HC Deb 30 July 1845 vol 82 cc1199-201
Mr. C. Buller

said, he understood that the hon. Member the Under Secretary of the Colonies was prepared to give an answer to the question of which he had given notice respecting the state of education in Malta. He was anxious to be informed as to the measures taken by the Government to carry out the recommendations of the Commissioners with respect to the promotion of education in that Colony. The population of the Colony amounted to 118,000 persons, a number so very considerable, that it rendered the duty of promoting education amongst them more imperative on the Government. The revenue of the Colony amounted to 120,000l., or a little more than 1l. per head per annum; and, according to the general principles on which we acted with respect to those Colonies which had large populations, a sum proportionate to the population and the revenue ought to be expended in promoting education amongst the people. On looking at the Estimates, however, he found that only 4,000l. had been expended in promoting education amongst the native inhabitants of Malta. This sum, he thought, was not sufficient for that purpose. Great hopes had been excited in the Colony by the Report of the Commissioners, and it was understood that, as one result of that Report, the Government would adopt measures for the education of young men, so as to qualify them to undertake the duties of schoolmasters on their return to Malta. With that view two young men were sent from Malta to London for the purpose of education in one of the model schools here. Unfortunately one of these young men died here. The other remained until his education was completed; but on his return to Malta it was found that after the expenses incurred on his account, there was no employment for him as a teacher, and he was at length placed as a clerk in one of the Government departments. He should be glad to hear some explanation on this subject.

Mr. G. W. Hope

said, that it was not his intention on that occasion to enter into the general question as to the state of education in Malta; but he could state from his own knowledge that there was a strong disposition on the part of the Government here and at Malta to consult the wishes of the inhabitants in every measure adopted for their improvement, and many things had been already done in the Colony with that view. But it was heardly necessary for him to say that in a population like that of Malta, many local prejudices existed calculated to impede any general measures for their improvement, particularly with respect to education. An attempt had been made to found an University there; but he was sorry to say that it had not had that success on which its promoters had calculated. This had arisen partly from the fact that it had been planned on too great a scale, and partly from the circumstance that the gentleman who had been selected as the president of the College, and those who were intended to act with him, did not work well together. That gentleman was removed, and his place was supplied by a Roman Catholic from the College of Stonyhurst, whose high character and qualifications gave good ground for hoping that under his care education would be greatly promoted in the Colony. It was not correct, then, to say that the interests of the inhabitants as to education had been neglected — far from it. Fourteen primary schools had been already established, and the College had been re-organized on a different basis from its original foundation. The hon. and learned Member was not correct in saying that only a sum of 4,000l. had been voted for the promotion of education. The fact was, that the sum was much nearer to 5,000l.; and more would be provided (as we understood) if required; and it was expected that another report on the subject would soon be made by the Government of Malta.

Subject dropped.

On the Question that Mr. Speaker do leave the Chair to go into Committee of Supply,

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