(2.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £3,607, 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 1887, for the Salaries and Expenses of the National Gallery.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL (Kirkcaldy, &c.)
I am afraid I shall be liable to the imputation of want of taste if I move the reduction of this Vote for the National Gallery. The reason why I do not like to pass the Vote without a protest is that when we were proposing to pay an enormous sum for the Blenheim pictures we had not seen them. An hon. Member of this House made, I think, what was a very sensible suggestion, when he requested that the articles should be placed in the Tea Room. Now, I believe that if we had had those pictures before us we should never have bought them; but having to pay for them I do not think we should pass the Vote without some sort of protest. It is universally agreed that the country has given considerably too 829 much for those pictures; but it is not only on that ground that I wish to raise the question. If I believed that in the market these pictures were worth the money we gave for them, which I do not think they were, I should still think it was a wicked and wasteful thing to buy them, especially at a time when we have not too much money to spare. Such a thing might have been done on the other side of the Atlantic, where they have more money than they know what to do with. But the fact remains that the people of America were not such fools as to buy the pictures. In my opinion, the price paid was enormous. I went to see the picture which cost £70,000; and, so far from its being to the taste of the British public, it is not, in my judgment, worth 70,000 pence. I have watched the demeanour of the British public in regard to that picture. It was not put on the wall like the other pictures, but was enthroned in the centre of a great room. The attention of the British public was invited to it; they were given to understand that it was a picture of enormous value. I watched their demeanour for a long time; I found that it did not fetch them at all; that they did not care a fig for it; nor, as a matter of fact, is there anything about it to lead the uninstructed mind to take pleasure in it. I do not think there is any more especial value in this picture than there is in a piece of old china or an old book. Indeed, in such hard times as the present, it seems to me absolutely wicked to pay such a price as £70,000 for a picture, especially when, as I say, the public scarcely appreciate it at all. I believe it was the most expensive picture ever bought, and that two or three times its real value was paid for it. But this picture, although I think that too much was given for it, and although I am convinced that it does not give any pleasure to the British public, is, after all, an innocuous, an inoffensive picture. I regard it with a negative sort of objection; but what are we to say of the other picture—the Vandyck—which was purchased at a cost of £15,000? It is an atrocious production—a repulsive picture. It principally consists of a horse—and such a horse! I ask hon. Members who are acquainted with the picture whether they ever saw such a horse in all their 830 lives, whether they really believe there ever was such a horse in existence? If any Member of the Committee had such a horse it would be at once sent to the knacker. In short, the opinion must be universal that this horse was as badly a painted horse as it was possible to have, and as unlike a real, decent horse as one could conceive. The horse is the greatest part of the picture; but on that horse there is a man, and that man is Charles I. Well, I do not think anyone wants to perpetuate his memory. Connoisseurs say that these pictures are very valuable, and that the people can be educated up to appreciating them. God forbid that we should educate the people up to such a pitch that they cannot appreciate pictures unless they have cost tens of thousands of pounds! I have no special knowledge of Art myself, except as one of the public; but we all like pictures, and we like to buy them when they are cheap; but we do not want to give enormous sums for pictures which can only give pleasure to a limited clique, to connoisseurs, and so forth, particularly when they are pictures of horses out of drawing and badly painted. I beg to move the reduction of the Vote which stands in my name.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £3,307, 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 of March 1887, for the Salaries and Expenses of the National Gallery."—(Sir George Campbell.)
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Lord RANDOLPH CHURCHILL) (Paddington, S.)
I am of opinion—and I think most of the Committee will agree with me—that neither the present occasion nor the present tribunal are suited for an Art criticism, and that this Committee is not suited to pronounce at all adequately on the merits or market value of the Old Masters. I would add to that opinion this—that of all the misleading teachers or preachers which this tribunal could possibly follow, it is obvious that the hon. Gentleman opposite (Sir George Campbell) would be the greatest, because he has admitted in his observations and by his argument that he is absolutely without knowledge of the subject with which he deals. However, what I have to say on the subject under discussion is this—that just as we 831 protested against certain issues which were raised by the Irish Members last night and the night before, attacking the conduct of the present Government for that for which we cannot be responsible, so a great deal more do we protest against the conduct of hon. Members in raising, as it were, this question of the purchase of pictures against the present Government. He talks about a waste of public money having taken place. Why did he not say that in the last Parliament? [Sir GEORGE CAMPBELL: I did say it.] But I am perfectly convinced that the hon. Member never ventured, in the presence of the late Prime Minister, to accuse him of "wicked and sinful waste of public money." I would the return of the late Prime Minister from Bavaria could have been accelerated, so that he could have listened to these accusations against him—to this charge which is brought against him, for the first time in his public career, of having been guilty of a wicked and sinful waste of public money. That is the accusation which the hon. Member is really bringing against the late Government, and I have no doubt he would be extremely glad if by his remarks he could throw odium on the present Government in a matter for which they cannot have the smallest possible responsibility. I would invite the hon. Member, on a future occasion, when he accuses persons whom he may think guilty of malversation of the public funds, to do so at the time when he thinks them guilty of it, and when they can be held responsible, and not to bring charges of this kind against persons who are absent. To impute by a side-wind charges against persons whom the hon. Member must know cannot be held in any way responsible is a proceeding utterly unworthy of the Committee.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
The noble Lord the Chancellor of the Exchequer cannot have looked at the terms of my Motion, and I am sorry now I did not read them. My object was not to censure any Government, but to move a reduction of the Vote. I am not a Party man. I am not accustomed to regard questions in this House from a Party point of view, or to regulate my remarks by considerations of who is in power. I did denounce this Vote when it first appeared as a waste of public money. It was challenged, and I voted against it. But we had not then seen 832 the pictures. It is only since we have seen them that I have thought it necessary a second time to protest against what I still consider to be a wicked and sinful waste of public money.
§ MR. MOLLOY (King's Co., Birr)
I am sorry to have to disagree with my hon. Friend (Sir George Campbell) on the present occasion; but I do most certainly disagree with him. I will not go into the whole question of the merits of the pictures which have been purchased for this large sum of money; but I think that the Government are bound to make the collection of Art treasures worthy of the country. Whether these pictures are worth £85,000, or £10,000, or a less sum, I do not know, nor do I think there are three men in the Committee who are able to decide what they are worth; and what my hon. Friend says, that the public should be called upon to decide what pictures are worth before they are purchased, should be looked upon as childish. In the first place, the public do not see the pictures before they are purchased; and, in the next place, they would not be in a position to offer advice on the question of value. I agree with the Government in what they did, and I hope they will continue to raise up the standard of the Art Collections in the country. I was unable to touch on the question of the British Museum last night; but I would appeal to the noble Lord the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who supported me on a former occasion when I dealt with that Institution, and will make an appeal to him in regard to it, indirectly on the question of the National Gallery, to the effect that greater facilities shall be given to the working classes to visit the British Museum and the National Gallery in the evening. On the former occasion I refer to a Liberal Government was in power, and a promise was made that an estimate should be obtained for the lighting of these Institutions, more especially the British Museum, by the electric light, the lighting being one of the difficulties of the question of opening in the evenings. The promise was made that if it were possible to be done it should be done, and that these Institutions should be opened to the working classes at night. As I say, I think, if I am not mistaken, when I formerly moved in the matter, the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave me his support. 833 But if that were so or not, I ask those who are responsible for this Vote to make some effort to open these Institutions at night in order to enable the masses of the working population—who are the taxpayers, and out of whose pockets a large part of the money necessary to support them comes—to visit them. I ask that these people may have the same chance and opportunity of visiting these Institutions that we have. I believe that the opening of these Institutions at night would confer a very great moral advantage upon the working classes of the country. Wherever such places have been opened at night large numbers of people have attended them; and, if not all, certainly a large proportion of the people who have thus availed themselves of the facilities given to them would, if it had not been for this night opening, have spent their time in much less respectable occupations. I do not wish to press the matter further than to ask the noble Lord if he will do what lies in him to bring about the opening of these Institutions at night for the benefit of the working classes?
§ MR. HARRIS (Galway, E.)
I do not object to the amount given for the pictures which have been referred to. I think it is desirable that if we are to have a National Gallery at all we should have one that will compare favourably with the Galleries of other countries. But I must say that I think that so long as the money for these National Collections comes out of the public revenues the pictures we have bought ought to be divided so as to give a fair share to Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. I think the word "National" is as applicable to Ireland as it is to England, and I certainly think that some of the pictures should be given to the National Gallery of that country. With reference to what has just fallen from my hon. Friend (Mr. Molloy), I do not think that the opening of the Museums or Galleries in the evenings would be of much benefit to the working classes. I think, however, that it would be a very great benefit indeed to them if these Institutions were open on Sundays. Sunday is the only day of freedom they have, and I think it is a very hard thing that such places as the National Gallery, the Zoological Gardens, and the British Museum, should be closed to the working man on 834 the very day on which he has an opportunity of visiting them. As to the picture the hon. Member (Sir George Campbell) has referred to as having cost £70,000, I must say that if the working man stands before it and looks upon the figures attentively, particularly upon that of St. John the Baptist, he will go away with the impression that he has seen something that he is likely to remember for the rest of his life.
§ SIR HERBERT MAXWELL (A LORD of the TREASURY) (Wigton)
I can assure the hon. Gentleman who so eloquently advocated the opening of Public Galleries at night that the subjeet has engaged the earnest and, I may say, the sympathetic attention not only of the present Government, but of the late Government, and the first consideration which has deterred the authorities from moving in the matter has been the enormous expense. I may tell the hon. Member that tenders for lighting the Natural History Museum at South Kensington with electric light amounted, in addition to the prime cost of £15,000, to £1,000 for one night per annum—that is to say, if the Museum were open for three nights in the week the cost would be £3,000 per annum, and if it were open for six nights the cost would be £6,000. So far the Government have not felt justified in incurring that enormous expense. The same argument applies in a less degree to the opening of Public Galleries on Sundays. [Mr. MOLLOY dissented.] The hon. Member shakes his head; but, of course, there will be an expense involved in opening the various Public Galleries on Sundays. But there are other questions which excite a great amount of interest in the public mind, inseparable from the question of the Sunday opening of Museums. Not only have the public to be considered, but the interests of attendants and public officials must, of course, be borne in mind before a determination is formed to effect the change. Although Resolutions in favour of the opening of Museums on Sundays have, I think, on more than one occasion been carried in the House of Lords, hon. Members will recollect that the last occasion on which a decision was taken in this House a Motion in favour of Sunday opening was rejected by a considerable majority. There, therefore, the matter must rest 835 until another decision is arrived out by this House.
§ MR. MOLLOY
The hon. Baronet has stated that it would cost £6,000 per annum to enable one of these Institutions to be opened to the working classes six nights per week. I hope he does not wish it to go forth that the working classes, who pay for these Institutions, are to be refused facilities for visiting them, because such a small sum of money as £6,000 per annum will be required to be spent.
§ SIR ROPER LETHBRIDGE (Kensington, N.)
As a Metropolitan Member I rise to support the appeal of the hon. Member opposite for the opening of these Institutions during week evenings. I do not go into the question of Sunday opening, for that is a much more debateable question; but I do appeal to the Government and the Committee to consider whether they do not think that an annual expenditure of £3,000 would be admirably laid out on the instruction and entertainment which would be afforded to the working classes by opening the National Museums and Galleries on at least three evenings in each week.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL (Kirkcaldy, &c.)
As most of the Radicals and economists who would have supported me are absent, I will ask leave to withdraw my Amendment. But before I do so, I wish to say that I very much support the view of the hon. Member who says that if we keep up this Gallery at all, we ought to have it lighted up at night, when people can go to see the pictures it contains. There are very few people who visit the National Gallery during the day; therefore, if we wish to render these places more popular, we should adopt the suggestion of the hon. Member.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. HOWELL (Bethnal Green, N.E.)
I wish to say a word in support of the suggestion which has been made that these Institutions should be lighted up at night. I do not ask the Government to give an answer to night; but I would ask them to consider during the Recess whether by some means or other they cannot save this sum of £3,000 or £6,000, said to be required for the purpose, out of the Navy or Military Esti- 836 mates for the sake of popularizing these public Institutions, which are already costing the nation a great deal of money? We know very well how very popular the Exhibitions which are being held have become. We wish to develop this popularity, and we desire to see these Institutions, which are of a National character, compete successfully with the drinking saloons and music halls of the Metropolis.
§ MR. HARRIS (Galway, E.)
The hon. Baronet opposite has not answered my question as to giving Ireland and Scotland a share of these valuable pictures, which are bought at the expense of the public.
§ SIR HERBERT MAXWELL (A LORD of the TREASURT) (Wigton)
I believe the Institutions in Dublin and Edinburgh are conducted under the same Regulations as those in London, with this exception—that I believe that some of the Galleries in Dublin are open on Sundays.
§ DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)
Will the hon. Gentleman give us any encouragement to hope that these Institutions will be open on Sunday? The public take a great interest in the question; and, certainly, if these Institutions are to be supported by public funds, the public, as a body, ought to be admitted to them upon the day when they are most at liberty, and are not engaged upon their ordinary employments. I think it would be most desirable indeed to open these places on the day on which the working classes have most freedom. I sincerely hope that hon. Gentlemen will pay attention to the fact that the public are longing to be able to make use of these Institutions.
