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recognise the principle of finality. Its tionate to the grade of the certificate. provisions will certainly, if carried out The new process of simplification unforin their present form, have the effect of tunately cancels these grants at a stroke. reducing the amount paid to any indivi. Henceforth certificates are to have only dual school; but the grant itself will an honorary character. This is loudly still be liable to indefinite increase, in complained of as a breach of faith, and proportion to the increase in the number it must be confessed that it has that apof schools claiming assistance, and to pearance. It is quite certain that, in improvement in the results on account reliance on the permanency of these allowof which the money is paid.
ances, many persons have become teachers It becomes the duty of Parliament, who otherwise would not have done so, therefore, to take up this question of and many teachers of mature years, expenditure, and to decide whether it is have, at considerable sacrifice, prepared expedient, or, indeed, possible, to fix a themselves for and submitted to a severe positive limit to the Education Grant, and searching examination. If the Comand, if not, how, in the appropriation mittee of Council have never actually of the money, the conditions of economy committed themselves to the stability and efficiency can best be harmonized. of the arrangement, they have in their The revised code is a sort of attempt to relations with teachers taken its stability deal with this question ; but it is felt for granted, and have sought to impose that the authors of that code occupy a conditions only justifiable on the supposition too purely official and too irre- position that it was stable. Here, then, sponsible to justify them in imposing we have a real live “vested interest," their fiat on the country without some and the question is, What is to be done further appeal.
with it? Another aim of the new code is sim- Under these circumstances, the orplification and decentralization. The dinary rule is to look out for a comproofficial difficulties connected with the mise. And a compromise may surely be administration of the public grant are found. It might, for example, be inbest known to official persons; and the sisted on that, in schools aided by the Education Commissioners bring a great State, the teacher's salary must bear deal of evidence to show that there is a certain proportion to the whole income some danger of the Council Office system of the school. Or again, the capitation « breaking down at its centre.” It may grant might-according to a suggestion be said, indeed, that employés in public which I have somewhere met with—be offices are easily alarmed on this score; divided into two parts, one payable for but still there can be no doubt that the attendance, the other on examination ; complication of business involved in the and the latter might be secured to the administration of the Education Grant is Teacher by the express terms of the great and increasing. Now, the simpli- Government Minute. At all events, it fication proposed by the authors of the will not do to inaugurate a new system revised code is the substitution of a of national education with the perpesingle Capitation Grant for the various tration of an injustice ; and I am pretty payments hitherto made to managers, sure that, in spite of all contravening masters or mistresses, and pupil-teachers. pleas, the good sense and good feeling Such a mode of saving trouble seems of most Englishmen will pronounce this reasonable and harmless enough, and confiscation of the certificate money an would certainly to a very great extent injustice. have the effect desired. But there is The revised code, I have said, aims one difficulty in the way. Hitherto not only at simplifying, but also at school teachers, holding certificates of decentralizing the system of education. merit endorsed by the Committee of One way in which it does this is, by Council, have been in receipt of augmen- leaving managers to make their own
is much to be said in favour of this change, for the circumstances of different places are so different that the unbending rigidity of Privy Council rules must often have produced inconvenience. But the Minutes are surely inconsistent in undertaking to fix the times of payment, while they leave the amount to be settled by the contracting parties. It will generally, no doubt, be an advantage to pupil-teachers to receive their payments weekly; but it will some times embarrass managers to make them on those terms.
We come now to the third and most important object which the new code has in view, viz. the securing of certain well-defined and positive results.
The leading feature, indeed, of the revised Minutes is payment for results. And, setting aside all suspicion of difficulties and all imperfections of detail, this principle is economically sound, and one which should, as far as possible, characterize disbursements of public money. Now, though it would be untrue to say that results have been disregarded under the system which it is proposed to supersede, yet it must be confessed that the chief operations of that system have been directed to the provision of means. And I say this to the praise of the system, and not to its disparagement. As things were twenty years ago, the provision of educational machinery was the most urgent want. And that want has been well supplied It is worth while to consider the benefits for which we are indebted to the direct action or the indirect influence of the Committee of Council on Education.
A much higher standard of popular instruction has been set up. The truth has been brought home to men's minds, that teaching is an art that requires cultivation, and that, to be successful, education must be conducted on method ical and scientific principles. A large body of teachers have been called into existence, more or less highly trained for their work; and, whatever may have been asserted to the contrary, unquestionably, for the most part, earnestly
over the improvements that have been effected in books and apparatus, and in the architecture and fittings of the school-building itself—a condition, this last, of some importance in connexion with education, as serving imperceptibly to teach the lesson that all things should “be done decently and in order.”
