§ (1.) £10,560, Supplementary, Science and Art Department for the United Kingdom.
MR. JAMES STUAET (Shoreditch, Hoxton)
I do not intend to trespass on the good temper of the Committee for any lengthened period in discussing this Vote, and I thank the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House for having afforded us an opportunity of entering into the consideration of it at an early period of the evening. I called the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to the necessity for doing so a few evenings ago, and I reminded him that the Education Vote, in regard to which this Supplementary Estimate is about to be taken, was passed at 3 o'clock in the morning in some day in August or September last, and that unless some opportunity was given for the consideration of 1413 the Vote on this occasion, it would be impossible for any debate to have occurred at all this year upon the Education Estimates. I am sure it is not out of place to say that this Vote in the Education Estimates must be regarded not so much as a Party question, as a question of great and increasing national importance. I am well aware that the subjects connected with education generally, which are dealt with in this Supplementary Vote, are very restricted, and I shall not endeavour to go beyond the limits of the Vote that is before us at this moment. Any reference that I may make beyond the immediate subject of the Vote will be to points that have a bearing upon it, and are directly connected with them. The first item in this Vote represents an additional sum for the pa3'ment of results in connection with the Science Schools, and I wish particularly to direct the attention of the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Department to the fact that, while the most laudable efforts are being made by the Government of the country to extend the system of Science Schools—for I gather that in the Estimates that are coming, there will be a still larger grant for this purpose—a great deal of the utility which must be derived from Science Schools and from the Government money which is devoted to them, must depend upon the manner in which the students have been sufficiently ground in elementary education in order to enable them, when they come afterwards to the Science Schools, to take full and adequate advantage of the provision made for them. I will, therefore, make this suggestion, that, with a view of utilizing this Vote, the Government should take into consideration whether they will not be pre pared to give greater facilities for the teaching of science in the day schools and in the preparatory evening schools. At present it is well known that under the system of elementary education the instruction which is given is in connection with what are called the Standards, and that although certain Science Schools have been established here and there by the school boards, they have been established under a series of evasions of the Act of Parliament which I think is scarcely proper or suitable in this country at the present moment. On the contrary, I am of opinion that the Government would do 1414 well if they would endeavour to legalize the power that, in some instances, the school boards have taken upon them selves to exercise; and perhaps I may be allowed to express a hope that the school boards may receive, by the passing of some Act or other, power to provide and maintain schools and classes for the purpose of giving instruction in the elements of such branches of science as are likely to do good to artizans and others engaged in industrial occupations. I cannot doubt that by the establishment of such schools throughout the country generally, for which I believe the country is fairly ripe, the Science Schools referred to in the Vote would become considerably more utilized. I would also urge on the Government the propriety of adding preparatory evening schools to the Science Schools, in which the school boards may, at any rate, have power to establish classes, not necessarily bound by the limitation that those who attend them shall have passed in particular Standards. When I make this suggestion to the Government, I am perfectly well aware that I may be met by a similar rejoinder to that which was given to an hon. Gentleman at Question time—namely, that regard must be had to the expense that would be entailed. In treating with this matter of Science Schools, I hope I may be allowed very briefly to call attention to the fact that we are very far behind our own Colonies in this matter. I do not propose to range over the whole surface of the globe, because I wish to be very brief in my observations; but we have now to contend against our own Colonies in the competition of the race for life. I might refer to many of our Colonies, but I will not do more than refer to the Colony of New Zealand. In that Colony there are 97,000 children of school age, and I have here in my hand a list of the number of those children attending classes strictly preparatory to admission to such Science Schools as are now under discussion. The Committee must bear in mind that the number—97,000—is the total number of children of school age—that is to say, under 15. Of that number, there are 59,000 children attending drawing classes, and no fewer than 74,000 receive object lessons. I do not think it is necessary to go into more minute details than that as to the condition of elementary educa- 1415 tion in that Colony; and I believe it is not widely different from that in the other Australian Colonies. The whole of the children in those Colonies are gradually raised up with the extended knowledge of elementary science. I have indicated my object in bringing these facts before the Committee: it is to press upon the Government the desirability of introducing the same rule into our primary schools here with a view of making the money voted more usefully spent by the Science and Art Department of the United Kingdom. I would also urge upon the Government the necessity of extending Science Schools in the evening, so as to cover other branches of learning. The money asked for under this particular Vote includes the teaching of Art; but I do not see why the evening classes of this country, to which this Vote applies, should not include, among the other subjects with which they deal, what are commonly called literary subjects. There, again, I would refer the Committee to the action of the Colony of New Zealand. In that Colony history is taught in the elementary schools to nearly 40,000 of the pupils, and taking the neighbouring Colony of New South Wales there are 8,000 children out of a population of less than 1,000,000 attending classes on the history of Australia, showing the minuteness with which these subjects are taught in that Colony. I may perhaps be told that it would be difficult for the Government to organize and carry out examinations, and the general organization of the literary development of the schools to which this Vote applies; but let me re mind the Committee that there is to be, no further off than the day after tomorrow, an important conference in the Senate of the University of Cambridge; one of the objects of which is to consider this very point—namely, what the Universities may do in the direction of introducing a literary element in the evening schools, such as the study of French, German, history, and geography. I would therefore suggest to the Government that they would find the old Universities not unwilling to co-operate with them in a movement of this kind for extending the general advantages of both literary and scientific education very widely to the people by means of evening schools, or by means, as they 1416 may fairly be called, of continuing schools. I do not desire to weary the Committee by going over all that might be done in the evening schools; but I will allude to a matter more closely connected with the Vote immediately under discussion—namely, the question of evening technical schools. I have often wondered why more endeavour has not been made by the Science and Art Department to start something of that kind. Efforts of a private nature have been made in various parts of the country, and as long as any effort is made to provide purely technical education—I speak of technical education for workmen.—I think it should be made as cheap as possible for those who belong to any particular trade; but, at the same time, a higher fee should be charged to those who belong to the trade, so that we may avoid the great mistake we might other wise make of converting our workmen into Jacks-of-all-trades, and preventing them from concentrating their attention upon any one particular trade. But there ought to be no difficulty in enabling a man to study all the branches of a particular trade in the workshops. I believe that the Government, or the Local Authorities, in co-operation with, the working classes, would be able to gain experience of what is wanted for the development of the Science Schools referred to in this Vote in the direction of technical instruction. I forbear from referring to the question of local Colleges, because that is the subject which was referred to to-day at Question time, and I will not therefore trespass upon the indulgence of the Committee upon it. But I have one practical suggestion to make with respect to the carrying on of the Science Schools, and it is this—the head of the Department is aware that means are now being employed in the right direction to provide examinations in chemistry in the Science Schools. If those examinations were made of a practical kind, instead of being in book-work and on paper, I think that more satisfactory results would be achieved. Now, the whole of physical science is a contest of man upon the powers of nature, and it altogether depends, not on book learning, but on actual manipulation; and every branch of science we conquer in education in the matter of bringing it within the limits of manipulation is a great conquest for the well- 1417 being of education. Therefore, I will urge on the Government that the time is now come in connection with, what are usually called physics and mechanics upon which a sufficient number of experiments have been taken—the time is now come when we ought to lay down, more or less, in connection with physics and mechanics, the same requisition for manipulation and experiment in elementary work as we have laid down with such advantage in chemistry. With regard to the scholarships, local exhibitions, and prizes, I only wish to make this remark, that in the Colony of New Zealand there are no less than 111 scholarships held by boys, and 52 held by girls, or 163 in all; the scholarships being of the annual value of £4,995. This is made the means of carrying on the education of these children from the elementary schools to the advanced schools, or the literary schools, such as we do not possess here. If we were to multiply these scholarships so as to give the number which would be required in England, on the same scale, we should find that it would be necessary to allocate no less than £250,000 in England to that purpose. And in a new country like New Zealand there are no endowments, such as there are in such multitude in this country. The only remark I would make upon that point is that the grants I have indicated in New Zealand go directly and almost wholly to the poorer classes; whereas the endowments of this country are a constant source of trouble, and I do not know by what exact process, but, somehow or other, they have failed to meet the requirements of the country. I am sorry that I should have detained the Committee so long; and I thank it for the patience with which it has listened to me. As this is the only opportunity we have had during the year of dealing with this matter at all, I have endeavoured to deal with some points connected with it, and, at the same time, to keep as far within the bounds of a discussion upon the absolute Votes submitted to us as was possible.
