§ SUPPLY—considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £13,950, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1876, for Grants to Scottish Universities.
§ DR. C. CAMERON
moved the reduction of the Vote by £200, being the amount proposed for a Chair of Theory and Practice of Teaching in Edinburgh University. He did so, because no information had been vouchsafed to the Scottish public as to the nature of the scheme 295 proposed by Government, and how far it would interfere with the present system of Normal Training Colleges, and because, in the absence of such information, it appeared to him that the proposed Chair was likely to do more harm than good. They were aware that the mass of the schoolmasters and mistresses of Scotland were educated at the Normal Training Colleges—institutions kept up at an expense to the country of £21,000 a-year. In those Training Colleges the students not only received instruction in those branches of education which they would afterwards be called upon to teach, but they were exercised in the art of imparting their knowledge in the practising schools attached to the Training Colleges. Under the Scotch Education Code, provision was already made whereby students desirous of combining attendance on University Chairs with the instruction afforded them at their Training Colleges could do so; but unfortunately the pecuniary conditions imposed by the Department in case of this attendance were such that it was far from being the interest of the Training Colleges to encourage the students to avail themselves of the permission. Now, if it had been proposed to remedy this, and by means of scholarships or otherwise to encourage the students of Training Colleges to possess themselves of a University education, he would not have grudged a much larger sum of money than that proposed. As it was, however, the student at a Training College who at present tried to combine attendance on the prescribed University classes with his other studies, found that his time barely sufficed for the work laid before him. If, then, it was proposed to render attendance on the Lectures on the Theory and Practice of Teaching compulsory, this could only be done by substituting them for one of the other courses of University lectures among which the student was at present permitted to select, and the result would be that so far from increasing the general range of the education of the teachers of Scotland, the proposed new Chair would have a directly contrary tendency. But, in order to understand the full significance of the proposal before the Committee, it was necessary to look at its history. Some years ago the trustees of the Bell Bequest decided to devote a portion of their funds to the 296 endowment of Chairs of the Theory and Practice of Education in the Universities of Edinburgh and St. Andrews. In order to make their money go as far as possible, they resolved to make their endowments conditional upon the Government consenting to supplement it from the Imperial funds; and in order to induce Government to do this, they attempted to obtain a recommendation to that effect from the Scotch Endowed Schools Commissioners. A considerable amount of evidence in support of the project was accordingly brought before those gentlemen. It was, however, of the vaguest and most general description, and failed, he believed, to convince an influential section of the Commissioners that the proposed Chair was at all desirable. On that point, however, they did not report; but upon the point before the Committee they reported in the most unqualified terms, for the information of the Government, that they saw no prospect of being able to recommend the application of any fund towards the foundation of such Chairs in addition to what the Bell Trustees were prepared to provide. It was hardly to be expected that the Universities concerned would rest satisfied with this refusal, and accordingly a deputation waited on the Duke of Richmond in the May of last year, with a view of pressing the matter upon Government. The noble Duke expressed himself as quite inclined to give the matter a favourable consideration, and requested the deputation to get the four Scotch Universities to draw up a definite scheme and lay it before him. Accordingly they did so in June, 1874, and a copy of that scheme he held in his hand. Now, it was a remarkable feature in connection with that scheme that the Chair of Education figured in it as a mere accident, and that in all its essential parts it could be carried out just as well without that Chair as with it. It proposed that Queen's scholars should have the option, under certain conditions, of attending a University instead of a Normal School, and of attaining at the end of a two years' curriculum a diploma which should be accepted as a certificate of competency. It proposed that during their attendance at the University these students should receive instruction in the Theory and Practice of Education, either from a Professor of the subject, where such a 297 Professorship existed—namely, at Edinburgh and St. Andrews, or at the Normal Schools, or otherwise as might be arranged between the Department and the Universities where there were no such Chairs, as at Glasgow and Aberdeen. The scheme further recommended that any student obtaining the degree of M.A. should, on complying with certain conditions, be entitled to a teacher's certificate of the highest class awarded by the Department. And the remarkable thing in this part of the scheme was that the new Chair was never mentioned in connection with it. He would not stop to argue the merits of the joint proposal of the Scotch Universities, and he would merely say that if it was to be adopted it should be adopted after consideration and discussion, and not in silence, under cover of a paltry Vote like that before the Committee. If Government had not resolved to adopt the joint scheme, it was as premature to ask Parliament to vote this money as it would have been when the deputation waited on the Duke of Richmond in May last year. Even if Government had resolved to adopt the scheme proposed by the Universities, he had shown that the Chair of the Theory and Practice of Education was a mere accident in it; and if it was desirable to try the Chairs as an experiment in connection with it, that could be easily done by means of the funds at the command of the Bell Trustees. Meanwhile, he held that it was altogether premature to ask them to saddle the country with an expenditure of £400 a-year—£200 for Edinburgh and £200 for St. Andrews and contended that the House should not be asked to consent to any change in a matter so important to the training of the teachers of Scotland without a much fuller and more satisfactory explanation of the intentions of the Government than had as yet been afforded them.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £13,750, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1876, for Grants to Scottish Universities."—(Dr. Cameron.)
§ MR. WHITELAW
supported the proposal of his hon. Colleague, as he could not regard the institution of the proposed Chairs otherwise than as calcu 298 lated to clash with the existing system of educating teachers. At present teachers were trained in the Training Colleges. These Colleges were admitted to be doing their work well, and they were approvingly referred to in the recently-issued Report of the Scotch Education Department. They had accommodation for 800 students, male and female, and sent out annually between 400 and 500 male teachers, which was far more than enough to supply the vacancies in the schools. Last December there were no fewer than 537 newly-certificated teachers, and that was equal to a staff of teachers in the country of about 9,000, for he understood that 6 per cent annually was the number of vacancies that occurred. The total number of certificated masters in the schools of Scotland at present was only 2,857, so the Training Colleges were, as he had said, far more than able to supply the number of teachers which was required. The Report of the Education Department took notice of this fact, and mentioned that the time might soon come when it would be necessary for them to restrict the number of pupils. If, then, the Normal Colleges already provided sufficient means for educating teachers, why should they have a new system forced on the country? Besides, they had no evidence whatever that the Education Department had ever considered the matter of this Chair. The Scotch Education Act provided for the recognition of graduates from the Universities as qualified, to a large extent, to receive certificates of competency as teachers, and he was glad to say that some graduates were taking advantages of the facilities that were offered them. The great difficulty about the proposed Chair was that nobody knew what it was for. He had heard a great variety of opinions as to how it was to be carried on. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had told them, on a former occasion, that it was to be confined to theory; but, on the other hand, he had heard the promoters of the scheme speak as if it were intended to combine theory and practice. All this went to show that there was no definite agreement as to how the Chair was to be carried on. At any rate. Parliament had had no statement laid before it as to what was to be the constitution of the Chair; and he 299 did not think it wise for Parliament to vote money without knowing what was to be done with it. It was desirable that Parliament should take cognisance of the fact that new appointments would have to be made, and surely it was inadvisable they should be made, thereby creating vested interests, until Parliament had satisfied itself whether or not they were desirable. If a modification of the existing system of providing a supply of teachers were desirable, then, surely, such a scheme should be prepared and digested by the Education Department, and submitted to Parliament for approval, in order that they might have some means of judging of the wisdom of the proposal. At present they had no indication whatever as to the views of the Education Department. Again, the Normal Colleges existed chiefly by voluntary support, and he thought they had a right to know the exact proposals in regard to this Chair. It would be most unfair to them to proceed to institute a Chair that would compete with them without making them aware of what it was proposed to do. There was another point. In each of the Normal Colleges there were three, four, or five lecturers on the subject of Practical Teaching, and if so many were required at present, he did not see how the same purpose was to be effected by the appointment of one Professor. The University education of teachers was going on at present in connection with the rules of the Education Department, and in conformity with the Education Act. In fact, as he had already stated, considerable facilities were provided for University students qualifying as teachers; and if it were desirable to increase them, he ventured to think it could be done in some better way than that now proposed. Let the Education Department prepare and digest a scheme, and submit it to Parliament. Then, he submitted, it would be time enough to ask Parliament to vote money. For his own part, he thought the best plan to adopt would be one in which the present system was left pretty much as it was, and greater facilities and encouragement given to students to attend art classes in the University at the same time as they were receiving their pedagogic training at the Normal Colleges. The Normal Schools of Soot-land were kept up and governed by its 300 Church Bodies, and it was well known that Scotland desired religious teaching. Well, he would like to know how the teachers could get training for religious teaching in the Universities, and how, further, even if they did get it, it could be tested? Altogether he disapproved of the proposal to found the Chair, and he hoped the Committee would support his hon. Colleague in the Motion he had made.
