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United Nations Convention (Education)

Volume 655: debated on Tuesday 13 March 1962

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6.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies to what extent the principles of the United Nations Convention against discrimination in education have already been applied to those parts of the educational system in Northern Rhodesia for which Her Majesty's Government are responsible; and how many multi-racial schools exist in the territory.

As the responsibility of the Northern Rhodesia Government for education is confined to African education other than higher education, the question of racial discrimination in the Government schools does not arise. The aim of that Government is universal primary education as resources permit. All tuition is free. There is one private multi-racial school.

Will the Colonial Secretary enter into consultations with the Governor of Northern Rhodesia with a view to seeing that a multi-racial policy in education is carried out in Northern Rhodesia? In view of the fact that his responsibilities are limited, will he consult with other education authorities responsible for other sections of education in Northern Rhodesia to try to negotiate an agreement for a multiracial policy?

I think the hon. Member has forgotten the drift of my original reply, which was that the Northern Rhodesian Government are responsible for the African education. Therefore, the point about multi-racialism does not arise.

Precisely because of that, will the right hon. Gentleman negotiate with both the Northern Rhodesian and the Federal Government to try to arrive at an agreement for a non-discriminatory policy in education in Northern Rhodesia?

I think that raises much wider questions than the general policies of the Federal and territorial Governments.

Is not the situation in which European education is the responsibility of the Federal Government and African education is the responsibility of the territorial Government discriminatory and an offence against this Convention?

I am not so sure on that point. I think that if one examines the facts one finds that African education has been extremely well advanced in these territories.