by comparison with the actual expenditure on education itself, is not over-generous by any means.
Again I hope that this is a sphere in which the Minister may be able to activate greater research efforts. Otherwise I think that a difficult and baffling situation will arise for teachers, who may feel that they ought to be doing something about this particular matter but that they have so many other things on their mind; and it will be particularly difficult for them if they have not the material to hand. I know that the Schools Council is working on this question. Their race relations "pack", as they call it, has run into difficulties and is being revised. I hope that the Ministry will adopt a benevolent attitude towards any request that they receive for research in this extremely important field. I think, too, that they should encourage discussion for the guidance of teachers on the fundamental problem which I think the noble Lord, Lord Todd. put perhaps most clearly in our debate; namely, the contrast between assimilation and integration. I think there is confusion in the minds of many teachers as to whether their job is to make all their pupils into good Britons, or whether they should try the much more difficult, but I think more satisfactory and rewarding, work of diversity in unity. This result is very difficult to attain, and I think we need all the research and help that we can get.
§ 8.9 p.m.
§ LORD O'HAGAN
My Lords, there is only one essential for a speaker speaking at this stage of the debate, which I shall try to fulfil, and that is brevity. I should like to thank the right reverend Prelate for opening this debate in such a profound way, and to apologise to the speakers immediately following him, including the Minister, for having to be elsewhere for a short time. I want to focus attention briefly on the more overall aspects of the Motion that we are discussing, because education cannot be separated from the rest of social policy and educational policy cannot be separated from the rest of Government policy. I read in the excellent publication by the Runnymede Trust, Attitudes of Young Immigrants, this excellent statement by the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham:Since the state of race relations flows directly from people's attitudes, it is essential to counter myths and prejudice by establishing a factual picture based on impartial observation".When I read that, I am delighted. But coming three months after some of the statements he made—I do not want to repeat them now, because he is not here —during the passage of the Immigration Bill, which had a great effect on education in a multi-racial society, if you contrast that remark with some of his criticisms of people who are advocating consideration for the race question in a moderate and factual way, there is a rather worrying contrast.
The first point I should like to underline is that education must be seen in the context of Government policy as a whole. Multi-racial education must be thought of not as something distinct or on its own in a special class, but as part of the Government's policy. If it is isolated it will not be effective. Here I would follow on from the noble Baroness, Lady White, and quarrel slightly with the terminology of my noble friend Lord Combermere, in what was otherwise a very interesting speech, in saying that we must not confuse ourselves or confuse other people into thinking that this is a debate solely about immigrants versus natives—people who are here and belong here and people who have come here and do not yet belong here. Even if you take the Government's own category of patrials, a large number of them are black; and 1234 more and more people who are patrials will be black. It is a mistake to think of a second or third generation person of Pakistani origin in Bradford as something quite different from somebody else of his own age who supports the same football club, lives in the same street and eats fish and chips on the way home from the same school in the same bus.
This is a point which I should like to focus on, because I feel quite deeply that there is a great deal of energy which is wasted in the confusion which results from a lack of distinction between race and culture. I am very proud of my Irish blood and my Jewish blood but neither of those determines my culture, and when we are talking about a multi-racial Britain we want people of different races and of different racial mixtures to have a diversity of different cultures. But because we label somebody as "Pakistani", "Celtic", or "Jewish" by race, it is quite ridiculous to think that they must be limited to one form of culture. These points are not just a medieval schoolman's point of definition, because unless these are remembered when the practical problems are being tackled the issue will not be considered in its proper context.
I should like to mention just one other thing. When we are talking about immigrants it is no use saying. "Oh, they are all the same; they are all immigrants; this is a lump of people, an interesting mass of dough", as Lady White was saying. In this very interesting survey—I shall not quote figures from it because I always find figures so confusing when listening to them in a debate—there is a significant difference between Indians, West Indians and Pakistanis in their attitudes towards getting assimilated and living side by side peacefully but retaining their customs, and in their attitudes towards maintaining racial identity and not intermarrying. There are a whole series of permutations there. My own practical experience was a complete failure, in that when I was at Eton I went to try to teach English to Pakistanis in a bus, and after three weeks I had to give up because nobody was coming. I should say, of course, that this was in Slough and not Eton.
I would underline many of the practical points that have been made about pepping up the curricula, especially in the light of what I was saying about its 1235 being a total national problem which includes all colleges of education. I used to pester the noble Baroness, Lady Phillips, about this in her previous incarnation because, as the noble Baroness, Lady White, said, it affects everybody, and we know from the statistics that have been published that racial prejudice is more pronounced in geographical areas which have not as yet had contact with multi-racial communities. So it is vital that teachers in those areas should be imparting a tolerant and understanding attitude.
