§ 3.18 p.m.
§ The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government when they will be in a position to announce the criteria for the allocation of the funds at present earmarked by the Overseas Development Ministry for the furtherance of development education.625
My Lords, my right honourable friend the Minister for Overseas Development hopes to make a full statement on this and related matters shortly.
§ Lord ELTON
My Lords, while thanking the noble Lord for that slightly obscure Answer, may I ask him, to start with, whether he will tell us what exactly "shortly" means? Secondly, would he agree that we are speaking of sums of money already voted and in hand, and the fact that they are not yet available, and that those who could expect to receive them do not know whether they will, is beginning to have a deleterious effect in the area of development education to which they are supposed to be allocated?
My Lords, I cannot put a specific date on the announcement by my right honourable friend, but I do assure the noble Lord that this is in no way a term of art to cover up delay. We are intending to move to this announcement as soon as possible. On his second point, I think he will be aware that there has been a Working Party, and discussions have taken place between my right honourable friend and representatives of the voluntary agencies. I can agree with him that the sums of money that have been discussed as needing to be made available for development education are sums which have already been voted within the aid budget. I agree with him that the voluntary agencies will wish to know as soon as possible what particular sums for particular projects will be available to them.
§ Lord ELTON
My Lords, may I ask the noble Lord to go a little further and accept that a date for publication was generally expected in September, and again earlier this month? Therefore, there is some impatience in this field. May I ask him whether he is aware in particular that the World Development Movement, which is an organisation supported by five denominations of the Christian Church, including the Established Church, is preparing a campaign, to run in 1978, to enable people to judge how best they should stand in relationship to the Third World? It is now becoming of great moment to them to know whether they can put the planning of this in hand before it becomes too late to carry it out in that autumn.
My Lords, I know the sense of urgency among the voluntary agencies, and I share it. We are all impatient to get on with this, and indeed I have played my own voluntary part in the World Development Movement so I am entirely with them in wishing to further their programme. I think I must ask the noble Lord to exercise a little more patience, but not a great deal more.
§ Lord PEDDIE
My Lords, might I ask my noble friend if he would be willing to transmit to the Government the need for consideration of new principles in the determination of the criteria; that is, a greater emphasis upon the provision of technical education in those countries that will assist in development, rather than the more academic pursuits that have been encouraged all too often in the past?
My Lords. I will certainly convey that point of view of my noble friend. But, if I may say so, he has mistaken the purpose of the Question. The Question is about development education; that is, education on development matters in this country. That is what the Question and the exchanges have been about, and not the deployment of funds for education in developing countries. That does not mean that I do not agree with ray noble friend in what he has said.
§ Lord HAILSHAM of SAINT MARYLEBONE
My Lords, may I ask the noble Lord whether he is aware of the anxiety felt in polytechnics in central London at the increased cost to overseas students engaged on technological courses in this country as a result of increased fees which the local authorities have had to impose?
My Lords, while I am aware of those anxieties, it is a different question, if I may say so again. Development education, I think the noble Lord, Lord Elton, intends and this is the sense in which I have answered him, is education about the development problem in developing countries. It is that that the noble Lord and I have been discussing in the last few minutes.
§ Lord ELTON
My Lords, may I, in conclusion, briefly ask the noble Lord whether he will as soon as possible let me know how long in fact "short" is?
My Lords, with respect, that is another question somewhat similar to that voiced by the noble and learned Lord opposite.