§ MR. ISAACS (Newington, Walworth)
I think the observations of the hon. Member who has just sat down should not be allowed to go without remark or comment. I would remind the Committee that it is the expressed opinion of Trades Unions and Societies representing the great mass of the working class of this country that the Sunday opening of Museums should not be permitted. This opinion has been pronounced over and over again. I very much sympathize with hon. Gentlemen who have endeavoured to get a pledge from the Government that the subject of the opening of these Institutions on 837 week evenings will be considered. When we find that the cost will only be some £3,000 or £4,000 a-year, I trust that there will be perfect readiness on the part of the country to vote such a small sum for the education of the people.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ (3.) £1,161, to complete the sum for the National Portrait Gallery.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL (Kirkcaldy, &c.)
Once bit twice shy. I hope we shall have some information about the picture which it is proposed to purchase from the Blenheim Gallery. No doubt the picture is a much cheaper one than the others to which I have referred; but if we are to have a National Portrait Gallery, it seems to me that we should place in it portraits of distinguished celebrities. But who is this John Duke of Bedford, whose portrait it is intended to purchase? If the picture is one which it is really desirable to have, I shall offer no objection; but, at the same time, I should like to have some information with regard to it.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (Mr. E. STANHOPE) (Lincolnshire, Horncastle)
The picture in question is one of the finest pictures which could be obtained for the National Portrait Gallery. It is by Gainsborough.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
I take such little interest in this John. Duke of Bedford, whom I do not know, that I shall not even divide the Committee against him.
§ DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)
Will the right hon. Gentleman tell me whether this picture was really bought on account of the intrinsic merit of the picture and the value that is attached to it, or whether it was in order to relieve the impecuniosity of a certain noble Member of the other House of Parliament?
§ MR. E. STANHOPE
The picture was bought at an auction, because the Trustees of the Gallery believed that it would be of inestimable value in the National Collection.
§ MR. HARRIS (Galway, E.)
Who John Duke of Bedford was I do not know; but I certainly do know that 838 Gainsborough was a great artist, and that a work of his should find a place in a National Collection.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
By way of protest I would merely say that the answer given by the right hon. Gentleman would lead us to believe that what has been done is an abuse of the National Portrait Gallery. The object of that Gallery, as I understand it, is to perpetuate the memory of great men; but it appears that the picture in question is the portrait of a man of whom we have heard nothing that is good, and of whom the right hon. Gentleman opposite is plainly unable to tell us any good. John Duke of Bedford was not a great man; and, therefore, I do not see what we want with his portrait in the National Portrait Gallery.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (4.) £184,263, to complete the sum for Public Education, Scotland.
§ MR. CALDWELL (Glasgow, St. Rollox)
I am very sorry to take up the time of the Committee when they are anxious to get through with the Votes; but I think I can say that no one can justly accuse the Scotch Members of obstructing the Business of the House. Education is one of the most important questions in Scotland. It was not found necessary to debate at length matters connected with public education in England, because you have a Royal Commission sitting to inquire into the subject. So far, however, as Scotland is concerned there is no Commission sitting, and the only way in which we can ventilate the grievances of Scotland in the matter of education is by initiating discussions upon Votes referring to education. There is another reason why I bring the matter of education forward on the present occasion, and it is this—that as there is a change of Government, and as there is a new official at the head of the Education Department, it is very important that we should put matters thoroughly before him. Now, in Scotland there exists a very great amount of dissatisfaction on the part of parents and teachers, and also on the part of school boards and ratepayers. This dissatisfaction has not yet assumed the position of a formulated grievance owing to two causes; first, that the subject is of so technical a character—it is surrounded with Codes, Standards, Time 839 Tables, and Inspectors; and, secondly, because the Education Department have given such illustrations of the working of the Education Act in Scotland as to keep down any appearance that the work is not being satisfactorily conducted. The object of the Education Act of 1872 was the sending of children to school who would not otherwise be at school. So far as the old Scotch education system was concerned, there was no difference of opinion in this House with regard to the value and superiority of Scotch education under the old system; the main object of the reform was rather to compel children to go to school who would not otherwise be at school, and to make local provision for the supply of school accommodation wherever school accommodation did not exist. The principal object of the Act, therefore, was the compulsory attendance of children at school. Now, so far as regards the working of the Scotch Education Act, it is just the Compulsory Clauses which have been least attended to. We have got statistics regarding the working of the Scotch Education Act so far as regards the intelligence departments; but so far as regards the compulsory department we have no very clear or definite information. The duty imposed on every school board in Scotland was to see that every child was attending school, therefore it became the duty of the school board to ascertain what schools existed in their parish, and what children were attending schools. Now, we search in vain through the Scotch Education Reports to find what number of schools exist in Scotland, and what number of children attend these schools. I mean not State-aided schools alone, but all the schools taken together. The statistics furnished refer only to State-aided schools. Now, I will show the Committee what fallacious impressions are produced by the limited statistics which the Scotch Education Department have published. They tell us, for instance, going back to 1872, that there was an average attendance in the public schools of Scotland of 213,549; and then they tell us that there are now, 1885, in attendance in the same schools 455,665. The impression thus conveyed to the minds of the public is, that the number of children receiving education in Scotland has doubled since 1872. That statement is utterly misleading, because it so happens 840 that the statistics which are given here relate simply to State-aided schools, and the fact is not made patent to the public that the State-aided schools in 1872 only gave accommodation and instruction to one-half of the whole of the children of Scotland. "While there was an average attendance in the State-aided schools of Scotland in 1872 of only about 213,549 children, we find by the Second Annual Report of the Board of Education of Scotland that in 1872 there were 461,086 children on the rolls of the schools in 753 parishes and burghs—a part only of Scotland. It is, therefore, important to observe that the impression conveyed by the Scotch Education Department's Report, that the number of children receiving instruction in Scotland has more than doubled since 1872, is utterly erroneous. Then we search in vain the Education Reports to ascertain what the actual increase has been; but, very fortunately, we are not without some other means of information on this point. We refer to the Census Returns of Scotland; and it so happens that the Census Returns of Scotland give us what the Census Returns of England do not, the number of children receiving education in Scotland at the time the Census was taken. We therefore find that in 1871 the number of children in Scotland between five and 15 years of age receiving instruction was 541,995, or 69.77 of the population between these ages; and when we come to 1881, we find the number to be 675,314, or 78.98 of the population, an increase of 9.21 per cent, so that while the public are under the belief that the effect of the operation of the Education Act in Scotland has been to more than double the number of children receiving education in Scotland, in point of fact the amount of the increase does not represent more than 9.21 per cent. But then this 9.21 per cent is not due to the working of the Compulsory Clauses of the Education Act, and for this reason. Prior to the Education Act of 1872 the average school curriculum in Scotland would be about five years. The parent in Scotland considered his children received a fair amount of education if they attended school for about five years. Under the Education Act a system has been introduced whereby you prevent clever children from getting on, and you endeavour to 841 keep the children to one rate of progress, requiring them all to pass together at the end of the year. You thereby have lengthened your curriculum to six years, and by lengthening your curriculum you naturally produce a larger amount of school attendance than formerly. So we have no evidence whatever, from perusing the Scotch Education Department's Reports, that the Compulsory Clauses of the Act have been enforced, as we are told they have. The object, therefore, which I have in view, in the first place, is to point out to the Scotch Education Department, and to the Head of that Department, that the statistics given us are no criterion whatever of the progress of education in Scotland; that, in point of fact, we have no evidence of the working of the Compulsory Clauses in Scotland; and that we ought to have some more clear and decisive evidence that these clauses are being worked out. We ought to have Inspectors to see that school boards are carrying out the Compulsory Clauses, and not to leave the matter entirely at the mercy of school boards, because we find, from the Reports of the Inspectors, complaints over and over again of school boards in all parts of Scotland neglecting this duty. Well, we have complaints of neglect of duty; but we have nobody to supervise the school boards to see whether they carry out the compulsory provisions of the Act; and I maintain that, as the compulsory powers were the main objects of the Education Act, we ought to see that they are really carried out, and that, no matter what expense may be incurred, we ought to appoint proper Inspectors to investigate the matter in the case of each school board, to test the working of every school board, and the result should be formulated and tabulated for all Scotland every year along with the other educational statistics. Now, as far as regards the City of Glasgow, I dare say that many English Members will say that Glasgow has been quoted as an example of how education is being carried on in Scotland. It so happens that Glasgow has received visits from the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Mundella), who was Vice President of the Council in the last Liberal Administration but one, and that that right hon. Gentleman gave a very glowing description of the great educational work 842 which was going on in Glasgow. Now, the fact is that the statistics upon which the right hon. Gentleman's glowing statement was founded were utterly fallacious. So far as regards the City of Glasgow, you will be astonished to find that there are 91,000 children between the ages of five and 13 in Glasgow, and there are only 51,000 children in daily attendance at school; leaving 40,000 daily absent. No one who had listened to or read the glowing description of the work of education which was going on in Glasgow, given by the right hon. Gentleman the former Vice President of the Council (Mr. Mundella), would imagine that such a statement as mine was possible. Now, it is but right that I should point out the fallacies upon which the late Vice President's statistics are founded. In the first place, the Glasgow School Board make up statistics for the year. Now, we all know how statistics for the year should be made up in a school board. We take the average attendance for the year; I suppose no one would ever think of statistics being made up on any other principle than that. But no; the Glasgow School Board do not make up statistics on these lines. They take the month of October, when the school attendance is highest—the best month in the year. They take a certain day in that month, the 7th day of October; they have their officers bringing out every child to school on that day. Every child who is able to come to school at all, although he may be absent every other day in the year, has certainly to be present on that day, and the statistics of that day are quoted as the statistics for the year. The late Vice President of the Council (Mr. Mundella) took these statistics, and used them as if they were the real statistics for the year. What is the result? The result is that the statistics are 11.2 per cent higher than they ought to be—than they should be if they related to the year. Then there is another fallacy in the statistics, and it is this—that outside Glasgow there are many children in reformatories; but the Glasgow School Board include the attendance of these children in schools outside the boundaries of Glasgow as if they were attending schools in the City of Glasgow. In this way 1,746 children are added to the numbers supposed to be attending the schools in the City of Glasgow. 843 Then we have to take into consideration this third point—the number attending school includes those under five years of age and those above 13 years. There ought to be deducted 2 per cent for children under five years of age, and 8.1 per cent for children above 13 years of age. And there is a fourth deduction which has to be made, and that is of the excess of children coming in from the surrounding districts to school in Glasgow over Glasgow children attending schools outside the municipal boundary an excess of upwards of 2,000 children. The result is that when you make these deductions you find, as I have stated, that out of 91,000 children between five and 13 years of age in the City of Glasgow 40,000 are daily absent from school. Now, let us see what proportion that bears as regards the whole of Scotland. That is 56 per cent only of the children between five and 13 years of age who attend school in Glasgow, as against 66 per cent in all Scotland; and yet you find the Glasgow School Board held up as a model, as having, as the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Mundella) speaking in Glasgow said, the best attendance in all Scotland—namely, 85 per cent. Then another point complained of is that members of the Scotch Education Department should come down and give erroneous impressions regarding the work of education in Scotland even in other matters. For instance, we are told about the superiority of the Glasgow School Board education. It would not be a matter to be surprised at if the education given by the Glasgow School Board were better than that supplied by the whole of Scotland, because if the Glasgow School Board neglect their compulsory powers, and allow the lower class of children to run about wild, and if they have so high a percentage as we are told they have—namely, 85 per cent—that shows that their schools are attended by the better class children, or by the children whose parents take an interest in their education. We certainly would not find that the educational results of the Glasgow School Board are superior to those in the whole of Scotland if all classes of children were included in their schools. We find that in Glasgow there are 20,000 children of the lower class who are not in the school board schools at all, but are 844 in the free and charitable schools, in the Roman Catholic schools, and in the reformatories and industrial schools. We likewise find that the Glasgow board schools are the best-equipped, schools in Scotland. They have the highest-paid teachers, and they have a teacher for every Standard. Now, in the whole of Scotland we find that one-third of the schools have an average attendance of under 60 children, and, therefore, only require to have one teacher. There is, therefore, no comparison to be drawn between the schools with only one teacher and the schools with one teacher to every Standard. Even granting all these advantages to Glasgow, Glasgow is behind all Scotland. Now, that is most remarkable. If we take Standards IV., V., VI. and Ex. VI., it is found that in every one the percentage of children presented is less in Glasgow than it is in all Scotland. Standard IV. in Glasgow has a percentage of 17.2, against 18 for all Scotland; Standard V. for Glasgow 12.5, all Scotland 14; Standard VI. for Glasgow 5.0, all Scotland 6.1; and Ex. VI. for Glasgow 1.6, all Scotland 2.4; a total of 36.3 for Glasgow, and 40.5 for Scotland. So that whilst Glasgow was held up as a model for all Scotland, and as a model for England, in point of fact it was inferior to Scotland; and what we complain of is that members of the Scotch Education Department, who know nothing about the matter, should come down to Glasgow, walk through the schools for a day, and then say they have seen the great educational work going on in Glasgow, as if anyone could see it simply by walking through the schools. Again, it so happens that the grant for standard work in Glasgow is actually less than for all Scotland. Glasgow has the advantage of Scotland in the matter of specific subjects, and it is there where the difference arises whereby Glasgow actually, in the grand result, gets to the top. But what are these specific subjects? In the Glasgow schools, where there is a teacher for every Standard, you have plenty of opportunity for specific subjects. But it is only in the elementary specific subjects that Glasgow takes up her money. Dr. Wilson, one of the Inspectors of the Southern Division of Scotland, in the Report for 1884, says—The first stage of mathematics, or of physical geography, or animal physiology, for in- 845 stance, can be easily got up in a fortnight by a boy of not more than average ability.It is simple specific subjects like these in which Glasgow gets a large grant. Gasgow's attendance is one-tenth of all Scotland, and we should expect Glasgow to have one-tenth of the presentation of Scotland in the higher specific subjects. But we find, in the third stages of Latin, Glasgow stands as 35 to Scotland 738; Greek, Glasgow 4 to 33 for Scotland; mathematics, Glasgow 5 to 152 for Scotland. I am quite well aware that some one will challenge my statistics, and say—"But you do not include the High School of