SIR, HENRY ROSCOE (Manchester, S.)
Sir, I desire to offer a few remarks upon this Vote. I do not think there is likely to be any opposition in the Committee to the sum now asked for. I have had some experience in regard to the working of the Science and Art Depart- 1418 ment, and it seems to me that the money which has been voted this year for the purpose of the Science and Art instruction of the country is money well spent. I entirely agree with the remarks that have been made by my hon. Friend the Member for Shoreditch (Mr. James Stuart), The importance of scientific and technical education in this country cannot be over-rated; and I wish to point out that the Science and Art Department is in a position to assist and carry out in every way the requirements of the country on this subject. My hon. Friend has referred to the question of the introduction of practical examinations in Science, and in that respect I am entirely at one with him. There is, however, one important matter to which the Science and Art Department has not yet devoted its attention. It is one which, I think, deserves the attention of the Committee—namely, the question of manual instruction—instruction in the use of tools.
I must point out to the hon. Member, and also to other hon. Members, that it is not competent to discuss generally the work of the Science and Art Department upon this Vote, but only the special sums asked for in connection with that Department in regard to results, and scholarships, and exhibitions.
§ SIR HENRY ROSCOE
With regard to the special sums asked for in the Vote, there is an item of £8,600 for the results of the Science Schools; and it is stated that that sum is required on account of the increased number of students who have come up to the classes in the past year. I think the Committee is to be congratulated upon the amount of in creased work which has been done. If I am in Order, I should like to supplement the remarks of my hon. Friend the Member for Shoreditch by reminding I the Committee that not only in our Colonies, but on the Continent especially, the evidence obtained by the Royal Commission, of which I had the honour to be a Member, and which was presided over; by my hon. Friend the Member for Northern Oxfordshire (Sir Bernhard Samuelson), shows us very plainly what may be done by consolidation. I trust that the Committee will pass the Vote as the beginning of a what-we-may hope to get in full in some future time.
§ MR. W. H. JAMES (Gateshead)
Sir, I wish to put a Question to the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Committee of Council upon a subject on which I asked a Question a few days ago. I presume I shall be in Order, as the Question has reference to the scholarships. As the right hon. Gentleman is aware, the Report issued by the Science and Art Department last year gave the number of scholarships provided by the Department of the value of £50 at 16—of which £25 was given by the Department and £25 contributed by the locality. The elementary scholarships amounted to the smaller sum of £10 each, of which £5 was given by the Department and £5 contributed by the locality. These amounted to 116. Now, I think that such, a number of scholar ships are inadequate for the general demands of the country, and that it is impossible for them to do much for the Science and Art education of the people. This is a point which interests a good many persons in my own locality, and there is a general impression that if the amount towards these scholarships contributed by the Department be some what reduced in amount, and a smaller amount contributed by the locality, making the maximum limit of each scholarship, say, £10, a much larger number of scholarships might be given. I should therefore like the Vice President of the Committee of Council to give the Committee some information as to whether the amount of these scholarships might not be reduced to £9 for the Department, with a similar amount from the locality. There is one condition attached to the higher grade schools in which excellent education is given above that of elementary science, and that is the payment of a small sum—I believe 1s. a-week. Now, I think that if children passing out of elementary schools could obtain a scholarship—say, of the value of £5—to enable them to study in the higher grade schools, they would have the advantage of much higher training. What I ask is that £10 should be the maximum amount of each scholarship; and I should like to know from the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President whether it is not possible to reduce the amount now given, so as to give facilities for a general increase in the number of scholarships?
§ MR. BARTLEY (Islington, N.)