Finally, I would take up one specific point with the noble Lord, Lord Belstead; that is, radio. I have a special interest in local radio. I have been to the local radio station in Stoke recently where they have been doing marvellous things in education, particularly language. They found particularly useful a system of secondment from the local education authority to the local radio station. As the noble Lord's Government is to introduce local commercial radio, can he give us any hope that his Department will encourage on a more widespread level the sort of thing that has been happening in Stoke? This teaching has developed because of the demand of the people in Stoke and this local radio station has had to satisfy the demand.
§ 8.16 p.m.
§ BARONESS PHILLIPS
My Lords, at this point in a debate, of course, one has thrown away most of one's prepared notes because most of the points have already been made. In thanking the right reverend Prelate for the very fine speech with which he introduced this interesting debate, I would congratulate him and the Minister, and my noble friend Lord Champion, on their discipline and fortitude in remaining in their place throughout the whole of the debate. I am not quite sure that all noble Lords appreciate what it is really like to sit and listen to 15 or 16 speeches.
To-day I came to the House straight from a school which I think meets the description which many people have been trying to give, of a multi-racial group. My task was to judge Christmas cakes and table decorations; and since the exhibits were labelled only with numbers 1236 it was quite fascinating when the various recipients of the prizes came forward, because, in the sense that we had a West Indian, an Indian and an Irish girl, each was completely different. But one matter of interest occurred—and because I believe in a Divine Being who gives me inspiration at the right moments, I would tell the right reverend Prelate that I believe that something like that did happen. In a particular group of table decorations I had selected for the first prize a very charming arrangement of holly. It was quite beautiful, simple and very elegant; and when the girl came to receive her prize the head teacher whispered to me, "She was being named for transfer to an E.S.N. school. Perhaps, after all, there is something she can do. We will have to think afresh. "Now, my Lords, I should like to think that I was partly instrumental in doing something exactly along the lines of our discussion to-day. While we continue to judge our children only on their academic standards we shall continue to make these mistakes. This is not, unhappily, confined to people from other countries: it applies to the indigenous population.
I am enjoined by my noble friend Lady Summerskill to tell the right reverend Prelate that, while she likes the tolerance for a multi-racial society for which he pleads, she hopes he will equally extend his tolerance to women in the Church. Now that I have discharged my duty there. I will not weary the noble Lord. Lord Belstead, further with any other requests—I believe that he has quite enough to answer—and I will simply underline some of the points that have been made.
It is important to recognise that education reflects the society in which we live. Sir George Pickering puts it rather well. He says:Education proves to be the most powerful instrument possessed by society to ensure that it is attuned to the times; or, in biological terms, that society becomes or remains adapted to an environment which is in the present stage remarkable for its rate of change.Society is changing at a great and rapid rate. What we teach children about other parts of the world will influence their attitude to the different peoples in the world, and to people who come from different parts of the world and settle in Britain. As several noble Lords have said, the world is getting smaller and 1237 smaller, and many of the things that we thought of in our youth as being absolute are no longer so. I was talking yesterday with a remarkable West Indian clergyman who is at Oxford and has done some very interesting work in the ecumenical field with the British Council of Churches. I wonder whether I might here take up the noble Viscount, Lord Combermere, and point out, as a Catholic, that I do not believe the Irish question is a religious one; I think that throughout the ages men have sought to convince us that political and economic questions are religious. I do not believe men fight in the same way about religion. But the noble Viscount may differ from me in this view. I was speaking about the West Indian clergyman at Oxford. He used some wonderful phrases, and I quote them because I feel that colloquial English is often as descriptive as anything that we use.