§ MR. LYON PLAYFAIR
My hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow (Dr. Cameron) mixes up two questions which are essentially distinct. Much could be said by me for, and my hon. Friend has said all he could against, a scheme for educating primary schoolmasters at the Scotch Universities; but that question is not before us. I might, for instance, remind him that for generations, long before Training Schools existed, the Universities of Scotland formed the only training ground for parochial teachers. In fact, in the best days of the history of Scotch schools, when the parish schoolmaster was the great civilizing agent, the Universities formed the only means through which he was trained to his work. At that time the Church of of Scotland made it a pious duty of the Presbyteries to send up young men to the Universities to be trained as teachers and ministers. I would have thought that the hon. Member for Glasgow who sits on the opposite side (Mr. Whitelaw), would have been inspired by these Conservative traditions of his Church, and I expected him to welcome the foundation of this Chair of Education as a most Conservative measure. The denominational Training Schools, of which there are now six in Scotland, are quite modern institutions. They have done their past work well, and are doing their existing work admirably. From these schools a certain number of their teachers in training are sent to the Universities to receive a higher education than they themselves profess to give. I hope that the Training Schools and Universities will long co-operate in advancing the important work of training teachers. My hon. Friend (Dr. Cameron) opposes this Vote as a source of danger to the Training Schools, because he points to a scheme which the four Universities sent to the Education Department, offering themselves also as training institutions for such teachers as the Education De- 301 partment might mish to send to them. Is it surprising that they should do so? They had proved their ability to train teachers before Training Colleges existed, and all that they asked was that teachers might have the option of attending the Universities or Training Colleges, according to their own liking and future destination. But the Education Department declined their proposal, and there is an end of the matter. That is not the question before us at all. It never could be sanctioned without a Minute of the Education Department, and that must be inserted in the Scotch Code, which is laid before Parliament. The Universities have no power to take one pupil from a Training College, and their proposal to join in the work of primary training, though it was justified by their ancient experience, has been refused. My hon. Friend is, therefore, attacking a phantom. But the disappearance of that prospect does not the less render necessary a Chair of Education. The Scotch Universities have always aimed at being Technical Schools for the training of professions. They have various duties of this kind. They train ministers for different Churches, and grant Divinity degrees without exacting any profession of faith. They train doctors of medicine in large numbers, and they also train lawyers. They train farmers and engineers. All these professions have a curriculum of a liberal education, embracing many subjects, but all also have their one or more technical Chairs capping the curriculum. The doctors and the lawyers have various technical Chairs. The ministers have their Professor of Divinity; the farmers their Professor of Agriculture; the engineers their Professor of Engineering. But the profession of teacher has hitherto had no technical Professor of his art to cap his useful and noble profession. One thousand of the teachers of Scotland have petitioned that their profession should be treated in the same way as the other professions are in the Scotch Universities. They know that the technic of teaching has a gathered experience of ages, and of many lands. They desire that the results of the experience of mankind relative to the teacher's art should be brought together and systematized. And they now have the opportunity, by the offer of Bell's Trustees, to found two Chairs, provided that they 302 are supported by the Government. And when this boon is offered to the great body of teachers in Scotland, to dignify their profession and put it on the same standing as other technical professions, we find Scotch Members on both sides of the House opposing the proposal. I am quite sure that they do so in ignorance of the object contemplated. If no primary school masters were to avail themselves of this Chair at all, there would be ample justification for it in the fact that the Scotch Universities train all the teachers for secondary schools in Scotland, and also a great many of those who go to schools and Colleges in our Colonies. In regard to these the Training Colleges do not in any way coma into competition. But the effect of such Chairs will not be confined to the secondary schools. As I have said, the Training Colleges and the Education' Department send increasing numbers of their scholars to the Universities, and these will also obtain the benefit of the Chairs of Education. They may form a useful supplement to them; but they no more interfere with them than the existing Chairs of Latin and Greek do. A Chair of Education may facilitate cooperation, but it cannot increase antagonism. It is but one stop further, though it is an important one, to enable teachers to supplement their Training School course, and thus preserve the traditionary character of Scotch schools. The House ought to recollect that the Scotch Education Act fully recognized University training as fit for their purposes. These Chairs of Education will complete the technic of this training; but they do not profess to impart practice in teaching, any more than the Professorship of Engineering professes to make a man a practical engineer. But what they do intend to accomplish is, to complete the curriculum of the profession of teaching in the same way as the Scotch Universities have done with regard to the other learned professions. We feel very grateful to Her Majesty's Government for their enlightened policy in this respect, and I can assure them that the passing of this Vote will be hailed by the large body of teachers throughout Scotland as a boon to them, and as a deserved compliment to their important profession.
§ MR. MARK STEWART
said, he had spoken to numbers of Gentlemen inside 303 the House and outside of it, but he had only heard one expression of feeling, which was that the proposal of the Government was unsatisfactory, and was not wanted in Scotland, or by the people of Scotland. With her Normal Schools Scotland was quite satisfied; and the way in which those schools were conducted did not render this step necessary, as it was well known that whether Established or Free Church, those schools were admirably conducted; and what fell from his hon. Friend (Mr. Whitelaw) was entitled to great weight, especiully when they knew how Scotland had been distracted by the educational controversy. They had heard a great deal about the religious question. This, it should be understood, was not shelved in Normal Schools, and the proposal of the Government was held by persons holding Liberal views, neither to be a Liberal or Conservative measure to bring before the House. Although the right hon. Gentleman in introducing the Vote had spoken at great length, he did not express any opinion on the part of the Government with regard to the scheme, and he sincerely trusted that they now would not use the power they had to press it forward, but allow Scotch Members another year to digest the question, and in order that they might thoroughly consider the proposal.
§ MR. RAMSAY
observed, that his object was to urge on the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary and the Lord Advocate to express the views of the Government and to state the arrangements they proposed to make, by which they were to secure the Chairs they wished to establish, and that in such a manner that they would not injure existing Normal Schools. The inquiry was not now before the House for the first time. Questions were asked regarding it some months ago. They were then told that arrangements would be made before the subject was again brought before the House. However, they had not heard since anything about, nor were they that day informed what the arrangements were to be, and how the Chairs were to be made useful in instructing teachers, while, at the same time, they did not injure existing institutions. How then, he asked again, were the Chairs to be made practically useful? He was not opposed to the Vote, if it could be shown that teachers would de- 304 rive advantage from it. Until this was shown, he was bound to say that without a distinct expression of opinion from Her Majesty's Government, it was impossible to vote upon the question, nor could they properly discuss the matter, to enable them to decide one way or the other. As he had said, he would not oppose the Vote, while, at the same time, he was not willing to support it, until they knew what was going to be done.
§ MR. M'LAREN
said, he had endeavoured to make himself acquainted with the feelings of the parties interested, but he had been unable to meet with any general expression of opinion favourable to the plan. The general opinions he had heard expressed divided themselves into two classes only—the one class held that the money, if voted, would be quite thrown away; while the other class said that the expenditure would be positively injurious, by destroying, to a certain extent, the usefulness of the Training Colleges. He had come to this conclusion himself; while the fact that no general representation favourable to the scheme had come from Scotland proved conclusively that Scotland did not want it. He would not touch on matters other hon. Members had argued, but would observe that the grant was not merely £200, because the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself had said that if this Vote was given to Edinburgh the same sum must be given to St. Andrews, which was inadvertently left out this year. This, then, was £400 per annum, which meant a grant in perpetuity of a capital sum of £10,000. Well, were the House prepared to give this sum. To do so without consulting the parties interested would be a very unwise step. But apart from the merits of the grant, he should like to call attention to the collateral circumstances. This £400, he understood, was to be supplemented by the like sum from the Dr. Bell's Trustees. It, however, would behove them to be cautious, for they had the report of the Endowed School Commissioners for Scotland, stating that it was questionable whether the trustees had the right to give the money in this way without a special Act of Parliament. In fact, it would amount to, in his opinion, misappropriation of the money in their charge. Dr. Bell's bequests were given 305 for special purposes, and were not applicable for thus supplementing the grants of Parliament for Professorships. He had a still further objection against such a scheme. This £400 would have to be taken from a most useful object. It was now applied, as they all knew, to the small and poor parishes in the Highlands to supplement the sums paid as salaries to the teachers. For years it had been thus applied, and although perhaps not so useful as the Dick bequest, it had done immense good by coming in aid of very small salaries. He understood that Dr. Bell's Trustees argued that in consequence of the passing of the Education Act there would be plenty of money to supply the education of the country. Was that so? He thought he could show exactly the opposite. They had heard that in some parishes in Scotland the rate was 2s. and 3s. in the pound, while in others it had even reached 4s. Therefore, he considered the money left by this bequest was never more required than at the present moment to supplement the salaries of the teachers in the poor Highland parishes. Upon this point, he might read an extract from the Report of the Endowed School Commissioners, who, referring to the Bell Trust, said the Trust funds were destined—To be applied to maintaining, carrying forward, and following up the system of education which he considered to have been introduced by him.Well, he would ask, was the House to favour the getting rid of this destination by a kind of side-wind—to favour a breach of the trust, that other schemes might be benefited—the one which was now proposed being, he ventured to think, never contemplated in the original grant? Then, in support of his views, they had in another part of the Report of the Commissioners a statement that the income of the Trust was £600 a-year, and that it was applied in aid of education in the Orkney and Shetland Isles and the Highlands of Scotland in connection with the Church of Scotland. What more, then, was required? Surely the House would not sanction the transfer of the money from such an useful purpose to benefit a mere problematical scheme—one which, if not actually of no use, was, in the opinion of many, thought to be of little 306 benefit. He would now take the liberty of calling the attention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to another fact. They had the previous night a long discussion about a scientific grant for Scotland. He was quite willing to accept this £400 for Scotland, but let it be given to another purpose—let it be given to the Meteorological Society. They had hoard much of tire usefulness of that institution, and why not give them a grant? This he put in solemn seriousness to the right hen. Gentleman; and further, he would call upon him to remember this fact—that no legislation could be good which was made for a community that did not require it, and when the benefits of such legislation were merely problematical. Upon the Scotch Vote the previous evening only one Member from Scotland followed the lead of the Government in the division, while the two Scotch Members of the Government went out before the division took place in order to escape the odium of voting with their Colleagues in the Government. This afforded them a test of the opinion of the Scottish Members, and he was convinced that the proposed grant would be far more appreciated if it was devoted, as he had said, to the Meteorological Society. Again, it would be well to remember how narrowly the Government escaped being loft in a minority the previous night. ["No, no!"] It was "yes, yes," for deducting the names of the Members of the Government, they were in an actual minority. He therefore did hope they would re-consider this question.
