§ (1.) £288,782, to complete the sum for Public Education, Scotland.
§ VISCOUNT SANDON
said, that considering the interest that was taken in all educational matters in Scotland, it would be disrespectful in him not to state a few facts relating to the present state of education in that country, although he need not repeat some that were stated in the course of the discussion on the English Vote. There was an increase in this Vote of £50,500. The first cause was an increase in the cost of inspection, the Scotch Board having agreed with him in thinking that the schools ought to be better looked after. The sum of £34,000 was due to the natural increment of the grants, and £15,000 to an increase in the building grants. There was a considerable amount of building yet to be done, and it would be two years before the required buildings would be completed. In the year there had been an addition of 100 schools, with accommodation for 65,000 scholars, making the total accommodation 456,000, while there were 433,000 children on the books. An average of 329,000 showed that an approximation was being made to the desired proportion. Of course these figures were for a period long gone by, but he had that day obtained the Return for the last three months—from April to June, 1877. These Returns showed an increase in the average attendance of 23,300, and in the grant 1205 earned of £25,000, while the rate of grant had risen to 16s. 1¾d. as compared with 15s. in 1876. The same three months showed an increase of 60 night schools, there being 260 as compared with 200 in 1875; an increase of 4,400 in the average attendance—15,000 as compared with 10,600; and an increase of 5,000 in the number present on inspection —14,000 as compared with 9,000. The supply of teachers seemed to be large, as there were a certificated and a pupil teacher for every 80 children in average attendance; so that the supply came up very much to what it was wished to be. He desired to notice what had been said as to the Scotch Code lowering Scotch education. In 1873 the Code was issued by his Predecessor as received from the Edinburgh Board of Education, which proposed grants for a class of subjects in advance of the ordinary curriculum of elementary schools, and the 21st article of the Code gave a greater choice of such subjects than even the Edinburgh Board proposed. In 1874, the first year of examination under this Code for the grants for specific higher subjects, only 4,407 were presented, and only 103, having passed Standard VI., took three of these higher subjects. In 1876, 18,760 were presented in higher subjects, and 793 took up three of the higher subjects, which was an exceedingly satisfactory result. If higher subjects had been so much taught formerly, why did not more at once take them up and pass? If higher subjects were disappearing, how were these increased numbers to be accounted for? The Board of Education reported that in 1875 there were 260,000 children in 1,338 public schools—with an average attendance of 150,000 — receiving instruction in specific subjects, and of these 7,635 boys and 1,296 girls were taught Latin. There was great freedom in the choice of subjects, and it was easy to see what were the subjects preferred by the parents, who ought to be the ultimate judges of the subjects the study of which was to be encouraged by the State. The following were the numbers of scholars examined in the subjects named:—English literature, 10,000; physical geography, 8,800; Latin, 3,300; physiology, 3,000; mathematics, 1,196; French, 1,282; domestic economy, 783; magnetism and electricity, 631; botany, 363; light and heat, 1206 223. This indicated what the popular feeling was as to these specific subjects. He should be loth to suppose that the Code was lowering the standard, and on this subject he would quote a few words from Dr. Eraser, a leading member of the Paisley Board, and one of the most distinguished "educationists" in Scotland. He wrote—It is contrary to fact that the present Code is lowering the range of intermediate education. During the 25 years of my connection in this town, more or less with all the schools, I never found half as many boys learning Latin as at present. In one of our board schools 90 boys are in Latin classes.This was interesting testimony, which was well worth consideration. He would not speak now of the proposal made by the Universities as to the instruction of teachers, as the matter was referred to in the discussion on the English Vote. A great deal had been said in Scotland, and in England too, about the importance of preventing our system from degenerating into one of mere cram, and he would, therefore, call attention to the precaution taken to prevent this result. He had the greatest horror of cram, which would have a disastrous effect upon children, and through them upon the national character. It had lately been laid down that specific subjects must be in the time table for the whole year, and not merely for a few weeks. This was done because it had been found that there was a tendency on the part of clever teachers to run children through specific subjects in about six weeks, so that what they acquired was a little veneering rather than a solid acquaintance with the subject. It was further provided that a specific subject must be taken for the three years, which would prevent a scholar attempting to do a bit of Latin one year, a bit of botany another, and a bit of physical geography in the third. To prevent superficiality in any of the specific subjects various conditions were prescribed. In English literature, to discourage mere learning by rote, it was laid down that a student should be required to show his knowledge of the meaning of a passage and of the allusions contained in it; also that a passage should be paraphrased, and further that the student should write a letter or statement, the heads of the topics to be given by the Inspector. Very stringent 1207 directions were given in notes to the schedules with the object of discouraging cram. One of these notes was as follows:—It is intended that the instruction of the scholars in the science subjects in this table shall be given mainly by experiment and illustration, and in the case of physical geography by observation of the phenomena presented in their own neighbourhood. If these subjects are taught to children by definition and verbal description, instead of by making them exercise their own powers of observation, they will be worthless as means of education. It cannot, therefore, he too strongly impressed on teachers that nothing like learning by rote will be accepted as sufficient for a grant, and that the examinations by the Inspectors will be directed to elicit from the scholars, as far as possible, in their own language the ideas they have formed of what they have seen.The instructions to the Inspectors respecting history and geography was that the scholars should show special knowledge of any historical events or characters connected with the district in which their school is situated, and that the class examination will be conducted so as to show the intelligence and not the mere memory of the scholars. Another change had been made to relieve children of the hardships they were exposed to in traversing long distances between home and school in bad weather. It was provided that between the 1st of November and the 1st of March, two attendances might be registered for any scholar who had been under secular instruction for four hours, in the morning and afternoon taken together, of any day on which the school was open for five hours. Scotland still kept ahead of England both in the grants she earned and in the acquirements of her children, and he could only hope that Scotland might be tripped up by England—not by unfair means, but by the energy and determination of the English people.
§ MR. LYON PLAYFAIR
congratulated the Committee and the noble Lord upon the satisfactory statement which he had been able to lay before them. It was very gratifying to find that the results of experience were showing how to remedy the evils of examination on specific higher subjects, such as those lately introduced into Scotland, which were an extension of those that had prevailed in the schools for a long time. There was another part of the subject on which the noble Lord had not given them any information. The Scotch 1208 Education Act differed altogether from the English Education Act. In fact, it recognized secondary education as a part of the duty of the Act. Under its provisions 11 schools were set aside with a view to promote higher instruction in the country. Two other schools had been since added, and consequently 13 secondary schools were now in operation under the Education Act for Scotland. The intention of the Act was excellent; but the method in which the Act had operated had been that, instead of acting favourably to the schools, it had acted very injuriously, and for this reason—the endowments of these schools were extremely small, amounting at the time the Endowed Schools Commissioners reported to only £3,980. Five-sixths of the revenues were derived from the fees of the scholars, and consequently the schools had to spread their net to get in scholars in order to live at all. The result was that there had been a tendency under the Act to lower these establishments to the level of elementary schools, instead of keeping them apart as secondary schools. These schools had been required to make bricks without straw. The £3,980 distributed throughout the schools of Scotland was preposterously small as an endowment. Accordingly an Association, supported by private means, was formed in order to promote secondary education in Scotland, and a large deputation waited on the Home Secretary to point out to him how the present law acted injuriously upon these schools, and how impossible it was for the Association to promote secondary education, unless there was some legislation in regard to the endowments in Scotland. The educational endowments in Scotland were very large. A Royal Commission was instituted in 1872 to inquire into them, and its last Report, made in 1875, stated that they amounted to no less than £174,543 per annum. That was amply sufficient to put secondary education in Scotland into a most satisfactory condition, if the trustees of these establishments were allowed to reform their institutions. In 1869 an Act was passed for the purpose of enabling the educational establishments of Scotland to put themselves into a satisfactory condition, and under its provisions one body — the Merchants' Company—did reform their schools in an admirable manner. That Act, how- 1209 ever, only remained in force for a year. Consequently there was now an Act which enabled endowments in England to be applied to proper purposes, whereas no such power existed in Scotland. The Home Secretary answered the deputation to the effect that the time had arrived when it was necessary to legislate for the educational endowments of Scotland; and he trusted the right hon. Gentleman would now be able to give them an assurance that next year the Government would take up the matter and legislate in such a manner as they might deem to be most in consonance with the information which had been brought to bear on the subject.