He said that the world is a oneness and that Christians must believe this, and that authority-making figures—in other words, my Lords, you and I—must be prepared to say this more often, and very loudly. What we know from the studies that have been made, biological, sociological and anthropological, is that people do not naturally have national characteristics. This has bedevilled much of our discussions. I can remember that when I married a Welshman I was told that he would have certain characteristics. He did, but they were certainly not any different from those of many of the Englishmen I have known. Environment and upbringing create the impression that national characteristics are natural, but we are beginning slowly to realise that this is not so. So in the world of education it is absolutely vital that accurate facts, whether they are in textbooks or in direct teaching, are the basis of study. The school textbook has a great responsibility because many people, children and adults alike, take their information from books. Without teachers' realising it, textbooks may put across attitudes and values which the teachers would not necessarily encourage. As has been pointed out, at present there are still far too many textbooks in use in schools, particularly in subjects like history and geography, which concentrate on the British as the superior man, the conqueror. There do not appear ever to be any black heroes in our books. It 1238 is interesting that a film showing in my own locality, which has a black hero in it, who is a "private eye" with somewhat vicious tendencies, has been received with such acclaim that the film is now in its third week of showing. The audiences are made up very largely of people who come from other countries because they are identified for the first time with a black hero. Why should there not be instances of some of the very remarkable people who have populated the world but who are not of the same colour as your Lordships and myself?
On an ordinary level of reading, the situation is just as hair-raising. A group of librarians recently carried out a survey on children's books. We have heard about comics, but these were children's books, found in libraries, on Africa, Cyprus, India and so on. These were books that had been published in this country and were available up to last year. The librarians were looking professionally at the books, and they pointed out that most of the books failed to convey the individuality of each country, not the least reason for this being that the books were rarely written by writers indigenous to the country under review. This seems to be one of the vital points which several noble Lords have underlined. We do not use the qualities and skills of the people who are here to work with the children who have come from other countries. I will not go into the question of examinations, but my reading last week-end was examination papers—we all seem to have indulged in re-reading. It was staggering to find that still we have questions about the "scramble for Africa between 1870 and 1914". An awful lot happened before that, and a great deal has happened since. These are taken from C.S.E. and G.C.E. papers. We have to realise that it is still possible for a geography teacher to teach about Europe and North America only, excluding the rest of the world, and that the pupils can still pass the examinations satisfactorily.
I am fortunate in having two teachers in my family, ray son and my daughter-in-law. They are both imaginative and compassionate hard-working young people. Through them I have been able to talk about some of these problems. Recently the N.U.T. issued some interesting material—in fact one begins to 1239 wonder at the end of this debate who has not issued some interesting material. If some of that information could be coordinated I feel that Her Majesty's Government would be doing us a service. One of the teachers remarked—and this is an interesting point—that for some time she had been aware of, and was very uneasy about, the difficulties of helping children who wanted to undertake an individual piece of work about a particular Caribbean island, where they or their parents were born. She said: "We have not had enough material at the right level available for these children …Too often their finished projects have depended on tourist brochures and have given a very superficial and distorted picture of the area".
It is equally interesting to see that a report from the Commonwealth Galleries refers to the fact that teachers take their children there in great numbers, but the countries which are studied in greatest depth are Australia, Canada and New Zealand. This is despite the fact that the figures show that the people who come from countries other than these three form the major part of the students going to the Galleries. It seems that we have something which we have to discuss with our teachers, and I agree with the remarks of my noble friend Lady White, with regard to teacher-training colleges. Just as the children are going to move about when they leave school, so the teacher is much more likely to teach in an area away from the college in which she has been trained. There must be a much greater understanding of world development dealt with in the colleges.
LORD BOYLE OF HANDS WORTH
My Lords, would the noble Baroness forgive me? In listing the number of people who should be responsible for rectifying this situation, would she not agree with me that the institutes of education in the universities should be listed here? At the moment, anyhow, those are responsible as area training organisations for the colleges of education.
§ BARONESS PHILLIPS
My Lords, yes. I certainly take the noble Lord's point. Of course, as a product of a college of education I usually mention them, although I appreciate that the others also play a part. What I am appealing for 1240 is the need for anybody who is in fact to take a teaching degree or diploma—not only the geographers and the historians. That is really the point. I refer to the teacher in the round, because such teachers are quite likely to be the ones who find themselves having to deal with the children from other parts of the world.
The Minister mentioned that there were a number of courses in being. I think he referred to 300 courses involving 10,000 teachers. If my figures are correct, we have a quarter of a million teachers. That is one in 25—which is not perhaps quite good enough. Can we encourage this activity a little more? The Minister mentioned 5,000 nursery places approved in the Urban Programme. Does he mean that they are in fact already in being, or that we are to see them in the very near future? I will not bother him with any further questions, but I did not want to interrupt him when he touched on those points.
My Lords, I will conclude by saying this. The immigrant neither desires nor warrants patronising liberal sentimentality. He simply wants his birthright, creatively armed with the knowledge of the past, in order that he may participate in the decision-making processes which determine his life. As a Christian country, we have a bounden duty to ensure that the multi-racial society is a good and worthy place in which to live.
