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Open University

Volume 760: debated on Thursday 14 March 1968

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asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a further statement on the establishment of the Open University; and to what extent its development has been retarded by the cuts in public expenditure.

The Planning Committee is making very good progress, and recently published its proposals for the curriculum and courses of the Open University. Its work is not affected by the cuts in public expenditure.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the whole House is gratified to see her back in her place?

As the White Paper on this project was published more than two years ago, can my right hon. Friend say what the delays are, and can she give some indication of when the first programme will go on the air?

There are no delays. I am grateful to Sir Peter Venables and his Planning Committee for the work they are doing. We expect their preliminary job to be finished by the autumn, and we expect that by the autumn of 1970, or January, 1971, this entire project, thoroughly prepared, will be launched. The gestation period for setting up a great university of this kind is no longer than for any of the other new universities.