asked the Secretary of State for Technical Co-operation, in view of the fact that Ibadan University and other universities in the Federation of Nigeria are having difficulty in recruiting and retaining British staff, if Her Majesty's Government will consider taking steps to offer additional remuneration to individuals either in post or wanting to take posts in these universities.
I am very conscious of this problem, about which representations have been made to my Department by two of the universities in Nigeria. The British delegation at the Commonwealth Education Conference at Ottawa will have something to say about the general question of assistance of this kind and I hope that my hon. Friend will not press me beyond this at present.
Does not my right hon. Friend agree that it is a great advantage for the individuals to have their undergraduate courses in their own country at the beginning and before coming overseas? With this in mind, will he see that this matter is thoroughly discussed at the Ottawa Conference so that we do not have similar difficulties with other universities in obtaining staff?
I certainly agree with what my hon. Friend says about the importance of training in the countries concerned at undergraduate level. The fact that I cannot give much more information at the moment does not, I assure the House, mean that we are unaware of the importance of this question.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that at one Nigerian university a very senior member of the staff and chairman of an important public commission who was trying to get back to this country was offered an assistant lectureship? Is he aware that this is one of the problems facing people who go out to service in universities abroad? Will the right hon. Gentleman urge on British universities that experience abroad can be valuable and that they should not discriminate against people who have spent some of the good years of their lives at these universities?
I am certain that expressions of opinion such as that of the hon. Member are a valuable means of persuading people and I appreciate them. I am sure that hon. Members with contacts outside the House can be missioners for this cause and hope very much that they will be.