§ 8.31 p.m.
§ LORD BELSTEAD
My Lords, with the permission of your Lordships, I will attempt briefly to answer some of the points which have been made in this very long and interesting debate. Before I forget the question, and certainly before I forget the answer, may I reply to the last question of the noble Baroness, Lady Phillips, to me. When I gave the statistics, what I meant was that 5,000 nursery places in respect (and I think I said this) of local education authorities which have more than 10 per cent. of immigrant children in their areas have been programmed under the urban programme. This does not mean necessarily that the bricks and mortar are finally complete. For instance, some of the schools under the third phase of the urban programme, announced in January of this year, have not been completed.
1241 Then we have some which are being programmed at this very moment under the£1.2 million slice of the urban programme which has just been announced for areas of high unemployment.
When your Lordships debated colour and citizenship two years ago, I noticed that the noble Lord, Lord Walston, said that for every question it answered a hundred remain to be answered. The wide range of interests and knowledge represented in the right reverend Prelate's debate to-day has certainly proved the truth of those words of the noble Lord. First, there is the point of the noble Lord, Lord Champion, in that he made a major request for a Committee to be set up on this subject. This is a call which was made by the noble Lord, Lord Ritchie-Calder, who I believe I am right in saying was a founder member of the Community Relations Commission until November of last year. It is because the Government take the line of thought of noble Lords seriously in this matter that the Department commissioned a major piece of research into educational arrangements for immigrant pupils some time ago. It is being carried out by the National Foundation for Educational Research. It started in April, 1970, and will take three years. Its purpose is to make available information about existing practice as a basis for future decisions. Results of the project will be published in three reports, the first of which has already appeared this year. Your Lordships will have noticed the frequency with which the Report has been quoted, including its quotation by me, and it is called Immigrant Pupils in England. I have already mentioned the work of the Schools Council in developing materials for language teaching, and there is research at Birmingham University into means of assessing linguistic proficiency.
There are two other projects—I know that I am not specifically answering the noble Lord's point yet—or two other points which are germane here. I was interested that your Lordships have not referred more to the first one. It is the study of measures in educational priority areas which Dr. A.H. Halsey is carrying out for the Department and the Social Science Research Council. As your Lordships probably are aware, his report is now shortly and eagerly awaited. Then 1242 there is the Home Office Community Development Project which is designed to arrive at a clearer understanding of the needs of local communities through the active involvement of local residents.
I would ask your Lordships to draw two conclusions from these research projects. First, they hope to be of practical use. I believe that this is most important when the progress of a generation is our immediate concern, and it is my duty to make it crystal clear to your Lordships that this is entirely in line with my right honourable friend's view of the correct policy for research falling under her jurisdiction. Secondly, developments which begin in response to the specific needs of immigrants are proving to have applications of wider significance and there is an increasing realisation that effective language development calls for a school policy involving all the school staff—and this is something so many of your Lordships have said, including the noble Baroness who spoke last—right across the curriculum. I suggest that this introduces an important educational principle. And may I draw your Lordships' attention to an inter-Departmental factor which exists now. After all, the Urban Programme and the Community Development Project involve my own Department and the Department of Health and Social Security in conjunction with the Home Office. I will certainly pass on the wishes of the noble Lord, Lord Champion, and other noble Lords to my right honourable friend. But for the moment I would hope that this answer will show the noble Lord the policy which Her Majesty's Government are now following and the practical results of research which my right honourable friend believes should be a prerequisite of new projects.
Perhaps almost the most important point which has been made is that concerning co-ordination—the last point which was made by the noble Baroness, Lady Phillips. Again, I assure the noble Baroness, that I will personally pass this point on to my right honourable friend for further consideration.
§ BARONESS WHITE
My Lords, I do not know whether this is the point at which I should try to assure myself that the noble Lord is going to deal with the problem I tried to raise, which concerns 1243 research, not into the teaching of the immigrant children, but into the teaching of the indigenous children in this field, which is not at all the same matter. Everything he has spoken about, admirable as it is, is focused on the immigrant child.
§ LORD BELSTEAD
Indeed, my Lords, I wonder whether the noble Baroness will forgive me for dealing with this separately. May I ask—and I think I must do so in my position in the Department —that I may pass this point on to my right honourable friend for consideration. I really cannot give the noble Baroness any further reply. But I assure her that this particular point, which I take seriously—and when I say this point, I mean that I take this whole area seriously —will be passed on by me personally to my right honourable friend.