There are one or two points in connection with this Vote upon which I should like to dwell, and I hope the Vice President of the Committee of Council will be able to give some information in regard to them. I want to know what have been the causes which have made the results so much better as to involve such a large additional Vote, because we have no particulars placed before us to show us why this large in crease in the amount of the Vote should have been incurred. I think it is only reasonable and proper that, when a large additional Vote is wanted, we should have full information as to the improved results of the last examination on which these extra payments are made, and which took place in May last. There are several points in connection with this Vote upon which I should like to ask for definite information. I do not wish in any way to oppose the Vote; but, on the contrary, I trust the Vote may be extended if it can be made of use to the artizan classes. In the first item—which is for increased payments on results in connection with the Science Schools—the increased estimate is for £6,800 in addition to £72,000 voted last year. That is purely for the results of Science teaching, and it shows an increase of about 10 per cent. Then I find that the Vote for Art teaching is increased by £1,840, upon a sum of £35,000 already voted, showing an increase of 5 per cent; while the additional Vote for scholarships, local exhibitions, and prizes amount to nearly £2,000, and show an increase of nearly 20 per cent upon the sum already voted. Therefore, although the results have in Science-been only 10 per cent better, and in Art but 5 per cent better, yet the actual result of the competitions has been so very much better as to require a 20 per cent increase to the prizes, &c. I think I am entitled to ask the Vice President of the Council, what have been the actual results, and why this large additional amount is asked for Art prizes and exhibitions, when the results in connection with the Art schools have been so comparatively small? The real question at issue is, however, whether the country is getting full value for the money voted; and it turns really on the question raised by the noble Lord the Member for South Paddington (Lord Randolph Churchill)—namely, whether, with this 1421 ever-increasing Vote, we are really doing any considerable amount of good, and; are educating our artizans in technical and scientific knowledge? The Science and Art Vote has increased since 1867, when it stood at £64,000, to nearly £500,000—that is to say, nearly seven fold in the present year. What I want to know is, whether the money voted really goes to improve scientific and technical education throughout the country. I believe that a great deal has been done during the last 30 years, and I speak with some knowledge of the subject, I have had a great deal of connection with it, but I am afraid we are not getting the work done so much among the artizan classes as we ought, and as we want. There is one subject which I should much like to bring before the Committee—namely, the circulation of Art objects. I know that that is not strictly connected with this Vote; but I think it would be regular to allude to it in connection with the subject of Art education, seeing that it is almost part and parcel of the Vote. The subject, however, we shall have to debate later on, when the Estimates for the year are laid before the Committee, and, therefore, I will not further refer to it now. Now, what has been the effect of the payments by results in the Science and Art Department during last year? The last Report of the Department for 1886 contained some remark able statistics, from which I find that only 4,500 of the elementary day schools in the country out of a total of 19,000—or not quite one-fourth—are receiving instruction in the simplest rudiments of Art, namely, first grade drawing. That is to say, only one-fourth of our elementary day schools receive even the smallest homoeopathic dose of Art education. The number of children receiving this instruction is only 71,000 out of 3,500,000. I am sure that hon. Members on both sides of the House will agree with me that, with the keen competition now going on with foreign countries, it is of the highest importance that our artizan classes should get real instruction in what we believe will be of so much benefit to them hereafter. The only way in which they can be protected against foreign competition is by having the same education that foreigners have. Are we to be satisfied, then, to find that only one in seven of the children in our elementary schools is receiving even this 1422 small homoeopathic dose of Art instruction? In regard to the Art and Science classes, I find there are only 150,000 young men and women who are receiving any education whatever in the more advanced branches of Science and Art, or only one in 10 of those who ought to be in those schools. When I refer to past history what do I find? I find that, in 1874, in the Schools of Art, there were 24,000 pupils; and in 1884 the number had increased to 37,000, or, roundly speaking, an increase of about 50 percent. In the Art classes in 1874 there were 22,000 students, and in 1884, 10 years afterwards, there were only 24,000, showing merely an increase of 2,000; and yet the Vote this year has been increased by a very large sum. On referring to the third item, I find the case even worse, for, at the present time, the total number of persons taught drawing, painting, and modelling through the agency of the Science and Art Department is absolutely fewer than it was in the year 1882. The figures are these: In 1882 there were 909,216 pupils under a course of instruction, and at the present time—or, rather, at the time of the last Report—the number was 879,000—that is to say, that in spite of the large increase that has taken place in the amount of the Vote—namely, between £70,000 and £80,000 in four years—there are absolutely fewer pupils under instruction than there were at the be ginning of this period. I ask whether that is a satisfactory state of things in these days of keen competition, and with ever-increasing Votes? If I enter into details, I find that the results are even more unsatisfactory. One of the subjects upon which we are asked to supplement this Vote for technical education, is the teaching of agriculture. Now, I take it that, at the present time, there are millions of persons employed at agriculture in this country; but how many does the Committee suppose, a the present moment, are under instruction in practical agriculture? I venture to say that there are very few indeed. Under theoretical agriculture—that is to say, chemical science, and so on, in the whole of the United Kingdom there are only 5,404 persons under such instruction. In Ireland alone, I am sure there ought to be a great many more than that under agricultural instruction, in order to learn the 1423 elements of the art of better working the land. In machine drawing, there are only 14,000 students under instruction; in building construction, 7,500; in me chanics—in this great mechanical country—the Science and Art Department have only got 4,200 under instruction; in mining, 885; in metallurgy, 523; in practical metallurgy, only 218. These are the number of people who are under instruction, not in the higher grades of these subjects, but only under instruction in elementary knowledge; and I say emphatically that this is not a satisfactory state of affairs, considering that we are at the present moment spending something like £500,000 upon these matters. No doubt, we have done something in the past; but I venture to think that with all our trouble we are as yet only entering on the threshold of our battle. We are not competing in any way with other countries. If we refer to the institutions for technical education established elsewhere, we shall see distinctly that we are far behind in the race; and I wish to draw the attention of the Vice President of the Council to the fact that, if we are to hold our own in this great contest, our object must be to make the artizan and operative entirely a better workman and artificer, and that unless we do this, the enormous sums of money we are voting will not do that amount of good in the country which they are intended to do. I am quite prepared to vote for any reasonable increase in the Estimates for the Science and Art Department; because I am sure the only way in which we shall ever be able to get our artizans trained up, so as to be able to compete with other nations, is by providing them with scientific and technical instruction; but, at the same time, we must be satisfied that every shilling we spend is used in the best possible way so as to bring home, in the dense districts of our population in England, Ireland, and Scot land, that Science and Art, a technical education, which will tend to make them better workmen, and not merely spend it upon one or two huge Institutions which are too much crowded already, and which can be alone of but little advantage to the country generally.
§ MR. SAMUEL SMITH (Flintshire)
I should also like to say a few words in support of the remarks which have fallen from the hon. Member for North Islington (Mr. Bartley). I think the 1424 Art and Science Department ought to extend its operations downward, as well as upward. The time has come, in my opinion, when the Science and Art Department should give some assistance to the numerous evening schools which have been started all over the country by voluntary support, for the purpose of giving a simple technical education to the children of the poor. In the City of London, at the present time, there are 84 evening schools, entirely supported by voluntary effort, costing £1,500 a year. I happen to know that considerable difficulty has been experienced in raising adequate funds for the support of these schools, and that some of them are likely, in consequence, to be given up. Surely the schools in question are doing the work which the Science and Art Department ought to do themselves, for the benefit of the large class of persons who are not covered by the higher Science and Art Schools. The object of these schools is to get hold of the children of the poor as they leave the day school after school age is passed, and to maintain a hold upon them during the next two or three years of their lives, during which time their character is undergoing the process of formation. The education given in these night schools is largely technical—that is to say, it is simple, manual training, so as to fit children for useful employments in after life. When we look at the immense number of persons in the large towns who are destitute of instruction and totally unfitted for the ordinary pursuits of life—
The hon. Member is disregarding the ruling which I have already laid down. It is impossible to discuss the general working of the Science and Art Department under this Vote; but the discussion must be confined to the special sums asked for.
