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Noble Lords: Not that long ago!

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: My Lords, oh yes, it was a long while ago.

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I was asked about teacher training and development education by the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Worcester and by the noble Earl, Lord Sandwich. The DFEE is supporting teacher training in development education. It makes a grant--that has amounted to over £90 million since 1989--to support school effectiveness under the national curriculum. It is up to the schools to decide whether they want to take that for teacher training, for books, equipment or management. I am sure that the noble Baroness, Lady Willoughby de Eresby, will be glad to hear that. There are courses in the UK for in-service teachers and my noble friend Lord Henley, who is listening to this debate, will seek to give further information by letter on anything that I cannot cover tonight. However, there is a great deal of information available and I can inform the noble Earl, Lord Sandwich, that we are working with the DFEE to consider what more we can do with it to provide more opportunities in this field.

There is nothing wrong with the European Union spending on development education. We should never forget that the United Kingdom contributes over 16 per cent. of the European Union budget, and this is a very good example of multilateral and bilateral spending complementing one another. There is also a good deal of work going on in the Open University and the Open University's work in development education has been particularly good in the use of four textbooks they have prepared on development and the new edition of the development atlas. There is a great deal more information about that available which I can let your Lordships have if you would wish.

We have talked this evening about the ODA's communications philosophy. We have recently carried out a communications survey. This has come up with a number of recommendations. We have already established a high level strategy group which will guide the Department on communications and therefore we will have, we hope, more of the good news which we collect all around the world getting out to those who need to be informed. We are already getting our staff to give us more information in the Information Department about what we are doing. We are formulating a more effective publication strategy because this is something with which I have not been totally satisfied.

I mentioned that British Overseas Development is being revamped. It has been a success and I am glad to say that the circulation has risen by over 60 per cent. in the last year. Of course BOD has been circulated free and goes to schools, businesses, engineers, journalists, many members of your Lordships' House and another place, and many interested members of the public, but we want to make sure that it is absolutely right for the future.

One of the things the noble Lord, Lord St John of Bletso, talked about was an improvement in communications, and that improvement has to be not only in this country but worldwide. That is why it was ODA who invested in the development of the free play wind-up radio, and I believe that that was £200,000 extremely well spent. The radio is being produced in a factory in Cape Town, mainly by disabled people, and it is beginning already to have the most remarkable

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effect. We have bought the first 3,000 wind-up radios and are distributing them through NGOs and to others who can make good use of them. We hope that this will be a proper commercial project, because it deserves to be and it can be.

There were many other comments. The noble Lord, Lord Eames, spoke about the BBC World Service. I am second to nobody in my admiration for the World Service. It is a great national asset and the most successful international broadcasting service of any country. I wish that the BBC at home took more of the programmes that are actually produced by the World Service because they are of such high quality. However, we have to balance resources for the World Service with many others, including the Development Programme and the British Council. Each has a major role to play and we shall continue to ensure that they can make their unique contributions as effectively as possible.

There were a number of comments about large projects at the beginning of the debate tonight. May I say that, whereas there used to be large development projects, a great deal has changed and I can assure the noble Earl, Lord Sandwich, and the noble Lord, Lord Northbourne, that we have much more simple technology which we use in many of our projects. If there were time I would describe the micro-hydro of Nepal to which the noble Lord, Lord Northbourne, was referring, but of course we support the Intermediate Technology Development Group and have done for many years. It is that sort of development technology which can work so well. In this case a little money does go a long way.

The noble Viscount, Lord Craigavon, spoke about the need for a national debate, not a party political one. I agree with him very much in this, and one of the welcome things is that the climate of opinion about development education has changed since the late Lord Hatch of Lusby first started his campaigning. It is a much more positive and much more co-operative campaigning that is going on. What is most important is that we should ensure that we pick up all those instances where something is said about development, examine them, and put them right. It therefore often falls to me to try to correct some of the myths that arise and I have to say that there are an increasing number of people on the ground in Africa who really do know what is going on and I do not think we should be misled by what the noble Lord, Lord Redesdale, said. When he rereads his speech he will see what I mean.

May I say of the noble Viscount, Lord Craigavon, that I was grateful to him for his comments on ODA's good record and also for his underlining of the need for informed support. I well remember a school conference run by Population Concern in Harrogate way back in 1990. I hope they will go on doing their very valuable education work about family planning and sustainable development. Such work is absolutely vital. I thank the noble Viscount for his kind words about the Rafael Salas Memorial Lecture. I shall of course be talking partly about the whole question of development.

We are changing for the better; we are learning from the past and we are involving business in backing the development education that we are doing. We spend

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over £2.2 billion of the public's money. We believe the public have a right to know how we spend it. That is why we are increasing our information effort and I am greatly encouraged by the interest taken in today's debate. I can assure your Lordships that we will continue to work to raise people's awareness of the reality of life in developing countries and will use every possible means at our disposal to do so.

8.46 p.m.

The Earl of Sandwich: My Lords, it has been a great pleasure to introduce this debate and to hear so many supportive statements from noble Lords and finally by the Minister herself for a subject which I know she has well under control. I was very moved particularly by Lady Willoughby de Eresby's reference to the loss of contact around the world; and to the noble Lord, Lord Northbourne, I have nothing disparaging to say about colonial administrators, but I wish they had known about the appropriate technology in those days as well. I also wish there were more colonial administrators in this debate because the line of Benches before me is full of people who have extraordinary experience of development education. My Lords, where are they? I am sad that there is so little understanding of the nature of this debate on the Conservative Benches, and I hope that will be part of the Minister's development education campaign, perhaps through Central Office.

I am delighted to see the noble Lord, Lord Henley, in his place. Having watched him facing a phalanx of university chancellors and professors single handed on the Benches opposite I have nothing but admiration for him and I wish he were able to answer this debate because I know it particularly concerns him and it has not been quite fair that the task has fallen between two Ministers. However, I have seen the Ministers having conversations and I am ever hopeful that we shall see a joint approach with DFEE and ODA together. I am not certain that I have had enough encouragement from the Minister in the direction of the curriculum. It is true to say that teachers do not want to be interfered with and the curriculum has been established for a number of years, but we are now having to think forward about how we shall approach the curriculum in, let us say, three years. It may be less. Who knows what is going to happen next year after the general election? There may be a shake-up and we now need to think what is the joint approach that could be made. I urge the Minister to join with voluntary organisations.

I welcome the noble Lord, Lord Eames, for giving us a reminder of the moral responsibility and I know that he, perhaps alone in this debate, has experience of bringing people together in the most remarkable way. This is a talent which he has established and which I hope we shall follow in thinking about the value of other cultures together and their influence.

I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord St. John, and the noble Viscount, Lord Craigavon, for raising important questions, and to the right reverend Prelate for reminding us of the Church's involvement in his diocese.

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I thank all those who have joined in the debate, and I am most grateful for the Minister's positive response. I beg leave to withdraw the Motion for Papers.

Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.


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