said, he thought the noble Lord had congratulated himself rather too much in view of the existing facts. There had doubtless been a great increase in the number of pupils presented in specific subjects; but that proved very little. Statistics, up to that time, had been utterly worthless. The noble Lord had enumerated the changes made in the Code this year. The object was very simple. It had been the habit of teachers, in order to get the greatest possible amount of grant with the least amount of trouble, to cram the pupil in the most elementary portion of two specific subjects in one year. Then, instead of proceeding with that subject, he passed on to another pair of subjects, and again presented a pupil, and so on, to the third year. In this way scholars were taught a smattering of half-a-dozen specific subjects; but statistics based on that system were really of no use. These statistics showed that 3,300 had been presented in Latin; but it did not show that any of these pupils had obtained useful knowledge. As to the system of cram, no one who had looked into the subject could doubt that precautions were taken not one moment too soon, for one Inspector after another had reported that the system of grants for specific subjects must give rise to a system of cram all round. The Department had laid down a rule that all specific subjects in which pupils were presented must be kept on the Time Table all the year round. Well, in English language and literature, all that was required was to get by heart 200 lines of poetry, and to paraphrase a certain passage. It was difficult to see how a teacher could pass the entire 1210 year in teaching his scholars 200 lines of poetry. As a matter of fact, the children were crammed with that amount of poetry in two or three weeks. The introduction of a variety of subjects had given rise to all the trouble and the depreciation of Scottish education. As to physical geography, that was a science which would require very much more attention than could be given at school to render it of any practical use. The noble Lord had told them that French had been introduced. There was no doubt that if French were taught it would be of very much more utility than the instruction in the classics which was given at these schools. But only 1,200 students were presented for examination in French, and in by far the greater number of cases their knowledge of French consisted of the first rules of grammar, the regular verbs, and the first 10 pages of the vocabulary. The noble Lord did not say how many were presented in German. If, however, he remembered the statistics rightly, there were not 50; and how the noble Lord could congratulate himself upon introducing a number of these subjects he could not understand. The same thing was the case with botany. There were 300 presentations in that. It was no use to keep up special subjects for only 300 presentations. There was a more important matter to which the noble Lord did not refer, and that was the alteration that had taken place, he understood, in specific subjects and domestic economy. The noble Lord said that the number of girls examined in domestic economy was 783. Now, he understood it had been made compulsory to present every girl for examination in domestic economy. That would certainly effect a very great revolution in their present system, and a number of schoolmasters had complained to him on the subject. He did not know what domestic economy was as defined by the Education Department; but he had happened to see a number of questions which were put to the candidates on the subject, and some of them were utterly absurd. One, for instance, was—"Supposing you had £1,000 to invest, and wished to have some safe investment for it at 4½ per cent, where would you look for it?" Now that, no doubt, was a branch of education very necessary for persons who had money to invest; but 1211 he thought it was wasted upon children in elementary schools. There were several points connected with the Scotch Code which he ventured to take this occasion of drawing the attention of the noble Lord to. In the first place, one Inspector after another had reported upon a very unsatisfactory state of education in the Highlands. That, to a very considerable extent, arose from Article 17, par. 0, which provided that no grant should be given in the case of any school which did not provide at least 80 cubic feet of air internally, and 8 square feet of air for each child. Now, the result of that was that schools of that description could not be built; and the consequence was, that the schools in the poorest part of Scotland did not participate in the benefits of the Act. Several Inspectors had alluded to the matter, and one of them had pointed out, in what seemed to him to be a very common-sense manner, that those regulations as to space and room might be all very well in a crowded town, but that they might be dispensed with in the case of a school on a moorside or upon a hill. The matter had been brought before the Department, and no change had been made, and his astonishment was that the noble Lord, who was not insensible to the great necessity which existed for the encouragement of education in the Highlands, had not given it his attention. There was another matter which had given very great dissatisfaction to the teachers in Scotland, and he thought very justly so, because it might be remedied with very little difficulty, and that was this—One Inspector was extremely hard and harsh as compared with his brethren. Another might be extremely lenient, and in his case the schoolmasters did not complain; but in the case of the south-west districts of the Highlands, which were certainly by no means the worst supplied with teachers, the Reports of the Inspectors showed that they were very far behind their brethren in other parts of Scotland. Now, in such a case as that, where complaints had been made and public attention had been drawn to the school, he thought that the difficulty would be very easily met by a change of Inspectors, in order that the Department might see whether the blame really attached to the schoolmasters or to the Inspector. The noble Lord had 1212 alluded to building grants and to the money which was disbursed for that purpose. He wished to call attention to a matter of infinitely more importance than the money which Scotland could ever hope to obtain from the Department, and that was the removal of those impediments which had been placed in the way of handing over all the schools in Scotland belonging to Church and voluntary associations to the school boards, without money and without cost. Before the passing of the Scotch Education Act, besides the parochial schools maintained by the parishes, there were a number maintained by voluntary associations and Churches. The Free Church especially had established throughout the Highlands a large and complete system of voluntary schools, and the same was the case with other associations which he need not specify. These Bodies were all perfectly willing to hand over their schools to the school boards. Now that the State had taken up the education of the people, they considered that there was no use in their going to any further expense in the matter, and therefore they were perfectly ready to hand their schools over. But it was found that there was a difficulty existing. In fact, numberless difficulties existed. If the managers of these schools had incurred a bonâ fide debt of say £50 on a school worth £1,000, the school board would not accept the gift if they wished to hand over the schools. But unless such anomalies were speedily remedied, he was afraid it would be too late; whereas, if they were, an amount of money would be saved in Scotland very much greater than anything in the shape of building grants from the Department.