§ MR. CAMPBELL - BANNERMAN
while admitting that those who were not acquainted with the details of the teaching profession might, at first, have some difficulty in forming a very precise conception of the duties which would be discharged by a Professor of Education, yet thought that his right hon. Friend (Mr. Lyon Playfair) had shown that a gap existed in the present training system of Scotland, which would be filled by the creation of this Professorship. He quite agreed, however, with his hon. Friend the Member for Falkirk (Mr. Ramsay) that they were entitled to expect from the Government full information as to the definite functions of the new Professor, and he had no doubt that the Government could give that information, otherwise they would surely not have inserted the item in the Vote. There was 307 no wish in any quarter to do anything to injure those excellent institutions, the Normal Schools. The proposal before the Committee was, in fact, supplementary and not antagonistic, to the Normal Schools; but he believed that, in fact, the opposition arose mainly from jealousy on the part of the supporters of those institutions, and this jealousy found its spring, as so many divisions in Scotland did, in Ecclesiastical differences. The Normal Schools were in connection either with the Established or the Free Church, and those bodies were anxious that they should remain intact. Now Parliament had established, two years ago, a national system of education in Scotland, superseding the denominational system which had previously existed, and it appeared to him most desirable that there should be some means whereby teachers might be trained other than denominational Colleges. He was aware that these opinions were now in disfavour in the House; but they afforded to him one of the strongest reasons for supporting this Vote. Besides, there was this important consideration—that the Normal Schools furnished no means of training for their duties the teachers of secondary schools. Secondary education was in a very backward condition in Scotland; efforts were now being made to improve it; and he believed that the higher training which this Chair would be the means of giving to teachers would be essential for that purpose.
MR. ASSHETON CROSS
said, there seemed all along to have been some little mistake about the course pursued by Her Majesty's Government. No doubt, the object of Bell's Trustees was a very good one in wishing to establish those Chairs. The proper way, however, would have been to have come to himself or the Lord Advocate in order to elicit the feeling of the Government in the matter; but the cart seemed to have been put before the horse, and the question was brought before the Chancellor of the Exchequer not as a matter of policy but as a matter of money. The Chancellor of the Exchequer saw no reason why the money should not be granted, assuming that all other matters had been settled before they came to him. But there were great difficulties about this matter. 308 There were great difficulties in framing such a system for the foundation of these Chairs as should be consistent with the present state of education and the preservation of the Normal Schools. He had had a good deal of correspondence on this matter, not only on the question of the Chairs, but who was to have the appointments, and he found that there were great differences of opinion, not only among Professors in Scotland, but also among students. Unless the foundations were very distinctly drawn up, so as not to interfere with the local authorities, it would depend very much on the first appointment as to what the character of the Chair was. This was a matter that deserved very great and serious consideration. So far as he could understand, if the appointment was by the Crown there would be a disposition on the part of the Trustees to say they would like to have the first appointment. Very great difficulties might arise on that point. Since the matter had been before the attention of Her Majesty's Government, they had had the Report of the Endowed School Commissioners laid before them, and certain suggestions had been given to them extending beyond what in his own notion appeared to be desirable. Especial reference was made to the aim and intention of Dr. Bell. The Endowed School Commissioners certainly did not recommend the foundation of these Chairs, and the Government had since been very anxious to hear the opinions of Scotch Members on this matter with respect to the Vote before the Committee. He therefore thought, having heard the discussion, the decidedly wiser course would be to give further time for consideration, and to withdraw the Vote for this year in order that Scotland might have an opportunity of considering the matter in all its bearings, so that when it was brought forward another year it might be clearly understood what the foundations of these Chairs were to be.
MR. LYON PLAYFATR
said, he had heard the statement of the Home Secretary with equal surprise and regret. In his Parliamentary experience he did not know of a case where the Government having, after mature consideration, recommended, on their responsibility, a Vote to the House, dropped it without saying a word in its favour, or without any explanation as to the grounds on 309 which they originally proposed it. But he regretted still more the attitude which had been taken by several Liberal Members on this side of the House, for he was certain before long they would see that their opposition to the Vote had played into the hands of Conservative Members opposite, and that they had made a serious mistake in Liberal policy.
§ MR. MAITLAND
remembered a proposal similar to this being made a few years ago. A deputation went to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of London (Mr. Lowe) stating that a sum of money had been provided for a Chair of this kind on condition that the right hon. Gentleman would give permission. The right hon. Gentleman said there was no such thing as the science of pedagogy, and he must say the opinions he had heard that day, and the opinions he had heard before, led him to take the same view. Therefore, he should be sorry to see or hear of the foundation of a Chair in the University of Edinburgh for a science which he believed did not exist. There was a sum in the Estimates having reference to a sum of £6,000 paid by the Trustees of the late Dr. Bell for the foundation of a Chair in one of the Universities, and their desire to obtain Parliamentary sanction and recognition of the proposal. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary and the House would give no Parliamentary sanction for misapplying funds intended for one purpose to another purpose.
§ MR. MUNDELLA
said, he had heard with surprise the decision of the Home Secretary. He had looked forward to the establishment of this Chair of pedagogy in the University of Edinburgh. Professor Huxley, in one of the ablest lectures ever given, said the science of teaching was one of the utmost importance, yet this was the science from which the Government proposed to withdraw the shabby grant of £200. It was notorious that our system of teaching in England was not a good one. It involved much waste of power. Children did not make as much progress as they ought, and did not make the most beneficial use of their time at school. Here was an opportunity for a Chair for developing the best system of teaching, and he was sorry to see the Government was withdrawing the grant. He be- 310 lieved the nation would be in every way the losers, because though the Scotch, people were much in advance of the English in education, they had still something to learn on this question, and through them a better system of teaching might have spread itself to England.
§ DR. C. CAMERON
said, that the system of pedagogy pursued in Germany was essentially and entirely different from that instituted in the Scotch Universities. Moreover, so far from any definite idea existing sin Scotland as to what the Professor was to teach, the whole evidence before the Commission showed that no two agreed as to what the object of this Chair was. The Government had acted in the only way open to them since the publication of the Report of the Royal Commission.
§ SIR JOHN LUBBOCK
urged that the arguments made use of really showed the necessity for something of this kind. Hon. Members had said they did not know what a science of education consisted of. Surely that was a reason why there should be some such Chair as this. At the same time, he could not wonder, in the face of great diversity of opinion among Scotch Members, that Government should have determined withdraw the vote; but he hoped the House might understand that they did not withdraw altogether, for some such Chair would no doubt afford valuable aid to the cause of education. An hon. Member below him (Mr. Maitland) said there was no such thing as the science of education. Such a state of things ought not to be, and if there was no science of education, the sooner they investigated the subject and got some such science, the better it would be for the country. There was a well-founded belief that the money spent on our schools was not so well spent as it should be, and if this matter were thoroughly understood he had no doubt the money might be bestowed to greater advantage. He should hope, therefore, that Her Majesty's Government, although they withdrew the matter at present, would take it into their serious consideration, in the hope of making some such proposal here, after.
§ MR. MAITLAND
explained that he did not intend to say there was no such science, but that a great authority had said so.