The noble Lord, Lord Wade, was listened to, certainly by me, with the greatest of interest. May I reply specifically to the noble Lord on the connection between the recently published survey on slow learners and immigrant pupils. However, before I reply to the noble Lord, although I said something in my opening speech about West Indians and E.S.N. schools, may I make one further remark of a fairly short nature in that connection. The Department has recently published the results of a survey by Her Majesty's Inspectorate which suggests considerations which should guide teachers—and I did refer to this —in checking the progress of immigrant pupils and determining their special needs. What I did not say is that the Department is also considering, in consultation with the Community Relations Commission, whether further guidance needs to be given to local education authorities and teachers. But I think I ought to add that, without in any way wishing to deny the existence of the problems and the misunderstandings which are caused, I feel bound to reject any possible suggestions which might have been made this afternoon of conscious discrimination in the allocation of places at E.S.N. schools—unconscious, perhaps, but never, I think conscious. No child is categorised as being educationally subnormal unless his or her abilities have been very carefully assessed. We recog 1244 nise most certainly the limitations of existing techniques of assessment, but I am sure it would be wrong to dismiss the work of E.S.N. schools in attempting to meet the special educational needs of those who are allocated to them.
May I leave the matter of West Indian children and E.S.N. schools there? May I suggest to the noble Baroness, Lady White, that she be so good as to look again in Hansard at what I said in my opening speech; I do not think that in fact she will find that there is anything between us on this subject. Perhaps I did not make myself quite clear from the Dispatch Box, but I hope that when she reads what I said she will find that it is consonant with what she said.
The noble Lord, Lord Wade, raised the different point of slow learners. Recent surveys, for instance the N.F.E.R. survey, suggest that wrong placings have by no means disappeared, and the survey draws attention to the undesirability of this, both for the immigrant children concerned and for those who are waiting for special attention, perhaps in a remedial class. The noble Lord may well ask what Her Majesty's Government are doing about it, and my answer is two-fold: first, generally increased provision for combating language difficulties is, I think, having a beneficial effect. Indeed it was the noble Lord, Lord Boyle, who kindly gave to the House figures for the reduction in the number of pupils in schools who are unable to cope with the curriculum because of their poor grasp of English.
Secondly, I can tell the noble Lord that the Department has asked the N.F.E.R. to undertake a rather unusual piece of research. It concerns the construction of objective tests of proficiency in listening, speaking, reading and writing to help in the assessment of language needs of immigrant pupils. I understand that this is not merely an attempt to try to develop what are sometimes called "culture-fair" or "culture-free" tests; rather is it a move following on from other National Foundation of Educational Research work by Dr. Judith Haynes, whose tests, as I understand the reading of them, were devised to assess how well a child could learn the kind of skills which are necessary for school progress. As I understand it, the noble Lord is concerned with the same point as Members of Her Majesty's 1245 Inspectorate in the recent education survey on assessment, published only about three or four months ago, when the view was expressed that teachers need a check on the progress of their pupils to determine their needs: the N.F.E.R. project is intended to go some way to meet exactly this need.
Earlier in the debate I referred to the raising of the school-leaving age. I believe this provides an important opportunity for newcomers whose language difficulties have inevitably retarded their progress. During the next few years I would suggest that the schools are going to learn a good deal in practice about what we call "open sixth forms". I think it is worth reminding the House, because of the way in which some noble Lords pitched their remarks (not least the noble Lord, Lord Boyle), of the importance of the time just after children leave school and the great importance of adult education and further education. I think it is worth reminding your Lordships that the Schools Council has been working since 1964 (as the noble Baroness has kindly said) to provide the teaching materials for just this eventuality; and your Lordships may be interested to know that in the sixth form college schemes which have so far been approved—and I am speaking "off the cuff"—I can only think of one which is not explicitly intended for all who wish to continue their education. However, young immigrants beyond school age may be faced—and I am sure noble Lords are telling me that they are faced—with two particular kinds of disadvantage. First, there are the social and vocational handicaps imposed by an inability to communicate. Children of 13 or 14 come here and through no fault of their own—indeed they may be extremely bright—they cannot speak English. Secondly, there are the handicaps imposed by variations in the educational standards of those entering employment, either directly on arrival in this country or after participating for only a short time in secondary school education.