§ MR. RAMSAY
considered that the difficulty in transferring these schools was not due to the Department, but to the Education Act, and the construction which had been put upon it. It was quite true, however, that the attention of the Department had been called to the subject, and that nothing had been done. Only 13 schools had been transferred during the last year. That was to be regretted. As to the present teaching in Scotland, he might state as a fact that there was a feeling prevailing in that country that the education of children was being degraded rather than elevated. The noble Lord no doubt was 1213 anxious that that should not be the case; but it was, and it arose from the fact of their not being able to secure teachers who possessed those acquirements which enabled them to give instruction in the higher branches that would be of advantage to the humblest in poor districts. Under their ancient system the parish schoolmaster could usually teach Latin, Greek, and mathematics; and if he could not impart a knowledge of science, he could do so in other useful branches of learning, and that was the defect in the present system. Therefore, though there might be an increase in the number of scholars, there was a degradation in the standard of learning.
§ Notice taken, that 40 Members were not present; Committee counted, and 40 Members being found present,
§ MR. RAMSAY
observed that great hardship had been caused in the Highlands and insular districts, by the withdrawal of the schools which had provided them with education before the passing of the Education Act of 1872; while board schools had not yet been established in their place, in consequence of the difficulty the boards experienced in finding tradesmen who would build the schools. The difficulty about teachers must continue to prevail for some time, although he concurred with what the noble Lord had said the other day, when he stated that the supply of teachers would soon be adequate to the demand. But that brought him to the appeal regarding educational endowments, which was made by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Lyon Playfair) to the Home Secretary. In that appeal he cordially concurred, and he (Mr. Ramsay) would also appeal to the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Lord Advocate to take care that the time was not allowed to pass away without something being done to fulfil the promise which the Home Secretary had held out to them of having legislation with regard to the educational endowments of Scotland. He believed that it was quite possible, without offending the sentiments, or it might be called the prejudices, of the people of Scotland, to provide adequately for higher education in that country, without encroaching upon those endowments in a way which would not be satisfactory to those who at present governed 1214 them; and, therefore, he hoped that the appeal which had been made to the Department would not be in vain, but that something would be done. What was required in the schools in Scotland was not the teaching of some small elementary knowledge in branches of science; but that the minds of the children should be developed. Not that the children should be crammed with matters of mere memory, but that their intellectual powers should be improved, and their children made good members of society, and be taught to do their duty to themselves and the community.
MR. ASSHETON CROSS
said, that he merely rose to state, in reference to the observations of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Lyon Playfair) that he had nothing to add and nothing to withdraw to or from what he had said to the deputation which attended him at the Home Office.
§ GENERAL SIR GEORGE BALFOUR
rejoiced that the noble Lord had made considerable alteration in the pay of the Scotch School Inspectors, but wished to urge again that there was not a sufficient number of Inspectors to do the work. It was impossible to carry on the inspection of schools in a satisfactory manner, so long as it was hurried over in a short visit. To allow of this inspection being efficiently carried out, the number of Inspectors must either be increased, or the areas allowed to each Inspector limited. But it would probably be preferable to carry out both these plans. It would also be advisable to add a few more Inspectors to serve as a reserve force, to be specially thrown on some schools of the districts, in order to test the soundness of the ordinary inspection. His hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow (Dr. Cameron) had brought to light the injury done to some schools by some Inspectors being either more lax, or more stringent, than other Inspectors; showing that the money results to schools of a high standard, had thereby actually been less favourable than to other schools of a lower standard. His hon. Friend had then urged the transfer of Inspectors from one district to another; but it would be advisable to be cautious in making transfers, which might indicate defective inspection. These defects arose from two causes—one, insufficiency of inspecting power as to numbers of available Inspectors; and one, defec- 1215 tive power as regarded ability of inspecting. The remedy was that the Inspectors should be taught, in suitable training establishments, how to inspect; but that could not be done while their number was so small. The Inspectors should, however, be urged to try to make themselves acquainted with the minds of the children, so as to frame their questions in a form to be understood; and he would suggest that a second Inspector, thoroughly experienced in Scotch thought, should from time to time be sent down to schools unfavourably reported upon, so that the kind of inspection might be so varied as to enable the authorities to obtain an accurate acquaintance with the state of the school. It should also be mentioned that the Scotch inspections could not be deemed satisfactory until the young and inexperienced Inspectors, brought into the service from the Universities of England, had gained more experience. Even the very words used in the Reports of Inspectors to denote the progress of the scholars at schools, and the fitness of the teachers, varied with the temperament of the individuals who inspected. This was a form which could, however, be taught; but without a training establishment, and a reserve of Inspectors, it was impossible to create uniformity in the wording of the Reports, so that similar ideas and results might be stated in similar words by the different Inspectors. The occasional inspections thus advocated would allow a comparison of Reports, and lead to a proper system of recording results in the inspection Reports, and thus, from different Reports of different Inspectors on the same school, the differences of opinion between Inspectors would be clearly shown. Hitherto, training had been confined to elementary schools, and no doubt those were the essential and primary schools to attend to. But why not follow the Chinese educational system? In that country education was carried far beyond the English system. There were schools in China in every little village; schools of a higher order in the district, others in the Provinces, and finally at Pekin. Most promising youths of the poor were trained as well as the wealthy. This system should be followed up now that we had adopted the Chinese system of education; there was no use in denying that, though the Chinese system was 1216 almost perfection when compared with ours. Then, with regard to subjects to be taught and to be examined into, the Chinese had attained the greatest perfection in standards; but the Chinese mind was stereotyped with ideas obtained from the old books of the Chinese philosophers, and thus the progress of that great people had been checked, or kept down to the knowledge or ideas of the centuries before Our Saviour. That mental limitation as to subjects to be taught, or tests to be applied, we had in part followed; but it was open to grave objection, especially as regarded loading the very young mind with long pieces of poetry. He would not be very particular as to the standard, but would rather trust to the Inspectors to find out whether the schools had arrived generally at that degree of excellence which they ought to attain. A good deal had been said about the necessity of improving the teachers; but that improvement should be made to come from within that useful body of public servants. At present, there was no great inducement to improvement held out to them. The way to create activity was to create inducements to be active. Now, one way was to create additional schools for higher subjects. He believed his own county would gladly try to form a higher school, thereby creating a demand for the services of teachers of a more advanced class, and consequently better remunerated. And, further, though there were some difficulties in the way, he thought some inducements should be held out to teachers to qualify themselves to become Inspectors. He therefore asked, why they did not follow the example of the Chinese a little more, and draft off the better class of instructed boys to a higher school? Such a system would benefit the poorer youths, improve the elementary schools, and spur on the teachers too. There was another suggestion he would offer. His hon. Friend the Member for Falkirk (Mr. Ramsay) was a most useful member of the Education Board for Scotland; why should he not, with all his knowledge and experience, have power to draw up an annual Report on the subject of educational arrangements in Scotland, so that the House and the country might have full information upon it from time to time from a responsible Member of 1217 this House? Then with regard to the accounts of income and expenditure, there was an urgent necessity for bringing these matters under better control. The first and most important point was, to have a thorough audit, not of vouchers only, but of the figures entered in those vouchers. At present there existed a terrible dread of an examination of these figures. It looked as if that thorough audit would destroy the independence of school boards and their right of control over the schools, whereas it would, in his opinion, aid that proper control by the local boards. Then there were other questions as to the sufficiency of the present school building arrangements, and as to the situation of schools. Those also required to be examined into and kept right by trained Inspectors, qualified for the investigations, being specially employed for these examinations.
