Volume #26 - 126.|
RELATIONS AVEC LE COMMONWEALTH
CONFÉRENCE SUR L'ÉDUCATION DU COMMONWEALTH, OXFORD, 15-28 JUILLET 1959
Extrait d'une note du haut-commissaire au Royaume-Uni|
le 6 octobre 1959|
COMMONWEALTH EDUCATION CONFERENCE ASSESSMENT BY THE CHAIRMAN OF THE CANADIAN DELEGATION|
The Commonwealth Education Conference was held at Christ Church, Oxford, from July 15 to 28, 1959. It was attended by delegations from all the Commonwealth Members and by a delegation representing the U.K. dependent territories. The Canadian Delegation included twelve members of the university community, a representative of the teaching profession and six federal officials. (A full list of names appears in Annex A.)? The Chairman of the Confe-rence was Sir Philip Morris, Vice-Chancellor of Bristol University.
2. The Conference, the first of its kind ever to be held, was convened by the U.K. Govern-ment in accordance with the decision of Commonwealth Ministers at the Trade and Economic Conference held at Montreal in September 1958. It had as its objectives:
(a) to work out arrangements for the scheme of Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellow-ships, the proposal for which had been made by the Canadian Delegation at the Montreal Conference;
(b) to review the existing arrangements for cooperation among the countries of the Common-wealth in education generally and to recommend how these could be improved or expanded particularly in regard to the supply and training of teachers.
3. The Conference also set out certain fundamental considerations on the wider significance of education, in the context of which its deliberations were conducted. These wider considerations, which appear in the preamble to the Report, may be summed up as follows:
The Commonwealth is a new experiment in human relationships. The end of all our endea-vour is the good life - materially and spiritually - and the happiness of the 660 million indi-viduals who are the citizens of the Commonwealth. The good life and happiness can be attained only through education in the deeper and wider sense. Education is thus fundamental to the strength and stability of the Commonwealth and to the social justice and human dignity which must be its inspiration. The free association in the Commonwealth affords a special opportunity for the pooling of resources. There is thus an obligation on those with more highly developed educational facilities to help their fellow members. There are no frontiers to human knowledge; and, particularly within the Commonwealth, there are great opportunities for better understanding and closer friendship.
. . .
5. During the Conference agreement was reached between India and Canada, and announced simultaneously in New Delhi and Ottawa, whereby up to $10 million of counterpart funds generated under the Colombo Plan would be applied for the development in India of higher technological institutions and polytechnic schools. While this arrangement was made outside the Conference, there is no doubt that the announcement of this agreement at the Conference focussed attention on the possibilities and advantages of bilateral agreements between mem-bers of the Commonwealth in the education field. This was in line with what we were trying to achieve at the Conference and it opened up new prospects for the more varied use of counter-part funds.
Instructions to the Canadian Delegation
6. The chief points in the instructions to the Canadian Delegation as approved by the Cabinet on July 3, were as follows:
(1) The Delegation should direct its efforts toward the formulation of a genuinely reciprocal programme providing for an exchange of scholars of high intellectual competence who would be able to make a distinguished contribution in their own countries and thus to enhance the Commonwealth association as such.
(2) The Delegation should participate in a review of existing arrangements for Common-wealth cooperation in the field of education, it being understood that the bulk of Canadian assistance in these fields was likely to come under our existing technical assistance program-mes which now encompass all the less developed areas of the Commonwealth.
(3) The only target to which the Canadian Government was committed was that of the Commonwealth Scholarship Scheme covering one thousand scholars at any one time.
(4) While we recognized the need for a greater measure of assistance in the teaching field, we did not propose to meet these needs by setting up special programmes. As a result of the deci-sions already announced at Montreal, our existing technical assistance programmes had been substantially expanded and cover all the less developed areas of the Commonwealth, and the supply and training of teachers and scientific and technical education fell within their scope.
7. In practice it was found that these instructions, while providing a broad framework within which the Delegation could operate, did not cover all the points which were raised. This was especially true in the Committees on Teacher Training and Technical Education. The Canadian Government and the Canadian university community were embarking together in a previously untried field, and much of the information required and the problems to be solved arose out of deliberations of the Conference itself, in which all Delegations were feeling their way. Since this was the first Commonwealth Education Conference ever to have been held, it is not surprising that a number of ad hoc decisions were made. These are reflected in the recom-mendations of the Conference (see below). With one exception, no commitment was entered into by the Delegation in excess of those contemplated in the instructions. An exception was the agreement reached between Mr. Fleming and myself during a meeting in London on July 24 that within the framework of existing technical assistance programmes, Canada could provide an increased measure of aid in the fields of Teacher Training and Teacher Supply, and that the amount which could be made available over the next five years under these program-mes would be $3 million.
8. Canadian initiatives, reflected in the final report of the Conference, emphasize the Montreal origin both of the Conference, and of the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Scheme.306 The part played by the Delegation in the functional committees and in the Steering Committee was consistent with this view of Canadian responsibilities. These initiatives resulted in the following decisions:
(1) That the Conference report should contain, in its preamble, some statement of the aims and objectives of education in a free society.
