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laudable, were not the closer It will not be safe to trust the relations of the kind the lion universities to the tender desires to have with the lamb. mercies of a bureaucracy how
What have the universities ever enlightened, and however to do with primary or second wise and learned its head may ary education ? The function be. The danger for the uniof a university is the pursuit versities is that they will go of knowledge. The Education farther on the road to becomDepartment, however, worships ing merely training colleges for symmetry, and will never be the professions. They always satisfied until it controls the have trained professional men, universities and directs them but they have always insisted by a code. It proposes to on the professional man learning flatter them by asking them many things more than those to aid it in framing the codes necessary for the mere practice for primary and secondary of his profession. The aim of education. It will then say, the universities, even in ScotIf you make the children learn land-poor, practical, idealistic, 80 and so, you must arrange and proud, -has been to make your university courses to suit their students complete men, not them. They must be taught mere capable lawyers, teachers, in the same groove all their physicians, or pastors. The lives, and no trace of Scottish pass degree in classics individuality or originality is higher and demands more on the part of any professor than a similar degree at Oxford or lecturer must be allowed to or Cambridge, and is thereinterfere with the proper per- fore appreciably more searchcentage of passes. The uni- ing as an educational test than versity must not provide a new any professional entrance exatmosphere and a wider horizon amination. It is perhaps an for the youth of the country. unnecessary parenthesis to add The schemes of education have that the honours degrees in been laid down, and from the Scotland still show no indicaprimary school to the gradua- tion of even approximating to tion ceremonial they must be those of the two great English stuck to. Of course Sir Henry universities. A code is not Craik and Dr Struthers would likely to help. A knowledge be the first to disclaim this of botany or zoology is not interpretation of their attempt essential to a surgeon, but to draw the schools and the he will be a poor creature universities closer together. if he knows nothing of them. They do not desire to degrade Some knowledge of Greek used the universities. If, however, to be demanded of doctors of the provincial councils are medicine. The profession lost established, the men who guide in dignity, and its members in the universities will have to breadth of view and interest, fight hard to preserve the in- when it was abandoned to the dependence, the individuality, “wolves of science." of these historic institutions. Apparently the universities do not see the danger before i.e., alteration) of the machinthem. They have acclaimed ery of a branch of local govthe proposals of the Depart. ernment. It gives no guidance ment as a concession to the in matters educational, and claims of their professors to wisely, for the House of guide the education of the Commons is certainly the last country, which was exactly body to which any sane person what the Department wanted would entrust the actual eduand expected. Oh, foolish pro- cation of the youth of the fessors, children surely in country. What is education ? other things than finance ! oh, In the mouth of the Scots subtle Department, without the working man it means “schoolharmlessness of the dove! It ing," the submission of his is to be feared that there is child to a discipline of seven a good deal of short-sighted years, imposed by those who commercialism about the uni- know what is best for the versities. Nowadays their main child. The tradition is strong, object seems to be to attract and every Scots working man students. There has been in town or country wants his recent endowment of learning child to have what he is told is and research, but not enough “a good education.” He accepts to counteract the supremacy of the schemes sent from above as the bread-and-butter principle. he accepts rain and sunshine. It is no answer to say that He grumbles, and occasionally, bread and butter are neces- during harvest or at other saries. In former days oat- times of domestic pressure, meal was enough, and the men rebels; but on the whole he is were better.
docile, because he is impotent. The universities are assailed The law commands that his by the Bill. They do not yet child shall spend certain years know it, but they will probably at school learning certain have a fairly bad time before things. He obeys the law as them, whatever happens. The to the years, and finds no result is on the lap of the voice to express his views gods. The Scottish univer- as to the things. Other sities are not all they ought people's children learn these to be or all that they might things, therefore his must, and be, and the provincial councils there's an end on't. But in his may, in ways that the framers heart he doubts, and he does of the Bill dreamed not of, be not hesitate to express his view, & help to better things. The that the seclusion of his children chances, however, are that they from him after they are twelve will not.
years of age is a grievance. The Bill calls itself an "Edu- Education is the developcation" Bill, but of course it ment of the intelligence. We has very little to do with are far from even the beeducation. It is a finance ginnings of an ideal system of Bill to some extent; it is also education. The codes of the a bill for the “improvement” Department fix certain subjects
VOL. CLXXVIII.—NO. MLXXVII.