§ MR. SAMUEL SMITH
I was afraid that I was extending my remarks a little too far, in my desire to call attention to these matters. I will not detain the Committee further than to express a hope that the Science and Art Department will see its way to enlarge its scope, so as to become more practical and useful to the masses.
§ SIR BERNHARD SAMUELSON (Oxfordshire, N.)
The demand now made upon the Committee is for increased grants in connection with fees 1425 for results, and for scholarships, exhibitions, and prizes. I should certainly like to have some information as to the actual results which have been obtained. I agree with the hon. Member for North Islington (Mr. Bartley), that the vote of this money would be most valuable, if we could be convinced that the country is getting results in accordance with the money spent. I have always, however, entertained doubts in regard to that point. My hon. Friend has referred to the payments which, have been made for instruction in agriculture. May I point out that the instruction given in agriculture, instead of being given in agricultural towns, has not unfrequently been given in large centres like London; and in that way, I think, there has been a considerable misapplication, in many instances, of funds which might be used with very considerable advantage. Reference has also been made to the very small number of young persons educated in the mechanical subjects. If a comparison is made between the number of students in these branches and in animal physiology, a still greater discrepancy will be found to exist. These payments by the Science and Art Department are, in a great measure, made merely by way of a subsidy to the salaries of the elementary school masters. So long as that is the case, whatever else the result may be, I maintain that the country is not receiving from the funds the advantage which it believes it is receiving. Hitherto, in these discussions, the question has been whether the Science and Art Department should be altogether condemned, or whether it should receive unqualified praise. In my opinion, neither of those courses is the proper course. What we want to see is that we are getting money's worth for our money, and I fear that, as far as Science and Art are concerned, we are not getting the value of our money. I should be glad, indeed, if we were; and I think the ad ministration of the Department requires investigation, so that we may ascertain whether the system of payment by results is altogether satisfactory, and whether it really secures the purpose for which the Department was originally founded—namely, the promotion of the industry of the country. I believe that that is not the case at the present moment, and I maintain that it is a sub- 1426 ject which ought to be more fully considered.
§ MR. PICTON (Leicester)
The hon. Member for Shoreditch (Mr. James Stuart) has stated that the money we are about to vote has shown no signs of producing the full value that was expected from it. The hon. Member for North Islington (Mr. Bartley) said, that out of so vast a population in the Science Classes we vote the public money to support and provide for so very few. Both of these observations point to the same defect—namely, that these Science Classes, like a great many other branches of our educational system, are detached. They are not part of an organic whole. There is no sufficient preparation made for them in the earlier education of the children, nor have the children, in their earlier instruction in the schools, been taught to look forward to such instruction. The right hon. Baronet the Vice-President of the Council has only recently accepted his responsible Office, and I trust that I shall not be deemed out of Order if I suggest to him that he would very greatly benefit not only the Science Classes, but also other parts of our educational system, if he would direct his attention to some effort to mould them into one organic whole. The hon. Member for Shoreditch has spoken of the number of children receiving object lessons in New Zealand. I daresay that all the children in our own elementary schools receive object lessons of some sort or other; but what I should like to see is that the object lessons are so directed and so framed that they should gradually lead the children to the details of scientific study. That is the case in Germany, as anyone who will read Mr. Matthew Arnold's Report will see. The child begins with the ordinary details of life, and he is gradually brought into a knowledge of technical science. That is what we want to see in this country, and if the Vice President of the Council will look into the matter he will do a very great service to the country.
§ THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL (Sir WILLIAM HART DYKE (Kent, Dartford)
I think that the cause for which I make this increased demand upon the Committee in connection with this Vote is of the simplest possible nature, and is uniform throughout the three branches of the increase. The increase 1427 extends to Votes 1, 3, and 6. In regard to the first sab-head, the demand for the increase is owing to the fact that a larger number of students have applied for ex amination than had been estimated by the Department when the Votes were originally framed. With regard to the nest head—namely, the Art Schools, the same cause has operated to increase the expenditure—a far larger number of candidates having applied for examination than was counted on when the Estimates were first framed. As in the Science Schools, so also in regard to the Schools of Art; and the Estimates have swollen, and swollen considerably, not only on account of the number of students who have been examined, but also on account of the excellence of their work. I may also say, in passing, that, in regard to the estimate of the number of students likely to come up for examination, it is not always an easy one to arrive at. An estimate can only be made by taking the existing number of schools, and then striking an average, and by that means endeavouring to ascertain how many are likely to come up for examination. As to the third head, the same cause also operates in the preparation of the estimate. A larger number of students have succeeded in winning scholarships, exhibitions, and prizes than was estimated. Although it is never a very pleasant duty to rise in this House to defend a Supplementary Estimate, yet I think hon. Members will admit that there is a bright side to the picture, in the knowledge that the increase in our demands is occasioned by the success of the students who have been examined. I must say that I take a most sanguine view of the results of the working of the Science and Art Department. While I was prepared for some discussion in regard to these three items which appear in the Vote, I hope I may be excused from going closely into these questions, because they are matters involving technical details and considerable responsibility to myself and the Department with which I have so very recently become connected. With regard to the chief points of the discussion, I may say generally that no one is more aware than I am of the growing feeling that exists in favour of technical education. In fact, it is no Party question. I do not think at this moment it is possible to hit on a question on which there is greater 1428 unanimity than in regard to this matter of technical education. The question, however, is one of great difficulty. How difficult it is I may point out by an incident which happened this evening in reference to a Question which was put by the hon. Member for South Manchester (Sir Henry Roscoe) as to the accommodation at South Kensington. That is a very important question, and a very old question. I think it is something like SO years since a promise was made that there should be an addition to the buildings at South Kensington. The answer of my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer to-night was that there is not a superfluity of money in Her Majesty's Treasury at this moment to enable him to take a sanguine view of the matter. The question is not only a very large one as regards finance, but it is somewhat fallacious to argue it, as was done by the late Mr. Forster in introducing the Education Bill—namely, that it would only cost so much to carry into effect any particular scheme concerning the question of technical education. It is very easy to urge that a scheme may be launched on this great subject; but what Her Majesty's Treasury have to consider, and what I am bound also to consider is, not what such a scheme might cost this year, but what the ultimate result of such a scheme may be if it becomes popular in the country and is carried to a successful issue. I will only point out now what an enormous sum we are paying for national education in comparison with the amount we started with origin ally in 1857. The hon. Member has alluded specifically to the contracted position of affairs in South Kensington. I have entered on the task which lies before me with no prejudice in favour of any Department. I am one of those who have always believed in adapting a department to the wants and circumstances of the age. An hon. Member opposite has mentioned the desirability of inquiring now as to whether we should not adapt South Kensigton so as to render it more able to cope with the new questions of technical education which are rising among us. So far as I am concerned, I not only look at the question without prejudice, but with an honest and sincere desire, if possible, by inquiry or otherwise to adapt not only the building but the Department at South 1429 Kensington more and more to the circumstances of the age, and specifically in regard to the great advantages of technical education. The hon. Member for Gateshead (Mr. W. H. James) has suggested, in reference to the scholar ships, that it would be advisable to reduce the sums now given by the Department in connection with scholar ships. The hon. Member is aware that the sums now given are allocated by the Department for three years—namely, £4 in the first year, £7 in the second, and £10 in the third. Therefore, with the local contribution, a scholarship is worth £9 in the first year, £12 in the second, and £15 in the third. My answer to the hon. Member, when he asks if it is not desirable to reduce the sum given to these scholarships, is that if you reduce it to a small amount you would entirely destroy the present scope of the grants. At present they are made to apply not only to education, but to maintenance. No one would be more glad to see them increase than. I should, if I had the means; but if you reduce them to very small sums they will not answer the purpose for which they are intended; and, therefore, I cannot give any promise to reduce the sums, because I think that if that were done the effect would be to destroy their scope and object. I am aware that I have not dealt with all the questions which have been raised in the course of this discussion, especially by the hon. Member for Shoreditch (Mr. James Stuart), who urged the great importance of elementary education qua Science instruction in the schools. The point of the hon. Member is, that at present there are children in the elementary schools who are not in a fit condition to understand or appreciate scientific instruction. The hon. Member further urges that the children should be admitted into night schools, and that there should be adequate instruction on special subjects in addition to the Standards. [Mr. JAMES STUART: That was part of the suggestion I made.] I do not think that it would be possible to relinquish the Standards altogether. In conclusion I hope hon. Members will understand why it is that I have not dealt more specifically with some of the questions which have been raised. I would again urge this Vote upon the attention of the Committee on the ground 1430 that the increase has been caused by an unlooked-for success.