Glasgow, which is under the School Board." My explanation is this—that one-half of the children attending the High School of Glasgow do not belong to Glasgow at all. My next reason is that the High School of Glasgow is a secondary school, not in receipt of Government grant, and compares with the secondary schools of Scotland, being attended by a class of children who do not attend the public State-aided schools at all. Now, there is no doubt whatever that there is a very great amount of educational work going on in Glasgow. The ratepayers are perfectly well aware of this, if only on account of the enormous rates which they have to pay. But what is that educational work? It has not been undertaken with a view of bringing out the children for whose benefit the Education Act was passed. One great object of the Board has been to supplant private schools, with the view of giving school board education to those children who belong to the middle and upper classes of Glasgow. For instance, we find that since 1873 there has been a reduction of no less than 5,000 children in the number which were attending the higher-class schools in Glasgow paying over 9d. per week, and that at the present time there are only 1,255 children in attendance at private schools paying over 9d. per week. It would be interesting to ascertain how it is that the Glasgow School Board have managed to attract the middle and upper classes. They have done it upon the principle of grading their schools socially. If you take a certain locality you will find three different classes of schools within a stone's throw of each other. You have one school where the children pay a small fee, another school where a higher 846 fee is paid, and a third school where a still higher fee is paid, all for the same standard of education. The result is that the upper classes are able to send their children to a comparatively select school which receives the benefit of the local and Imperial grants. Now, this is entirely contrary to the spirit of the Education Act. According to that Act, a parent who, on the score of poverty, has the school fees paid for him by the Parochial Board, is placed on an equal footing with the parent of plenty of means, and can select any State-aided school he pleases. His poverty is no bar to his choice of school—the intention of the Act of Parliament being that there should be no social distinctions introduced into the schools, and that the poor man's child should have equal education, and side by side, with the rich man's child. And, indeed, under the old parochial system of Scotland the son of the landed proprietor or of the Peer attending the same parish school received education on the same form as the peasant's son. Now, the Glasgow School Board are introducing social distinctions in their schools, with the view of encouraging the middle and upper classes to reap the advantage of the school board education; and they are doing that by saddling the ratepayers, both local and Imperial, with a great deal of the cost. Then there is another thing which tends to entice children of the upper and middle classes into the Glasgow board schools. There are £700,000 left as charitable endowments for the benefit of the poor in the City of Glasgow. These endowments have been taken possession of under the Education Act, and a great part of them have been allocated to board schools without any restriction whatever as to the ability of the parents to provide education for their children. Part of the endowments, I admit, is devoted to the assistance of those who are in circumstances requiring aid; but the greater part of the endowments is not so allocated, and the result is that monies left entirely for the benefit of the poor are dispensed for the benefit of those members of the wealthy classes who are attracted to the board schools, and who compete with the poor children (who are not in a position to receive assistance in their home lessons), thus succeeding in carrying off the bursaries and other prizes. These educational en- 847 dowments have been put into the board schools on the footing that board schools are representative of a certain class of people—the working class; but in Glasgow they have got the upper classes into the schools, and these classes are reaping the benefits intended for the poorer children. Now, look at the position of the working man in Glasgow, and compare him with the man of the middle or upper classes. Before the Education Act came into operation the fee for working men's children in all Scotland was, I think, about 10s. per head on the average attendance; but the average fee in the Glasgow board schools just now is 16s. 5d. The working man, therefore, notwithstanding the enormous sums paid by the ratepayers and by the Government, has to pay 16s. 5d. instead of 10s. for the education of a child. Then there is the cost of books, as well as his share of the education tax to be borne by the working man, who has to keep his child at school till he has passed Standard V. We find in the case of the middle class that nearly three-fourths of the education is paid out of the local rates and Government grant, and that they get their share of educational endowments, bursaries, &c.; whilst, as we have seen, the working man in Glasgow has now to pay 16s. 5d. in school fees, where in 1873 he paid only 10s. It is the middle and upper classes, and not the working classes, who thus truly reap the pecuniary benefit of assisted education in the board schools. Now, I ask, how long do you expect that such a state of affairs will go on in Glasgow if once the people wake up to the true state of the matter? I would also point out that the working of the Education Act by the Department has been entirely at variance with the Act of Parliament. The intention of the Act of 1872 was that school board education should be supplementary, and entirely supplementary, to the then existing system. So far as the Scotch Act is concerned there is no question about that. As regards the powers of the Department in the matter of school accommodation, there might be a question in the English Act; but so far as regards the Scotch Act it states distinctly that no school board, either now or at a future time, shall erect a school without the consent of the Department. I may mention that one 848 point which the late Vice President of the Council stood upon was that the Preamble of the Act said that education was to be provided for all classes of the people of Scotland. There is no question whatever that the meaning of the Act is that the school board is to see that every child, rich or poor, is educated. The Preamble simply says you are to see that every child is educated; but the Department interpreted that as meaning that school board education was to be provided for every child. That, as I have said, was not the meaning of the Act; it simply meant that every child was to be educated, and the Act itself afterwards described how. It provided that all the schools, public and private, were to be taken into consideration, and that you are to find out whether there is any deficiency of accommodation, and, if so, that the school board shall supply that deficiency. It was absolutely necessary that if children were to go to school there should be a room in which to receive them, and this must be provided by the ratepayers. As I have shown, the real meaning of the Act was that the school board should supply the deficiency; but before any action could take place the Act provided that the consent of the Department must be obtained. I find that the school accommodation in Scotland amounts to 683,360 places. Well, the average attendance is only 471,175, showing that there is a surplus accommodation of over 212,185 places. Now, perhaps the Scotch Education Department may tell us that there is an increase going on in the population, and that it is necessary to keep up with it. But I wish to point out that the accommodation is increasing in greater ratio than the attendance, and the surplus is increasing year by year; and I may say that in the counties of Inverness and Sutherland, and in the Highland parishes generally, the accommodation is double what the actual attendance is. You are saddling the ratepayers there with heavy taxation, and then you have to come to Parliament for extra grants. What is the reading which the Scotch Education Department take of their duty as regards school accommodation? They take the number of the children between five and 13 years of age, and provide accommodation for these. Can there be anything more absurd? In Scotland if once a child passes 849 Standard V. it is entirely free of the school board, and all that the board can insist on is accommodation for the time during which the child may reasonably be in school, and for the time the school board could equip him and send him out of school. You will find the same sort of fallacy here as you have fallen into before—namely, that having compulsory powers with regard to children between the ages of five and 13 years, you assume that every child between those ages must be in school. One of the fallacies of the Scotch Education Department is that they imagine that the number of children on the roll is evidence of great educational work, whereas that may be evidence of neglect of work—of the school board keeping children longer at school than they ought to do. What has been the result as regard the different schools in Scotland? We find that whilst in 1872 half the schools were State-aided, in 1885 we find that five-sevenths of the whole number of schools in Scotland are under school board management, and one-seventh under other management, as State-aided schools. There is only one-seventh of the whole population of Scotland who belong to the upper class who do not send their children to these schools; so that, practically, six-sevenths of the whole education of Scotland is under the thumb of the Education Department. Well, Sir, what is the result of all this? You simply deprive Scotland of one of the most important advantages—that is to say, the advantage of private competition. We are told that in Glasgow only 7 per cent of those on the roll are under six years of age, while the percentage of children in Scotland under six years of age is 9; and when you come to England you will find that the proportion is larger. It is said in Glasgow that Scotch parents have a prejudice against sending their children early to school; but that is no answer—for this reason, because we find in 1874 that, under the old Code, 15.64 per cent of the children on the roll were under six years of age. And then there are the Roman Catholic schools in Glasgow; they have probably the worst part of the population to deal with, and yet we find that the Roman Catholic schools in Glasgow have 14.7 per cent on the roll under six years of age, or double the percentage that there is on the books of the Glasgow School Board. 850 The answer will be—"Oh, but then the Roman Catholics take an interest in the children, and in the working up of their schools." Exactly so; but then that is the best evidence we can have that private schools ought to be encouraged, because they introduce some additional and special interest in the children on the part of the school management. Again, it will be said, perhaps, that, having established public schools in Scotland, we shall be burdening the rates by allowing the establishment of private schools. Now, that is a very great fallacy. It has been found, where private schools have been started and the work of the board schools rendered less, that the managers have been able proportionately to reduce the staff in the board schools, so that, with reduced numbers, they have been conducted at less expense than before the private schools were established. As a matter of fact, the private schools are the cause of a saving of the rates, and this is noticeable particularly in the case of Lancashire, where the average school attendance is 10,000 above the attendance in all Scotland; and where, in Lancashire, owing to the greater prevalence of private schools, the amount paid by the rating authorities is only £127,366, as against £443,684 for all Scotland. Take the case of Glasgow, where there are 14,000 children in the Roman Catholic schools, the existence of these schools saves £10,000 per annum to the ratepayers of Glasgow; because if you shut up the Roman Catholic schools you would have to saddle the rates with the amount. Now, let us look at the educational results, having spoken about the expense of the system. I would not attempt a comparison between the present system and the old system of Scotland, or say which is best; but I think I am entitled to say that I will point out the defect of your school board system, without reference to the question of the balance between the two systems. I want to point out defects which you ought to be able to remedy. Now, the school board system is based on a fallacious principle. It aims at uniformity—it expects equal results from all children of the same age, no matter what difference there may be in the feeding, clothing, or housing of the children. You have to make your school standard so low as not to bear harshly 851 on children of feeble ability. What is the result of that? We have in Glasgow those children who attend school one day and work the next day, and yet in these half-time schools the passes average 96 per cent. Take Lancashire, again, and you will find with regard to the half-time schools a similar result. Why is this? Because, although only attending school every second day, you have discipline in the case of these boys; they are systematically at work. And it is systematic work which produces this result. What is the result under the full-time school-attendance system? We know that the thing which can be done at any time is never done at all; and the clever boy, who finds the lessons easy, is taught simply habits of laziness, because he has to wait for the other boys, so that they may all pass the Standard at the same time. In this way you destroy those habits of progress which ought to be instilled into every boy; and that is what is being done in Scotland. There is another disadvantage of the school board system, which is that the child must attend 250 times at one school before he can be presented to the Inspector for examination to earn his grant and pass his Standard. Take the case of Glasgow, where a great many schools are inspected between December and March. We find that if a parent removes to another part of the city, the child, although attending school constantly, will be kept back at the new school one year in his education, because he has not attended 250 times in that school prior to the examination. This is because the teacher will not get any grant for passing him at once, and so he keeps the child till the next year. At the same time, you compel the parents to pay school fees for the time the child is kept back. In Scotland, where there are so many removals, this is a serious grievance. Then another most important matter is that, so far as Scotland is concerned, you have changed altogether the motive of the teaching. In Scotland, no doubt, under the old parochial system, the salaries were very small, and the teachers, on the average, had only £50 a-year, with free house. But the teacher then had a position in the parish, and teaching was a profession; but now you have lowered it to a matter of pounds, shillings, and pence, and the result is that a teacher does not now look so much 852 to the advantage of the children under his care, his only thought being as to how much money he is to have for the work he does—he looks forward to the pecuniary result only. If he passes a child he gets the grant, but otherwise he gets nothing; and so he neglects the clever children who are sure to pass, in order to concentrate his attention on those who will have a difficulty in passing. So far as Scotland is concerned the board schools are lowering education. In Scotland we had formerly secondary education as an essential part of elementary school teaching. In Scotland, no matter where you resided—supposing you resided in the most out-of-the-way parish—you found a school with a teacher competent to prepare children for the Universities; and the result was that the Highlands of Scotland were equal to any other part of the country in the matter of education, and you found that pupils were turned out capable of entering the Scotch Universities, and of eventually occupying distinguished positions in the world. But what is the state of things now? In the board schools in Scotland, in 1880, there were 596 pupils in the third stage of Latin; in 1884 the number was reduced to 532, a reduction of 11 per cent; there was also a reduction, in the third stage, of 50 per cent in mechanics; 26 per cent in animal physiology; 9 per cent in domestic economy; and 7 per cent in magnetism and electricity. All this reduction has been going on, while in the last four years the attendance in the board schools has increased by 44,000. So that the higher education will be found to be going down year by year. It would be a gross mistake to imagine that in a country like Scotland, where the population is so much scattered, that you can meet the wants of the people by secondary schools. In secondary schools you lack the enthusiasm of the teacher in the early training of his pupils, whereby he is led to single out the clever children, and to inspire in them the desire for secondary education, at the same time directing their elementary training towards that goal. In England the school fees average 9s. 4d., as against 16s. 5d. in Glasgow and 13s. for all Scotland; and we find school attendance, and the attendance of the younger or infant children, increase as the school fees get 853 less—the attendance being highest in England, second highest in all Scotland, and lowest in Glasgow. To sum up, the great evil of the school board system is that in Scotland you do not develop the faculties of the child, and do not give him an opportunity of continuous progress. You fix a standard, and send all the children into that standard at once, and keep them moving together, instead of adopting the old parochial system of allowing the child to progress according to his individual ability. I think I have given sufficient reasons to satisfy this Committee that as in England you have a Commission sitting to inquire into the working of the English Education Act, so we ought to have a similar Commission appointed for Scotland. I think it will be seen that the Scotch educational system has been worked from England, and that, therefore, of course, the same evil results as you have in England have taken place in Scotland. The only difference is that, unlike Scotland, in England you had no educational system to spoil. I think this is an opportune moment for bringing these matters before the Scotch Education Department. I ask the Committee to understand that I have put forward this question in no hostile spirit, but simply with the view of urging upon the Government the necessity of seriously considering whether the time has not arrived for causing a thorough investigation to be made into the working of the Scotch Education Act.