For some years past, the special remedial work in colleges of further education has been concentrated on efforts to improve these two educational disabilities. Particular provision is made in many centres in the country—for example, the Park Lane College of Further Education at Leeds, or the Path 1246 way Centre Out-Station of the Ealing Technical College—for the intensive teaching of English by means of language laboratories and other special aids. Furthermore, many authorities are making special provision for immigrant parents, and particularly mothers, to learn English. In this connection, I will also look again at the suggestions made by the noble Lord, Lord Boyle. In some cases the local authorities are organising classes in maternity and child welfare centres or in their children's infants' schools.
In addition, I would say broadly to the noble Lord, Lord Boyle, and the noble Lord, Lord Todd, that I think the providers of adult education like the Workers' Education Association, as well as the local education authorities, are making an appreciable contribution and one which generally works towards integration rather than segregation. A special study is being conducted at Leicester University which has been commissioned by the Russell Committee and the Department of Education and Science upon the needs of, and provision for, disadvantaged groups, including non-assimilated immigrants. I am sorry about that expression, my Lords, but it is the one which I am afraid has been used in that particular project.
The noble Baroness, Lady Gaitskell, wished me to say a brief word about careers guidance. She particularly put her finger on the difficult transitional moment. It is true in the case of most immigrant pupils that an important part of their education is the finding of suitable jobs. This will be agreed. It is important not only for the individual concerned but also for future community relations. I am sure your Lordships will welcome the increasing co-operation between careers teachers and careers officers in the use of the Employment Service. At this moment, the Department of Education and Science are carrying out, through members of the Inspectorate, a survey of careers guidance in schools, and I am hoping that this will lead to some valuable conclusions next year. Meanwhile, because immigrant pupils tend to rely more heavily on the Youth Employment Service, the Central Youth Employment Service has for some time now recognised the need for more careers officers to work with young immigrants, 1247 and in calculating staffing ratios for local careers officers for the year 1971–72 the equivalent of 29 additional posts have been allocated for this purpose.
If I am not keeping your Lordships too long may I say just a brief word individually about one or two points that have been made? The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Durham said that true tolerance does nothing to constrain diversity. The House listened carefully to the right reverend Prelate's analysis on these lines, both at the beginning and at the end of his speech, and I think we were made aware that at the same time the diversity for which we as a nation should care so much could contain the seeds of religious discord at a time when the Churches in Great Britain have been working earnestly towards more of an ecumenical approach. If I understood the right reverend Prelate aright, some of what the noble Viscount, Lord Comber-mere, said is highly relevant to what the right reverend Prelate said. I will not attempt to stand in the middle of these two expert views but would simply register the fact that the Government are cognisant of the matter and will, of course, be reading both speeches with equal care.
The noble Lord asked specifically about textbooks, as indeed did other noble Lords, including Lord Walston and Lord Gridley. A survey has recently been published by a voluntary committee on overseas aid and development While the choice of textbooks is, of course, one for the L.E.A.s and individual teachers, the words of the right reverend Prelate and others were helpful, and again will focus our attention on what is, I repeat, a matter for local education authorities.
The noble Lord, Lord Champion, made the point about the importance of the ratio of teachers to immigrants. I think I ought to tell the noble Lord that for several years now, as I am sure he is aware, the Department have shown themselves ready to make extra allocation for teachers in areas with many immigrants. The quotas for the three years 1968 to 1971 were 2,019, 2,982 and now, I think, nearly 3,500 extra teachers, who will be allocated to fifty-four authorities. In addition. 75 per cent. grants are paid. under Section 11 of the 1966 Local Government' Act, for the salaries of 1248 teachers and other staffs in areas with more than 2 per cent. of immigrant pupils.
The noble Lord, Lord Boyle, specifically asked me about the survey on second-phase work. I am delighted to be able to say a little more about the information which the Department are preparing on the subject. It is in draft, and I hope that it will be published very early next year. It is a survey carried out by the Inspectorate in a number of representative areas. It identifies some of the measures already adopted by local education authorities—and I must emphasise that this is something which has not been utterly neglected—and schools to help immigrant pupils acquire the mastery of the language that is necessary to follow the complex subjects of the secondary school curriculum. What it is intended to go on to do is to suggest ways in which these measures might be improved and extended. I think I must dodge the question of the noble Lord, Lord Boyle, about finance; I think this must await his own scrutiny of the survey. Effective provision will depend on the extent to which teachers can be informed of the problem, and the time which is made available to deal with it. As I say, we hope very much that the survey will appear early next year.