§ MR. MUNDELLA (Sheffield, Brightside)
I should not have thought it necessary to say anything to supplement the remarks of my right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Council if it had not been for the remarks which fell from the hon. Gentleman who spoke before him (Mr. Picton) in reference to this Vote. The sum asked for is £10,500 in excess of the amount asked for last year, and it is the result of the automatic increase in which every Member who has spoken ought to rejoice. One hon. Member, however, seems to think that the increase has only been in the Vote and not in the absolute results obtained.
§ MR. BARTLEY
What I stated was, that the same relative increase in results had not been obtained as compared with the increase of the cost, and I showed that the number of students taught drawing, painting, and modelling through the agency of the Science and Art Department since 1882 has fallen off.
§ MR. MUNDELLA
I presume that the recent transfer of some of the elementary teaching to the Education Department accounts for the difference; but I still maintain that the increase has been large and very rapid. Anyone who knows anything of the work going on now in the country in connection with, the Science and Art Department must admit that there never was so much work—and never as good work—as is being done at this moment. In 1875 the total number of pupils, including the Science and Art Elementary Schools in every branch of art instruction, was 444,000, while in 1885 the number had increased to 883,000, or nearly double. There may have been a slight diminution in the Art classes; but the hon. Gentleman knows the ad vantage of transferring the Art classes to Art Schools, and there has been a large increase of Art Schools, and the work is very much better done in the Art Schools than in the Art Classes. I am quite sure that it is the desire of the Committee that this work should extend to children in our elementary schools. Everyone above the infant schools should be taught drawing, which is an essential part of an industrial education. No 1431 greater mistake can be made than not to make the teaching of drawing obligatory. I hope the time is not far distant when we shall make drawing—the use of the pencil for industrial purposes, not for art purposes—necessary in all our schools. It is a deplorable thing to go from school to school in Germany and see the wonderful facility every German child possesses in the use of the pencil, and then to come to English schools, some of the best in the country, and to find that because the teacher is not paid sufficiently well, or because he has not been sufficiently well instructed himself to be able to teach the children, nearly one-fourth, certainly much less than one-sixth, of the children in the elementary schools at present receive no instruction whatever in drawing. What, after all, such a change means is increased expenditure—a swelling of the Vote for the Science and Art Department. Large as the Estimates are as compared with 25 or 30 years ago, and as compared with the small grant Sir Henry Cole obtained from this House for the good work of art instruction, as contrasted with the grants in other countries similarly situated to ourselves, our Estimates are a disgrace to us. What is the whole expenditure on education in England? It is less than 5 per cent of the whole expenditure of the country; whereas there are some countries whose expenses for education form one-third of their whole expenditure. [An hon. MEMBER: Where?] In Switzerland it is more than one-third, I believe, while in this country in 1887, the Science and Art Expenditure only reaches £129,000—a sum hardly more than two or three institutions on the Continent expend annually. I believe that the expenditure at Charlottenburg, Aix-la-Chapelle, and Zurich is quite as much on Science and Art as we spend altogether in this country. If any hon. Member thinks that this money is wasted I should like him to visit a few of our own schools, such as that at Bradford, the school in the little town of Keighley, and the Central School in Manchester. In Manchester, one out of 65 of the population is receiving a grant from the Science and Art Department; whereas in the Metropolis only one in 1,000 is receiving it. London is along way behind many of the towns in the North of England, and compares very unfavourably in the cause of education.
1432 The hon. Member for Shoreditch (Mr. James Stuart) called attention to the case of New Zealand. Yes; but we cannot hope to compare with our Colonies, if we are to confine our expenditure to such modest sums as we have here. The money voted in New Zealand goes to the whole of the children, and all classes go to the same schools. There are graded schools, and from top to bottom all of them are free schools, the expenses being paid by the State. My hon. Friend the Member for North Oxfordshire (Sir Bernhard Samuelson) said he thought that some of our Science teaching is given in a wrong manner, and in wrong places. I must remind him, that when he speaks of agriculture being taught in large towns, he is labouring under a considerable error. I remember when I was at the Committee of Council, that we made a rule distinctly against such teaching in the large towns; and that the grants have been cut off wherever there has been agricultural teaching in large centres. There have been complaints upon this matter at various times. I remember that at Cambridge it was stated—"We have people coming in from the locality who are entitled to be taught agriculture, because Cambridge, after all, is an agricultural centre." I do not think, alter all, that anything could be more judiciously applied than money given in this way. I have spoken upon the subject with my right hon. Friend the Secretary for the Colonies (Sir Henry Holland), who administered the Department with so much ability during the time it was under his control, and he knows that there is no Department of the State at this moment where every farthing is so closely and carefully looked after as in the Science and Art Department at South Kensington. No doubt, the Treasury thinks that it can govern the world, and that it knows everything in connection with these matters a great deal better than the Minister of Education or anybody else; but all its business is to keep down the expenditure. I believe there will be no real good done in this matter, and no really good government of the country, until the expenditure upon education is largely increased. I am afraid I am now going into general questions; but when the next opportunity arrives I shall have to speak much more strongly 1433 on this question of education. All I can say now is that I rejoice in the increase of this Vote. I hope the Committee will grant it without demur; and I also hope that the Vote will go on annually increasing.