§ MR. M'LAREN
, assuming that it was a good object to establish such a Chair as this, would recommend the Universities of England with an income of £780,000—a great deal of which they did not know what to do with—to try the experiment. If the hon. Baronet would use his influence with Oxford and Cambridge to establish such a Chair, if he thought it was useful, he might, having done that in his own country, then go to Scotland and preach to them to do so likewise.
§ SIR CHARLES W. DILKE
rose to move a further reduction in the Vote. Many of the Professorships in Scotland were in the hands of Trustees, and some in the hands of private persons, and he wanted to ask the opinion of the Committee whether it was desirable to take the money of Parliament for Professorships the appointments to which were in private hands? Special attention had been called to St. Andrews University, where an appointment to the Professorship of Humanity was in the gift of the Duke of Portland as representing John Scott, who, in 1620, gave a foundation for that Chair. The effect was that the fittest men would not come forward for appointments which they believed were not made on merit, but by private interest. He should move the reduction of the Vote by £120.
explained that it was incompetent for the hon. Member to move an Amendment on an Amendment in Committee. He would suggest that the Government, accepting the Amendment of the hon. Member for Glasgow, should withdraw the Vote and put it in a reduced form.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
(1.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £13,750, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1876, for Grants to Scottish Universities.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £13,630, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1876, for Grants to Scottish Universities."—(Sir Charles W. Dilke.)
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
said, this was a question which had been moved without any Notice, and he ventured to submit it was not competent for the hon. Member to move it—at all events, in the present inconvenient form. No doubt there was a Professorship in St. Andrews of which the appointment was vested in the Duke of Portland, one of his ancestors having endowed that Professorship. Under the Act of 1858, the University Commissioners founded the Professorship of Humanity in the University of St. Andrews, and a proposition was made, and carried into effect, that £120 should be added to the endowment by the ancestor of the Duke of Portland, in order to maintain the Professor in a suitable manner. Why should the Professor be punished in this manner because the appointment was vested in a private patron? If it was thought expedient to transfer the patronage from the Duke of Portland to any other body, the proper course would be to bring in a Bill to vest the patronage in the Crown, compensation being given to the Duke; but he really submitted that they had no right to punish this unfortunate Professor for what he was not responsible for. It was an inconvenient proposal, and he believed it was not competent to be moved.
ruled that the hon. Member for Chelsea had a perfect right to move the reduction of the Vote irrespective of any reasons he might give.
§ MR. LYON PLAYFAIR
said, he was unfortunately absent, sending a telegram on the late unfortunate event, and did not hear the speech of the hon. Member for Chelsea; but he understood he had made a proposal which in its results would be very serious to the Universities of Scotland, because there was not only this one but many others in the same position. There were various Professorships in Edinburgh in the same position. The Commissioners had, however, wisely recommended that attempts should be made to get these private Professorships converted into public Professorships, and no doubt the Government would desire to give effect to these recommendations. On this ground, he hoped the hon. Baronet would be satisfied with a protest against the practice.
§ MR. RAMSAY
merely rose for the purpose of appealing to the hon. Baronet to withdraw this Motion, because if it 313 were passed they would not only be guilty of inflicting great injury upon an individual, but they would deprive the University of St. Andrews of this Chair of Humanity, which was not a desirable thing to do. He sympathized fully with the views of the hon. Baronet, and he disliked as much as he did private presentation to University Chairs; but he suggested the question should not be raised in this form.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 12; Noes 111: Majority 99.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ (2.) £1,600, to complete the sum for the National Gallery, &c., Scotland.
(3.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £488,668, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1876, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Commissioners of National Education in Ireland.
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS - BEACH
said, he regretted that this Estimate had not come under the consideration of the Committee at an earlier date. But the delay had enabled them to have access not only to the original, but the Supplementary Estimate, as well as the Bill of the Government with regard to the income of national school teachers, and the Report of the National Board of Irish Education for 1874. They were, therefore, enabled more usefully to discuss the great question before them than they could have done at an earlier period of the Session. He would not detain the Committee with many general remarks on the question of Irish national education; but it was right he should state shortly that it appeared from the Report of 1874 the system was progressing and extending throughout the country. The number of schools was now 7,357, being an increase of 97; and of children on the roll 1,006,511, an increase of 31,815; the average attendance was 395,390, being an increase of 22,019, in spite of a considerable outbreak of scarlatina, which would tend to increase the irregularity of attendance. He did not say that he looked on that average attendance of children on the roll as satisfactory; but Ireland was not alone at fault in showing unsatisfac- 314 tory proportions of this kind. It must be remembered that Ireland was an agricultural country with 300,000 holdings under £8 value; and the defective attendance of the agricultural population was one of the great difficulties they had to deal with in England. No doubt an average attendance of 395,390 with 1,006,511 on the roll looked very bad. But the numbers on the roll were not, as in England, those who appeared on it on the last day of the month preceding the examination—they comprised every child who had made a single attendance during the year. Emigration and change of school must also make this most inaccurate; it showed obviously not the actual number of individual pupils, the same child appearing probably on several rolls. He thought it would be well if in future a better opportunity could be given of comparing the results in the two countries, for at present very erroneous deductions might be drawn. With reference to Ireland it was stated that only 36 per cent of the children on the rolls attended instruction, and that 64 per cent were "conspicuous by their absence;" but that Estimate must be interpreted by the circumstance to which he had just referred. They had been told that in Great Britain 42 per cent of the children on the rolls passed in reading, while in Ireland the proportion was 18 per cent; but in discussing this question the disparity should be borne in mind. In Ireland, in 1869, out of 243,288 children 171,291 passed in reading, being 70 per cent of the number examined, while of 130,791 examined in writing 71,824 passed, or 55 per cent; and he believed that if they dealt merely with the proportion of passes Ireland would show a very good result as compared with England. In Ireland, in 1872, 87.6 per cent passed in reading, 82.0 per cent passed in writing, and in arithmetic 71.2 per cent; while in England there passed 88.6 per cent in reading, 82.3 per cent in writing, and in arithmetic 72.2 per cent, In Ireland, in 1873, 87.7 per cent passed in reading, 83.3 per cent in writing, and in arithmetic 70.4 per cent; while in England there passed in 1873 in reading 88.6 per cent, in writing 81.6 per cent, and in arithmetic 72.1 per cent; and in 1874 in Ireland there passed in reading 86.8 per cent, in writing 86.7 per cent, and in arithmetic 69.0 per cent; 315 while in England there passed in reading 88.3 per cent, in writing 80.5 per cent, and in arithmetic 70.9 per cent, The percentage of examined who passed in all three subjects was in Ireland 62.7 per cent, and in England 59.2 per cent, and it should be remembered that the standard of Irish education would not compare unfavourably with that of England. It had been said that, in consequence of the alleged unsatisfactory condition of national education in Ireland, a very large proportion of the Irish people were illiterate. It could not be denied that the Census of 1871 showed a very large proportion of illiteracy in Ireland; but, in the first place, it was not quite fair to take all above five years of age and say that the proportion of illiterate persons above that age was due to the defective system of education in Ireland. Few children of any class under five years could read and write. But they must not forget that no Educational Census of the people ever had been taken in Great Britain; but in Ireland they had had an Educational Census, and if it were attempted in England its results might not be very dissimilar from those shown in Ireland. But, more than that, the illiteracy of Ireland could be distinctly shown by the Census of the last four decennial periods to have diminished, and that in spite of the large emigration that had occurred, that emigration being largely composed of the better educated of the lower class. He found that in the first Educational Census of 1841 there were in Ireland 52.7 per cent of illiterate persons; in 1851 46.8 per cent; in 1861 38.7 per cent; and in 1871 33.4 percent. Whatever value they might attach to these figures, they at least showed that a satisfactory improvement was going on. Besides, nothing could be more unfair than to attribute to the national system of education any large proportion of the illiteracy of Ireland; for, after all, it was only during comparatively the last few years that the system had assumed the proportions that would entitle it to be called national. In 1833, when the Parliamentary grant for the school system was £25,000, the number of children of school-going age was 1,963,000; the number of children at the national schools was 107,042. In 1843 the Parliamentary grant was £50,000; the children of school-going age were 2,060,000, and the children at 316 the national schools were 355,320. In 1853 the Parliamentary grant was £182,000; the children of school-going age were 1,550,000; the children at the national schools were 550,631. In 1863 the Parliamentary grant was £306,000; the children of school-going