I am most grateful to the noble Lord for saying that colleges are coming more to grips with education in a multi-racial classroom. That is, in fact, my information before this debate. I think it was most important that the noble Lord reminded us of the difficulties which beset the classroom teacher. I admit to the noble Lord that I have very recently had very strong pleas for more ancillaries, and although Her Majesty's Government can, I believe, confidently quote the improvement factor that we have included in the current rate-support grant compared to previous settlements, nevertheless I admit to the House that this is one area of help about which teachers of younger children feel very strongly. The noble Lord. Lord Walston, made the point about bursaries. I did say a little about this in opening. Perhaps I can write to the noble Lord. and in any event of course we can take it up in the House later.
I was grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Gridley, for his contribution. He called 1249 for a "crash" programme for education in English so that non-English speakers do not hold back other children. Here, of course, we are back again on a difficult point. I did give some description to the House in my opening remarks; I spoke a little about language centres, language classes, peripatetic teachers. But there are dangers, to teachers as well as pupils, if they involve themselves entirely in full-time centres. I admit that this is a personal and not an official view, but it is something the teaching profession themselves recognise. The noble Lord will have been interested in the answer I have been able to give to the noble Lord, Lord Boyle, on second-phase work.
I was also grateful to my noble friend Lord Auckland for his contribution. He asked me whether there were any plans afoot to have Ministers and senior officials concerned paying more visits over here. It so happens that I fill the junior position of welcoming many of the Ministers from overseas countries who visit us. I am grateful to my noble friend for his suggestion, because I realise, particularly when I see such visitors at the end of their visits, the importance of the time they have spent in this country, not to mention the things which they can tell me, for passing on to my right honourable friend, and which are of value to us. I can see substantial advantages from exchanges, not only between teachers but also between officials and Ministers from different countries. This is another point that we shall look at and take to heart.
I followed the noble Lord, Lord Todd, very carefully in his most interesting speech, as I know the House did, and I attach a special importance to the noble Lord's words because he keyed his remarks to the development of what he called general techniques. A great deal of what the noble Lord said would of course fall to the local authorities or the universities, but his remarks were most important, and I think will repay further reading. The noble Baroness, Lady White, drew attention particularly to the colleges' of education and to the provision that is being made in them. The only thing I might say at this stage is that it has been estimated in one recent survey that 33 per cent. colleges provide courses on teaching immigrant pupils or race relations for all their students, 27 1250 per cent. of colleges give these courses to some of their students; 5 per cent. of colleges only give, or propose to give, courses on teaching in a multi-racial society to all their students, and 27 per cent. of colleges give or propose to give such courses to some of their students. I shall certainly be writing to the noble Baroness, not only on this point but on several other points she made in her speech.
My Lords, those are all the questions I am able to cover now. I fear that I am in the unhelpful position of being totally unable to answer the final question of the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, on commercial radio. But I will write to him. If I may say one last thing, as I expected, I think it is fair to claim that the tenor of many of the remarks made during this debate has been a demand for more positive discrimination for multi-racial education and education of immigrants. But may I remind your Lordships that the resources devoted to special measures for areas of high immigrant population continue to rise? Under this category come special salary addition for teachers, grants from the Home Office under Section 11 of the 1966 Local Government Act in addition to the teacher quotas, in-service training courses; and behind this, of course, stands the Urban Programme.
Following the speech of the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, and his line of thought towards the end of his remarks, I am bound to tell your Lordships that I was in a Lancashire city recently, talking to the headmistress and staff of a junior and infant school with a high West Indian immigrant population, and I remarked very much the vehemence with which the staff professed their belief in their pupils' responsiveness to an atmosphere of general care for the well-being of their education. The staff did not reject the concept of the E.P.A. as such but, like the noble Lord, Lord Snow, in a recent article in the Financial Times, they vigorously explained that language was only one of the problems of immigrant pupils, that there were other problems of varying complexity, all of which could be alleviated by a raising of the general standard of their school. This entails positive discrimination, but not dressing it up and shouting the odds to attract embarrassing attention. It entails, I would suggest, rather positive discrimination, quiet but effective, supported by realistic local 1251 authority expenditure, in which, through rate-support grant, Government must be involved, supported by devoted teachers and improved buildings and by plans laid in good time—plans which can benefit from the sort of detailed discussion that your Lordships have given to this subject to-day.
§ 9.0 p.m.
THE LORD BISHOP OF DURHAM
My Lords, your Lordships are wonderfully patient and I shall not keep you for more than a few more minutes. I should like to express gratitude to all those who have contributed to the debate, whether as speakers or listeners, or both. I am especially grateful for the patient and enthusiastic interest, and the typically careful concern, which the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, has shown. My gratitude goes also to the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, for his work of supererogation in being here for this debate, and for the interest he has shown in it.