§ SIR JOHN LUBBOCK
said, he could not agree with what had fallen from the hon. Member for Glasgow (Dr. Cameron) with reference to the number of extra subjects which had been taken up by Scotch students. He hoped the advantages which had been given to Scotland in this particular would be extended to England, that less impediments would be thrown in the way of students taking up the extra subjects, and that a larger number would be induced to study them. He thought the requirements for needlework were a great deal too high, and he hoped the noble Lord would re-consider that matter. The noble Lord had proposed that no grant should be given unless instruction in any subject taken up extended over a whole year. That was surely going a little too far. The period might fairly be reduced to six months. The noble Lord also proposed that when a particular subject was taken up it should be compulsory for the child to keep to that subject for three years. He thought that was a mistake, as a child might take up a subject for which it was not well qualified, and it ought to have the opportunity of taking up others. He was also in favour of teaching fundamental ideas of several branches of science. He deprecated a smattering as much as anyone; but it could not take long to give a child fundamental ideas, and fundamental conceptions of several sciences would frequently be of more use to a child than fuller instruction in one 1218 science only. He also complained of the Code because its details and rules were too minute and peremptory, leaving little or nothing to the teacher and the circumstances of the school.
§ MR. ANDERSON
thought the statement of the noble Lord was, on the whole, satisfactory. At all events, it was well to know that they were not going back, and that Scotland even kept ahead of England. But they had not much to congratulate themselves upon in the list of numbers applying for extra subjects. Out of 380,000 scholars, for instance, only about 1,000 took up French. We were, perhaps, from our insular position, the worst-instructed country in the world in foreign languages, paying less attention to them than any other nation. Something ought to be done to remedy this. The state of matters might be satisfactory from an English point of view, seeing that Scotland was ahead of England; and English Members might think that Scotland had attained to something great; but no Scotch Member who had given attention to educational matters in his own country could be satisfied with things as they were. He thought the time had come when they should adopt the American system, making elementary education absolutely free, so that the fees which parents now paid for elementary, might be devoted to higher education. That was the line he had always taken, and he thought it was greatly strengthened by the statement of the noble Lord, and he hoped before long the opinion might become more general, and they might see the country going in for free education.
§ MR. MARK STEWART
earnestly asked the attention of the noble Lord to the present status of pupil teachers. When a pupil teacher was entered at a school, there was a regular indenture drawn up, and signed between him and the school board. The consequence was that although the master of the school was the pupil teacher's real master, and alone had authority in the school; he found he had very little influence over him; and when there was not a proper relation between them, the bad consequences even to the pupil teacher himself were disastrous. He hoped the noble Lord would take the matter into consideration, and, if possible, adopt certain rules by which the pupil teacher should not only be under the surveillance 1219 of the master, but should be under his actual authority, instead of being under the authority of the school board.
§ MR. M'LAREN
said, that in his opinion, education would never be thoroughly extended among all classes of the poor except by an entirely free education. A general notion was that what people did not pay for they did not value; but the free system had been tried on a very large scale in the city which he represented (Edinburgh). There were 5,000 children in that city receiving free education in 16 schools, supported by George Heriot's hospital funds, and the attendance averaged. 90 per cent all the year through, while at the board schools, with more than double the number of children, it did not come up to 75 per cent. If education were generally made free, it would cause a very much higher attendance. He agreed with his right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Edinburgh (Mr. Lyon Playfair), and with his hon. Friend the Member for Falkirk (Mr. Ramsay), in the hope that the Government would introduce a measure for regulating endowed institutions in Scotland next Session; but there were two opinions in Scotland as to what that measure should be, and he should like to take the opportunity of stating to the noble Lord (Viscount Sandon) and to the Lord Advocate the two views which were entertained. There was an Act passed, to endure for three years, which had already been referred to, for enabling such institutions to open their doors wider than they had hitherto been, and partially to alter the principles on which they were established. That Act was entirely permissive in its character, and had now expired. Some people, with whose opinion he sympathized, would give the Governors of such institutions even more power than they had under that Act to alter their constitution, subject to the sanction of the Home Secretary. Another idea advocated by some persons in Scotland was to seize on the funds of those institutions, originally left for the poor, and devote them to the education of the rich and middle classes. To that proposal there was a very strong objection in Scotland. With regard to the middle-class schools referred to in the Report, they only afforded a small portion of the education provided for the middle classes. In the city with which 1220 he was connected there was one such school with 450 scholars, and with fees and endowments amounting to about £4,500; but there were 10 times that numbers of scholars in other schools not under the Act. The Report stated that there were only 1,300 children learning French; but he had no hesitation in saying that there were more than that number learning French in Edinburgh alone, and probably more than that number learning French in Glasgow. French, German, and other modern languages were mainly taught by private masters. The hon. and gallant Member for Kincardine (Sir George Balfour) had asked, why should not the counties have middle-class schools of their own? He answered, why not? Every county should establish such a school; but let the county gentlemen put their hands in their own pockets, and not rob Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Aberdeen. He was very much pleased to hear the noble Lord explain that the variety of subjects now permitted to be taught under the Scotch Code was considerably greater than the number which the Scotch Board of Education desired should be taught. This was a good answer to the cry which had been raised that education was deteriorating in quality. He believed, on the contrary, that education in Scotland was better now than it had ever been before.
§ MR. WHALLEY
said, that the want of facilities for utilizing existing schools for national education had been the means of largely increasing the burdens of the country. The principle which underlay the present system of educational administration, which was almost unanimously condemned by the country, was to maintain and confirm the principle of denominational teaching; and he regretted that some assurance had not been given by the Government that the children who were being educated in denominational schools would be protected against the teaching, under the name of religion, of the doctrines which had recently been disclosed, and which had created, such general disapprobation.
§ MR. YEAMAN
said, that having been a member of the school board of Dundee for three years, he had naturally taken a great deal of interest in the board schools. He did not think that there were any schools in any of the 1221 larger burghs or cities throughout the country which had been attended with greater success than those of Dundee. But he shared the opinion entertained by many persons, that a still higher standard ought to be reached before payments were made to the teachers. The Returns showed that the principal teachers of the board schools in Scotland were very well paid. Their salaries ranged in some cases from upwards of £300 to more than £500 a-year. With such salaries a higher standard of education on the part of the scholars ought to be reached. Both Scotland and England were very much indebted to the noble Lord for his efforts to raise the standard of education, and it was to be hoped he would long be spared to devote his assiduity and energy to the cause of education.