age were 1,430,000; the children at the national schools were 840,569; and in 1873, when the Parliamentary grant was £542,000, and the children of school-going age 1,335,000, the children at the national school were 974,696. A Census should be taken of persons between 15 and 20 of those who might have been in the national schools from 1861, when half the children were on the rolls, to 1871, when three-fourths were on the rolls. In 1861 the percentage of those who could not read or write was 27.3; in 1871 the percentage was 17.5. It was not fair, he repeated, to charge on the national system of education all the illiteracy of Ireland. In fact, the system was only struggling until 1853. The great proportion of emigrants from 1851 to 1873 were literates; the most illiterate stopped behind. How, he asked, could the national system be responsible for the 1,856,000 children who were in the country in 1833, but not at its schools, or for the 1,705,000 children in the country in 1843? It was not until 1863 that they could fairly say that a considerable proportion of the whole number of children in Ireland came under the influence of the system of national education. He had detained the Committee upon these two points because many statements had been made as to the general failure of the Irish national system of education, and he thought it only fair to show that there had been, at any rate, much exaggeration in the statements which had been made against it. But he must not be taken as expressing an opinion that the condition of national education in Ireland was satisfactory, or that the system was not capable of very considerable and substantial improvement. He would therefore proceed to deal with the figures of the Estimate now before the Committee, and in doing so he hoped he should be able to show how he considered it possible to make improvements in the system as regarded the condition of those engaged in administering it and also to lead to a better and more thorough education. He would not dwell on those 317 portions of the Estimate in which the sums proposed to be voted were similar to those of the preceding year, but would content himself with drawing attention to the difference which existed between the last and the present year. He would first allude to the increase under the two heads administration and inspection. That arose from an addition to the salaries of clerks and inspectors, which had been completely earned, and which was recommended by the Treasury Committee which sat upon the subject. Further, there was a decrease of charge of £3,000 under the head of Book Department. That arose from a change which had been recommended by the Committee upon the educational system, by which the full price of the books was now charged to those who purchased them for their children. There was no longer a loss to the Treasury on that head. He then came to the great distinction between the Estimate of the present year and that of last year—that was that while, on the one hand, there appeared in the Estimate of this year an increase of £5,000 for the residences of vested national schools, there was a decrease of £115,000 under the head of payments for results. He thought it right here to deal with those three questions which had been so prominently brought before the House on several occasions—he meant proposals to grant pensions to teachers of national schools in Ireland, to improve their existing residences or provide new ones, and to increase their annual incomes. First with regard to pensions—that was a question of very great difficulty. He stated in March last that he would bring a scheme on the subject before the Chancellor of the Exchequer; but there were difficulties involved in it, and he regretted to say that he had not been able this year to make any proposal. On the question of residences, the Government made certain proposals which he thought were likely to have a very beneficial effect. This question was, to his mind, of more importance than either of the other two. Nothing was more likely to destroy the efficiency of the teachers or place them in a more unpleasant condition than the fact of being unable to procure a decent residence within a proper distance or the necessity of occupying an unsuitable one, which could not increase the respect of their pupils for 318 them. They proposed to meet this deficiency in two ways—one way was more easy to deal with it than the other. With regard to vested and non-vested schools, of which there were over 5,000 in Ireland, with only 183 residences provided, it had been proposed, as would be seen by the correspondence already published, to place the provision as to residences for teachers of non-vested schools on the same footing as the provision for vested schools, and that grants should be made not exceeding £100, or half the cost of each residence to aid in their erection. That was comparatively simple. But with regard to non-vested schools the question was more complicated. They had no security that those schools, or anything connected with them, would be permanently devoted to educational purposes; and it was impossible that grants in aid of residences which might in a year or two be turned to other purposes than education could be made. Therefore, a suggestion of the National Board of Education had been adopted, which he hoped would be attended with beneficial results. He had to-day a Notice on the Paper for the introduction of a short Bill which would include the provision of residences for teachers of non-vested national schools among the objects for which the Board of Works in Ireland were authorized to lend money at 5 per cent, repayable in 85 years. If by such loans, or in any other way, proper residences could be provided for the teachers of non-vested schools, the National Board of Education would be enabled by a Vote of £5,000 in the Supplementary Estimates to pay a certain proportion of the annual sum for the repayment of these loans not exceeding one-half, and then to share with the locality, as with the persons interested in each school, the burden of the provision for the residence of the teachers. But in the oases of the vested and non-vested schools care would be taken that the teacher should not suffer and that the boon given in this way really went to his benefit. The Government had acted on the principle that local resources should be taxed in order to evoke aid from the State. With regard to the increase of the national school teachers, they found in last year's Estimate a sum which had been proposed three years ago by the late Government, and which in the year 1874 319 had risen to £117,000, for payments to teachers by way of results. They considered that they ought to deal with this question as they found it; but, at the same time, they felt that the whole of this sum being devoted to payment by results, the teachers of small schools in thinly-populated districts were placed at a disadvantage. Therefore, instead of renewing that whole sum for payment of results, they proposed to make an addition of £60,000 a-year to the salaries of the national school teachers, and grant a certain sum by way of result fees in what might be called half the schools in which result fees were last year given. At the present moment the total annual emoluments of male teachers of the first class, first division, were £116 17s. 10d., of which £52 was salary. The first class, second division, £83 7s. 7d., of which £38 was salary. In the second class, £62 2s. 4d., of which £30 was salary; and in the third class, £43 13s. 5d., of which £24 was salary. In the first class of female teachers, first division, £93 2s. 5d., of which £42 was salary; first class, second division, £69 5s. 3d., of which £30 was salary; second class, £48 Os. 10d., of which £24 was salary; and in the third class, £37 11s. 8d., of which £20 was salary. In many cases also the teachers of smaller schools, who were mainly the lower-classed teachers, had ample time to obtain a part of their livelihood from other sources. Now, the Vote of £60,000 to which he had alluded for additional salaries would give the following increase to the national school teachers:—Roughly speaking, it would give to each male teacher of the first class £6; second class, £8; and third class, £8: and to each female teacher of the first class, £6; of the second class, £6; and of the third class, £5. The assistant teachers would, of course, be included in the provision to which he had referred. Having made this allocation of the sum which they considered they had a right to deal with, as it appeared in the Estimate which was last year voted for Irish national education by Parliament, they had to go further and consider in what other way they could propose to make that increase in the income of the teachers which was sought for above that amount. It appeared to them that in making any such increase nothing could be more unreasonable than to make it entirely from 320 Imperial resources; and if local resources were to be brought in, they could only practically be so in two shapes—either by way of rates or school fees. With regard to rates, he thought if the Committee looked back to the past history of Irish national education they would see that from the very beginning it was contemplated that local aid should form a very considerable proportion of the expenditure for that purpose. There was a letter from the late Lord Derby which showed, as clearly as possible, that he contemplated that local subscriptions should form a fair proportion of that amount. A Report of the National Commissioners for Education showed the same thing, and it was also recognized by his Predecessor in office (the Marquess of Hartington) in a letter addressed by him to the National Board of Irish Education on the 1st of July, 1872. That letter stated that—Her Majesty's Government have observed with great regret the small amount of local contributions to the cost of national education in Ireland. It appears from the Report of the Royal Commissioners on Primary Education in Ireland, that, in the year 1868, the whole expense of the maintenance of the teachers amounted to £323,795, and that the sum of £270,724 was contributed by the Government, whilst only £45,308 was obtained from school fees, and £11,993 from subscriptions and donations, including small endowments.There had been scarcely any increase to local contributions. He found from the Report of the National Board for 1874 that while the teachers received £448,000 from the Government, only £57,355 was received in school fees, and only£16,196 from local contributions. During last year the payments by pupils increased by £3,383, and voluntary contributions increased by £1,240, while the residences the teachers possessed were valued at £6,400. The National Board, in their Report this year, stated that of the whole sums received by the teachers, 85.8 per cent was paid by the State, and only 14.2 paid by local contributions; and, therefore, the Government had felt that the time had come when it was absolutely necessary to check this continued increase of Imperial grants for Irish education without any corresponding increase in