It seems to me that the debate has moved easily and helpfully, as did the noble Lord, Lord Champion, at the start, between ideals on the one hand and practicalities on the other; between ideas and curricula; between ideas of tolerance and text books, good and bad—mostly bad and mostly on history; between Herbert Spencer on the one hand and second phase language work, and Lord Walston's suggestion of the possibility of the greater use of travel schemes on the other. We have had a good rhythm right through the debate. It would be ill gratitude to keep your Lordships waiting long, but equally ungracious if I said nothing more than that.
I take Lord Wade's word "multi-cultural" as an improvement on "multi-racial". The noble Baroness, Lady White, as did the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, rightly reminded us that our concern is with the whole community. Education, as the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, implied, and as the noble Lords, Lord Ritchie-Calder and Lord Todd, emphasised, certainly in this context is something which must extend well beyond the schools and reach out to the adults. Obviously in that connection the mass media has that great importance that the noble Lord, Lord Willis, assigned to it. As the noble Lords, Lord 1252 Gridley and Lord Gladwyn, reminded us, one of the greatest problems is to ensure that geographical segregation does not suggest, and segregate, attitudes, sympathies, activities, but that the variety shall contribute to a richer unity, which in a sense was my theme song.
If I wanted a crude symbol of future hopes, I would express it in terms of what I once saw in Chicago on St. Patrick's Day. I saw a coloured girl dressed mainly in green and, I emphasise, even with a touch of orange and bearing on her lapel the huge label, "Kiss me, I'm Irish"—perhaps a symbol of the coming together of many different strands in the wider humanity. The noble Lord, Lord Auckland, gave us a more serious and important example from New Zealand. The noble Lord, Lord Ritchie-Calder, pointed to those Canadian hopes and possibilities. I was particularly grateful that the debate extended to colleges of education, whose significance the noble Baronesses, Lady Gaitskell and Lady White, underlined; to technical education; to universities, raising such controversial questions as overseas students and their fees; and pointing us, as did the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, to the Commonwealth and world significance of our educational policies here.
I thought it was a very interesting suggestion in that context—which the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, took up—about these international gatherings of teachers, ministers and officials, and perhaps they might well be in other places besides England. I grant to the noble Lord, Lord Todd, that certainly religion can be divisive; but not the least merit of responding to the present challenge is that religious education might prove for once its unifying and not divisive power. Certainly it has an unequalled opportunity to make plain its abiding significance. For that, and other reasons, I much sympathise with what the noble Viscount, Lord Combermere, said about that matter and the teaching of other religions, when in that way he and others drew out—for instance, the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, and the noble Baroness. Lady Phillips—the wide social and political significance of education in a multi-racial society.
So I conclude, as did the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, earlier, with a view of the 1253 immense possibilities spreading out before us for education, if taken in the broadest sense, which I called at one point social education, as did the noble Baronesses, Lady Gaitskell and Lady Phillips, seeing it in the broadest sense as something extending from play groups to adults, but motivated by that great ideal which the noble Lord, Lord Champion, phrased as the "weaving of mankind into a single but heterogeneous community", and which the noble Lord, Lord Boyle of Handsworth, reminded us had a harmony of a creative kind and not just the kind of harmony which comes from ignoring others.
It is with those possibilities in mind, and very conscious of our neglect in the past, that I think we have to weigh the importance of the kind of survey I have mentioned. I gratefully acknowledge, as we all do, what has been and is being done, and the sheer weight, if only in terms of page numbers, of reports that have come forward. But is there not then the need—and I think the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, admitted as much—for some overall evaluation, perhaps coordination? I think the word of the noble Baroness, Lady Phillips, is the better: the need for some co-ordination so that this knowledge and research, and the reports, can be somehow translated into social action. A principle of that co-ordination and evaluation might well be to let the knowledge focus—as the noble Lord, Lord Boyle, rightly suggested it ought to do, and Lord Brockway's letters made the same kind of point—on the teachers and the children in the schools. That is in the last and first place where the problems are, and it is also the place from where the possibilities arise. Can the Government put their weight behind certain objectives to enable action to be developed decisively and practically, and possibly then all the better to be incorporated into some legislation at a future date, as the noble Lord, Lord Ritchie-Calder, suggested? I will say no more, being satisfied with the debate. I beg leave to withdraw the Motion for Papers standing in my name, only adding, if I may, Christmas greetings to noble Lords and their families everywhere.
§ Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.