§ VISCOUNT SANDON
assured hon. Members from Scotland that he was the last person to think they had got to finality as to the standard of education. It was only wise, however, to advance with caution, especially when they were sweeping into their schools vast numbers of uneducated children. At the same time, the remarks which had been made would be duly weighed. With regard to the specific subjects, he thought the hon. Member for Glasgow (Dr. Cameron) had unduly run them down. Of course, if it was found that these subjects were taught too slightly, it would be very easy for the Inspectors to insist on higher requirements. As to literature, it was not merely a question of learning by heart. There was a great deal more—dictation, for instance, which was one of the most important elements in a child's instruction. Physical geography he regarded also as a very important subject. The hon. Member had laid great stress on the desirableness of the children learning more Latin and French, instead of the scientific subjects. For his part, however, he (Viscount Sandon) was not prepared to compel the children in Scotland to learn French and Latin in the ordinary schools. As to domestic economy, he had received many communications from Scotland in favour of teaching it. He thought it a very good thing indeed that the children should receive hints as to what they ought to do hereafter with their money; and he rejoiced that by the establishment of penny banks they were now taught in 1222 hundreds of board schools to lay by what they could. Considering how important the study of health, food, and clothing was to the future mothers of the country, it had been thought right, where girls chose to go in for specific subjects of a more advanced kind, to make domestic economy one of their extra subjects; and he held to that as a wise arrangement. With regard to schools in the wilder districts of the Highlands, the rules as to the buildings had been relaxed in order to meet the difficulties of the case. The hon. Member for the Falkirk Boroughs (Mr. Ramsay) had given high testimony, on the whole, as to the work done, and his testimony was of great value. In the remarks of the hon. and gallant Member for Kincardineshire (Sir George Balfour) as to the importance of Inspectors he thoroughly agreed; and, as a matter of fact, the staff of Inspectors had been considerably increased. He thought, however, that the picture which the hon. Member gave of the present elementary education as being of a "humdrum Chinese" kind was rather overdrawn. He was not acquainted with the Chinese system of education; but he ventured to think that the elementary education now given to the working classes of this country was of a very thorough character. He would not be tempted to enter at that time upon the subject of free education; but he might remark that Scotch parents seemed inclined to take a different view from that of the hon. Member, the fees paid in Scotland for education being on a much higher scale than in England. As to pupil teachers, while he hoped they would recognize that they must be subject to the masters of the schools, he did not see his way at present to give the masters a greater control over them. The hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Yeaman), who always spoke with great authority, asked that an effort should be made to raise the standard somewhat, and in the instructions to the Inspectors this would be kept in mind. He was fully aware that in Scotland such a change would be more willingly received than in. England. A great deal, however, depended upon the parents. If the parents put a pressure upon the masters, he had no doubt the standard would be raised. Now that children were obliged to go to school, he heard from all quarters— especially from Scotch masters—that as 1223 soon as the legal obligation was over the child seemed to think, and the parent often agreed with him, that his education was over, and the result was that in many cases the children left school earlier than they would have done before. It was, therefore, important that they should receive a very thorough knowledge of elementary subjects during the few years they were at school. The hon. Baronet the Member for Maidstone (Sir John Lubbock) had asked that the grant of 4s. for specific subjects should be divided into two. This was a matter well worth consideration, but he could not at that moment give a definite answer on the point. As to cramming, he thought the precautions which had been taken to guard against it had met with entire approval, and those precautions applied to history and language as well as to other subjects. In conclusion, the noble Lord thanked the hon. Members for Scotland for the kind tenour of their observations.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (2.) £430,236, to complete the sum for Public Education, Ireland.
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH
said, that in moving this Vote he would not trouble the Committee with observations on the general system of education in Ireland, or draw attention to alterations in any particular sub-heads as compared with the Vote of last year. There were alterations in various items, but there were none of them of such a character as to call for special remark, except that perhaps he should explain that a sum of £2,500 for poundage, charged in the Estimates of past years as due to the Post Office for paying the salaries of the teachers, was omitted in the Vote now proposed to be taken. The hon. and learned Member for Kildare (Mr. Meldon) last Session called attention to this charge, and objected to its being included in this Vote, and since that time the Secretary for the Treasury had arranged that the teachers should have their salaries paid in another way equally convenient to them, and at the same time this item should not be included in the Vote for Irish education. The Report of the Commissioners of National Education in Ireland for 1876, which had recently been presented to Parliament, enabled him to mention one or two points of comparison with the statement he had made 1224 on this subject last year. He found from the Report that there had been a considerable increase during the year in the number of pupils on the rolls of the National Schools, the total number being 1,032,215. He did not think any real argument could be based on those figures as to the progress of education in Ireland. It would be much sounder to follow the custom of England and Scotland, and take the numbers attending at a certain date before the inspection, or the average daily attendance of the pupils. Both of those points were brought forward more prominently in the present Report of the Commissioners, and he thought the Committee would be satisfied with the evidence of improvement which they afforded. On the last day of the month preceding the inspection there were 596,477 pupils in attendance, or 18,886 more than in 1875; and the average daily attendance was 416,586, an increase of 26,625. He did not say that those figures showed sufficient attendance; but he found, as he had stated earlier in the present Session, he expected he should, by what had taken place in the county of Longford and other counties, that the attendance of the children had been made more regular than otherwise by insisting on the payment of proper fees. As the attendance of children had improved, so the income of the teachers had materially increased. In 1875 the total income of the National School teachers in Ireland, whether from State or local sources, was returned by the Board at £571,648 and for 1876 it was returned at £638,508, of which £138,839 was paid by way of results. That showed a very material increase in the income of the teachers for last year. Another fact which would be satisfactory to the Committee was that whereas in 1875 80 3 per cent of that income was derived from Government grants, and only 19 7 per cent from local sources, in 1876 72 4 per cent was derived from Government grants and 27 6 per cent from local sources. That increase had arisen from an improvement in the amounts paid for fees by those sending their children to school. Last year he called attention to the small amount of fees paid by the children for their instruction, and he quoted certain counties as illustrating the low amount of those fees, and the comparatively small number of the children who paid them. He 1225 found from the Report of the Commissioners for 1876 that a total sum of £78,434 was received in payment from pupils, showing an increase of £17,723 over the preceding year. If they looked at the particular places in which that increase had mainly occurred the result would, he thought, be found even more satisfactory. Last year he quoted the statistics of the counties of Cavan, Longford, and Leitrim on that point. In Cavan in 1875 the average per pupil of school pence was 1s. l½d., and the average per pupil of the total amount locally subscribed was 2s. 6¾d., while in 1876 the school pence averaged 1s. 11¾d., and the total amount locally subscribed 2s. 10¾d., showing a fair increase. In the county of Longford in 1875, 1s. 3¼d was the average amount of school pence, and 2s. 2d. the total average amount locally subscribed; while in 1876, the average amount of school pence was 2s. 2d., and the total average sum locally subscribed 3s. 8d. In Leitrim in 1875 the school pence averaged 1s. 1d., and the total amount locally subscribed 1s. 11d., while in 1876 the school pence averaged 2s. 4d., and the total sum locally subscribed 3s. 4d.