But it is said that this large and liberal provision of means has not been followed by adequate results. To some extent we own the unsatisfactory impeachment, and can give several reasons for it. Irregularity of attendance on the part of very many of the children is undoubtedly one. Another is a want of appreciation, on the part of those who originated and have carried out the system, of the actual condition and requirements of the class to be educated. Another, again, is a tendency on the part of Government Inspectors, in their examinations of schools, to overlook the rudimentary subjects, and to encourage displays of more advanced and recondite knowledge. Another, again, is the prominence given to oral teaching—to the lecturing system, in point of factamong the teachers, and their comparative want of ability to make much of a reading-lesson, or to explain lucidly the various arithmetical processes. Now, therefore, it is proposed to secure results by the simple process of paying for them. And, certainly, there must be a radical difference between education and everything else, if this process does not answer. But then, the result to be paid for must be something solid and tangible -something that can be weighed, and measured, and tested. The general character of a school, its tone and aspect, the moral atmosphere that seems to pervade it, are essences too volatile in their nature to be capable of reduction to £ s. d. Hence there is nothing left for experiment but positive acquirement. Accordingly, acquirement is fixed upon by the framers of the revised code, and acquirement, too, of the most elementary and fundamental character. Reading, writing, and arithmetic are the future pass-keys to the strong box of · The capitation grant is to be paid on the results of an examination in these three time-honoured branches of learning. And, however reactionary this may seem, there is very much to he said for the proposal. In the first place, it tends to secure for the greatest possible number the necessary groundwork of all education. If circumstances make it impossible for a child to learn anything else, he should at least be taught to read ; and, whatever else a child may have the opportunity or the desire to learn, he should at all events learn to read as the first step. Hence a ready answer suggests itself to an objection strongly insisted on, that the effect of this scheme will be to banish everything but reading, writing, and arithmetic from our schools. It seems to me that the objectors are involved in a dilemma. Either there is time for teaching properly these elementary subjects, and also for teaching the higher branches ; or there is not. If there is, there is no fear that the higher and more attractive subjects will be neglected by teachers regularly educated and trained. If there is not, will any one recommend that the children of the working classes shall be left without a competent skill in reading and writing, in order that they may pick up a smattering of geography or a few disjointed facts of history?
But it is argued by some that, if this test be applied, all education, properly so called, will be at an end, and that teaching will become as mechanical as it was under village pedagogues of the old school.
Those who think so do not seem sufficiently to understand the educating power of two at least of the three subjects referred to. The national-school boy can have no better discipline than a course of arithmetic, intelligently and scientifically taught. The reading-lesson, again, if given as it should be, is excellent training for the mind. The power to read easily and intelligently is itself evidence of awakened intellectual activity. Nay, the reading-lesson may be made to play a far more important
imparting general information. History, geography, common things, may often be better taught through this medium than by means of a discursive and wordy oral lesson, under which the class are too often, at the best, passive listeners.
Another argument in favour of the new Council Office test is, that it is not only the common foundation on which all schools must build, but it is the most neutral of all neutral ground. It is exactly the point to which an impartial central agency may direct its co-operation without trenching on local liberty as to matters where liberty is essential. And, at the same time, to help in this quarter is really to aid in the development of distinctive views and particular systems; for surely to provide the foundation is indirectly to assist in the superstructure.
For this reason I cannot fall in with the outcry against the Minutes on the ground that they make no account of religious instruction. If it were strictly true that they did not, yet if they put no impediment in its way, but left the Church and the other religious communities full liberty of action in this respect, there would be very slender grounds of complaint. It is surely the Church's mission to provide religious instruction for her members; and no severer accusation could be brought even by the Liberation Society itself, than to say that in our Church schools, where the supporters are churchmen, and where the clergyman is generally the acting manager, there is serious danger that religious instruction will be neglected unless the official vigilance of Downing Street shall interpose. If so, we must strangely in these days have forgotten the tender and touching precept spoken long ago, “Feed My lambs!” But, it will be urged, the temptation to concentrate his whole attention on the three paying subjects will be too much for the virtue of the teacher. I think too well of teachers to admit this; but, were it so, no harm can happen unless those three terrible Rs .triumph over the virtue of managers also. For is not the teacher henceforth to be dependent one half of the school income at least to have a local source? Will it not be easy for managers to say to teachers, or for subscribers to say to managers, “We “pay your salary, or we give our contri“bution, on the condition that the “children attending your school are “properly instructed in Holy Scripture "and the Church's formularies, and “ brought up to lead a godly and a “ Christian life, as members of Christ “should be ?” And will it be any very heavy burden on the clergyman to examine the children periodically ir religious knowledge, and report thereon, if necessary, to the committee? Or again, what hinders the carrying out of a complete system of diocesan inspection under the direction of the Bishop, such inspection being confined to the moral and religious aspect of our schools ? Having considerable faith in the Church and in her machinery, when properly worked, I do not think the consequences can well be disastrous to religion if she is made to accept her own responsibilities, and to do her own work. Neither, again, if reading the Bible presupposes ability to read, can I think it to be anything but an advantage to religion if the State will help us to secure this necessary, though secular, foundation.