§ MR. F. S. POWELL (Wigan)
I hope the Committee will allow me to say a few words on this subject before we pass away from it. I trust that no one will think that Members on the Ministerial side of the House regard a Vote of this character with any grudging spirit. If any hon. Member does, he greatly misjudges the sentiments of those who sit near me. On the contrary, we are of opinion that the Vote is one of the highest importance, and that the increased attention of the country ought to be directed both to scientific and technical education. In reference to what has been stated by the right hon. Member for the Bright-side Division of Sheffield (Mr. Mundella) with regard to drawing, I sincerely hope that drawing will be taught to every child in the country, whatever may be the class to which he belongs or the nature of the instruction given. I might probably be departing from the rule which has been laid down in regard to this discussion if I were to enlarge upon this subject; but I think I am en titled to say that every quality which a citizen ought to have may be produced by teaching the child drawing. It teaches him accuracy, skill, application, and knowledge of form, all of which must be of service to him in his future career. In regard to evening schools, there is no subject more important. If we could secure the establishment of well-arranged evening schools, I am satisfied that great advantage would arise; but if such schools are conducted in a loose manner, and the instruction is not complete, then our efforts would probably be wasted, and disappointment would result. With regard to the large sums spent in technical education in foreign countries, as compared with that which is spent in our own, it must be remembered that foreign countries, for the most part, have their education based on public grants; whereas, in this country, we have not only public grants, but school fees, which amount to a large sum, paid by the parents; local endowments, benefactions bequeathed by our forefathers; and also magnificent insti- 1434 tutions which are supported by voluntary subscriptions. Taking these additional sources of income into consideration, I believe that if we draw a comparison between the public grants of foreign countries and the four items of income I have mentioned, we should find that our expenditure for education is equal to that of foreign countries, and not so inferior to them as some persons may infer. I rose to make these few remarks, because hon. Members on this side have taken very little part in the discussion, and I thought it would not be right that there should be any misapprehension as to their views. I only wish to add my complete concurrence with those who welcome this grant without grudging it, and who rejoice at the increase it displays year after year.
§ MR. CONWAY (Leitrim, N.)
I wish to make an observation in connection with the items showing an increase in the payments for results. I think the Science and Art Department is about the best advertised Department in the State. We have the contractors of that Department advertising various things in connection with it, and also bringing their own personality before the public. Colonel Donnelly, the director, has recently issued a circular containing certain paragraphs which are not only vague but contradictory in terms. The object of the circular appears to be to lower the salaries of the teachers to prevent the same satisfactory results from being obtained as hitherto, and to bring upon the teachers a loss of reputation. In the first paragraph of the circular we are told that the work, in order to be satisfactory, should be well executed from examples of a good work in the section of study through which the student is passing.
That circular refers to the Estimate of next year, and does not refer to the expenditure of the current year in respect of which this Supplementary Estimate is presented.
§ MR. CONWAY
Is not the principle of the circular open to observation? The circular itself states that the pupils are to send in the results of their studies before May.
It would be quite irregular to discuss the expenditure of next year in connection with a Supplementary Estimate for this year.
§ DR. TANNER (Cork, Mid)
In rising to say a few words about the Vote, I do not wish it for an instant to be understood that I desire in any sense to object to any item which may be brought forward in any of the Supplementary Estimates about to be placed before the Committee, and especially in regard to this Estimate. On the contrary, I think that this important Department of Science and Art ought to receive the fullest attention, and that it should be thoroughly looked into by the Committee; but I think it has been clearly shown by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Brightside Division of Sheffield (Mr. Mundella) that there are many points in connection with this Estimate for the Science and Art Department which might be rectified for the great benefit of the country; and notably in connection with the question of free hand drawing, which does not appear to have received that amount of deliberate attention which its importance deserves. The right hon. Gentleman showed that in other countries, where it has received adequate attention, very good results have been produced. Now, I happen to know something about the German schools, having been brought up in some of them, and I know personally the great importance which is attached to this subject by the Government of Germany—a Government which is obsequiously followed by Her Majesty's Government in many other departments—notably, that of war. It is very well known that Her Majesty's Government have largely attempted to carry out the German methods of education in connection with the war department; and if they desire to carry it out successfully in connection with that all-important Department of Science and Art, it will be necessary for us to take steps for securing adequate instruction in our schools in free-hand drawing. The original Estimate for the Department, which has already been passed, was £104,000, and a sum of £10,500 is now required in addition. In the South of Ireland—in the city to which I am proud to belong—namely, the City of Cork—a native of which built the House in which we are now assembled, and adorned the cor- 1436 ridors through which we pass—the subject of Science and Art has been studiously neglected by the Department. It was not until a native of the City of Cork—Mr. Crawford—put his hand into his own pocket—
The hon. Gentle man must confine his observations to the sums specifically asked for in this Supplementary Estimate.
§ DR. TANNER
I apprehend that a portion of the sum has been used in connection with the buildings which have been erected for the purpose of giving instruction in Science and Art questions.
It is obvious that no portion of this Vote has been used in that way, seeing that it is simply for payment for results.
§ DR. TANNER
Then, I will pass from that point and come to another one. I always have paid the greatest possible deference to any opinion you may express, and I desire to confine myself, as much as possible, to the Vote which is now brought under our consideration. As an Irish Protestant, and as an Irish Protestant Member of a Party which is mainly Catholic in Ireland, I desire to call attention to two institutions which are doing admirable work in the promotion of Science and Art—namely, the Artane School, in Dublin, and the Christian Brothers' School at Cork. Notwithstanding the attention paid to Science and Art in those schools, they get no payment for results; and they are doing, practically speaking, the work that ought to be done by this Department. If the Government desire to act in a right manner, and in a generous spirit, I think they ought to take these institutions into account; and grant some portion of this money to institutions such as these, which are trying to do a good, useful, and noble work, so as to aid them in promoting the welfare of Ireland, and, in so doing, to promote the welfare of Great Britain and the country generally.
§ MR. O'DOHERTY (Donegal, N.)
