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EXAMINATIONS OF THE SOCIETY OF ARTS.

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assist those who are engaged in education. And this is the limit of the agency with which government will be entrusted in the matter of education. And, even if there were a desire to give the government rather more power, there is every possibility that fear of the consequences would deter the public from fulfilling the desire. The government, as recent events have proved, seems to have lost the power of organisation. It plunges rashly into enterprises of moment without any knowledge or skill, content to gain information by the rough process of loss and misfortune. The great movements of the time, such as the reformatory system, have taken place outside of government, which is content with the subordinate part of assisting, by money and protection, the development of that which has originated elsewhere.

It is not, therefore, to be wondered at that education should not form the subject of a special notice in the Queen's Speech. The educational bodies are, in many instances, doing their work well, and it would be a pity that they should be interrupted, at least at present, in their operation by a government measure. At the same time, it would be as well that bodies which are working without any bond of co-operation, any feeling of union, should have some common centre to which their labours might tend. A centralisation which should make all these bodies travel precisely the same road would be mischievous, but such a want of system as would make them naturally diverge would be worse. If there is no union amongst our educational institutions, there should at least be unity of aim. Although the methods may be different, the end should be the same. And this can only be attained by instituting a universal system of examinations, by which the qualifications of pupils educated in all classes of schools may be tested. This is precisely the system adopted in our great Universities. The pupils are educated in different colleges, under different systems, by different tutors, but they are all bound at the termination of their course to undergo the University examinations.

The only attempt to do for the pupils of the ordinary schools of the empire what the University do for the students in the colleges has been made by the Society of Arts. They have instituted examinations at which, under certain restrictions, pupils from the lower and middle-class schools may attend and have their qualifications tested. Certificates are granted to those who pass satisfactory examinations. The need of such a system was shown, previously to its being put into action, by the fact of a declaration being signed by a large number of merchants and manufacturers, stating that they should consider the possession of the Society's certificate by an applicant for a situation as a valid testimonial. The same thing was shown by the immediate adhesion to the plan of a great number of the most distinguished friends of education of all religious parties and of all sects. These persons, who would have debated for a quarter of a century without coming to any satisfactory conclusion as to the establishment of a system of education, were not only willing, but eager to join a plan having for its object the application of a test of the value of the results of education. It may or may not be a question for discussion whether children should receive religious instruction under the same roof where they prosecute secular studies, but there can be no doubt that it is expedient to know whether this secular education has or has not been a sham. The best test of the reality of this education is an examination. And this test may be applied with more impartiality and accuracy by parties who have not been concerned in the education of those they examine than by the educators themselves. If the Society of Arts can extend their operations, hitherto conducted with so much success, throughout the whole of England, they will have gone far to establish a middle-class university. Detached from the processes of education, and only occupied with testing its results, they will be looked upon without suspicion by all sects and denominations. The inducements they hold out to masters and pupils to exert themselves will have the effect of stimulating education in a remarkable manner. They will do this without requiring grants for school-houses or professors. If, however, they wish to steer clear of difficulties, they should preserve their pre. sent freedom from Government control. At present they have the confidence of the country: if they surrender the management of their scheme into the hands of Government, the public will involuntarily think of jobbery or disorganisation. They have obtained the confidence of the public by their intelligence and independence. If they give up one, the public will be loth to give them credit for the other.

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English (Bohn); the Advancement of Learnin Th First Six Books. Spectator. Pope: Homer's I and edition with the Introduction and the Three Ser

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