I am still engaged in these discussions with local authorities. I deprecate the practice of giving a fixed number of new awards. The making of awards should be guided by a standard and not by a fixed number.
For the academic year 1951–52 8,830 new major awards and 1,455 minor awards were made by local education authorities for students at universities and taken up. Comparable figures for 1952–53 will not be available until December.
Is the Minister aware that the economies made so far this year under this part of her policy are regarded as little short of scandalous by students, teachers and parents in all parts of the country? Does she not think that this is most regrettable in view of the need for the future of executives of all kinds? Will she not reconsider her policy, in the light of these things, by next Session?
If the hon. Member will look at my reply to the hon. Member for Itchen (Mr. Morley) on 23rd October he will see that I said that there were 113 authorities who have given me the information, and there is very little change. I also reminded the House at that time that there will be about 400 extra students going to the universities with State scholarships.
Certainly. I feel that they are of great importance and I also think that it is important to give students a sufficient award. That is why we have suggested an increase in the maintenance grants.
Has the Minister taken any action to impress upon local authorities the need not merely to give generously but to search for students with the requisite quality? One has had information sometimes suggesting that the reluctance or misunderstanding of parents may prevent the most gifted children in the country from getting a chance.
Yes, Sir. That is why I have discussed with the local authorities the methods of selecting those who shall have awards and I am continuing those discussions at the present time.