Computer Education

Oral Answers to Questions — Education and Science – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 6th March 1969.

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Photo of Mr Stephen Hastings Mr Stephen Hastings , Mid Bedfordshire 12:00 am, 6th March 1969

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what further plans he has to assist schools this year in the introduction of computer education.

Photo of Miss Alice Bacon Miss Alice Bacon , Leeds South East

There is increasing activity in this field. A number of local education authorities—for example, Hertfordshire and Staffordshire—have projects for developing computer education in schools in association with colleges of technology. The National Computing Centre has mounted a pilot course for schools, and the Schools Council is also sponsoring an experiment in the school use of computer facilities. My Department's programme of short courses for teachers includes courses in or with a bearing on computer education in schools.

Photo of Mr Stephen Hastings Mr Stephen Hastings , Mid Bedfordshire

Is the right hon. Lady aware that I am questioning her Department? When will it wake up to the urgency of this problem? Will she institute a study in depth to analyse the requirements of all local authorities, all of which, I suspect, are different? Will she also press for acceptance of the fact that computing is now a full and critically important academic discipline and should be regarded as such?

Photo of Miss Alice Bacon Miss Alice Bacon , Leeds South East

I agree with the last part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question. This is a very important subject indeed. I assure him that we are willing to do everything we can to ensure that progress is made.

Photo of Sir Edward Boyle Sir Edward Boyle , Birmingham Handsworth

In view of the news which the right hon. Lady has given, and particularly in view of the important experiments being carried out by local authorities in conjunction with technical colleges, will she seriously consider publishing a Ministerial booklet or handbook on this subject on the lines of many such booklets that have appeared in the past? Does she agree that my hon. Friend has asked an extremely important Question?

Photo of Miss Alice Bacon Miss Alice Bacon , Leeds South East

A booklet has just been published, but I shall certainly be in touch with the Schools Council on this matter. I answered the previous supplementary question by agreeing that this was an extremely important subject.

Photo of Mr Stephen Hastings Mr Stephen Hastings , Mid Bedfordshire

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the Minister's Answer, I beg to give notice that I shall seek to raise the matter on the Adjournment.