§ Mr. Proctor
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many refugees are currently being trained in the United Kingdom under the auspices of the British Council; what are their countries of origin; what training courses they are pursuing; whether they are here on (a) a short-term or (b) a long-term basis; what is the cost to public funds; and what proportion this cost represents of the overseas development budget.
§ Mr. Onslow
The British Council does not sponsor training courses for refugees in the United Kingdom. It does, however, administer awards made to refugees by other bodies including the Overseas Development Administration, UNESCO, United nations education and training programme for Southern Africa (UNETPSA) and WHO.
At the present time, the British Council is administering 45 awards to study fellows with refugee status under the Overseas Development Administration's technical co-operation training programme. Of these, 19 are from Afghanistan and 26 from Namibia. Most of the students from Afghanistan are studying engineering, whilst a majority of those from Namibia are studying the teaching of English as a foreign language; the remainder are following a variety of subjects, including nursing, journalism, the teaching of English and computer studies. All are undergoing courses of at least one academic year's duration. The cost to public funds in the current financial year is £305,600 out of a net Overseas Development budget of £959 million.
The British Council is also administering six awards to students known to be refugees who are sponsored by United Nations bodies. All six are of South African origin. The subjects they are studying are pharmacology; African history; highway and traffic engineering; education; architecture and medicine. All are long-term students. There is no cost to British public funds and the British Council is paid a fee by the sponsoring United Nations agencies for the administration of the awards.