I have had some connection with local schools, in which an attempt has been made, as far as possible, to develop, for the sake of the people in the district, some practical knowledge of agriculture—that being, of course, the great industry of Ireland. Agriculture represents in Ireland exactly that which, in your technical schools, you are seeking to develop here; and if some teaching 1437 were given in Ireland in reference to agriculture, it would represent in that country the manual instruction you desire to extend to the artizans of this country. I have endeavoured to ascertain how much of the public money is devoted to agriculture, and the teaching in the board schools of Ireland; and I find that it does not reach the sum of £5,000—the gross vote being somewhere about £10,000, and the return in the shape of money received from the pupils and from the schools amounting to some thing over £5,000; so that the great industry of an entire country, on the prosperity of which it has to depend, is actually starving. In any further dealing with the extension of technical schools, I would ask the President of the Council to endeavour to make up for this great deficiency in Ireland. I believe that probably a great amount of the deficiency hitherto found to exist in the successful management of farms in Ireland arises from the continual neglect of the technical education of the people who have to depend upon them. I would therefore, ask the Vice President of the Council, if it is not possible to extend in some way, in the same manner where a desire has been expressed to extend technical education in this country, assistance to Ireland in the shape of practical instruction in agriculture.
§ MR. BARTLEY
I will only detain the Committee for one moment. The right hon. Member for the Brightside Division of Sheffield seems to question the statement I made concerning the reduction of the number of students taught Art during the last few years. I have here the Returns of the Department; and I find that the grand total of persons taught drawing, painting, and modelling through the agency of the Department was, in 1882, 909,216; in 1883, 843,135; in 1884, 851,805; and in 1885, 879,000. Therefore, I was strictly accurate when I stated that since the year 1882 there has been a decrease of the number of pupils under instruction. The point I complain of is, that, although the grants are larger, the number of pupils taught has been absolutely less.
§ MR. SCLATER - BOOTH (Hants., N., Basingstoke)
I fail to see why it is that the Committee is asked to go into these questions of education at this moment. I think it would have been better if the discussion had been post- 1438 poned until the Education Estimates for the year are brought forward soon after Easter. It does not appear that the Vote now before the Committee, although not unimportant in amount, is anything more than the excess incurred over the original Estimate; and the House of Commons possesses machinery by means of which the excesses on the Votes can be commented on and discussed. It will be the duty of the Controller and Auditor General, and of the Committee on Public Accounts, to present a Report upon them; and the proper opportunity will then arise for discussing them. It would be improper, by taking the discussion upon a Supplementary Estimate, to withdraw the excesses from the Controller and Auditor General, and the Committee on Public Accounts; and such a practice would, in my opinion, be most unfortunate. It would cause the House to discuss the same subject twice over; whereas once is quite sufficient in the same Session of Parliament; and it would interfere with the proper method by which excesses of expenditure on the part of a Department are brought home to the Treasury and the House. I have often made this observation before, and successive Secretaries of the Treasury have agreed with me in principle, but have conveniently forgot it when it was considered desirable to revert to the old practice in order to shield themselves by the action of a Supplementary Estimate from the ordinary consequence of an excess.
§ SIR JOHN LUBBOCK (University of London)
I think it would be an unfortunate and a retrograde step if the Department were to adopt the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down. Whenever the Departments find that the Estimates are likely to be exceeded, it is their duty to come to Parliament for a Supplementary Vote. These Supplementary Estimates are for expenditure which is being actually incurred in the current year; excesses over the amounts over and above the Votes. Now, if Supplementary Estimates are not presented, the result would be to withdraw that expenditure from the cognizance of Parliament. The Public Accounts Committee, to which the right hon. Gentle man has referred, has always been anxious to keep down excesses—that is to say, expenditure above both the Es- 1439 timate and the Supplementary Estimate—as much as possible; and last year, I am happy to say, that object was attained, and there were no excesses. The discussion, though interesting, has travelled, perhaps, rather beyond the Vote, into a general discussion; and I will not contribute further to it than to make one remark on the speech of my right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Council—namely, that I hope he will not look merely to the expenditure which any given change may involve, but rather to the result which it is likely to attain, and the advantage which the country will derive from the expenditure.
§ MR. O'HEA (Donegal, W.)
So far as this matter of Science and Art in struction is concerned, I dare say the Committee has made up its mind; but there is one point on which I think we ought to have a little more information than is contained in the Paper on which the Estimate is printed. I have taken a good deal of interest in Science and Art so far as the institution in the City of Cork, of which city I am an inhabitant, is concerned; and I am not aware that any portion of this money has, either directly or indirectly, been used in subsidizing that institution. It is kept up by a private tax, which amounts to 1d. in the pound, by private donations, and by private bequests. The institution itself is very flourishing and thriving; and I must say that the details given in this Vote are so vague and ambiguous as to lead me to believe that not a single penny of the money voted by this House goes to the support of that institution, which is found to be of such value and use in the City of Cork. I dare say the same remark may apply to similar institutions in other towns and cities in Ire land. I have no objection to a reason able expenditure of public money in this direction; but I should like to have a little more information upon matters of detail. I should certainly like to receive some information from the Secretary of the Treasury or the Vice President of the Council that my native city is not altogether overlooked or ignored as far as the application of this money is concerned.
§ MR. P. MCDONALD (Sligo, N.)
My hon. Friend the Member for West Donegal (Mr. O'Hea) has spoken of the action of the Department of Science and Art in 1440 connection with the institution for Science and Art in Cork. I wish, in following him, to speak of its action in relation to the City of Dublin. In Dublin there is a so-called College of Science, which, in my opinion, has done its work in the direction we all desire, inasmuch as it has begun not at the beginning, but rather at the end. In technical education the object we ought to have in view is to begin in the elementary schools, and train the young mind in the direction of technical knowledge, so as to prepare them for the superior work in which they may afterwards be engaged. I have found that a great necessity exists in Dublin for technical education, and knowing the inefficiency of the so-called College of Science and Art, the people of Dublin put their heads together and established a technical school. The Corporation has contributed pretty largely to the maintenance of that school, and I hold that it is the duty of the Government of the day to give a helping hand in a work of such deep importance. I also believe that technical education might be very properly and usefully introduced into the workhouse schools, so as to train up the young people in those schools with the object of rendering themselves useful when they go out into the world, and to prevent them from becoming an incumbrance and a pest to society. If the poor youths and girls also in the workhouse schools could be made useful members of society, in stead of being chronic inmates of these unfortunate institutions, or preying upon society when let loose, the whole of the community would reap a substantial advantage. Therefore, I appeal to Her Majesty's Government to look at this question in a practical and generous spirit, especially in regard to Ireland. I also think it right to ask, under the head of payment for results in the Science Schools and payment for results in the Art Schools and classes, how much of this money goes to Ireland? I believe it is admitted on all hands that the young people of Ireland evince a superior taste, not merely in Science, but in Art. I have seen wonderful results in regard to Art in some of the schools. I have seen bare-legged boys and girls sitting at the work-table and reproducing Art pictures on pottery, such as would command the approbation of the people of this country if they could be brought 1441 under their notice. Therefore, I am of opinion that more consideration should be given to us in the direction I indicate, and that, if possible, a grant should be given for Art education in Ireland.