§ MR. E. ROBERTSON (Dundee)
I would not trouble the Committee with any observations only that we are about to begin a long Vacation, and the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Scotland (Mr. A. J. Balfour) will have during that time ample opportunity of considering any suggestions that may now be made; and if there are any suggestion that he approves of, and upon which he can take action, we shall have saved a whole Session by bringing them forward. I have not had the advantage of hearing my hon. Friend who preceded me, except in his concluding remarks; but if I understood my hon. Friend rightly, he attacked a good many features of the present school system in Scotland on various grounds, and charged the responsibility for the whole upon the fact that for many years past Scottish education has been dominated, not by native, 854 but by English ideas. On that point I agree with my hon. Friend; and I wish to carry forward the argument, and call the attention of the Secretary for Scotland to one or two points which I think are well worthy of his consideration. First of all, I wish to say a word or two about the Training Colleges. These Training Colleges cost the Government £27,000 a-year. What they cost the owners I have no means of knowing; but they cost the State and Imperial system £27,000 a-year. Now, my first objection—and here I cannot expect to have any expression of sympathy from the right hon. Gentleman—is that they are denominational and sectarian. I have listened during the last week to praises of sectarianism in education from hon. Members below the Gangway on both sides of the House. This is about the only point now on which the Tories and the Parnellites are in agreement. I, therefore, cannot expect any sympathy for my views from either of these sections of the House; but I assure the right hon. Gentleman that, so far as I have been able to judge, the public opinion of Scotland on this question is with those who object to the denominational system, though, now that I remember them, I think my hon. Friend's remarks rather tended to support it. But, apart from the objection to sectarianism, the sectarianism of the Training Colleges has this extra absurdity—that the Colleges are meant to supply with teachers a system that is becoming more and more undenominational every day. The sectarian schools in Scotland are dying out. The native religious denominations—the Presbyterian denominations—are gradually giving up their hold upon the schools. There are, in fact, comparatively few Established Church and Free Church schools left. The only sectarian schools which are growing in numbers are the Episcopalian and Roman Catholic schools; and in Presbyterian Scotland, of course, these denominations do not count. It is an additional absurdity that you should attempt to man an unsectarian system with teachers in sectarian seminaries; and—to recur to what I started with—this denominationalism in the training of schoolmasters is one of the evil results which we owe to our educational system having been changed to the backward and Conservative and prejudiced public 855 school system of England. My next objection to the training seminaries is that they are not doing their work well. The work they are doing is work which ought to be done by the Universities, which the Universities would do very much better, and which they are anxious to do. Aberdeen and St. Andrew's, which are so situated that they command peculiar advantage for the training of schoolmasters, are particularly anxious to take in hand this great public work, and we interfere with their laudable ambition on account of being bound to take this sectarian training school system that I have spoken of. I have to express my disappointment that this very important subject of the extent to which the training of public schoolmasters can be undertaken by the Universities has been dealt with in a most meagre, imperfect, and iadequate manner in the last Report of the Council of Education in Scotland. All you have in that Report is a bare allusion of the most grudging character, which promises the usual official consideration to the question, and, smiling, puts it by. In the body of the Report you have from the Chief Inspector of Training Schools, Dr. Wilson, an allusion to the subject which illustrates the backward spirit which prevails in regard to this question in official quarters. Dr. Wilson advocates, not that schoolmasters should be trained as members of other learned Professions in Scotland are trained at the Universities, but that a select few of them should attend a few classes; and let the Committee mark the reasons. He said—If you send a few of these schoolmaster students to the Universities they will have the great advantage of mixing with the students following the learned Professions who are going to follow a far different career from their own.That is where the difference comes in. The career of students who attend the Scottish Universities are very much the same, in many instances, as those of the students who attend the Training Colleges. Do you suppose that the village doctor, the parish minister, the Dissenting minister, in the very neighbourhood, or in the intimacy of whom your schoolmaster is going to pass his life, are the beings of a superior social order to whom Dr. Wilson alludes in his Report? I think Dr. Wilson has got 856 hold of the wrong end of the argument. I think that, instead of selecting a few students, and sending them to the Universities to see how these superior beings conduct themselves, the whole body of these schoolmasters should be turned over to, and the training of them undertaken by, those who have charge of the education of the higher Professions in Scotland. The only argument I have ever heard advanced against the transference of the Training College students to the Universities is that the Universities have no practising schools. Well, it is a very curious thing that those who make this objection never seem to recognize that practising schools are not a necessity of the training for the higher schools in England and Scotland. You never hear of a practising school for the training of schoolmasters who are going to Eton or Harrow. You trust the students to pick up the faculty of teaching partly from being successful students, and partly from the advice and guidance of the masters under whom they are trained; and, for my own part, I have always thought that you may rely very much on the same thing in regard to the elementary schoolmaster. But even if that were net so, you may, I believe, command in all the University towns, not, perhaps, a special practising school such as you have in Edinburgh, but the ordinary public State - supported schools of the town, and you can make them practising schools. At all events, you have in two, if not three, of the Universities special Chairs of Education, the incumbents of which are, I believe, well qualified, and only too anxious, to take in charge this great public matter of the training of the public schoolmasters of Scotland. Let me, in leaving this subject, point to one hallucination which still seems to hang about the Education Office, which had charge of English and Scottish education. The old idea of the Committee of Council on Education was that there was so little in the Profession of a National schoolmaster to tempt the young men to undertake it that they had to be bribed to undertake it; and, moreover, that they had to be mutilated for it in order to be incapable of following other Professions. If that were true it certainly is no longer so. The Profession of the National schoolmaster is certainly self-supporting. Salaries are increasing every day; the posi- 857 tion is becoming better every day; and I think it is time we should allow this Profession to look after itself, and allow those who wish training for it to take their chance with men who are training for other Professions. I believe that Free Trade in the training of your National teachers will give you at least as good and, I verily believe, better men than you can possibly have now. Well, Sir, what I have said about Training Colleges is only one part of a much larger subject which I am certain, whoever happens to be Secretary for Scotland, will very soon have to direct his attention to. What we want in Scotland is more decentralization in educational affairs. We want Home Rule in Scottish education. There has been growing of late years a feeling to which my hon. Friend has given partial expression to-night—a feeling of dissatisfaction with the red-tape system under which Scottish education has laboured for so many years. My hon. Friend gives us a remarkable instance, from which I do not know that he drew the same inference that I draw; but he told us that the half-timers in Glasgow pass better examinations than the full-timers in Glasgow or anywhere else. I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman wanted to draw the inference that we ought to resort to half-time universally; but the conclusion I came to is that the routine examination of percentages by Inspectors and Examiners is a mistake, and is no real test whatever of the value of the education which is being conferred on the children of Scotch parents. We have deposits in Scotland from that which was an excellent model for educational management. For centuries Scottish education was managed by a local area—the area of Presbytery. That, in itself, at one time was an excellent system. In course of time it became a sectarian system; but you passed away from the government of the Presbytery—the government of the clergy—which was a mild and a gentle, and, I believe, an effective rule, and you have handed over your system to West End clerks in London, who never in their lives knew anything about it. Now, you have got to reverse your system. You are not, of course, going back to the Presbytery. Denominationalism is past praying for in Scotland; but you can go back to the local area, on which our old Scotch sys- 858 tem was based, and if we have that we can have an effective Board in Edinburgh to which we can hand over the control of any funds granted by the State for the purpose of education, instead of to clerks at Dover House, and this Board would manage them better. There is just one other matter of detail to which I would like to draw the attention of the Committee. I think it is high time the right hon. Gentleman revised, in the way I have endeavoured to indicate, the Inspectorship system at present prevailing in Scotland. I daresay a good many Members of the Committee have seen the evidence that Mr. Arnold gave before the Commission now inquiring into National Education in England. He was asked as to the Inspectors appointed in England—I am only quoting from memory, but this was the substance of the question put to him—whether the men appointed as Inspectors were appointed on account of any supposed qualification for the office? The reply was to the effect that that was the last thing that was thought of, and that the Inspectors were appointed, not because they had any special fitness, or because they knew anything about the work, but because they were young University men with good testimonials, or, what was the same thing, with considerable influence. You will have to drop all that sort of thing in Scotland when once you hand over the management of school affairs to the people. You may depend upon it that they will be as much alive to it as the Committee of Council on Education in England; in fact, I do not know that the latter have ever adopted a single reform that has not been forced upon them. Once you hand over the management of the public school system to the people themselves in their local areas, whether counties or towns, rely upon it that you will see that the standard of public education is kept up, and it may also be relied on that the people will not select, as judges of the efficiency of that system, young gentlemen from Oxford or Cambridge, who have probably never entered an elementary school in their lives, and would probably manage nothing worse than one of these schools if they were set to manage it. The people will utilize the Inspectorships as fair prizes for the men who have worked under the system, and will set men to test the system who have 859 had experience of its working. I sympathize with the spirit which prompts these suggestions—which are not mine, but are universally made outside. I would suggest that, instead of having a few assistant Scotch Inspectors to help the supervising Inspectors appointed from the English Universities, we should take the bull by the horns, and whilst keeping the present Inspectors in office—you could not well do otherwise with them—take care, in all new appointments, to select men who know the system they are to deal with. I think that is all I have to say to the Committee on this very important subject. I will only conclude by saying that I am perfectly certain that no person has held the Office that the right hon. Gentleman holds now, and I believe that no person will hold it, who is better qualified than he is to deal with educational matters in Scotland. I am sure he will receive the suggestions made to him in the spirit in which they are offered. He has not, of course, the advantage of representing a Scotch constituency; but I believe he has the advantage of being a Scotchman. I trust the right hon. Gentleman will take into consideration, as a whole, this matter of public education in Scotland, and more particularly that he will take it in hand in connection with that other question he is bound also to take up—namely, the question of University reform in Scotland. [Mr. A. J. BALFOUR: Hear, hear!] I am glad to hear the right hon. Gentleman cheer that remark, because my firm conviction is that there is no use attempting reform in Scottish Universities unless it is made part and parcel of a general educational reform which will take in hand the whole National school system in Scotland, and, more particularly, with that portion which deals with the training of schoolmasters for the service of the State.
§ THE SECRETARY FOR SCOTLAND (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR) (Manchester, E.)