the sum derived from local resources. These local contributions had not been forthcoming and never had been insisted upon. It had been assumed in Ireland that nearly the whole 321 cost of national education in that country was to be provided by the Government. This feeling was deeply and widely spread. Looking to this policy and to the fact of the very small amount of local contributions now provided, the Government thought it impossible at present to propose a compulsory rate for education in Ireland. They preferred to do what they could to evoke voluntary contributions before taking what should be the last resort of all; and in the Bill which had been placed before the House they made the proposal which they thought would aid those interested in calling forth what might fairly be called voluntary contributions towards increasing the salaries of teachers, which it was admitted by all must come from some source or other. Objections had been made to imposing this duty on the Guardians of the unions in Ireland. It might be said that it would tend to encourage sectarian disputes at the Boards of Guardians which had hitherto been free from them. But as the Guardians were obliged to decide whether they would vote their proportion of the additional payment for results for all the schools in their union or for none, and as schools would be found of two principal types of religious opinion in Ireland, it could hardly be made a religious question whether this rate should be voted or not. It was also said that if they imposed this duty on the Guardians, where they voted money they should have some share in the management of the school. That objection would have some force if what was proposed was a compulsory rate. The payment was not for the general maintenance of schools, but for payment of result-fees to teachers; and the Guardians would receive full value for their money in a thorough official inspection. They had already instances of bodies in Ireland with taxing powers. The Grand Juries voted not small sums towards the maintenance of reformatory and industrial schools, in the management of which they had no voice; and it was not unreasonable to suppose, if they were so ready to support the education of destitute or criminal persons, the same influence would prompt the Guardians to do their share towards the education of those in whom they might naturally have a more local, and therefore stronger, interest. To the objection that the proposal would not 322 settle the question, because if Boards of Guardians did not vote these annual sums the teachers would be no better off than now, he answered that the plan was deserving of a fair trial. It must not be forgotten that Boards of Guardians would be influenced very strongly by not only a feeling in favour of the improvement of education in their particular districts and a reduction of pauperism, but also by the lower but powerful feeling that if they devoted their money to this purpose they would invoke a corresponding grant from the Government, and the teachers would not be slow to lay blame on Boards of Guardians if they hesitated to make so great an improvement in the position of the teachers at the small cost of an additional rate of 1d. in the pound. But he looked to a still more potent motive to influence the Boards of Guardians. He had stated how, through the whole history of this system, although local aid had been theoretically insisted on, it had never been practically obtained. Why? Because, first, those charged with the working of the system had to struggle against a very powerful opposition. They were not supported by the feelings of more than one religious body, and they hesitated to deprive localities of education because they could not derive from them local assistance. But the case was no longer the same. The system which formerly had to struggle for its existence had now more than 1,000,000 of Irish children on the roll of its schools. It could no longer be said of it that it was not a national system, or that the people of Ireland ought not to support it from their local resources. Within last year they had had indications that a very powerful body—those connected with the disestablished Church—would before long bring their schools under the national system; and there was no reason to believe that, looking to the experience of education which the people throughout the country now had, they would be unwilling to tax themselves for the means of supporting that system. He thought, also, it was time that the National Board of Education in Ireland should consider whether or not it should more rigidly impose the conditions recommended by the Commissioners on National Education, that only in very exceptional cases certain local aid should 323 be the condition of a Parliamentary grant. The change proposed should be made gradually, and not suddenly. Every allowance should be made for those localities where, from poverty or other reasons, it was impossible to raise sufficient funds, but much might be done, and if the rule was rigidly acted on he could conceive no greater inducement to authorities like Boards of Guardians to exercise the powers which the Bill would put into their hands. He had detained the Committee too long, but there remained one question—the question of school fees. That question might be dealt with in two ways. The aid from local resources might come from rates or more general payments by way of school fees. He thought there was an over multiplication of schools in Ireland, and it would be a valuable reform in the system if they could discourage more than at present the multiplication and existence of very small schools. It was hardly likely that the education in them could be good; the teachers in them probably would be badly paid, and, making every allowance for such schools in places thinly-populated, he believed there were many cases in which they were absolutely unnecessary. He had thus entered at length into the reasons which had induced the Government to make the proposals which were embodied in the Estimate before the Committee, and in the Bill before the House. He trusted those proposals would meet with the fair consideration of the Committee and the House. The proposals might be successful, or they might fail; but they were—at any rate, as far as they went—based on the sound principle that additional grants for Irish education should only be evoked by aid from local resources in Ireland. If the scheme now submitted failed in this respect, it would be for the House to consider next year how it could best and most safely be amended.
§ MR. LYON PLAYFAIR
I had not intended to address the House on this occasion, but I am compelled to do so, because the Irish Secretary has challenged the truth of my depreciatory remarks in last March as to the success of the Irish national system of education. A noble Lord (Lord Oranmore and Browne) had already done so in "another place," and the Commissioners 324 themselves devote a considerable portion of their Report to the same end. If I remained silent, my silence might be construed as an admission that I had been rash and inaccurate. Yet the attack which has caused this commotion was not in reality mine, but was that of the Commission on Primary Education in Ireland. That Commission was composed of distinguished Irishmen. Its statements were simply quoted by me, and the National Board do not presume to dispute them, though they try to explain away their force. The main contention of the National Board is that it is fallacious to make unfavourable deductions from the number of children on the roll of schools in Ireland, because that does not represent the same thing as it does in England. This may be, and probably is so, but it does not mend matters. The Board claim 1,000,000 of children as being on the roll of the schools. Well, that would be highly satisfactory did we not find that less than 400,000 attend with any regularity. If the latter number be the truer picture of education in Ireland, it is eminently unsatisfactory. That it is so appears borne out by the Census of 1871, which found during one week in June 430,000 at school. If the 1,000,000 on the roll be true, the national system has got hold of the Irish people; if the Census be true, it has not done so. The National Board now refuse me permission to draw any conclusions from their roll, so I decline to believe in their success. They point out that of those who come up for examination as many pass in reading, writing, and arithmetic as in England. But this is worth nothing at all unless I can get at the proportion of passes to children at school, and the National Board now say that, for such a purpose, their statistics are worthless. The Irish Secretary rests his case mainly on the decrease of illiteracy in the period between 1861 and 1871, and he strikes me with these statistics, as he conceives, a severe blow. But statistics are a double-edged sword, and I now intend to smite with the other side. What does the term illiteracy mean in the Irish Census? It does not include persons who cannot read and write, but only those who can do neither. This is a preposterously low test. Nor would I think the ability to read and write proved much as to the diffusion of edu- 325 cation throughout a country, though it is undoubted that the inability to read and write is a sure test of ignorance. How, then, does Ireland bear the application of this test of ignorance? Only 43 per cent of the whole population can read and write, and therefore 57 per cent are ignorant. And this is the result of a national system which has lasted 44 years In Great Britain we have no direct method of comparison. But as it may be assumed that if a person can write he can read, the marriage registers give us a rough means for comparison. In 1871, 42 per cent of persons married in Ireland signed with marks; 23 per cent in England, and 15 per cent in Scotland were in a like state of ignorance, so that illiteracy in Ireland is about twice as great as it is in England, though in this country a national system of education is only five years old. Well, now, I take the Irish Secretary's argument that there is a marked decrease of illiteracy between 1861 and 1871. He attributes that wholly to schools, while I attribute it largely to emigration. Of the migratory population who leave for foreign countries many are educated; but of the great bulk who come to England and Scotland few are educated, and the proofs are not difficult. But I wish to explain the nature of my argument before I give the proofs. If Ireland throws off its ignorant residuum on the shores of Great Britain, it must be clear that it gives a fictitious value to the education of those who remain in Ireland. If, on the other hand, the immigrants to this country are more educated than those who remain in Ireland, that country would be unfairly charged with an undue amount of ignorance. How can we test this question? Let us consider what object the State has to educate the people. The purpose is to make them good and orderly citizens. The professed reason why the priests of all denominations in Ireland have assumed control over education