§ Notice taken, that 40 Members were not present; House counted, and 40 Members being found present,
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS - BEACH
continued: That increase was mainly due to the action which had been taken in consequence of the fact that in schools in non-contributory Unions the National teachers did not receive the contingent portion of the results-fees from the Government. The hon. and learned Member for Kildare had asked the Government to adopt some system by which the teachers would not in future be deprived of those fees; and in last August he was able to undertake on the part of the Government that for the year 1876–7 the contingent results-fees should be given to teachers of schools in non-contributory as well as contributory Unions, provided that an equivalent sum was raised from some source or another by those who were interested in the schools. The effect of that proviso had been very satisfactory as far as regarded the increased income of the schools in non-contributory Unions from local sources. In 2,698 of the 3,272 schools in non-contributory Unions the 1226 condiditions entitling the teachers to contingent results-fees were fulfilled. Those conditions were that the local contributions to a school should equal 3s. 4d. per child per annum of the average attendance of the school, and also at least half the amount of the results-fees which might have been granted to the school under the Act had it been situated in a contributory Union. The amount of the contingent results-fees thus paid to the teachers of schools in non-contributory Unions was £22,357. From the Report of the National Education Commissioners it would be found that in the schools of those non-contributory Unions the local subscriptions had increased from £7,582 in 1875 to £12,486 in 1876, and the school pence of the pupils from £23,978 in 1875 to £34,984 in 1876. Since those figures had been arrived at, he believed there had been a still greater progress in the amount derived from those sources, and especially in the amount of the school fees; and what might fairly be deduced from that was that they might safely advance still further in the requirement of aid from local sources in that manner, and might insist on such a proviso as that which he had suggested last year—namely, that in all schools a reasonable payment not below a certain minimum should be required from the children receiving education. He thought, then, it might be said that, as a whole, the system was progressing satisfactorily as regarded the attendance of the pupils, and that a very considerable and proper increase had been obtained in the payments to the teachers during the last year from the source from which contributions had hitherto been so extremely deficient. He did not wish to imply that he was satisfied with the present position of affairs in either case; but he did think it was shown that things were improving and that they might properly press forward in the same direction, with the perfect confidence that by insisting on further payment of fees for the education of children they would not really decrease the average attendance. During a debate which occurred, earlier in the Session, when comparisons were made between the number of children examined for results in Great Britain and in Ireland, it was stated that the number of attendances required for examination for results was less in Ireland than in 1227 England. That was the fact. But they had now made a step in advance in that matter, for whereas last year the number of attendances required to qualify a child to be examined for results was 90 whole days, in the present year— 1877–8—the Commissioners of National Education had added 10 more days, bringing the number up to 100. He hoped that before long further progress would be made in that direction. The right hon. Baronet concluded by moving the Vote.
§ MR. MELDON
said, he was sorry that he could not take so sanguine a view of the progress of education in Ireland as that taken by the right hon. Gentleman. As far as the National teachers were concerned, matters were retrograding rather than anything else. He must protest against the way in the Irish Education Estimates were brought forward this evening. Full notice ought to have been given to the Irish Members that these Estimates would be brought on this evening. It was perfectly well known that one of the most serious questions to be discussed in connection with these Estimates, was whether the system introduced last year for the purpose of augmenting the salaries of the Irish National teachers ought to be continued or not, and he thought every information that could have been given ought to have been given to enable Members to debate that question. The last thing done last night was the laying on the Table by the Chief Secretary for Ireland of a most important communication on the subject of continuing the present system, and perhaps, lest he (Mr. Meldon) or some other Member might see that communication before these Estimates were brought on, the right hon. Gentleman sent it off to the printer.
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS - BEACH
said, the correspondence in question amounted merely to a recommendation by the Commissioners of Education to the Treasury, supported by the Irish Government, to continue for the present the system which he had detailed to the Committee with reference to the acceptance of voluntary contributions in lieu of the results-fees voted by the Guardians, as entitling a school to receive the contingent results-fees.
§ MR. MELDON
said, Irish Members would have been glad of the informa- 1228 tion contained in the correspondence, as then they might have fairly discussed it that evening. He also complained that although he had been in constant communication with the Irish Office up to a recent date, the Chief Secretary had withheld from him the slightest intimation of the proposals he intended to bring forward on behalf of the Government. The question was whether the system began last year was to be continued. He would, then, in the first place, say that the scheme did not carry out the proposal of the Government in 1875, when the National Teachers' Scheme was introduced. The National Teachers Bill of 1875 was not successful. It was admitted in 1874 that the salaries of the teachers were insufficient, and the Government then undertook to remedy the grievances. There had been an addition made to their class salaries, but the Government also proposed that at least a certain sum should be allocated to them, which was to be divided into three parts. The one-third of the fees which they were to earn by results was to be paid unconditionally, and the other third was to be by the Government on condition that the Board of Guardians supplied the other third. The Guardians had been made to assent to that by a ruse, and to vote the money for two years. The number of contributory members in contributory Unions in Ulster, Munster, Leinster, and Con-naught had fallen to one-half, and that showed that this was wholly inoperative. Instead of Boards of Guardians being willing to make themselves contributories under the Act of 1875, they were actually at present refusing to pay for the education of children who were boarded out by them in different parts of the country. But assuming that this system was successful, and that the teachers received sufficient remuneration, he still contended that the system was most unrighteous, as it held out a temptation to the teacher to make false returns. He did not assert that the returns were falsified; but it was wrong to put a teacher in a position in which he was tempted to make the school income greater than it really was. Nothing could be more injurious to education than to have persons over children untrustworthy. Owing to the Chief Secretary having said that this was only a tentative measure, money as 1229 voluntary contributions had been paid as school fees. The result would be that next year this source of emolument would be shut out from the teachers. Then, again, a direct premium was held out under this system for teachers not to educate the children as well as they might. A teacher, when the result fees were very low, would have little difficulty in getting sufficient to entitle him to the thirds, whereas a man whose result fees were larger would find greater difficulty in that respect. It was inexpedient that the collection of the fees should devolve on the teachers instead of the managers. Hon. Members would be surprised to learn that all that the teachers wanted was salary—for first-class, of whom there were only about 200, £2 per week; second-class, which composed the great body of teachers, £1 10s.; and third-class, £1. The teachers were getting further from their chance of getting this question settled, and then what were they to do when this system was to be taken as an experiment for another year? The Chief Secretary had told a deputation of teachers that they must agitate themselves, but the answer to that was the teachers were not allowed to take part in politics; and in one case the names of two persons similar to those of two teachers in the district which were pointed out in the Papers were forwarded to the Commissioners of Education, and an Inspector was sent down to inquire as to whether they had attended the political meeting on the Land Tenure Bill. The manager of the school refused to allow the teachers to be examined unless the Inspector would give the names of their accusers, and this was refused. But what was the result? Those two teachers were dismissed, although they had never attended the political meeting. That was a comment upon the suggestion of the Chief Secretary that they should agitate in this matter. The teachers were wrong to adopt the unrighteous advice given them to agitate among the Guardians; and now, that it had been unsuccessful, something ought to be done to meet the moderate demands of the teachers this Session. If no Bill could be introduced this year, at least some temporary alteration of their condition might be adopted; unwilling Guardians might be forced to pay for the education of those 1230 children whose parents were too poor to pay, and the Guardians ought to be made to pay for the education of children who were, boarded out by them throughout the country. Managers of schools should be encouraged to make that local contribution as large as possible, but the two-thirds grant should not be contingent. He hoped that the teachers would not once more be turned away with nothing having been done.
