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Commonwealth Education Conference

Volume 652: debated on Thursday 1 February 1962

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asked the Minister of Education whether he will make a statement about the decisions reached at the Commonwealth Education Conference in New Delhi.

The official report of the Conference was published in Delhi last week and a copy is now available in the Library of the House. The Government intend to publish the report as a White Paper as soon as possible.The Conference reviewed the four main schemes launched as a result of the first Conference held at Oxford in 1959—the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan, and the schemes for the Training and Supply of Teachers and for Technical Education, and took a number of detailed decisions which will lead to the development and more effective use of these schemes.The Conference decided that a Commonwealth English Language Information Centre should be established in London to collect and disseminate information and advice on the best means of teaching English as a second language. Useful surveys were also made of the possibilities of further cooperation within the Commonwealth in the fields of social education, rural education and the production and distribution of textbooks and other books.The Conference agreed that the Commonwealth Education Liaison Committee and Unit should be continued and that they should develop their function as a source of information for member Governments. Indeed the Delhi Conference has strengthened co-operation in education as a major feature of inter-Commonwealth relations.It was encouraging that Commonwealth Governments made a number of offers for new developments which were welcomed by all countries. The British delegation made two principal offers. The first was to train and finance experts in the teaching of English who would be available to fill key posts overseas. The second was to provide courses in this country for the training of technical teachers, more particularly of technicians and craftsmen. Courses will also be provided here for those concerned with the production of textbooks.We are greatly indebted to the Government of India both for the efficient arrangements made for the Conference and for their hospitality.The offer by the Canadian Government to hold the next Conference in Canada, probably about the middle of 1964, was warmly welcomed.