But it is not strictly true that the code completely secularizes education. It preserves the denominational character of the schools. And this really is the essential thing. This makes purely secular education impossible, so long as the religious societies are true to themselves. Moreover, it appears by a statement of the Bishop of Lichfield, in his recent charge, that it has been intimated to inspectors of Church schools, that, under article 47 of the code, they may “recommend a “ reduction of the grant by not less than “one-tenth, and not more than one-half, “for deficiency of religious knowledge."
So far it has been my feeling to uphold the general principles on which the revised code is based. When, however, we come to examine its details, it is no longer possible to speak so favourably.
assumption, and of want of practical acquaintance with the subject.
I n the first place, the examination test is somewhat overdone. To impose it on children of three or four years of age implies gross ignorance of child-nature, or a bias in favour of infanticide more becoming an officer of King Herod than a minister of Queen Victoria. A very simple change will rectify this blunder. Let a small capitation grant be payable on attendance only, in the case of all children under six years of age. In their case, attendance at school, with the control and discipline it involves, is a result.
It is a mistake equally unfortunate to impose conditions which will have the effect of shortening school stay; and everybody says that this will result from only allowing children above eleven to be examined once. Why not remedy this by a supplementary examination in more advanced subjects for those who have passed through all the groups ?
Grouping by age, again, is strongly objected to by those who are most conversant with schools. It does indeed involve serious difficulties ; but they have been so thoroughly ventilated by others who have handled the subject that I need not enlarge upon them. Now, in lieu of this arrangement according to age, the following might be suggested :Let there be three or four grades of examination, and let there be a corresponding number of payments in an ascending scale, and so adjusted that a good school may receive on the whole a fair average grant. Let children be admissible to any one of these grades irrespective of age ; but let no child be presented for examination more than once in the same grade. If tickets endorsed by the Council Office were given to those children who passed in the highest grade, it would excite some interest and emulation among them, and the tickets would afterwards serve them as certificates of attainment.
I have heard it remarked by an earnest friend to education, that the faults of the code may almost be excused, on account of the encouragement it gives to
its most commendable features; and I only regret that the boon is in some degree marred by the condition that a boy must have attained the age of thirteen before he can be regarded as available for the capitation grant. As boys cannot be made to stay in the day-school till they are thirteen, this condition interposes a hiatus valde deflendus.
Had I space, I should like, as in private duty bound, to enlarge on the subject of normal colleges, and on the treatment which they receive from the code. Very few words, however, must suffice. Of the limitation in the number of Queen's scholars, I do not complain, for I anticipate an overstocked market. The cessation of grants to lecturers— grants obtained by them after a severe examination is a great hardship. It is indeed less defensible than the confiscation of augmentation grants on the certificate-for in the latter case there is the semblance of an equivalent; in the former there is none.
Again, the arrangements which tend to discourage residence for the full term of two years are open to serious objection; but they are so palpably the result of oversight, that they will no doubt be amended.
But I must hasten to a conclusion. The subject is not only important, but many-sided, and it is impossible thoroughly to discuss it within the compass of a paper of moderate length. The contribution which I offer to the discussion is only fragmentary. Approving of many of the principles on which the code rests, I still see difficulties connected with it which do not simply arise out of faults in the details, but are of the essence, so to speak, of the scheme. So complete an examination of several thousand schools as the code provides for is something new, and may give rise to new complications. There cannot be much embarrassment as to the standard
by which the examiner is to be guided, but there must be a considerable increase in the number of examiners. So far there will be a set-off against any saving in other directions.
Again, payment by results involves some degree of financial uncertainty, and managers must, in arranging their expenditure, provide for the contingency of abatements in the grant. The hardship here is more apparent than real. It is as easy to live within a fluctuating income as it is to live beyond a fixed one. The teacher whose salary is derived partly from school pence must already have solved this problem.
Much has been said about the loss and inconvenience that will arise from irregularity of attendance, and from the tendency which children have to go from school to school, as caprice inspires them. These are serious evils ; but, if they are in any degree curable, payment by results will help to cure them. The managers of schools in towns must enter into agreements with one another not to countenance aimless and causeless migration from school to school. To raise the school fee in the case of children who fail to secure any capitation grant will sometimes be found practicable, and will give parents a wholesome interest in regularity of attendance.
On the whole, however, we may be glad that the operation of the code is guspended. Time and opportunity are thus afforded for a thorough consideration of the subject; and it must now be discussed and decided by that great assembly whose verdict alone can justify such radical changes, and whose authority alone can reconcile everybody to them. The revised code can never reappear without very considerable modifications. Let us hope that those modifications will be such as to avoid injustice, to advance education, and, as far as possible, to satisfy objectors.