is to improve the morals of the people. Have they succeeded with the masses which swarm from Ireland to our shores? In England we have, in round numbers, 500,000 of Irish. We can test their education by their morals. At the rate of English crime, this 500,000 of Irish immigrants might be expected to furnish between 3,000 and 4,000 prisoners to our prisons. But, as a fact, it furnishes five times as 326 many, or 22,100. Such an extraordinary difference is only explicable on the fact that the Irish immigrants are steeped in ignorance. There is no other explanation, because adult crime in Ireland itself is not high, though juvenile crime as represented in the industrial schools is excessive. An hon. Member near me-suggests another explanation, that the Irish go out of Ireland good, but are corrupted in England. Well, that can be tested at Liverpool, where they first arrive. If they are good on their arrival, Liverpool should not suffer. But the borough gaol of Liverpool has 30 per cent of Irish prisoners, while all England has 14 per cent, I cannot carry out this argument to Scotland, because the judicial statistics do not give us the information. But I am informed by prison authorities in Scotland that for serious crimes the proportion of Irish prisoners is higher than in England. There is an indirect method of testing it for Scotland through the religion of the prisoners. The Roman Catholics form a small part of the population, yet of the prisoners one-third are of this religion. But it is only in the towns of Glasgow, Greenock, Paisley, Airdrie, Edinburgh, and Dundee, in which Irish immigrants abound, that there is such a large accession of Catholic prisoners. In the Catholic counties of Inverness and Banff there is no undue proportion between Catholics and Protestants. But of the prisoners whose religion is known in the towns I have mentioned no less than 40 per cent are Catholic. There are 200,000 Irish in Scotland, and there are 10,000 Catholic prisoners. The conclusion which I draw from these facts is very obvious. The National Board will not accept the 500,000 Irish in England, or the 200,000 in Scotland, as fairly representing the results of their school training. They must reject them as an ignorant residuum, or they must confess a lamentable failure of their system in making good and orderly citizens. But if they admit that the bulk of this 500,000 form an ignorant residuum, all their arguments as to the efficiency of their system, as evidenced by the diminution of illiteracy, fall away. For since 1861 no fewer than 866,000 persons have left Ireland, and yet with this sifting out of the ignorant, and the raising the educational proportion of those who remain, the result is that 57 per cent in Ireland can- 327 not yet read and write! If the National Board are satisfied with this result, they are content with small mercies. I am sorry, therefore, that I can retract nothing of what I said in March last, for I still think that Irish national education, when tested by its fruits, is a signal failure. But I repeat what I said then, that the cause of this failure I attribute to the practical abandonment of the national system by the Board, in order to give its control to the various denominations. A Board which pays 86 per cent of the salaries of teachers, and yet yields all power over them to the priest of the parish, need not be surprised if it occasionally find a Parliamentary critic doubtful as to its administrative capacity. I do not underrate its difficulties. It had a clamant and powerful body in the Catholic Bishops, who always claim a superintendence of schools in order to protect faith and morals. Well, now, the National Board may begin to doubt the success as to morals after what I have said as to crime. But let me ask them to look to another fact. As a general result, statists find that education lessens crime largely. In English and Scotch prisons only from 4 to 5 per cent of male adult prisoners read and write well; but in Ireland no less than 44½ per cent are in this condition. In every other country this result would be incomprehensible, but Ireland has its own peculiarities. It may, however, make us reasonably doubt whether the State-aided education is producing its fruits by securing to us good and orderly citizens. I have so far discussed the general question in support of the views which I gave in March, and which have produced so much irritation in Ireland. This sensitiveness to criticism is a hopeful sign, because it shows what a powerful effect would be produced in Ireland if the National Board were made responsible to Parliament through the President of the Council, in the same way that the National Board of Scotland now is. I turn now to the immediate proposals in the Supplementary Estimates, and to the Bill based upon them, and make no objection either to their amount or proposed method of distribution. No Votes for education in Ireland could be too large if we got our money worth out of them by an efficient administration. The augmented payment of teachers' salaries, and the increased payment on 328 results contingent on a sum to be raised by local rating, are both good features of the scheme. The present salaries of teachers are too low. It is quite true that they attract the men and keep up the supply. Of course, I keep in mind the remarks as to the resignations and waste of teachers. But Irish Members who are alarmed at this waste forget to compare it with our English experience. The waste in Ireland upon the list of teachers is really not so great as it is in Great Britain. Here the annual waste is about 7 per cent; in Ireland it is only 5.3 per cent among trained and 5.2 per cent among untrained teachers. Still, as the salaries are only about half those of the teachers in Great Britain, you cannot expect the 16,000 Irish teachers to be a source of stability to the State, burdened as they are with cares, and discontented as they are with their position. But why are their salaries so low? Not from want of generosity on the part of the State, but because the landowners and the ratepayers of Ireland will not put their hands in their pockets to assist in the work of educating the people. The grand total of subscriptions and endowments in Ireland for the National schools amounts to £16,000. The salaries of teachers should undoubtedly be increased, but the money for this increase should be supplied from local contributions, and not from the Imperial purse. The proposal of the Government now before us is to grant an additional sum of £60,000 for results, provided that the respective localities raise a like sum by permissive rates. The experiment is, indeed, a mild one; but will it succeed? I do not know Ireland intimately enough to answer the question. But if it fail, there will be ample justification for converting the permissive into compulsory rating. It is, at all events, an experiment worth trying, and I gladly support the Bill, which, I presume, will pass as as a matter of form if we carry the Vote. The present dependence of the upper classes in Ireland upon the Imperial treasury is lamentable enough generally, but more especially in regard to education, for in this subject the interests of the lower classes are especially involved. And they are not slow in following a bad example. Hitherto they have shown a commendable independence of public aid, for Irish pauperism is much lower than English pauperism. How can they 329 be encouraged to preserve this independence when they see the upper classes, in relation to education, relying on the State for everything, and themselves doing nothing. The Bill on the Order Book puts in a very thin end of the wedge; but if Parliament be firm, the Government may be encouraged to drive it home. At all events, it is an experiment in the right direction, and I congratulate my right hon. Friend the Secretary for Ireland upon the resolution which he has shown in resisting the pressure put upon him to render the £60,000 grant absolute, by making it conditional on a like sum being found out of local rating.
§ MR. SERJEANT SHERLOCK
said, he did not intend to follow the Chief Secretary for Ireland through the various matters he had discussed because, necessarily, a vast amount of difference of opinion must naturally arise with respect to them; and the discussion of these questions in detail would occupy considerable time, and would depend very much on Returns and other documents which would require careful investigation. As regarded the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Edinburgh (Mr. Lyon Playfair), in order to show that the ignorance in Ireland was greater than that which existed in Great Britain, he was not sorry to have heard it, for, if it were true, the more truth let in upon the question the bettor. The right hon. Gentleman complained of the want of local support; but he would remind him that unless the Boards of Guardians were perfectly satisfied with the system to be introduced in the various localities over which they had pecuniary control, they could not expect their zealous assistance or their cordial co-operation. They must have a system which would recommend itself to the people, and to the paying population of Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman had said that the great mistake made by the Commissioners of National Education was that they had not sufficiently nationalized the system. He supposed that the right hon. Gentleman meant that there must be an exclusion of anything approaching a denominational education, and that the system which should receive the support of the Commissioners was that of mixed education, in which the youth of all denominations were to meet in peace, 330 quiet, and good fellowship. He (Mr. Sherlock) had gone into no national school in Ireland which was not substantially a denominational school. Certain restraints were, however, imposed which prevented that system being accepted by the people as their right. To persist in believing that the system was one in which no denominational education was introduced was to shut one's eyes to the fact that the people of Ireland required a denominational system and gave their confidence to no other system. Hence it was that when they came to apply to Boards of Guardians to supplement by voluntary votes the sums paid to teachers, they would have them inquiring what was the system to be sustained in these institutions? With regard to the inefficiency of the pupils, that was accounted for by the inefficiency of the teachers; and it would, therefore, be well for the Commissioners to increase the status of the latter, in order to raise the standard of education among the former. He trusted that the Bill to which the Chief Secretary had referred would have the effect of inducing the landed proprietors and those interested in the education of their tenantry to better the condition of the teachers. With regard to the Irish who had emigrated to England and Scotland, many of them had succeeded in life by energy and integrity; others, unfortunately, were the worst specimens of the race, and he objected to the rest of his countrymen being judged by such a standard.
