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Illiteracy

Volume 446: debated on Tuesday 27 January 1948

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106.

asked the Secretary of State for War what percentage of Army recruits can neither read nor write; and what standards are employed to permit 10 per cent. of Army recruits to be classed as illiterate.

I assume that my hon. Friend is referring to a statement recently attributed to the C.I.G.S. If so, I understand that what Field-Marshal Montgomery actually said was that one in ten of the last National Service intake at a particular Primary Training Centre which he had visited was illiterate. The proportion of illiterates in this particular intake was much greater than the general average of all such recruits joining at Primary Training Centres. As my right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence indicated in reply to a Question by the hon. Member for Bucklow (Mr. Shepherd) on 26th November, about 2 per cent. of current intakes into the Army have to be sent to special elementary education courses as being either illiterate or of extremely low literacy.