THE O'CONOR DON
said, he could not concur in many of the views expressed by the hon. and learned Member, either as to the position of the teachers or the means he suggested for improving it. Parliament ought to be careful not to do anything to render the teachers in a greater degree than they were now the servants of the State. If anything were done in Ireland to increase the power of the State over the teachers and managers of schools, it would involve a great risk in the way of destroying their independence. Nothing was more to be deprecated than an increase of the salaries of those teachers wholly, or almost wholly, out of the State funds. If the danger referred to was to be obviated, it could only be by some local and voluntary payment towards the teachers' salaries. Nor was there anything new in that system. Up to 1870 the State payments to schools in England were entirely in proportion to the amount of local contributions, and even now, excepting in the case of the board schools, the same principle was followed. As to the way in which payment from local sources should be made, the first proposal of the Government was that it should be done by means of a rate levied by some local authority; but there were strong objections to that method, and it did not meet with a favourable reception in Ireland. The Government then proposed to give a contribution from the State funds, if contributions were made from local sources, either in the form of rates or voluntary subscriptions, and that was a very fair proposal. If the Government had not made the contributions from the State dependent on local subscriptions, the latter would have fallen off almost to nothing. He expressed his pleasure at hearing the Chief Secretary say there was an intention to make the payment of a small 1231 fee compulsory. He thought this would tend to a more regular attendance at the schools, inasmuch as parents would he desirous of getting full value for their money.
§ MR. ERRINGTON
pointed to several items of the Vote, more particularly that relating to school sites, which he thought required explanation.
§ CAPTAIN NOLAN
said, Irish Members had always urged on the Government the importance of making increased grants for primary education, and he advocated the same cause now. There was no Church money in Ireland. He pointed out that while the cost of education per head in Ireland was 2s. 2½d., in England, where the population was more compact, it was 2s. 1d., and in Scotland, which presented pretty much the same conditions as Ireland, it was as high as 3s. Now, if Ireland, were treated with the same liberality as England and Scotland, the grant now asked for would be increased by £183,000, which was almost double the amount required to satisfy the claims of the Irish teachers. If the people of Ireland had the management of their own affairs, they would put a tax upon spirits and apply the proceeds to education. The present Government, however, taxed spirits without giving the people of Ireland any corresponding benefit.
said, he objected to the too great cheapness of popular education just now in Ireland amongst the working classes. Some means should be taken to make parents pay for their children more frequently than they did. He knew how the money that should be so spent went on the Saturday evening. The poverty of the country was no doubt great, but there was no sufficient excuse for the high percentage of parents who paid nothing at all. When the common school system was introduced by Mr. Stanley, afterwards Lord Derby, it had not been the choice of the people. It had neither popular support nor the support of the landlords. They were now in the critical condition of making compulsory contributions, and at the same time imposing on the country a system with which it had no sympathy. They did not approve of the present system of national education; but they preferred it to blank ignorance. He now said to the Government, when they 1232 referred to the small contributions by the people and the Guardians in comparison with the percentage contributed by the State, that the system of education of the people of Ireland was the State's choice and not that of the Irish people; and that if the State forced its system upon that country, the people there would say—"Pay for it." But how lamentable was the pay of the teachers and the attendance at the schools! He deplored the present state of things, but nothing would bring it right until education was brought more into harmony with the feelings of the people.
§ DR. WARD
referred to the Report of the Royal Commission appointed to inquire into the Model Schools, and stated that the Commissioners condemned those schools, and reported that no more money ought to be expended upon them. That was the unanimous decision of the Commissioners, and notwithstanding that, the Chief Secretary for Ireland stood up in the House and asked the Committee for the usual grant of public money for those schools. The present system of education in Ireland had destroyed the private schools in that country. He considered that the Irish Members had good reason for complaining of the course pursued by the Chief Secretary.
§ MR. PARNELL
said, that the national teachers of Ireland had some ground for feeling that the Chief Secretary would take some means to alleviate their position. The right hon. Gentleman's attention was called to this question in 1874, but those teachers had remained scandalously underpaid. There were 9,000 of them, and they received last year on an average £31 each, insufficient, to his mind, for the pay of an ordinary labourer, much less for those who were employed in instructing. The salaries of the higher officials had been considerably increased since 1871; whereas the unfortunate nation al teachers were obliged to go without houses, and almost without bread, in many cases, to give to their children. The hon. Member for Roscommon (the O'Conor Don) had said that his union had been a contributory, and, in his opinion, it was a very sound principle to encourage local contributions; but, at the same time, the Boards of Guardians would be placed in a false position if they were to give money over which they had no 1233 control. He hoped Government would never levy a tax on the Irish people for purposes of education so long as the education was not such as the people wished.
§ MR. KING-HARMAN
said, the discussion had elicited the tolerably unanimous opinion from the Irish Members that the question of national education in Ireland was one which imperatively demanded attention at the hands of the Government. He (Mr. King-Harman) had induced two unions to contribute for two years, but the experiment had not proved successful, and he could not bring himself to ask them to contribute longer. The contributory system had thus proved a failure. It was of the utmost importance that the teachers should be well educated, and if that was not generally the case, the House would remember that they were poorly paid and that no provision was made for their old age. He trusted that during the Recess the Government would consider the propriety of appointing a Committee, or a Commission, to inquire into the position of the Irish national teachers.
§ MR. GRAY
said, the sum for secretaries' salaries for 1877–8 was £1,600, the same as in the previous year. A financial assistant secretary had been added at £650 a-year: what were his exact duties? The office of Clerk of Accounts at £650 appeared to have been abolished. Hitherto the rule had been that there should be two secretaries, a Protestant and a Catholic, equal in salary and equal in position. But though it was understood that some great changes were being made during the past year, especially in the secretariat department, the proceedings of the National Board were shrouded in mystery, and he wished to know what the exact nature of those changes were.
§ MR. BIGGAR
advocated an increase of pay to teachers, especially in poorer districts, where there were no voluntary contributions.
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH
said, with regard to the question raised by the hon. Member for Tipperary (Mr. Gray), these Estimates were framed before the changes in the staff of the National Board were agreed on, and therefore did not correctly represent the final settlement. During last summer a good deal of correspondence passed between the Com- 1234 missioners of National Education and the Treasury upon the manner in which the duties of the secretaries of the National Board were performed, and especially those duties which related to financial matters. After careful inquiry it was thought better to re-organize the secretariat department, which formerly consisted of two secretaries and a clerk in charge of accounts. The senior secretary had retired and his place had been taken by his colleague at an increased salary of £1,000 a-year, while another secretary had been appointed at £800. The clerk in charge of accounts had been replaced by a gentleman holding a higher official position, though not receiving a higher salary, as assistant secretary. These changes were unanimously agreed to by the Board of Education, and he was confident would conduce to increased efficiency. With regard to Model Schools, he believed they had been doing a good work, although he admitted that there were some points on which they might be altered with advantage. To some extent they had departed from the original intention of being model elementary schools. Education of a higher kind was now given in many of them, and to the children of parents holding a very good position in society. But, as appeared from the Estimates and from the last Report of the National Board, the fees in the Model Schools had been considerably increased, with the view of checking any abuse of this kind. But the question whether the Model Schools ought to be maintained or not was one of too much magnitude to be discussed upon this Vote. With regard to the position of the national teachers in Ireland, he was bound to say that the hon. and learned Member for Kildare (Mr. Meldon) had not dealt quite fairly with the Government for what had been done. If he had thought that the hon. and learned Member was not aware of the intention to continue the present system for another year, he should have been happy to give him information on the subject. But some time ago the Commissioners of National Education in Ireland were unofficially informed of the fact, and they had communicated it to the national teachers generally; so there was really nothing to conceal in the matter. No doubt the National Teachers Act of 1875 had not 1235 succeeded to the extent to which they wished; but why? Not because the Government had failed to do their part; but because the Guardians in many of the Poor Law Unions had declined to perform theirs. Yet all that was asked by way of local contributions amounted to a sum not exceeding the ordinary small fees which ought nearly always to be paid by children for the education they received. They did not ask, or expect, at present any large amount from this source; but it was only right in the interest of the children and their parents that the education received should be paid for. To a great extent it would then be more valued.
