Lieut.-Colonel Sir Ian Fraser:
asked the Minister of Labour whether following the scheme for releasing arts and theological students from the Services, he can now announce a scheme for the release of articled clerks to solicitors and accountants, persons studying to become barristers or surveyors and other professional students.
The special arrangements for the release of certain arts and theological students are based upon the immediate need in the national interest of reviving arts courses at universities, and of meeting the needs of the churches. I am looking into the position, but I am not at present able to extend these arrangements to other classes.
Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that a great many students' courses start in October and that they miss a whole year when they cannot start then? Does not the nation need these professional men very badly?
Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the fact that the university and theological colleges begin in October, and will he make the arrangements as early as possible so that students will be free to enter?
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in Scotland, so far as the training of teachers is concerned, the year begins in September, and will he make arrangements accordingly?
asked the Minister of Labour whether, in view of the fact that approved arts students and clergy students are to be released from the Forces immediately in order to resume their university courses, the same facilities for early release may be granted to medical, science and engineering students.
asked the Minister of Labour if, in view of the need for the maximum number of science students at the universities, in order that the country may be technically equipped for the future, he will consider offering special facilities for the early release of Servicemen who have begun their university courses in science before joining the Armed Forces.
No, Sir; the decision to release arts and theological students as already announced was taken in view of the immediate need to revive arts courses at the universities and to meet the serious shortage of ministers of religion. Such considerations do not apply to medical, science and engineering students, for whom a scheme of reservation and deferment has been in operation throughout the war.
Medical students have been reserved throughout the war on the basis of a quota equal to the annual pre-war intake of medical students. Science and engineering students have been eligible to obtain deferment through the joint recruiting boards, and the pre-war annual intake of students has been more than maintained. There has been no deferment in the last three years for art students.
In view of the need for developing the export trade, is there not special need for increasing the number of trained technical experts in British industry, and are not scientific schools, therefore, of first priority?
There is the same need for getting a sufficient number of trained technical builders and workers of other classes. The whole matter is being examined together, as it is impossible to separate one section from another.
asked the Minister of Labour whether he will arrange for the demobilisation of university students from the Fighting Forces in time for them to resume their studies when the classes open in October.
Would the right hon. Gentleman consider giving priority to medical and science students who were in reserved categories but who volunteered and were accepted for service with the Fighting Forces?