I have no right to complain of the length of the speeches which have been delivered if I consider the importance of the subject with which they deal; but I think the Committee will agree with me that it is not a consideration of that kind alone that we must consult now, and you will therefore forgive me if, in replying to the two able and exhaustive speeches we had heard, I condense my 860 remarks into the briefest possible limits. The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down looks forward to a possible decentralization which shall substitute for the existing Body at Dover House a Board of Education in Scotland. I confess I find it rather difficult, in my capacity as Scottish Secretary, to meet all the wishes in regard to Scottish Government that I come across, when I recollect that when we were discussing other Estimates only a few days ago the complaint against the Office of Scottish Secretary was that I had not sufficient control over the Boards in Edinburgh in the conduct of other Scottish affairs. Yet, as I understand the hon. Gentleman, he desires to institute in Edinburgh a Board precisely as independent of the Scottish Secretary in regard to education as at the present moment are the Board of Supervision and the Fishery Board; so that, in that respect, he will be found to differ from some of his Liberal Friends who sit near him. The hon. Gentleman who initiated this debate made a general attack upon the whole system of school boards in Scotland, and he told us that they entirely failed in that which was their primary object of compelling a larger attendance of the children of the poor in the elementary schools. In order to support that contention he produced a large body of statistics, which I confess I am unable to look upon as other than inconsistent with the results which might be broadly arrived at from a consideration of the present system. As to this question of attendance, the hon. Gentleman says we did not give statistics enough; but I will give him one piece of statistics that ought to convince him. According to the information of the Educational Commission of 1865, I find that the number of attendances in inspected schools at that time was 105,000. The hon. Gentleman said it would not be fair to take inspected schools alone, and wanted to take uninspected schools as well, so as to make the comparison fair. I add to that figure 122,000 for non - inspected schools and 29,000 attending private adventure schools, giving a total of 256,000. The attendance now in inspected schools is not 256,000, but over 455,000. Now, whatever deductions you may be able to make from that, surely the broad result remains that the effect of the Act of 1872, and the subsequent modifications which have 861 been introduced into it, have been enormously to increase the attendance of children at inspected schools in Scotland. The hon. Gentleman in general attacked the school board system, and especially that embodiment of the system which exists in Glasgow; and part of his able speech was devoted to an attack on the Glasgow School Board and upon one of my Predecessors (Mr. Mundella), who appears in this House to have committed himself to some eulogy of the Glasgow School Board which greatly raised the wrath of the hon. Gentleman. I am not responsible for the statement of the right hon. Member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella); but I am bound to say that all I have heard of the Glasgow School Board induces me to believe that it is a Body which exercises its functions with great ability, zeal, and discretion. When the hon. Gentleman tells us that the Glasgow School Board so manage their affairs that the poor have their interests sacrificed to the benefit of the rich, I would remind him that, after all, the Glasgow School Board is an elected Body; that the working classes of Glasgow have the entire control of that Board; that the Scottish Office, centralized though it is at Dover House, has no power of control whatever over that Board; and that for its offences, if offences it has, it alone is responsible. Then the hon. Gentlemen went on to state that under the present system we have compelled Scotland to over-build itself in the matter of schools. If Scotland is over-built, the people responsible for it are not either the English Education Department as it was constituted before, or the present Scottish Education Department. The people responsible for it were a Board of the kind which the hon. Gentleman wishes to see started in Edinburgh—namely, the Scottish Education Board. ["No!"] Yes; they, and they alone, are responsible, if overbuilding there is. But I must rather take exception to the reasoning by which the hon. Gentleman proved there was over-building. He compared the accommodation in Highland schools with the number of attendances, and he proved easily enough that on that principle of comparison there is a great deal more school accommodation than is required. But what you ought to compare is not the accommodation in the Highland counties with the actual attendances, 862 but the attendances that there ought to be in those counties, because, as the hon. Gentleman is perfectly aware, the Highland counties have lagged far behind the rest of Scotland in this respect—so far behind that we have been obliged to give, at the cost of the taxpayers, great additional stimulus to attendance, in these schools, in order, if possible, to bring them up to the level which obtains in the rest of the United Kingdom. Then the hon. Gentleman told us that State-aided schools are cutting out private enterprize. I admit the fact; but I do not understand that the hon. Gentleman suggested any remedy. I do not know whether the hon. Member means that board schools are cutting out private enterprize, or that State-aided schools are doing so.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The action of the Department is strictly limited by law in that matter. In England, I understand, where a school board already provides sufficient accommodation, it is not possible to erect a denominational school. That is not the case in Scotland. In Scotland any denomination which has an adequate number of members in a school board district may, if it pleases, erect a school and will get from the Public Funds a grant for that school. That does not appear to satisfy the hon. Gentleman, and he wants the Government to sanction the erection of schools which are not denominational schools, but which shall receive a public grant, and shall be rivals to the board schools. If that is the hon. Gentleman's object there are two objections to it. The first is that we cannot do it as the law at present stands. The second objection would be that you would indeed, if you did carry it out, produce that over-building of schools in Scotland which the hon. Gentleman in another part of his speech so strongly objected to. If the hon. Gentleman's plan were carried into effect, you might then have in every parish a board school and another school not being a denominational school, which would receive a public grant, and which would attract scholars from the board schools. Whatever merit that scheme would have it would undoubtedly have the demerit of greatly and purposelessly augmenting the school accommodation in Scotland. Then—and this is the last 863 observation I shall have to make—the hon. Gentleman mourned the old parochial system. I also mourn some of the things we have lost in the old parochial system. I recognize the enormous debt which Scotland owes to that system. I quite grant the elasticity which exists in the old parochial schools, and that the teaching which, in country districts, was given under that system, which in England we should call the secondary branch of education, is admirable. I grant all that; but if you are to drag into your educational net the whole population of the labouring class in Scotland, it is inevitable that that system should vanish, and that for it you should substitute some system like the present, and I would remind the hon. Gentleman that though in country districts I admit there may be some loss in the teaching of these higher subjects, if we are to look to Scottish education as a whole, so far from there being a falling-off in the teaching of these higher subjects in the elementary schools, the teaching in them is greatly augmented. I find that in the higher subjects 2,000 out of 3,000 inspected schools took some of these subjects up; that over 60,000 scholars were presented in one or other of the subjects, instead of 4,400 when the system was initiated in 1873; and that the number presented last year in Latin was 6,037, and in mathematics 3,800. In the face of these statistics we may drop a tear over the parochial system; but I think we cannot truly maintain that, taking the length and breadth of Scotland, education in the higher subjects has really seriously suffered. The hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. E. Robertson) has referred to Training Colleges. Though I do not agree with the hon. Member's views on secondary education—and I should like to say a word or two about that if there were time—I feel that the subject of Training Colleges requires consideration. I have been asked, both by him and the other hon. Member who spoke, whether I will appoint a Commission to inquire into Scottish education on the same lines as the English Commission? I think it highly inexpedient that there should be two Commissions at the same time.
§ MR. E. ROBERTSON (Dundee)
I did not make that suggestion. I am content to leave the matter to the right hon. Gentleman. I have more confi- 864 dence in him than I should have in a Commission.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
A Commission to inquire into the same branch of the subject in Scotland in addition to the Commission in England would produce confusion probably, and delay certainly; but I do think it might be desirable to appoint a small Departmental Committee, or something analogous—[Laughter..] [An hon. MEMBER: Of Scottish Members.]—an independent Committee to inquire into the national aspect of the Training Colleges, and into the question of area which the hon. Gentleman has raised, and possibly into one or two other points not touched upon by the great Commission now sitting. I hope hon. Members will admit that I have been sufficiently brief in my remarks, and I trust we shall now be allowed to take the Vote.
§ DR. CLARK (Caithness)
I should like to know why there are certain burgh parishes that obtain the special grant while others are debarred from it? The people living in the parishes belong to the same class as those in the parishes benefited by the grants, and require the same stimulus. I also desire information as to why the Department give 4s. to one teacher and 10s. to another for the passing of a pupil in certain subjects. In both cases the examination which takes place is the same; but in one case the teacher happens to be an undergraduate and the other is not. Men of the old schoolmaster class are not considered very eligible for new appointments, because, as a rule, they are not graduates, and therefore for every pupil they pass the school board only receives 4s., whereas if the teacher happens to be an undergraduate the board receives 10s. for every pupil passed. This state of things acts very unfairly upon the great bulk of the old teachers of Scotland. The position of the teacher under the present system is not what it ought to be. I cannot altogether approve of the aut vitam aut cutpam tenure of office of the old system; but I think there ought to be more security of tenure given to a teacher than there is at present. Nowadays a teacher can be dismissed at the whim or caprice of the school board. A teacher ought cer- 865 tainly to have the right to appeal to the Education Department. I know of several cases of arbitrary dismissal of teachers, dismissals which could never have been upheld had there been the right of appeal. I hope the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. A. J. Balfour) will consider the question of the status of teachers, and endeavour to give them more security of office and to make them more independent. Under the old system teachers were too independent; but now they were too much at the mercy of local influences. I am afraid that the argument of my hon. Friend the Member for the St. Rollox Division of Glasgow (Mr. Caldwell) has been misunderstood by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Scotland (Mr. A. J. Balfour). My hon. Friend pointed out that the old endowments of Glasgow, which were given for the education of the poor and needy children, have now been devoted to the education of the children of the rich and well-to-do.
§ MR. CALDWELL (Glasgow, St. Rollox)
Perhaps I may be permitted to reply to one or two observations of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Scotland (Mr. A. J. Balfour). I think it would have been more judicious if, considering the amount of care with which the statistics I have laid before the Committee were prepared, the right hon. Gentleman had suspended his judgment regarding them, and had refrained from either condemning or eulogizing the Glasgow School Board until he had thoroughly considered the matter. I think he will find that the object I had in view was to present a different view of Scotch education to that which was presented to him through the Official Department. He has asked me to refer to the statistics of 1865, from which I shall see that the attendance was not so great at that time as it is now. I have much more reliable statistics than those of the Commission. I have the statistics of the Board of Education in Scotland for 1874. These statistics show us that in 1872, when the School Board system came into operation, in only 753 parishes in Scotland there were 461,086 children attending school, and that there were 558,258 children between five and 13 years of age in those parishes; showing that the school attendance in Scotland equalled 83 per cent of the number of 866 children between five and 13 years of age. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. A. J. Balfour) also referred to the teaching of specific subjects, and said that thousands of children were receiving instruction in specific subjects. I, however, showed by the Report of one of the Inspectors that certain specific subjects could be got up by a child of ordinary ability in a fortnight. With regard to the question of school accommodation the right hon. Gentleman said that if a private school were built it might amount to over-building. But it would not be over-building at the public expense; the ratepayers would not be called upon to defray the cost, so there would be no hardship upon them. Judging from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, I do not think there is much hope of the matter being investigated with an unbiased judgment.
§ MR. E. ROBERTSON (Dundee)
Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether I was right in assuming that he was prepared to deal with the Scotch Universities next Session?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Yes; I think in referring to the speech of the hon. Gentleman I said I was so prepared.
§ MR. E. ROBERTSON
Will the right hon. Gentleman keep in view the question of the Theological Chairs?
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (5.) £8,508, to complete the sum for Universities, &c. in Scotland.
§ MR. JAMES STUART (Shoreditch, Hoxton)
I hope the Secretary for Scotland (Mr. A. J. Balfour) will be able to answer one or two questions with respect to this Vote. He has just said, and I believe he also stated so in the early part of the Session, that he is going to bring in a University Bill. It is quite unnecessary for anyone connected with Scotland to be told how much the country owes to the Universities, and how generally acceptable such a Bill will be in Scotland. In the Bill introduced by a previous Government there was a clause which implied that there was a certain finality in the amount given to the Scotch Universities. I should like to be assured that such a clause will not exist in the Bill the right hon. Gentleman is about to introduce; and I should also like to ask whether, by the Bill, he intends to 867 appoint a Commission for the Scotch Universities, and whether the Bill is to give the Commission power to consider the curriculum in the Scotch Universities?
§ THE SECRETARY FOR SCOTLAND (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR) (Manchester, E.)
Of course, it is quite impossible for me now—I think it would be almost out of Order—to state the provisions of a Bill I intend to introduce. With regard to the question of finality in matters of finance, I should be always glad to get as much money out of the Treasury as I can for educational purposes.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (6.) £500, to complete the sum for the National Gallery, &c, Scotland.
§ (7.) £258,073, to complete the sum for Public Education, Ireland.
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR (Donegal, E.)
I do not intend to detain the Committee at any length; but I desire to ask the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) if he can now answer the Question I gave him Notice of some days ago with reference to the position of the teachers in certain schools in places where half of the population speak Irish? The Question I asked the right hon. Gentleman was whether he would see to the extending to these schools the provisions of the the law as embodied in the Code for Scotland in respect to the teaching of Gaelic? I wish that the Irish-speaking children should be put on the same footing as the Gaelic-speaking children in Scotland.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Sir MICHAEL HICKS - BEACH) (Bristol, W.)
I have made inquiries into this matter, and it seems to me, speaking generally, that the subject is more liberally dealt with by the Board of Education in Ireland than by the Education Department in Scotland. I should be very happy to confer with the hon. Member upon the point, because, I assure him, I should be extremely anxious that no advantage which is given to the Gaelic-speaking children of Scotland should be refused to the Irish-speaking children. I think, however, that the Gaelic language, or the Irish language, or the Welsh language, can only be treated as a vehicle for learning English. On that 868 principle there should be facilities given for the teaching of the Irish-speaking population in Ireland. In regard to the use of the Gaelic language in school hours, there are regulations in Ireland which seem to me to put the matter on an equal footing with Scotland, and I do not see that it could really be materially improved. If the hon. Member will confer with me, I will show him what these regulations are, and if they can be amended in any way so as to meet his views, and not interfere with the efficiency of the education of the children, I shall be very happy to make an amendment.
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR
I am very much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman. I think I am already conversant with the regulations which obtain in Ireland, but I am not so certain with regard to the regulations which obtain in Scotland. All I propose is that there should be embodied in the Irish regulations the provisions of Section 19 B of the Scotch Code with regard to the Gaelic-speaking children of Scotland. If the right hon. Gentleman will have that done, and I think it is a reasonable request, I shall be perfectly satisfied.
§ MR. CLANCY (Dublin Co, N.)
