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Education Branch

Volume 437: debated on Wednesday 14 May 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for Air the present number of education officers; and what is the required establishment.

The establishment of the R.A.F. Education Branch has not yet been settled, but it will probably include about 1,000 officers. There are now 255.

Can the right hon. Gentleman tell us how long it is expected to take to expand from about 250 to about 1,000? How many years will that process take place?

As the hon. Member knows, it is difficult to get people with teaching qualifications at present. We are, in fact, filling about 600 posts with officers and n.c.os. now in the Royal Air Force who have educational qualifications. In that way I hope we shall be able to bridge the gap.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that he cannot get these education officers because of the bad treatment that education officers in the R.A.F. received during the war; and will he see that some retrospective justice is done to the education officers who served during the war?

That is another question, which I cannot now debate. I hope that my hon. Friend will help me to make it known to those who might apply that, in fact, conditions now are good.


asked the Secretary of State for Air what response he has had to the offer of short-service education commissions.

Up to the 10th May, 1947, 220 applications had been received for short-service commissions in the education branch of the R.A.F. At that date, 49 officers had been appointed.

We want to get as many as we can, up to the limits which I have already announced.

Does the right hon. Gentleman not think that he would get a better response if he offered permanent commissions instead of short-service ones?

I think I said in the Debates on the Estimates, that we plan, in the long run, to have an educational branch of which one-third shall consist of long-term officers and two-thirds of short-term service commissions. We think that is the best plan, and I hope that we shall get the men we need.

Can the right hon. Gentleman let us know in the OFFICIAL REPORT, by a tabular statement or otherwise, the academic and professional qualifications of these 220 applicants?

I can let the hon. Member know the qualifications of those who have been accepted, but that is by no means the whole.

Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether conscientious objectors are eligible for commissions in this noncombatant branch of the Service?