British Aid to Commonwealth English

Oral Answers to Questions — Technical Co-Operation – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 21st May 1963.

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Photo of Mr Richard Thompson Mr Richard Thompson , Croydon South 12:00 am, 21st May 1963

asked the Secretary for Technical Co-operation what progress is being made in implementing the scheme for British Aid to Commonwealth English announced at the second Commonwealth Education Conference last year.

Photo of Mr Robert Carr Mr Robert Carr , Mitcham

The scheme envisaged the recruitment and training of 30 experts in the teaching of English who would be on the staff of the British Council. So far 10 of these additional specialists have been recruited and are now completing further training at British universities prior to taking up posts in six Commonwealth countries.

Photo of Mr Richard Thompson Mr Richard Thompson , Croydon South

While welcoming what my right hon. Friend had to say about that, may I ask him whether in all these plans any provision has been made for the further teaching of Basic English, which I believe to be the most potent means of simply teaching English to unsophisticated peoples which now exists?

Photo of Mr Robert Carr Mr Robert Carr , Mitcham

While seeing the great merit in theory of what my hon. Friend says, we have found in practice that Basic English has so far proved a disappointing means of communication and that it is full English, as it were, which most people seem to want to learn.