I desire to draw the attention of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) to the question of Training Schools in Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman is, of course, aware that a change has at last been made in the direction desired by the Catholic people of Ireland and the Catholic Bishops—namely, the establishment of Denominational Training Colleges. There was a long battle; but it ended, as I have said, in the establishment of Denominational Training Colleges; one has been established by the Catholic Bishops, and another has been established for the education and training of Protestant teachers. The Reports of the Commissioners for last year and previous years show that these Training Colleges have succeeded in a very gratifying manner. But there is still a very great grievance, at least the Catholic population think so, to which attention should be directed without delay. The grievance consists of this—that there are several differences between the terms granted to the State Training College in Marlborough Street and the 869 Denominational Colleges. I do not wish to occupy the time of the Committee very long, but I will state very briefly the points upon which the grievance exists. In the first place, there are no building grants for the Catholic College. The State College was built and established out of State funds, but the Catholic College has been established out of private funds. This difference between the two Establishments is felt very keenly by the Catholics. In the second place, the expenses of maintenance and repairs are paid in the case of the State College out of public funds; but in the case of the Catholic College, and, I believe, in the case of the Protestant College, out of private funds. Again, the cost of the maintenance and training of the pupils in the State College is entirely borne by the State; but in the case of the Denominational Colleges not more than 75 per cent of this expense can be borne, or is borne, by the State, the remaining part of the cost being defrayed by the people of the respective denominations. The fourth difference is that the actual travelling expenses of the pupils attending the Colleges—the expenses to and from home, and the expenses attendant on the journey of the pupils—are borne in the case of the Marlborough Street College by the State; but in the case of the Denominational Colleges no such allowance is made by the State. In addition, 1s. a-week as pocket money is allowed out of State funds to each pupil attending the Marlborongh Street College, while there is no such allowance out of the State funds for the pupils in the Denominational Institutions. Lastly—there are some other points of difference, but I pass them over—a most important point is that the expenses in the Marlborough Street College are defrayed as soon as they are due or incurred, whereas in the case of the Denominational Colleges, certainly in the case of the Catholic College, they are paid under circumstances and conditions of the most irritating character. The expenses are paid out of a credit fund, which is created in this way—a certain sum of money, I believe £100, is placed to the credit of each pupil who shall have attended the College continuously for two years, and shall further have continued a teacher continuously and consecutively two years longer—that is to say, the payments will not be 870 made unless the pupils have attended continuously for four years the College and a school. The result of this is that if a pupil has, after spending, say, a year and a-half at the College, for some reason or other, to leave, no payment is made on his account; and also if he fails, on leaving College, to obtain a situation as teacher, the grant fails. And even if he gets a situation as teacher, but fails, on account of illness or other unavoidable cause, to retain it for two years, the money payment on his account is forfeited. Now, it seems to me that this is a very grievous hardship. There are no such restrictions, no such limitations, on the payment of expenses incurred in the Marlborough Street College. Now, all we ask is equality. We say either level up or level down; put the Institutions by either process on an equality and we shall be satisfied. We do not think you ought to call upon the Denominational Establishments to compete with the State Institution, which is placed on very much more favourable terms. I do not like to take up any longer the time of the Committee. I think I have explained satisfactorily, though briefly, the points of difference between these Educational Establishments; and I think that not only are these points worthy of attention, but of immediate attention. It cannot be gainsaid that our demand for equality, either by levelling up or levelling down, is a very fair and reasonable demand. We shall certainly agitate with ever-increasing energy until our demand is granted. I think it is right to say, though I am not authorized by any member of the Board of National Education to make the statement, that a very prominent member of the Board of Education, not unknown to the noble Lord the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Lord Randolph Churchill), recently proposed a resolution at a meeting of the Board, asking the Government to grant the demand which is now made upon them, and that that resolution was carried. I do not know whether the resolution has yet come before the Government or not; but I am sure, when it does, it will carry with it conviction as to the justice of the claim set up by the Catholic Bishops. I do not appeal for the Catholic as against the Protestant College; I do not want to ask anything for the Catholic Establishment 871 which will not be granted equally to the Protestant Establishment. All I say is that, at present, there is a grievance to be remedied; that the State College is placed in a position of great advantage over the other Institutions, and that this is not fair; and I repeat that the grievance will be brought again and again before the notice of the House until it is remedied.
§ MR. F. S. POWELL (Wigan)
I trust that, as I have the honour of being a member of the Governing Body of several of the Training Colleges in England in connection with the Established Church, the Committee will allow me to make a few observations. As far as I could gather from the hon. Member (Mr. Clancy), he has described with perfect accuracy the conditions under which grants are made to the Training Colleges in England; and all I have to say is that whatever is just to our English Colleges is also just to the Colleges in Ireland. I do not think it is fair that Denominational Colleges in Ireland should stand in a better position or in any inferior position than the corresponding Colleges in England. Of course, I am speaking now of the annual grant. The conditions described by the hon. Gentleman under which grants are made to the Denominational Colleges of Ireland are similar to those which obtain in England. I may have to complain sometimes, and the hon. Member (Mr. Clancy) will, perhaps, agree with me, that more ought to be given to our schools in England. I do not complain of any advantages given to the Marlborough Street College; but, at the same time, I do not see why all the Colleges in Ireland should not be placed upon an equal footing.
§ MR. CLANCY
The hon. Gentleman (Mr. F. S. Powell) forgets that in England Training Colleges have no competitors, whereas in Ireland the Denominational Training Schools have a competitor in a State Establishment. That is what we complain of. You in England obtained grants when establishing your Training Colleges, although you had no competitor; we got none although we had and have a competitor. Surely, then, the difference between the Irish Colleges and the English Colleges is perfectly plain. We, as I have said, have a competition with a fully equipped State Institution which 872 has already had building grants, the cost of the maintenance and repair of which is borne by the State, and the expense of the maintenance and training of the pupils attending which are defrayed by the State; whereas our Institution only receives 75 per cent, or 15s. in the pound, on this head. In England you have no such competition, and up to the present you have had everything provided for you out of the public funds.
§ MR. F. S. POWELL
I should like to say that towards the building of the last Training College in England not a single farthing was given or will be given by the State.
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH
Of course, this matter is, as the hon. Member (Mr. Clancy) has said, complicated by the fact that the system prevailing for many years in Ireland was one of a single Training College, that Training College being entirely supported by the State. Denominational Training Colleges, as the Committee are aware, are of very recent date in Ireland. I think their institution was a salutary change, and that the Government of the day were quite right in admitting Denominational Training Colleges in Ireland to the same privileges which have long been enjoyed by Denominational Training Colleges in England. Now, the question is how are we to put Denominational Training Colleges in Ireland and the State Training College on an equal footing? If we level up we put Denominational Colleges in Ireland on a better footing than similar Institutions in England. I am not quite prepared to admit that there is cause shown for that. I suspect, if that were done, there would be steps taken to obtain an improvement in the position of the English Colleges. But, on the other hand, if we level down, if we deprive the pupils at the Marlborough Street Training College of some of the advantages they at present enjoy, we might impair the efficiency of that Institution; therefore I confess I should like to have some time to consider this matter before expressing a definite opinion upon it. There is one rule, however, which the hon. Member (Mr. Clancy) referred to which I think ought to be properly attended to, and that is the rule under which the Government contribution, whatever it may be, is 873 paid to the College authorities after a service by the pupil of two years at the College and two years in teaching a school. I think that is a very valuable provision. I am afraid it has happened that students at the Marlborough Street School have received education there, and then not proceeded to give the State the benefit of that education by teaching afterwards. Anything of that kind ought to be guarded against, whatever the institution should be. I should be sorry to see any change made in the rule to which I have referred; but I can promise the hon. Member (Mr. Clancy) that the whole subject will receive my consideration.
§ MR. CLANCY (Dublin Co., N.)
I have only to point out to the Committee that the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland supplies us with a good argument, and, indeed, a fresh one for Home Rule. Our case is a perfectly good one; but we are not to be allowed to get what we are entitled to, simply because, if we did get it, several demands of a similar character, which it would be inconvenient to meet, would be made upon the Exchequer from London. The Irish people will note the fact and draw their own inference.
§ MR. J. O'CONNOR (Tipperary, S.)
Mr. Courtney, I shall endeavour to occupy the attention of the Committee for as short a time as possible while I state the case of the National School teachers of Ireland. The case of the Irish National School teachers stands at present in this position, that hon. Members of every shade of opinion agree as to the necessity of having the National School teachers of Ireland at least upon an equality with their brethren in England and Scotland. I think the teachers are fortunate in having as Chief Secretary for Ireland at the present moment a right hon. Gentleman (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) who is in sympathy with their demands. It is admitted—it has been admitted by successive Governments—that the National School teachers of Ireland have a good case; those responsible for the government of Ireland have admitted the fact, and have promised to do all in their power to satisfy the demands and to rectify the grievances of the teachers. At the present time the position of the Irish National School teachers is very uncertain. The 874 Acts which have been passed from time to time have been merely tentative and experimental, and, to a great extent, incomplete. Now, Sir, previous to the Act of 1875 the average salaries of Irish National School teachers amounted only to £43 per year; but at that time it was decided by the Parliament then in existence that £120,000 should be set aside for the purpose of improving the teachers' position; £60,000 was devoted to the purpose of an unconditional increase in their salaries, and £60,000 was set aside for a conditional improvement of their position. The conditions laid down were that if the Poor Law Unions of Ireland would contribute a sum of money in the shape of result fees, the Government would set aside from this £60,000 a similar amount in each case. Well, it was hoped by those who were responsible for the introduction of that measure that the Poor Law Guardians of Ireland would come forward and subscribe liberally, in accordance with the Act of Parliament; but, on investigation, it was found by the Poor Law Guardians of Ireland that they would not be justified in meeting the Government half-way. They, I think, very properly declined to contribute to the result fees, because they would not be justified in thus taxing the community when they had no voice whatever in the management of the National Schools of Ireland. For that reason, Mr. Courtney, the good intentions of the Government of the time and the object of the Act were frustrated. The sum of £60,000, half the sum mentioned in the Act of Parliament, is practically lost to the National School teachers of Ireland. In the year 1875, 65 Unions resolved to contribute to the result fees, and 98 resolved not to contribute. Since that time the Unions have gradually withdrawn their contributions to the result fees; the number of Unions contributing has gradually decreased until at the present time it is practically nil. Well, in 1881, the Commissioners of Education in Ireland entered into a calculation, and from their Report it is found that the average pay of the Irish National School teachers is £57 9s., and in order to arrive at this average the Commissioners left out of the computation 2,748 of the worst-paid teachers. If these had been included the average would have been found to be very much less. Now, Sir, I shall 875 for the information of the Committee quote what the comparative salaries of the Irish National School teachers and those of their brethren in England are.
§ MR. F. S. POWELL (Wigan)
Will the hon. Gentleman state whether the Irish teachers have houses besides?
