– in the House of Commons on 21st May 1935.
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education whether he is aware of the falling off in the number of students which the insistence of the Board of Education on the raising of fees in evening institutes may have; and whether the Board will reconsider this matter?
The numbers of students in evening institutes, which fell in 1932–33, largely owing to the low birthrate in the War, but also because of trade depression, increased in 1933–34 and, as far as can be judged, will increase again in the present session. I am glad to have this opportunity of pointing out that throughout their review of the arrangements of the Local Education Authorities the Board have aimed not merely at securing a larger income from fees, where this could reasonably be expected, but also at securing a more coherent system of fees, which would help the co-ordination and development of Technical Education. As their policy includes the remission of fees in cases of poverty and the adjustment or remission of fees to encourage the attendance of young students there is no reason for anticipating any adverse effects on enrolment.
Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that in some instances a fee of 2s. 6d., which is supposed to cover all the courses taken at these Institutes, has now been changed to a fee which may be 10s. per course at the same Institute, and that it is likely to prove a very heavy burden on some of the lower-paid workers, in view of the fact also that some of their material costs as much as £2 or £3 in the season?
If the hon. Member will give me any instance where enrolment has been discouraged by increased fees I will look into it.