which every child must learn, tion of the people has to some whether he is to be a plough- extent been directed to the man or an excise officer; and question of education by the from seven till fourteen the second presentation to Parliagirl who is to be a telegraph ment of a Bill which professes operator has to learn the same to deal with the subject things as the girl who is going (though, of course, it does not), to earn her first wages as a there is some hope that the scullery-maid. The worst of it universal dissatisfaction with is, that the subjects will be of the system of education may practical use to the excise- find voice, and that public officer and the telegraph girl, opinion as to what the children but not to the ploughman or should be taught, and how and the cook that is to be. This is when, may make itself heard really class legislation of a in Whitehall. disastrous kind. A premium It is not yet possible to go is put by the educational des- back to the days before educapotism of the country on the tion was made compulsory. lower types of brain work, That unfortunate enactment whereby the nobler and more was made by “logical” and productive callings are placed unintelligent Radicals. A at a grave disadvantage. No wise ruler would first have individual is to blame. Indeed made education free. As the Department of recent years usual, we began at the wrong has taken steps-halting and end, and spoilt everything by merely tentative — to mend beginning with compulsion. matters; but nothing sufficient Opportunity should be given to counteract a tradition which to all to learn, but the idea of has grown by what it fed upon making, under severe penalties, has been attempted. Public every child learn the same opinion must be brought to things for a certain fixed numbear upon the rulers—but not ber of years, without reference in the House of Commons, of to individual capacity or to all places. There is no public future occupation, is really too opinion get about primary absurd to state,—yet such is education — only inarticulate the condition of affairs. The and discordant grumbles. On working man and his children, the one hand, the cost of edu- who suffer under this tyranny, cation to the ratepayer is a cannot voice their views : the constant and only too justifi- other classes, who are not able source of complaint. The affected by it, care nothing, and present Bill won't mend matters are probably for the most part in that respect—though some quite ignorant of what is going of the fears expressed are on. It would be an ideal state exaggerated. Again, there is had the Secretary to the Edua more intelligent and more cation Department to serve an patriotio view—the money were apprenticeship as a compulsory well spent were the results officer to a school board. But better. Now that the atten- Dr Struthers has inherited a
il dikim, millest
system invented by the “wis. age, they are surely not more dom” of our ancestors, im- capable of directing them for proved and modified no doubt the following two or three by Sir Henry Craik, whose important years. whole administration tended It is dangerous to dogmatise, towards diversity and liberty it is impossible to treat children so far as, and perhaps even even of the lowest class in the farther than, Acts of Parlia- lump. But without professing ment at any rate intended that it is a perfect scheme, The system of the parochial something like the following schools was excellent, because may be suggested as an imthere was no compulsion. It provement on the traditional was thought necessary thirty system now governing educayears ago that every child tion in Scotland. First of all, should be able to read and let the existing rules as to write. It is perhaps a super- age be abolished. Second, let stition, but we must accept it; children who can gain a merit but there the matter of com- certificate be at once allowed pulsion to a code should have to learn things that concern stopped, and there it must now their future work in life. Third, stop. Or rather, let us state a let grants be given in respect seeming paradox: If we cannot of children up to any age who have further liberty, let us continue to put in, say, three have more compulsion. At or four months' attendance at twelve years of age let child- technical classes, and who also ren be free of the code, but do give evidence that for the rest not lose hold of them at four of the year they are engaged teen. From twelve onwards in the practical work connected let them take up the line of with these classes, as apwork by which they will live. prentices, as farm-workers, or If at twelve they cannot read, the like. For instance, if a boy write, and count, their teachers of twelve can obtain a merit should be dismissed as incom- certificate, let him go and begin petent, or the children should his apprenticeship as a carpenbe set to “herd crows." Why ter, but make him spend a should the most formative certain period in each year in years be sacrificed to the super-learning drawing, the keeping fluous acquisition of “ general of accounts, mensuration, the knowledge”?
qualities of timber and a Surely it were wiser to direct knowledge of the places where primary education to a prac- the various woods come from, tical end-at any rate in the an elementary knowledge of case of children over twelve dynamics, and the like. But years of age. Then, why should classes of this sort must not be fourteen years be fixed as the limited to the years between limit of the state's control ? twelve and fourteen. The preIf the parents are incapable of liminaries only will be acquired directing their children who during these years—probably are under fourteen years of in most cases, the active and
serious interest will begin after thing so useful as “white seam.” fourteen, and for the next two They make exhibition garments or three or even four years the which are judged by male instruction will have a real, inspectors once a-year; they lively, and practical interest to are well made, and as a rule the boy. In the case of children command a ready sale, but above fourteen, these classes the making of underclothing should be held only in the is not all that a working evenings. That will mean man's wife has to do with her more expense; but there is needle. surely no logical reason why In the case of the son of a children who are earning wages ploughman the results are should not pay for the cost of equally futile and disastrous. knowledge which will enable Why should a boy of thirteen them to earn more.
be prevented from acquiring a In the case of a girl whose practical knowledge of the care future life, till she marries, of horses by the tyranny of ought to be that of a domestic school, which compels him to servant,- in itself the best learn how to draw classical training for a wife and a (or romantic) designs on a mother,-a knowledge of the black board with white chalk, dates at which a long-suffering when he might be helping his Providence deprived Richard father to groom and feed his III. or Oliver Cromwell of pair, or when he might be their powers over their fellow learning something of the etercreatures is surely less im- nal mysteries of the living portant than is the acquisition earth ?-mysteries greater than of the art of making nourishing any chemist has yet probed or and toothsome soup or of wash- any naturalist explained. ing flannels. Yet girls who The proper education of the can read and write and count children of the country is a at twelve are at present made problem which the people of to continue to read and write Scotland, at any rate, are and count until they are four- capable of solving for themteen. They leave school ignor- selves in time, were they given ant of nearly everything which freedom. That freedom has four or five years later they, been taken from them, and in as the wives of working men, place of it they have the inestiought to know, and in these mable privilege of electing the few years they have probably members of the school boards, spent all their leisure in reading whose powers and duties are novelettes and in endeavour- wisely controlled and limited ing to dress the parts of the by the Department. heroines.
The present educational arThey have, of course, been rangements in Scotland tend taught needlework : but few to degrade the universities to can neatly patch their brother's the position of professional or father's clothes, or will con- seminaries, while at the same descend to the practice of any- time the children of the work
of the ucation of the