§ MR. J. O'CONNOR
The figures I shall quote were prepared in 1881, after an additional grant had been made for the purpose of improving the teachers' position. Notwithstanding the increase, it appears from a Parliamentary Return issued in August, 1881, and which was authenticated by the signature of Dr. Newell, Senior Secretary of the Commissioners of National Education, that the average salaries of the Irish National School teachers, males and females included, amount to £57 9s. The average salaries of teachers in England are, for males, £120 19s. 2d.; females, £73 15s. 9d.; and the corresponding averages in Scotland are £135 1s. 4d. and £64 13s. 11d. for males and females respectively. Now, Sir, that clearly proves that the Irish National School teachers are not on a level with the teachers in England. In the matter of residences, to which the hon. Member (Mr. F. S. Powell) referred just now, the Irish National School teachers are also in the background. Several attempts have been made from time to time to remedy their position in this respect. With the permission of the Committee I will read what some of the Inspectors say concerning the housing of the Irish School teachers. Mr. Macauly, an Inspector, says—It is much to be regretted that the Act does not make it compulsory on landlords to grant sites for schools and residences, at an equitable rent or fee, as is done in the case of railways and other public works. If this were so, great benefit would be conferred not only upon the teachers individually, but also upon the public, whose interests would be better served by a class of people permanently and respectably housed, than they can be by persons whose lodgings are, in most cases, quite unsuitable.Mr. M'Donnell, the Bantry Inspector, remarks—The want of residences near the school is a great hardship to the teachers. Only seven have residences in this district. I know of more than a dozen cases where the teacher has to walk from eight to 12 miles a-day to and from school, to the great injury of the school.876 Mr. Eardly, of the Templemore District, writes—Only 20 teachers in this district have free residences, and in 10 instances the teachers reside a distance of three miles or more from their schools. In severe weather these teachers either do not attend at all, or arrive with their energies so impaired that a satisfactory day's work is not discharged.I think hon. Members will agree with the Reports of these Inspectors. It is utterly impossible for a school teacher who has walked a considerable distance in the morning to fulfil his vocation during the day with anything like satisfaction to himself or benefit to the children he is supposed to instruct. Well, to improve this state of things many attempts have been made from time to time. We have had promises from the various Gentlemen who have lately occupied the position of Chief Secretary for Ireland, and, amongst others, we have had a promise from the right hon. Baronet (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) who at present is Chief Secretary for Ireland. In the year 1875 the right hon. Gentleman the present Chief Secretary for Ireland said, in introducing a measure for the relief of the teachers—We do not intend this to be a permanent measure. We consider it would be highly important to get the Boards of Guardians to contribute, and we would like to train them up to it. If it succeeds, well and good; the teachers will be reasonably remunerated; if not, the Government will take such steps as will secure that the remuneration now intended will be paid to them.That was a very serious promise; but the right hon. Gentleman knows, as the school teachers to their regret know very well, that that promise has not since been fulfilled. It was not fufilled up to the year 1878, and it has not been fulfilled since. In 1878, Mr. Meldon, who then occupied a seat in this House, brought up the subject, and the following Resolution was passed:—That the National School Teachers (Ireland) Act, 1875, and the other means adopted by the Government having failed to satisfy the just demands of the Irish National School teachers, this House is of opinion that the present position of the Irish National School teachers calls for the immediate attention of Her Majesty's Government, with a view to a satisfactory adjustment of their claims.Now, that Resolution was passed unanimously by the House of Commons, and yet that which amounts to almost nothing has been done to satisfactorily 877 adjust the claims of the Irish National School teachers. However, in the year 1879, a grant of £46,000 was made; but how far did that go to satisfy the demands of the Irish National School teachers? I shall endeavour to show the Committee that it scarcely improved their position at all. A few days ago I asked the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland a Question on this subject, and, in reply, the right hon. Gentleman pointed out that the position of the teachers was improved in several particulars. The teachers of Ireland emphatically say that their position has not been permanently or even visibly improved by this grant. In proof of that we have to say that the £46,000 was placed at the disposal of the Commissioners of National Education for increasing the fixed or class salaries of the teachers, and the rates of pay then decided on have continued up to the present; but of these salaries the teachers contribute £12,000 per annum as premiums to the Pension Fund; and as the amount received from the contributory Unions in aid of the result fees has fallen from £30,500 in 1876–7 to £13,600 in 1885–6, it is clear that the increase the teachers receive is only the difference between £46,000 and £29,000, which is £17,000, and this amount divided amongst 11,000 teachers gives a small sum indeed to each. Taking into account that a large amount of the £46,000 goes to the Pension Fund, their present position is not very materially improved. Now, Sir, this state of things is having a very detrimental effect upon the cause of education in Ireland. So much for the promises of the right hon. Gentleman (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) who now occupies the position of Chief Secretary for Ireland. But I have also to state that his Successors in Office held out hopes to the National School teachers of Ireland which have not been fulfilled. For instance, on the 11th of June, 1883, a deputation of 20 Irish Members of Parliament presented a Memorial, signed by 83 of their body, to Mr. Trevelyan, then Chief Secretary for Ireland, requesting him to take immediate steps for improving the condition of the teachers, and, in reply, that right hon. Gentleman said—He was so strongly impressed with the statements of the deputationists that he ad- 878 mitted action ought to be taken by the Government, and that, if possible, it ought to be taken at once.As regards the teachers' salaries, he added—I recognize the pledge which Sir Michael Hicks-Beach gave to Parliament in 1875, and I recognize likewise that the measures taken by the Government for the redemption of that pledge since have been only of a temporary nature, and rather as palliatives than remedies. I shall be extremely glad to introduce a measure on this subject, and at once.The Successor of Mr. Trevelyan attempted to introduce a measure, but owing to the pressure of Parliamentary Business the Bill promised was not introduced until the following year. It was brought in by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Stirling Burghs (Mr. Campbell-Bannerman), who was then Chief Secretary for Ireland, but it only reached its second reading. The position of the Irish teachers is now substantially the same as it was in 1878, when Parliament resolved unanimously that it required the immediate attention of the Government. It is very difficult to get men of ability to remain in the service, and it is also very difficult to get young men whoso parents and families may wish to push them on in the world to take up Irish National School teaching as a profession. That I may prove this I shall ask the Committee to bear with me while I read the opinions of some of the National School Inspectors upon this subject. Mr. Gordon, of Newtownards, says—The onward progress of this district is in danger of being impeded from another quarter. It has been found impossible, in many cases, to secure the appointment of suitable male principal teachers when vacancies occur. I mean by suitable, men either actually or potentially equal to their predecessors in zeal, talent, and classification.Mr. Hynes, the Inspector for the Ennis-killen District, says—At present there is in this distraction [...]et dearth of candidates, and it is remained now few of my teachers seem to have adopt the profession from choice.Mr. Keenan (Letterkenny) reports—I observe that there is a growing desire upon the part of many teachers in this district to become the owners of small farms, so that by farming they may increase their incomes. I generally find that teachers who have become the owners of farms never apply themselves to their studies with a view to improving their classification, but spend the greater part of their time, outside school hours, in working upon 879 their farms. These teachers are neither good teachers nor good farmers; they are satisfied with imperfectly following the example of the neighbouring farmers in the cultivation of their farms; and in manner, dress, and conversation they have a greater resemblance to agricultural labourers than to school teachers.Mr. Browne (Lurgan) says—I have lost some of my best teachers, and although the antecedents of more than 81 per cent of those who entered the service during the same period (three years) can be referred to with considerable satisfaction, yet, when vacancies arise, the difficulty experienced in securing really suitable successors shows that the supply of good teachers is very limited.Well, now, Mr. Courtney, I think these quotations from the Reports of the Inspectors of the National Schools in Ireland are sufficient to prove to the Committee that the status of the teachers is being gradually reduced, that, in fact, as Mr. MacMillen, the Inspector of Ballinasloe, says—The service is still the dernier ressort of those despairing of more coveted posts.It is an unfortunate state of things that a system which in many respects has been successful should be reduced to such straits by the neglect of the Government to provide such remuneration to teachers as will make National School teaching advantageous for young men as a profession. I hold, Mr. Courtney, that the education of the people is, or ought to be, the first duty of the Government, and how can they fulfil that duty effectually while they keep the teachers of Ireland on what may be called starvation allowance? A teacher, by accepting this position, condemnshim-self to a life of drudgery, without any hope of emancipation, and to what may be said to be an old age of poverty. Why should this be the case? The school teachers of Ireland have shown very good results. Comparatively speaking, they have shown better results than the school teachers of either England or Scotland. The correctness of my assertion might be substantially proved by a few figures, which would show that the results produced by the Irish teachers are not inferior to those of the English and Scotch teachers; and, in the face of that fact, I think that the Irish teachers, on the ground that they have performed their duties well and faithfully, have a claim on the attention of the Government. What they have done also has been done under discouraging circum- 880 stances. They are not only worse paid than the teachers in England and Scotland, but they have very much less hope of advancement. It was established, I think, by the Minute of the Government in Ireland, on the advice of the Education Commissioners, that if the school teachers could get a certain amount of the fees, the Treasury would make up the difference. Now, the result of that is that you actually put a premium on dishonesty; you hold out temptation to the National School teacher actually to pay money out of his own pocket in order to bring up the amount necessary to lay a claim upon the Government. This is a bad system, inasmuch as it is one which encourages immorality. You have in England a system of compulsory education; parents are compelled to send their children to school; but in Ireland that is not the case, and that, of course, operates against school teachers. For these reasons, the Irish National School teachers are in a position which is very hard indeed. In the matter of salaries they are much behind school teachers in England and Scotland, and in the matter of residence their position is deplorable. I do not think it is desirable that all National School teachers should be provided with residences; but in a country where they have to walk three or four or even seven miles to school, a labour which unfits them for the vocations of the day, enervates them and destroys the power they should preserve in order to impart the knowledge they possess to their pupils, I say that residences should be provided for them. For these reasons—because of the promises made to them by succeeding Governments, and the hopes which have been held out to them by succeeding Chief Secretaries for Ireland—I maintain that their position is entitled to be reconsidered by the present Government. I think they are greatly to be congratulated on the fact that we have at the present time a Chief Secretary who has, since he has been in Office, made no pledge which has not been fulfilled, and also a Government that holds out a hope of improving the material interests of the several classes in Ireland. I said, at the outset, that I would not detain the Committee at any unnecessary length in stating a case which is already very well known, and which has been stated in 881 this House from time to time by many advocates much abler than I am, and more experienced in these matters. I believe the right hon. Baronet sympathizes with the National School teachers in their deplorable condition; I believe he desires to improve their condition; and he now has an opportunity of considering their case and fulfilling the pledges made to them from time to time, as well as of promoting the interests of the profession, which is of great service in Ireland, and which has shown that it is capable of discharging the duties imposed upon it by producing good results. In advocating the cause of the National School teachers in Ireland, I feel that I am appealing to a sympathetic Government; that I am appealing at a time that is favourable for the consideration of their just claims, and I believe that I shall not appeal in vain. I asked the right hon. Baronet a few days ago to bring in a Supplementary Estimate for the purpose of improving the material condition of the National School teachers of Ireland. He declined to do that; but he can at least inquire into their condition. He has had evidence before him; he has the Reports of the National Schools, and he has other evidence, taken from time to time, which I am sorry to say has been sadly neglected. I believe that the grievances of this class of public servants will have the sympathy not only of Members on both sides of this House, but of every shade of opinion. There can only be one idea on this subject—namely, that the men who have to train up youth and direct the minds of young people in the way they ought to go in this life are deserving of every consideration. They are deserving of the full reward of their labour; and I again impress on the right hon. Baronet to take their case into consideration—to give this large, deserving, and, I will say, long-suffering class some hope that before long their condition will be materially improved, and that the time of this Committee will not be taken up year after year in pleading their cause.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Sir MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH) (Bristol, W.)
I wish to acknowledge the spirit in which, the hon. Member has dealt with this question, and the manner in which he has referred to the Government. But I cannot admit that any 882 promise I have made has remained unfulfilled. The hon. Member has accurately quoted the statement which I made in 1875—namely, that I would introduce a Bill dealing with the pay of the National School teachers in Ireland. He said I then expressed my intention to secure for thorn a reasonable remuneration through the working of that Bill; and promised, that if the Bill failed to do this, other steps would be taken. I think I may say that this promise has been fulfilled. That Act was based upon the principle that certain result fees, which were paid to the teachers at the time, should be doubled if the Unions contributed an equal sum. In the following year the sum of £28,000 was received from the Unions for this purpose; but in the year 1885 I find that only 21 Unions contributed, and that the total amount received was only £14,000. Within a few years after the passing of that Act it became clear to the Government that it had failed in its object, and therefore the Government agreed to accept, instead of the amount which they had hoped would have been provided by the Unions, any sum that might have been provided by school fees or voluntary subscriptions, in order to give the teacher of a school a claim to an equivalent amount of the second half of the result fees from the Government. That was a very considerable concession; but the hon. Member says that it was calculated to lead to fraud. Now, I must remind him that it is guarded by several useful restrictions. It requires a certificate from the managers, and a certificate from the teachers and the Inspectors that these subscriptions have actually been paid; and if you are to look with suspicion on those certificates, I am afraid you will have to look with suspicion on certificates in other matters which have to be signed by the school teachers in Ireland. The result of that concession was practically that the whole of the second half of the result fees which would have been obtained by teachers if the Act had been adopted in every Union in Ireland, has been actually paid to them by the Government. Last year the total of these fees was £91,500, of which the teachers actually obtained £90,152. Therefore, I think it was rather hard of him to say that the promise which I made in 1875, that if the Act failed the Government would take 883 other steps to secure the same object, has not been fulfilled. This is my answer to that part of the statement of the hon. Member. He went on to say that the position of the teachers had not been improved since 1878. Well, Sir, I, on the contrary, say that the position of the teachers has been very materially improved since that date. In 1878 the amount payable to the teachers was £461,000, while in 1885 it was £587,200, or an increase of £126,000; and yet the hon. Member says that their position has not been improved in any way. I think these facts entirely contradict the allegations which, the hon. Member has made on the two points to which I have referred; but I do not think we can say that the present arrangement is entirely satisfactory. I think it is unsatisfactory, and I will very shortly explain to the Committee why. I do not at all wish to say that the salaries in the higher classes are as much as they ought to be; but I do not think that they quite carry out the allegation with respect to starvation which was made by the hon. Member in the course of his speech. In dealing with this matter, however, I must impress on the Committee that the House of Commons ought to take care to do something more than increase the salaries of school teachers. The House ought to take care to increase their efficiency as well; and I am quite sure, from my own experience, that a very large number of the teachers of the third class ought not to be allowed to teach at all. I may impress upon the Committee that the object should be to increase the efficiency of the teachers, and to draft out those incompetent teachers who really retard the work of education in Ireland. The hon. Member has referred to the benefits of compulsory education. That is a very material point in this question. Anyone who looks at these statistics of schools in Ireland, and the ratio of attendances in those schools, will see that something ought to be done in that matter. If hon. Members who represent Irish constituencies will only consider the great question of Irish Education with a view to placing it as far as may be on the same footing as it occupies in Great Britain, safe-guarding in every way the independent management of the schools, then, Sir, I hope we may come to a real 884 settlement of this question of elementary education in Ireland. I, at any rate, shall approach the subject from that point of view. I hope to be able to improve the position of the teachers, but that will not be my only object.
§ MR. CONWAY (Leitrim, N.)
