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University Degree Courses

Volume 440: debated on Thursday 17 July 1947

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asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is in a position to make a statement on the Report of the Committee on Higher Agricultural Education, in the light of the consultations that have been taking place with the universities and other interested bodies.

Yes. The universities are sympathetic in principle with the Committee's proposals for raising the standard of degree courses in agriculture and horticulture and have carefully noted the detailed suggestions in the report relating to the form and content of the courses. The Committee's comprehensive plan for the development and allocation of graduate courses is generally acceptable to the universities, some of whom are hoping to introduce courses on the lines suggested this year or next.The main administrative recommendation of the Committee was that responsibility for grants in aid of higher agricultural and horticultural education at universities should be transferred from my Department to the University Grants Committee as from the beginning of the academic year 1947–48 on the understanding that the University Grants Committee would set up a specialist subcommittee to provide it with the necessary technical advice. After consultation with the universities and in agreement with my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer I have accepted this recommendation. I shall naturally retain a close interest in the development of university teaching in agriculture and horticulture.The constitution of the Agricultural Sub-Committee appointed by the University Grants Committee is as follows:

  • Dr. A. E. Truman, F.R.S. (Chairman)
  • J. M. Caie, Esq., C.B.
  • Professor N. M. Comber, D.Sc.
  • Sir Frank Engledow, Kt., C.M.G., M.A., B.Sc.
  • Sir John Fryer, U.B.E., M.A.
  • Sir Bryner Jones, C.B., C.B.E., LL.D., M.Sc.
  • Dr. Thomas Loveday, M.A.
  • Professor H. A. D. Neville, M.A., B.sc.
  • Dr. W. G. Ogg, M.A.
  • Frank Rayns, Esq., O.B.E., M.A.
  • Professor E. R Rideal, M.B.E., F.R.S.
  • Sir Edward Salisbury, C.B.E., F.R.S., D.Sc.
  • Dr. Norman Wright, M.A

I should add that while we are in general agreement with the Higher Agricultural Education Committee's assessment of the nature of the need for agricultural and horticultural education at Universities neither my right hon. Friend nor I should be regarded as necessarily committed to acceptance of their views as to the future extent of the need. The Committee's recommendations relating to the nature of the provision of two-year courses to be made at Agricultural Colleges and the future of the National Diploma Examinations are still under consideration.