§ Ms. Ruddock
To ask the Secretary of State for Education what steps have been taken since 1986 to improve educational standards and opportunities for the Bangladeshi population in Britain.
§ Mr. Forth
Successive educational reforms since 1986, including the Education Bill now before Parliament, have been designed to raise standards and improve opportunities for all pupils, whatever their ethnic or cultural background. As they take effect, Bangladeshi pupils are sharing in the benefit. Grants paid to local authorities under section 11 of the Local Government Act 1966 are supporting projects designed to meet the particular educational needs of Bangladeshi pupils, including English language support.
Bengali may now be studied in schools in fulfilment of the national curriculum requirement that all pupils aged 11 to 16 must study a modern foreign language. Funding has been provided through GEST—grants for education support and training—for three projects specifically for Bangladeshi pupils. Bangladeshi community groups are also benefiting from the ethnic minority grant introduced in April 1992 to give ethnic minorities equal access to training and enterprise opportunities.