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UK Parliament scrutinises education support for OTs

Government 31 Mar, 2024 Follow News

UK Parliament scrutinises education support for OTs

How the British government supports the education of students from Cayman and the Overseas Territories - both in the UK and in their respective territories - is the focus of a new UK Parliamentary inquiry.

It’s being carried out by the Sub-Committee on the Overseas Territories which comes under the influential Foreign Affairs Committee.

Currently, written submissions are being accepted until April 8th in advance of a planned public evidence session.

“This call for evidence focuses on the support students and institutions get from the UK Government and asks what areas there are for improvement to their approach, particularly in relation to higher education provision,” the Sub-Committee on the Overseas Territories said in a statement.

It added: “The 2012 Government White Paper named education as a “priority” for aid assistance, including teacher training, UK-Territory partnerships, and related infrastructure improvements, such as schools and internet access.”

The provision of education is devolved to local Overseas Territory governments. However, the UK Government has a responsibility under Article 73 of the United Nations Charter to promote their political, economic, social, and educational advancement.

There are currently three Overseas Territories that do not have access to higher education facilities in territory: The Falkland Islands; Pitcairn; St Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha.

In its inquiry into how the UK supports the education of students from the Overseas Territories both in the UK and in their respective territories, the Overseas Territories Sub-Committee is addressing five specific areas.

(1) In what ways is the UK Government supporting education of students from the Overseas Territories?

(2) Is the Government reaching its aspiration to prioritise aid assistance for education to Official Development Assistance (ODA) eligible territories?

(3) What challenges do Overseas Territories students looking to study in the UK face, and what can the UK Government do to help?

(4) To what extent are the various responsible Government departments working together in achieving their goals regarding education and the Overseas Territories?

(5) To what extent have they been responsive to requests and concerns raised by the Overseas Territories and their students?

The Overseas Territories Parliamentary Sub-Committee had set a deadline of 25th March 2024 for written submissions. However, that has been extended to April 8th, after which the Sub-Committee intends to hold a public evidence session at a date to be announced.

The guidance for written submissions explains that they should be concise, and if over 3,000 words, should include a short summary. It should also be presented in numbered paragraphs, include a personal introduction or that of the organisation represented, and the reason for submitting evidence. Also, it should not already be published.

The Sub-Committee on the Overseas Territories also advises that written evidence may be submitted on the basis of anonymity (meaning that it will be published, but without your name), or in confidence (meaning that it won't be published at all).

“ If you would like to submit evidence anonymously or in confidence, you will be able to select this option during the submission process. Please also state at the beginning of your evidence which of these you want to request, and tell us why.”

The Overseas Territories UK parliamentary Sub-Committee says it’s particularly keen to hear from under-represented groups and is placing particular emphasis on diversity.

“We encourage members of under-represented groups to submit written evidence. We aim to have diverse panels of Select Committee witnesses and ask organisations to bear this in mind when we ask them to choose a representative. We are currently monitoring the diversity of our witnesses.”

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