§ Mr. Tom Clarke
To ask the Secretary of State for health which institutions and organisations currently provide training for rehabilitation and mobility workers for visually impaired people; how many places on such courses are presently available; and how these institutions and organisations are funded. 923W
§ Mr. Bowis
Training for rehabilitation and mobility workers for visually impaired people is currently provided by the university of Central England and by the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association. The university of Central England provides 16 places on the course for the diploma of higher education in rehabilitation studies and six on the course for the certificate of qualification in orientation and mobility with visually impaired children and young persons. The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association provides 33 placed on its diploma of higher education in rehabilitation studies courses in England and six places in Scotland.
I understand that the courses at the university of Central England are partly funded by the university with funds from the Higher Education Funding Council, supplemented by an annual grant from the Royal National Institute for the Blind, and also from income from student fees. The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association is a registered charity whose objects include promoting the welfare of all blind people. Courses are funded partly by the charity and also from income from student fees. Tuition fees for some students are met by local authorities, or their agents under contract to them for the provision of visual disability services. The Department's social services training support programme includes a specific sub-programme for visual disability training. Under the sub-programme, up to 70 per cent. of the tuition fees may be met by the Department of Health and the remainder by the sponsoring local authority.