§ CAPTAIN NOLAN
called attention to the increasing grants that were being made to England and Scotland in comparison with those for Ireland. This year was worst of all, for there was no increase for Ireland, while in the Education Vote for England there was an increase of £203,744, and of £50,555 in that for Scotland. The totals since 1874, when the present Government came into office, were an increase for education of £103,000 for Ireland, £600,000 for England, and £321,000 for Scotland.
observed that Unions in Ulster only contributed for a short time, and it was only by the teachers personally canvassing the Guardians that they obtained any contributions from them.
§ MR. MELDON
regretted that the Government had not acceded to his proposal for improving the position of the national teachers in Ireland, and it would therefore become his duty, should he obtain an opportunity this Session, to take the opinion of the House as to the manner in which the Irish teachers had been treated.
§ MR. PARNELL
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland to explain why Scotland, with only half the number of inhabitants, should have twice as much for education as Ireland?
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS - BEACH
said, that some arrangement was about to be made in lieu of the old charge for poundage in this Vote, by which the 1236 salaries of teachers would be paid to them without expense or deduction. As to the alleged difference in the grant for Scotch and Irish education, for many years the Irish Education Estimates were proportionately much larger in amount than the English and Scotch Votes; and, although the latter had increased of late years, the question was, what sum was really needed in each country for education. It must also be remembered that the English and Scotch Votes were supplemented by voluntary subscriptions to an extent quite unknown in Ireland.
§ Vote agreed, to.
§ (3.) £20,028, to complete the sum for the Chief Secretary for Ireland's Offices.
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS - BEACH
said, that he had considered the recommendations made in regard to the Irish fisheries, and had been in communication with the Admiralty and the Treasury upon them. It might be possible to take some steps with a view to better supervision and care of the oyster beds on the coast of Ireland, and if that work were added to the duties of the present Inspectors, there would be greater necessity than at the present time for devoting a steamboat or cutter solely to their service. With regard to the loans made from the Reproductive Loan Fund, they had, according to the Reports of the Inspectors of Fisheries, been punctually repaid; but it was not certain that they had all been applied to the purposes for which they had been made.
§ In reply to Captain NOLAN,
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS - BEACH
said, that some difficulty had been felt in Ireland in providing accommodation for lunatics, the existing asylums having proved insufficient, and that the Government were on the point of issuing a Departmental Commission, with the object, among other things, of ascertaining whether any of the workhouses could be used as idiot asylums.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (4.) £300, to complete the sum for the Boundary Survey, Ireland, agreed to.1237
§ (5.) £1,485, to complete the sum for the Charitable Donations and Bequests Office, Ireland, agreed to.
(6.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £95,184, 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 1878, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Local Government Board in Ireland.
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS - BEACH
said, the Commissioner to whom the hon. Member seemed particularly to refer was well-known to many hon. Members, and formerly had a seat in the House; but he was unable to say at the moment what the particular duties of his office were.
§ MR. MELDON
moved that the Vote be reduced by the sum of £2,000, the salary of the Vice President of the Board, contending that there was no more unpopular body in Ireland than the Local Government Board, because of their arbitrary conduct towards the local authorities. Owing to their action with reference to the appointment of medical officers, the Public Health Act of 1874 had turned out to be an entire failure.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £93,184, 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 1878, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Local Government Board in Ireland."—(Mr. Meldon.)
§ MR. PARNELL
said the increase in this Vote was entirely due to the augmentation of the salaries of the higher officials in the chief offices.
§ MR. GRAY
said, the Local Government Board was one of the greatest shams in Ireland. Hon. Members were 1238 apt to think that the Irish Board was a similar Board to the English Board; but while, in England, the Board was composed of a number of gentlemen enjoying the confidence of the country, and had a Representative in the House, the Irish Board was not represented. In Ireland there were three Poor Law Commissioners, who, by the stroke of an Act of Parliament, were converted into a Local Government Board, and to these were added the Chief Secretary and Under Secretary. Of these, the last had absolutely nothing to do; and the function of the Chief Secretary in connection with the Board was confined to answering Questions in the House. The other night the Government expressed a determination not to support sinecure offices —here was an opportunity of carrying out that policy. The only working member of the Board was Sir Alfred Power.
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS - BEACH
denied that the Irish Local Government Board was a sham, as it had been called by the hon. Member for Tipperary (Mr. Gray). He (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) did not pretend, as President of the Board, to take any active part in the ordinary details of its administration, but Sir Alfred Power referred all questions of policy to him. Both the English and Irish Local Government Boards performed corresponding duties; but he did not see how the Irish Board could be described as more arbitrary than the English. The difference between the two was, that the Irish Board really existed as a Board, whilst the English consisted, as all knew, of the President alone. The hon. Member for Tipperary was supporting the omission of the salary of the very member who, he said, did all the work. More than three years' official connection with Sir Alfred Power had convinced him that there was no Civil servant more able or more devoted to the Public Service, and he could not conceive anyone acquainted with the duties he performed, seriously objecting to the payment of his salary. With reference to what had been said as to the inadequate pay of the medical officers, he would remind the Committee that on this head there was an increase in the Vote of £1,250, and a considerable increase in respect of the important item of vaccination.
§ MR. MELDON
acknowledged the force of what the right hon. Gentleman had said, and asked leave to withdraw his Amendment. As it was the principle, and not the individual, they wished to protest against, he hoped, however, some other Member would move the reduction of another portion of the Vote.
§ MR. BIGGAR
said, it was the general opinion that the Local Government Board in Ireland worked badly, and that Sir Alfred Power was a dictator. He should like to move the reduction of the Vote by the amount of the salary of some of the officials who did nothing.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. RAMSAY
said, that the Treasury ought to have proposed even a larger reduction. There were included salaries for the schoolmasters and mistresses in Ireland. It would be well if the sums voted for the education of pauper children could be included in the Education Estimates.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ MR. GRAY
moved—That the Vote be reduced by the sum of £1,200, for the salary of the Hon. Mr. Bellew, one of the Commissioners.Following at some distance the example of the Government in reducing the number of sinecures, he hoped to have their support. The right hon. Baronet the Chief Secretary had not denied that this official did nothing for his salary. He did nothing but write a few letters, and he challenged the right hon. Baronet to contradict that statement.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £93,984, 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 1878, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Local Government Board in Ireland."—(Mr. Gray.)
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided: — Ayes 34; Noes 156: Majority 122,—(Div. List, No. 231.)
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.1240
§ Resolutions to be reported To-morrow, at Two of the clock.
§ Committee to sit again To-morrow, at Two of the clock.