(2) That there should be a second conference in 1961. It seemed to the Canadian Delegation that, once the Conference was under way, with its needs better understood and enthusiasm at a high level, it was essential to maintain its momentum.
(3) That there should be no attempt to create any centralized Secretariat. There was general agreement on this point and it was reflected in the decisions of the Conference.
Reports of the Committees
9. Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Scheme
(1) The target of 1,000 scholarships and fellowships set at Montreal was attained and may well be exceeded. In addition to the 500 previously announced by the United Kingdom and 250 by Canada, Australia and India promised 100 each, Pakistan 30, New Zealand 25, Malaya 12, Ghana, Rhodesia and Nyasaland 10 each, Ceylon 6 and East Africa 4. The plan will be additional to, and distinct from, any other plan in operation.
(2) The awards should be designed to recognize and promote the highest standards of intellectual achievement.
(3) In the main they should be made for post-graduate study or research; these should be called "Commonwealth Scholarships." Some awards would be at undergraduate level.
(4) A limited number of awards should be made to senior scholars of established reputation and achievement and these should be called 'Commonwealth Visiting Fellowships.'
(5) The plan should be operated by means of a series of bilateral arrangements between Commonwealth countries.
(6) Normally all awards should be "inward," that is, made by the country receiving the scholar.
(7) In each Commonwealth country special agencies should be appointed to nominate scholars and fellows for awards made by other countries and to select scholars and visiting fellows for its own awards. These agencies should include adequate representation of academic interests.
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10. Training of Teachers
(1) New teachers in all parts of the Commonwealth are needed on an unprecedented scale. The shortage of highly qualified teachers is particularly acute.
(2) The long-term problem of the training of teachers must be solved by the countries themselves. In the meantime, the majority of additional places in teacher-training institutions which are offered to Commonwealth students should be for advanced or supplementary courses.
(3) A proportion of any funds allocated for teacher-training assistance should be used to enable teacher-training staff from the countries with more advanced educational systems to help develop facilities overseas.
(4) Teacher-training staff from those countries whose educational systems are less-well-established should be enabled to gain experience in training institutions in the more advanced Commonwealth countries. Funds should be provided for the staff of teacher-training institu-tions which receive overseas students to visit the countries concerned.
(5) Special attention should be given by Commonwealth Governments to improving facilities for the teaching of English. A proportion of the places to be made available in teacher-training institutions should be allocated to training in the teaching of English as a second language.
(6) A group of Commonwealth experts should meet to consider the problems involved in teaching this subject.
11. Supply of Teachers
(1) Very large numbers of teachers are needed - many of them extremely urgently - over the next four or five years. Five hundred teachers are wanted immediately for training institutions; well over 1,000 a year for secondary schools and 200 a year for technical colleges. Universities also need staff, often in highly specialised subjects. The most urgent needs are found in Africa.
(2) No conference recommendation could change this picture overnight, but it has clarified and defined the needs of the various Commonwealth countries so that the available resources may be directed to "key posts."
. . .
12. Technical Education
(1) All countries of the Commonwealth need more scientists, engineers and technically qualified people of all kinds and the facilities for technical education must be increased to meet this demand.
(2) Improved collaboration between the Commonwealth countries will result in the potentialities for technical education and development being realised more fully, more quickly and more efficiently.
. . .
20. It is evident from the report that the Scholarship Plan has the full and enthusiastic support of the entire Commonwealth. But it is equally clear that the less developed areas have very pressing needs in the field of teacher training and technical education. They placed conside-rable emphasis on those aspects of the Conference. They will now expect part of these needs to be met by the more developed areas and indeed the preamble to the Conference Report (para 3 above) suggests this.
21. It is thus clear that the success of the Conference cannot be fully assured unless Govern-ments follow up vigorously the decisions embodied in the Oxford report. For Canada this probably means that:
(a) within the framework of our existing and already expanded technical assistance program-mes, we should attach a much higher priority than we have in the past to education as distinct from strictly technical instruction
(b) we must also take a stronger initiative in making concrete and specific offers to less deve-loped countries in the field of education.
22. It is my conviction that the Commonwealth-wide support for the Scholarship Scheme, the recognition that there was an obligation on the part of the more favoured areas of the Commonwealth to help the less developed areas, and the belief that existing technical assis-tance programmes must be expanded and re-directed, constitute the major developments coming out of the Conference. To deal with these problems and to carry forward the enthu-siasm generated at the Conference, we have continuing machinery already established and it should be possible to begin planning now for 1961.
23. In this connection, it would of course be of the greatest assistance if paragraphs (B) to (G) inclusive of the summary of recommendations accepted by the Cabinet on July 3, and dealing with the administrative machinery to be created in Canada to implement the Scholarship Programme and the offers under the expanded technical assistance programme could be put into force as soon as possible.
GEORGE A. DREW
306Voir le volume 24, chapitre III, 3e partie, subdivision B./See Volume 24, Chapter III, Part 3, Sub-section B.