I wish to press home the demand of my hon. Friend the Member for South Tipperary (Mr. J. O'Connor) with regard to the position of the school teachers. My hon. Friend divided his subject into two parts—first, the inadequacy of salary; and, second, want of residence. With regard to the salary, I think the small average amount received by teachers ought to impress itself on the mind of the Committee. In one respect the teachers are perfectly in accord with the right hon. Baronet the Chief Secretary for Ireland. He is aware that the Irish teachers are perfectly willing to become efficient in every way by a course of study, and also that they are willing to use the best method of instruction. He is also aware that, in the matter of obtaining a certificate, the number of marks has been raised 10 per cent; and I think they are perfectly justified in making complaint about this, because no notice has been taken of their demand for reform in the matter of salary. With regard to the question of residence, I say that the residences should be near the schools, so that the teachers should not have to make a long and wearying journey to get to their work. Then they are required to study hard in order to obtain promotion. But they cannot undergo this study unless their homes are cheerful and favourably placed, and these are not to be obtained by them on account of the smallness of their means. Their salary does not enable them to have houses of a respectable class; and, therefore, it becomes doubly necessary that the teachers should obtain residences. They have another grievance, and that is the scale of pensions. Teachers in Ireland have been treated with a fair amount of liberality with regard to pensions. They are asked to pay a premium in order that at a certain age they may enjoy a pension according to their class; but the age fixed is too high. They are asked to retire at the age of 65. Anyone knows that a man at 65 is totally unfit to do his duty as teacher. I have had experience, and I know well that young men out of the Training Colleges super- 885 sede the old men; and it is one of the standing grievances that the School Board are obliged to retain middle-aged men when they might obtain younger and more active men, because they do not like to get rid of them. If they were retired at 60 years of age, there would be a chance of promotion for younger men in the Board schools; and there would be content in this respect amongst the teachers. I urge upon the right hon. Baronet that he should take these matters into consideration, and make 60 the age for retirement instead of 65. Again, female teachers are required to work until they are 60 years of age. We know that the prospect of a pension will keep females at work; but I say that 60 is too advanced an age until which they should be required to work in order to obtain a pension. Now, I think the right hon. Baronet ought to make the retiring age 60 in the case of males, and 50 in the case of females. By this means, I think, the grievance of the Irish teachers as regards pensions would be done away with. We have, then, three complaints on the part of the teachers—first, with regard to salary; secondly, with regard to residence; and, thirdly, with regard to the pension scheme. But the teacher in Ireland has a social grievance and also a political grievance. He dare not take his place on a platform, and the Commissioners demand that he should be surrounded with all sorts of disabilities, one of which is that he may not take a public-house. Now, I think that he ought to be at perfect liberty to do the same as any other person, as long he does what is right, and satisfies the Commissioners on the particular subject he is engaged for. These are matters which demand the earnest attention of the Chief Secretary for Ireland. I say that teachers in Ireland ought to be placed on the same footing as the teachers in England and Scotland; there ought to be no distinction between them in the matters of salary, pensions, and residence.
§ COLONEL NOLAN (Galway, N.)
I am afraid the Chief Secretary for Ireland has fixed rather a distant date for the redress of the grievances of the school teachers in Ireland, if he is going to wait until there is compulsory education there. I am afraid before that is settled there will be so many vexed questions arise that the National School teachers 886 may be left out in the cold, and I would much rather the right hon. Baronet would say that the miserable stipend of the teachers should be increased at once. The great mass of the teachers, as has been pointed out by my hon. Friend, have very small salaries as compared with the salaries of the English teachers—the average amount being a little over £50. Now, the average salaries of the corresponding class in England is £117, and in Scotland it is a little higher. There is no great difference between the positions of the Irish and English teachers in respect of the cost of living, and I think that they might very well be placed on the same footing as regards salary. We have heard this evening that, in the Highlands, education is stimulated by increased grants; and I certainly think that the same generosity should be shown with regard to Ireland, because a great portion of Ireland is in the same position as the Highland districts of Scotland. The teachers in Ireland are left in a wretched position under the present system, and no amount of rhetoric on the part of the Government can justify the fact that they only receive a salary of £50. The right hon. Gentleman said that the teachers in England were better educated than the teachers in Ireland. I have always heard that the National School teachers were willing to accept any scheme that would place them on the same footing with the teachers in England and Scotland, and in this they are ready either to pass an examination or be judged by results. I do not see any way out of the difficulty except by making a grant from the National Exchequer; for it is of no use to give the control in this matter to the Poor Law Boards, and to have the cost thrown on the poor rates. As far as my experience goes, the Poor Law Boards do not want to have the management; and if they had it I do not think it would be nearly as good as it is as present, while as for raising any large amount of money locally, that would be a matter of extreme difficulty. The rates in Ireland being in some cases 11s. or 12s. in the pound, you cannot expect the people, already so heavily taxed, to pay this new education rate. The right hon. Baronet the Chief Secretary for Ireland has shown a considerable interest in this subject, and I have some hope that he and the Leader of the 887 House, who did a good deal for intermediate education when he was a private Member, will take this matter speedily into consideration; for I think it would be a shame on the Government to leave the Irish teachers in their present position.
§ MR. J. NOLAN (Louth, N.)
I am afraid that it will be some time before the condition of affairs in Ireland will admit of education there being placed in the same position as in England. If the teachers have to wait until then for an improvement in their position, I am afraid that many good teachers will be quite out of the race, and that the cause of education will suffer very materially. I should like to point out to the hon. Member for Wigan (Mr. F. S. Powell), who spoke in this debate, that there is a great difference between the elementary education in England and that in Ireland. In Ireland there is a State system of elementary education; but it is not so in England. In Ireland the people have no control over the management of schools in many very important particulars; whereas in England the people have that control. Again, in Ireland we have not got a large number of resident gentry, who take an interest in education, as you have in England and Scotland. I know that I was very favourably impressed with the state of affairs when I found that gentlemen of means and position in this country take a deep and absorbing interest in the education of the poor. Now, that is one of the things which, unfortunately for us, we have not got in Ireland. The system of education in Ireland is not looked on with any great favour by the people; and the consequence is that the teachers engaged in the work are in a doubtful position between the State and the people, and they suffer accordingly. I should like the right hon. Baronet to take into account these things, and give a favourable ear to the case of the teachers. I quite agree with him that there are a great many men holding the position of teacher who are not at all fitted for it; but that is not the case with the great body of those engaged in the work. I believe that there ought to be some restrictions placed on the admission of men into the rank of teacher. At present, any man without qualification can look forward to taking a posi- 888 tion as teacher in the schools of lower class; and in this way places are being filled up constantly, to the exclusion of qualified men. I think it will be found that a very large number of teachers are leaving the service in Ireland; and it is owing to the fact that the prospects in the service are not sufficient to induce men of superior talents and energy to remain. I believe this matter ought to be looked at not only from the point of view of the teachers, but from the point of view of the welfare of the country generally. The welfare of the nation undoubtedly depends on the education of the people, and the people cannot be educated unless they have good teachers, and the teachers cannot be efficient unless they are paid for; and there certainly ought to be no hesitation on the ground of giving them sufficient remuneration, when we remember that the men who are engaged in teaching the children in Ireland, and are preparing them for the great battle of life, are not so well paid as the drill sergeant who prepares the recruit for the work of war. I point out by way of illustration that a great many teachers in Ireland are not so well paid as labourers who dig the foundations of houses, and they are certainly paid very much less than the men who build the houses—a good joiner or good mason is better paid than the average teacher in Ireland. This is not a satisfactory state of things; and, as I believe that it calls for immediate attention, I trust the right hon. Baronet will be able to give us some assurance that there will be an improvement shortly in the position of the Irish National School teachers.
§ MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
I have listened with great interest to this discussion, and I have not the slightest doubt that the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland will look into this matter, and consider between this and next year whether he can make any proposal on the subject. Anyone will agree, who looks into the subject, that the salaries of the Irish School teachers are insufficient. The average salary is so low that it is greatly to be wondered at that good men can be had at all for the money. I know many of these men personally, and I can say that they are most deserving men, although their salaries as a rule are less 889 than that of a policeman; and the same may be said of their pensions. There is a great deal to be said about getting the localities to assist in this matter, but I will not say it on the present occasion; and I would urge upon my hon. Friends opposite not to prolong this discussion, which there is no good in doing now. The Chief Secretary has given an assurance that he will consider the question in a thoroughly sympathetic spirit. We know the question will be again raised next year, and we are content to give the right hon. Baronet until next Session to consider it.
§ MR. PENROSE FITZGERALD (Cambridge)
I have a few words to say on this Vote. I agree with every word that has been said on this subject by the hon. Member for South Tipperary (Mr. J. O'Connor) and the hon. Members who have followed him in this discussion with regard to the salaries of the Irish School teachers being too low. The Chief Secretary for Ireland has stated the salaries of the teachers according to their class, and we remind him that they only get those salaries when there is a certain attendance at the school. There are certain schools in the poorer parts of Ireland where the teacher may be of the first or second class, and where there is not a sufficient attendance of scholars to enable him to draw his salary. Another point is that the salary is uncertain. A certain salary, though less, is better than a larger one that is uncertain; and I hope that the money which the teachers are entitled to will be voted by the House of Commons before the end of the financial year. In conclusion, I desire to add my appeal to the Chief Secretary for Ireland, that he will earnestly consider the position of the Irish School teachers.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (8.) £945, to complete the sum for Teachers' Pension Office, Ireland.
§ (9.) £270, to complete the sum for the Endowed School Commissioners, Ireland.
§ (10.) £701, to complete the sum for the National Gallery of Ireland.
§ (11.) £8,528, to complete the sum for Queen's Colleges, Ireland.
§ COLONEL NOLAN (Galway, N.)
I wish to draw attention on this Vote to 890 the question of University education in Ireland, and to the enormous discrepancy in the sums obtainable by the three different classes in Ireland—the Protestant Church of England, the Secularists, and the Catholics. The Episcopalian Church are extremely well off; they have an endowment in Trinity College of £70,000, which was obtained at so ancient a date that it is very doubtful whether at the time you could call the religion of the country Episcopalian or Catholic. Then there is, in this Vote, £25,000 for the Secularists, while the Catholics only get about £6,000 a-year. By this it will be seen that the Catholics in Ireland labour under an enormous disadvantage with regard to University education. Well, Sir, I do not ask that the Catholics should be placed on equal terms with the Protestants in this matter; but I think that we may very well claim for them that they should be placed on the same footing as the Secularists. I do not wish to divide the Committee, but simply to point out that in this matter of University education the Catholics suffer a great grievance.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Sir MICHAEL HICKS - BEACH) (Bristol, W.)
I do not think there is any general desire on the part of the Committee to discuss this very important question now; but I can assure the hon. and gallant Gentlemen that the subject will be considered in the spirit indicated by my speech on this very question last year.
§ MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
I would point out to my hon. and gallant Friend that this is a question which I should not attempt to discuss to night; but the opinion he has expressed is exceedingly important, and will give rise to some discussion hereafter.
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR (Donegal, E.)
Whatever may be thought of the Queen's Colleges, and the system on which they are founded, everyone, I think, will admit that Belfast College is a great success. But this College is crippled at present for the want of a very small sum of money which, if the Treasury would grant it, would enable them to carry on the classes in Chemistry and Science in a more efficient way than they can at present. I do not believe the people of Ireland would grudge the money to enable the experiments to be 891 carried on in the proper way, and I put it to the right hon. Baronet to take this into consideration as soon as he has time to do so.
§ DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)
There is one small matter that I desire to refer to in connection with Queen's College, Cork. That College has lately been greatly improved by a large expenditure of money which has been generously given by the citizens of Cork. Amongst some of the advantages which have accrued from this is the purchase of a green immediately adjoining the College on which it is intended to build residences. Unfortunately, the authorities have not sufficient money to complete the design, and as the scheme is a reasonable one I hope the right hon. Baronet will be able to induce the Treasury to advance the amount required.
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH
This matter had not been brought to my notice, but the hon. Member having now mentioned it, I will give it my attention.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (12.) £520, to complete the sum for the Royal Irish Academy.
§ MR. M. J. KENNY (Tyrone, Mid)
I observe in this Vote, under Sub-head B, a charge which did not come on the Estimates last year of £520 for Transcription, Editing, and Publication of the Annals of Ulster. This is one of those extremely interesting items allied to the editing of the Celtic manuscripts. The translation of these documents goes very closely together, and they are matters of extreme interest to Irish scholars. I am certain that the persons appointed to the Commission that has this matter in hand will not know a single word of the Irish language, with the exception of Mr. Justice O'Brien, who may know a few words. Now, I think there can be no doubt that the Commission should be composed of experts, and there could be found in Ireland a considerable number of men who have a very close and intimate knowledge of the Irish language, from whom the Commissioners ought to be selected. I notice that from 1876–7, when the first Vote was taken, until 1884–5, the Votes and re-Votes amounted to £1,893, while up to the 31st of March, 1885, the total expenditure amounted to £176 only. I think that fact requires some explana- 892 tion from the Secretary to the Treasury. How is it that £1,893 have from time to time been voted in the course of eight years, and that only £176 have been actually expended on the work? I should like, if possible, to have an explanation at the present time with regard to the work which is being done in consideration of this expenditure of £520; and I should also like to hear from the hon. Gentleman what has been done with the balance of the money which has been voted for the last eight years? I should like also to know the exact amount that has been expended on the work?
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Sir MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH) (Bristol, W.)
As this matter is brought under my notice, I will make inquiry, and refer to it on Report.
§ Vote agreed to.