§ MR. MELDON
said, he did not question the accuracy of the figures recited by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Edinburgh (Mr. Lyon Playfair), but he maintained that the deductions which he drew from them were erroneous. The number of scholars upon the roll in Ireland last year was over 1,000,000, which represented the number of attendances throughout the entire schools of the country, and nothing else; while the average attendance, 395,390, represented the number of scholars who had attended during the year. In England the system was different, because the attendance was given of one particular day of the year. In 1867, of the number of children in the national schools, 86 per cent were able to read, and 78 per cent to both read and write. In that year, 243,288 children had been examined in 331 reading, and of these 176,299, or 72 per cent, passed the examination. The number examined in writing was 130,781, and of them 71,824, or 73 per cent, passed the examination. Taking the examination of the three R's, he found that in Ireland the proportion of those who passed it was 62.7; whereas in England it was only 59.2. These figures showed that the Irish national system was not the complete failure it was represented to be. It also showed that the quality of the education imparted to the children was superior in quality to that which was given in the schools of this country. Favourable as were those Returns, he believed they would be still more favourable if a stimulus were given to education by increasing the salaries of the teachers, a body of men who laboured hard for the State. Some of them he knew walked from 10 to 12 miles a-day in going to and from the school-houses. They had hoped, and had felt little doubt, that a grievance which was an admitted injustice would be removed. They expected something would have been done in 1874, but were disappointed. This year they knew that further inquiries were prosecuted, and on the 5th of March, when the question was brought forward in the House, the Government appeared to have matured a scheme which had since been made public. The right hon. Baronet the Chief Secretary, however, did not venture to offer an opinion as to the result of that scheme; if he had he would probably have said that not a penny of the proposed local rate would be levied. Since 1838 it had been the aim of the Government to prevent any addition being made to the local rates. It was equally hopeless to expect that all sects would combine to make the present system a really national one. Ever since 1838 successive Governments had done everything they could to divorce religion from education, and to frustrate the original design of Mr. Stanley, by depriving education of voluntary supporters; and if the schools were denominational, as they were, it was because the Government had been beaten. The national system had been declared against by nearly all the Boards of Guardians in Ireland, and many of the Irish people were more deeply pledged to a denominational system than to anything else. The right hon. Baronet 332 was, indeed, sanguine if he thought that local aid under a Permissive Bill would do anything to save the system now. The first objection to the proposal that the Board of Guardians might, if they wished, contribute towards the payment of teachers, was that dependence on the will of the Guardians would make a teacher uncertain of his income from year to year, for the Guardians might withdraw their aid from any school not managed to their satisfaction; and with their aid the Treasury grant to meet it would be withheld, and the teacher deprived of two-thirds of his income. Another objection was that this plan would take the management of the schools out of the hands of the patrons and place it in the hands of the Guardians, and thus it would happen that where the Guardians were Protestants they would not aid in schools where the children were Roman Catholics; and again, where the Guardians were Roman Catholics, they would refuse to assist in schools where the children were Protestants. But, apart from all that, it was, he considered, a gross insult to Ireland that the children attending the national schools should be treated as paupers. He would not say that the scheme was an absurd one; but the right hon. Baronet had more confidence in his powers of inducing the Irish people to adopt the system than he had. They had almost got rid of religious differences in Ireland; but if the scheme was passed, an apple of discord would be thrown in, and would produce results which it would be impossible to conceive. The way in which the Government proposed to give relief was so manifestly unfair that he trusted it would not be persisted in. Payment by results was injurious to education in Ireland, and the larger the payment that depended upon them, the worse would the results be. Hitherto it had done most for the large schools in the towns, which were well attended, and least for the smaller schools in rural places, where the attendance was less regular; and the managers of 1,140 schools had petitioned against the extension of the system. If the teachers were to have further relief, he would suggest that it should be in the form of augmentation for class salaries, to which half of the amount to be now devoted under the scheme for payment by results might be appropriated. 333 In conclusion, he repeated that this was not a national system of education at all. It must be remembered that a large class of people in Ireland would have nothing whatever to do with it. A largo number of children were educated at the cost of their families, and so did not take one penny from the State. The Church Education Society had schools all over the country, which were entirely independent of Government assistance, and in which thousands of children were educated of whom no return was made to that House. Again, they had in Ireland the assistance of the Christian Brothers, than whom there was no better society in Europe for the purpose of education. They had bodies giving education, erecting buildings for educational purposes, and many schools were carried forward in opposition to the national system, as it was termed. The Christian Brethren had been extending their operations, and were taking a number of children from the national schools. Indeed, the report of the Commissioners admitted that the voluntary aid outside the national system amounted to no less than £108,000—a fact which constituted a sufficient answer to the statement that no local contributions were made towards the maintenance of schools. The alleged inefficiency of Irish teachers was sufficiently accounted for by their being denied training, except on conditions which, as Catholics, they could not accept. The disparity between the salaries of Irish teachers and those of English teachers was glaringly unjust. In England there were very few salaries under £50; but in Ireland there were 2,886 under £24, 1,577 under £30, 471 under £38, and 132 under £50, and Irish teachers had responsibilities thrown upon them in respect of securing attendance and collecting fees which were not cast upon English teachers. Was it any wonder that in the past their minds had been diverted from their work to agitation for the improvement of their condition? Now they were told, not that their agitation was to cease, but that they must influence the Guardians and the landlords. As it was almost certain the Guardians would do nothing, he appealed to the Government to give £120,000 this year—one half as payment for results, and the other half as an addition to salaries.
§ MR. WARD
said, that if the Government asked the people of Ireland to assist education by a local rate they ought consentaneously to give them local control. Until they did so the Government were not entitled to claim any local aid at all. He complained that the national education in Ireland was administered on a bureau system altogether foreign to the feelings of the Irish people.
§ MR. M'CARTHY DOWNING
said, he thought the scheme of the Government would not be acceptable to the people of Ireland. It was not desirable to further extend the system of payment by results, because in a vast number of instances the schools derived no benefit whatever from that system. In the country districts during the harvest and spring time a number of the children were, of necessity, taken away to aid their parents in the cultivation of the land, and the consequence was that the average attendance could not be kept up. If it were proposed to give fair and permanent salaries to the teachers the scheme would be much more likely to be received with favour. Guardians would not adopt the proposed plan, except for the increase of salaries, unless it were made compulsory, and the adoption of it in isolated cases would cause great dissatisfaction in neighbouring Unions where it was not applied. The advance of education in Ireland was shown by the Census Returns of those who could not read or write; who were 52 per cent in 1841, 47 per cent in 1851, 38 per cent in 1861, and 33 per cent in 1871. The making of marks at marriages proved rather the unwillingness than the inability of persons to write their names.
§ MR. O'CLERY
said, the question resolved itself into one of the State endeavouring to force on the people a system of education they were unwilling to receive. They would be content with nothing less than denominational education, and it was unfair to ask them to contribute towards a system they would not accept. The Christian Brothers had over and over again declined to receive State aid, because they knew what it would involve, and the schools of the Christian Brothers were used in preference to the National Schools. That proved not only that the people favoured denominationalism, but that they were 335 prepared to pay dearly for it. Let the Government be consistent, and deal with Ireland as it did with England—let them face the subject of denominational education, and leave its teaching to the natural leaders of the people.
§ MR. WHALLEY
called upon the House to take note that the advocates of a denominational system, who described the National Schools as denominational, were mainly anxious now for the increase of the salaries of those teachers respecting some of whom it had been avowed in that House that they were not allowed to live in contact with Protestants. The discussion plainly indicated that the conspiracy of priestcraft, which in the O'Keeffe case asserted the supremacy of the Pope in the administration of the law, was doing the same in education, and that this Vote of £500,000 was being used to promote disaffection and disloyalty.
§ MR. PARNELL
complained that the Vote was brought forward at a period of the Session when not more than one-fifth of the Irish Members were able to attend. It had been stated that the results of the system of Irish education had not been very satisfactory, though it had been established 44 years ago. He did not believe that the system could be estimated by a comparison of the number of children that passed in reading and writing, nor the number that attended school. As to the feeling of the people of England or Scotland, who had a system of education of which they approved, had one been forced upon them of which they did not approve they would protest against the principle just as much as Irish Members protested to-day. The representatives of the ratepayers in Ireland should not be called upon to levy a tax for an object of which they did not approve, and he felt certain that the Poor Law Guardians would not raise the tax; and, in conclusion, he insisted that if England wanted to force a system of education on Ireland to which the people objected, England should pay it herself.
§ SIR PATRICK O'BRIEN
reminded hon. Members that the question before the Committee was not as to the merits of denominationalism. He should be prepared to support that principle when it was presented to the House. The question had reference to the changes proposed to be made in the 336 interests of national teachers, whose condition all parties concurred in deeming deplorable. For his own part, he was ready to acknowledge the deep obligations which the country owed to those who introduced that system which, in the past, had effected so much for the educational improvement of the Irish people, and incidentally improved their material interests, by enabling them successfully to compete for public employment. The important question then under consideration was whether the teachers were to receive increased salaries? and with regard to that point he regretted that the Chief Secretary had not seen his way to do more in that direction than he proposed to do. He did not think it was likely that the Boards of Guardians would meet the Government in regard to the contribution of £60,000; and if they did not, what would be the position of the teachers in Ireland?
§ MR. M'LAREN
said, he thought the Government would have done better if they had proposed a small compulsory tax on land, such as was levied in Scotland; but he saw no objection to this rate being collected, like many others, with the poor rate, which was the law in Scotland. Substantially, the proposal was fair and reasonable; because in Ireland out of every £100 paid for education £14 only was raised by local contributions, and £86 was paid out of the taxation of the United Kingdom. In Scotland, out of every £100 paid to teachers, £73 was derived from local rates, and in England £63 per cent was paid from local sources.
§ MR. MELDON
said there were still many important points for discussion. He moved that the Chairman, should report Progress.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—(Mr. Meldon.)
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS - BEACH
trusted the hon. Member would withdraw his Motion. There was no objection to the amount of the Vote, and he suggested that the hon. Member might on the Report take exception to any principle on which it was based.
§ SIR ANDREW LUSK
hoped that now the House was in Committee it 337 might be allowed to go on with the Votes.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. MELDON
moved to reduce the Vote by £2,350 for Post Office orders for the salaries of teachers. The item was a very objectionable one, the Post Office making a profit at the expense of national education. There should be some other method devised of paying the salaries.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £486,318, be granted to Her Majeaty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1876, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Commissioners of National Education in Ireland."—(Mr. Meldon.)
THE OHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQITER
said, though this item appeared to swell the cost of education, it was only a matter of account. The Post Office charged for the service it rendered to any other Department. Even if this ought to be altered, it would be inconvenient to do it now, and the only result would be that the teachers would be mulcted in the cost of the Post Office orders.
§ MR. MELDON
withdrew his opposition for the present, but gave Notice that he would bring the matter forward next year.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question again proposed.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £458,554, he granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1876, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Commissioners of National Education in Ireland."—(Mr. Ward.)
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS- BEACH
said, the subject might be very usefully discussed on a separate Motion, for there was a difference of opinion upon it, and in the North of Ireland Model Schools were regarded as efficient; but it would be inconvenient to dispose of so large a matter on this Vote.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ Resolutions to be reported upon Monday;
§ Committee to sit again upon Monday.