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5 Mar 2004 : Column 1210Wcontinued
Miss Melanie Johnson [holding answer 4 March 2004]: Extracts from the LSC's published accounts for both years are set out in the following table. The Annual Report and Accounts of the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) for 200203 were laid before the House on 12 February 2004. I am pleased that the LSC continued to make good progress in its second full year of operation. It managed a budget of over £7 billion, including successfully taking responsibility for our schools sixth form budget of over £1 billion. It has worked effectively with schools, colleges and training providers to drive forward radical and lasting improvements in the range and quality of post-16 education and training.
|Year ended 31 March 2003||19 months ended 31 March 2002|
|Standards and Capital||737,458||463,403|
1. The Report and Accounts for the period to 31 March 2002 cover a 19 month period, and were laid on 8 April 2003.
2. The LSC's budget for 200203 was increased in-year, to take forward new work on Employer Training Pilots, Centres of Vocational Excellence, Teachers Pay Initiative and "Success for All"
3. The LSC budget for 200304 is £8.4 billion
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Mr. Stephen Twigg: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State last used a train, in connection with his ministerial duties, on 24 February 2004. All ministerial travel on official business is undertaken in accordance with the rules set out in "Travel by Ministers".
Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what future roles he expects the UK's National Recognition Information Centres to play in (a) labour mobility and (b) the recruitment of international students; and what plans he has for the continuation of their work; 
Alan Johnson: The principal value of the UK National Recognition Information Centre (NARIC) and the UK National Reference Point for Vocational Qualifications (NRP) is to the individuals, universities, colleges, employers and wide-range of other organisations that use their advice on the comparability of international and UK qualifications. Through this work, the UK NARIC and the NRP play a key and continuing role in achieving student and labour mobility
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objectives, and in promoting UK qualifications overseas. The information they provide helps to inform policy-making across the education and training sectors, alongside other international comparators. The UK NARIC supports, in particular, the Prime Minister's Initiative to attract more international students to the UK by maximising the accessibility and transferability of international qualifications, by providing information for students, and by helping UK institutions to make sound admissions decisions.
Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on the contribution he expects the UK's National Recognition Information Centres to make in the reform of European higher education through the Bologna process. 
Alan Johnson: The UK Government work with the UK National Recognition Information Centre (NARIC) and other stakeholders on the development of the Bologna process of European higher education reform in the UK and to influence the debate on the way forward. Recognition of qualifications is key to achieving many of the goals of the Bologna process. Through its operation and network activities, UK NARIC already plays a vital and continuing role, building bridges between education systems and qualifications and in furthering recognition policies across Europe.
Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps he is taking to secure the repayment of tuition fees from European Union students after they graduate; and if he will make a statement. 
Alan Johnson: The Student Loans Company (SLC) are responsible for ensuring repayments are made when they fall due, and have well established procedures for recovering loans from graduates living and working outside the UK. All students taking out a loan are required to sign a declaration agreeing to repay, even if they move abroad, and SLC have a range of sanctions that can be imposed on defaulters. Officials and SLC are exploring ways to ensure the most robust and effective loan recovery mechanisms are in place by the time the first graduate contributions from EU students are due to be collected.
Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what estimate he has made of the number of overseas students who will enter universities in England in the next five years. 
Alan Johnson: The projected number of EU and non-EU overseas students in English Higher Education institutions in 2003/04 and 2004/05 as published in the Department Annual Report 2003 is shown in the table. These projections are based on a number of assumptions and should be treated with caution. The numbers include, on a headcount basis, full and part-time students on undergraduate and postgraduate courses.
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|Non-EU Overseas Students||136||145|
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many Parliamentary Questions have been tabled to his Department since 1 January 2003, broken down by (a) ordinary written and (b) named day; what percentage in respect of (a) were answered within 10 working days; and what percentage in respect of (b) were answered by the specified date. 
Mr. Stephen Twigg: Ministers take responses to Parliamentary Questions very seriously, and try to answer within the Parliamentary deadline wherever possible. Since 1 January 2003, 3,743 ordinary written questions have been tabled to the Department for Education and Skills, 72 per cent. of which were answered within 10 working days. 797 named day questions were tabled in the same period. We are unable to provide the percentage of those questions answered by the specified date without incurring disproportionate cost.
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Mr. Stephen Twigg: Through Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) all pupils should learn about responsibility and the consequences of their actions. Personal finance education, delivered through the framework for PSHE, enables pupils to develop financial responsibility and links financial decisions and actions with value judgements. Schools may choose to specifically address problem gambling, but we have no plans to require them to do so.
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