§ SIR WILLIAM HART DYKE
I hold in my hand the last Report of the Department of Science and Art, and in that book will be found the exact sums which the schools in Ireland have received. The hon. Member for West Donegal (Mr. O'Hea) will find that the school in Cork to which he has referred received £151 13s. 1d.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (2.) £23,900, Supplementary, Public Education, Ireland.
§ MR. TUITE (Westmeath, N.)
Upon this Vote I desire to call the attention of the Committee to the unfair treatment which the Irish National School teachers are receiving. The grievances of the teachers have been before successive Governments, and when the Conservatives were last in Office a deputation which waited on the Chief Secretary for Ireland and other Members of the Government was told that if the Government remained in power the whole question of education in Ireland would be dealt with comprehensively and immediately. I think it is a lamentable state of things that nothing has since been done. It is admitted on all hands that the result of the system of education carried out by the National teachers in Ireland has been very good; in fact, as compared with England and Scotland, it is in the highest degree favourable. The standard is higher than in England and only a trifle lower than in Scotland. Yet it is a remarkable fact that the majority of the National teachers in Ireland receive less pay than an ordinary, well-skilled artizan. In some cases the salary is as low as £35 a-year. The average is only £63, and comparing that with the average salary received in England—£120—the difference is very great indeed. You have as good results in Ireland as in England, and yet only one-half the salary is paid. That is not a state of things that ought to exist, and I hope the present Tory Government that formerly promised so much for the Na- 1442 tional teachers will do something for them before the close of the Session. I regret the retirement of the late Chief Secretary, because I believe that nobody understood the question of Irish education better than the right hon. Gentle man. I intended to ask him this Session to carry out the promise he had made to the National teachers; but as he has now resigned the Office, I trust that his Successor will do something in that direction. In Ireland, as I have pointed out, the average salary of a male teacher is £63, and of a female teacher £40; whereas the average salaries in England are £120 for a male and £73 for a female teacher. In Ireland the standard of education is higher than in England, and yet you will not give the teachers the same salary. In Ireland the passes in reading are 93.4 per cent; in England 91.9 and in Scotland 93.6. In writing in Ireland the percentage of passes is 95.8; in England 83.8; and in Scotland 91.5; while in arithmetic the percentage in Ireland is 80.7; England 79.7; and Scotland 87.5. I think that these statistics show that the Irish teacher is not behind his English brother in the power of imparting knowledge to his pupils, and I think he ought to receive the same remuneration. In Ireland you restrict the political freedom of the teacher and make him the slave of the State; in England the same restriction does not exist. Surely in Ireland, where he is so much under control, you ought not to make him depend upon the whim of the Guardians. The result of your present system is that you cannot induce young men of ability to enter a service for which you only offer such a miserable remuneration; and nevertheless, not withstanding that fact, the standard of education in Ireland is higher than in England, and the results are much better. I have a Bill on this subject, which stands upon the Order Book for the 16th of March; but I do not believe it can be reached, because there are other matters which are likely to occupy the whole of the attention of the House. My Bill seeks to remedy the existing state of things, and I would ask the Government if they are prepared to afford any facilities for bringing on a discussion upon its provisions. An other point is that you do not allow assistants the same salary—you do not extend to them the same treatment as 1443 you extend to persons in the same position in England. In all cases the salary in England and Scotland is much higher, and it seems marvellous that this should be the case, seeing that the results in Ireland are so very good. I will not detain the Committee much longer; but I make a final appeal to the Government to do something in this matter. The residences of the teachers in Ireland are miserable, in point of fact they are, if I may use the term, uninhabitable. The teachers are unable to study there, and yet they are expected to give good results from the miserable salary and accommodation afforded them. I hope the Government will give us some information on this subject, and hold out to the Committee some hope that before long something will be done for those very badly paid servants, who, for the salary they receive, yield such excellent results.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. HOLMES) (Dublin University)
The Committee will perceive that there is an increase on several items in this Vote which is due to the laudable efforts of the teachers to improve their qualifications and become entitled to increased salary, as well as to the necessity of making a further provision on account of the salaries of monitors. The hon. Member for Tipperary (Mr. J. O'Connor) has referred to the condition of the Irish National School teachers, and the position which my right hon. Friend the late Chief Secretary (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) took up with regard to it. I can assure hon. Members that my right hon. Friend has been working assiduously for some time on several matters, in fulfilment of his promise to attend to this subject. He has left the result of his work for his Successor, and I am certain that there will be no default in this matter on the part of my right hon. Friend the present Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour).
§ MR. MOLLOY (King's County)
The right hon. and learned Gentleman has explained the reasons for the demand for a Supplementary sum under this Estimate, but he has scarcely addressed himself to the point to which my hon. Friend referred. He calls the increase which has taken place an automatic in crease, but that is not the case, inasmuch as it is due to an effort on the 1444 part of the teachers to attain a higher class of results. The sums, therefore, which the right hon. and learned Gentle man has referred to as evidence of the fulfilment of the pledges of the Government, given on so many occasions, is no evidence of fulfilment at all.
§ MR. HOLMES
I did not say that they had been fulfilled, I said that my right hon. Friend, in fulfilment of his promise to carefully consider the subject, had been engaged diligently in trying to settle certain branches of it.
§ MR. MOLLOY
Exactly. The right hon. and learned Gentleman has admitted that pledges were given, and that they have not yet been fulfilled. No complaint has been made with reference to the increase of the Estimate; the complaint is that the increase which has occurred has not been occasioned by any benefit that has been done to the teachers beyond that which has been due to their own action. The reason of the increase was not the improved status of the National School teachers in Ire land; my desire is to impress upon the Committee that the improved status of the teachers is not due to any action of the Government, but to the exertions of the teachers themselves. The pledges have been made for so many years that I am becoming, I confess, a little sceptical on the subject of their fulfilment. The right hon. and learned Gentleman regrets that the Chief Secretary (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) has resigned his position, and I can assure him that no one regrets that resignation more than we do. The right hon. and learned Gentleman has stated that the late Chief Secretary had prepared a Bill and made provision for an increase of the salaries of teachers in Ireland. The whole story has been gone into so often by my hon. Friends that I will not deal with it at length now; but I wish to point out that not only are the National School teachers in Ireland receiving little more than half the salaries received by the National School teachers in England, but that the latter have not done their work half so well. In many cases the Irish School teachers walk six or seven miles—Irish miles, which are considerably longer than English miles—to and from school; they cannot afford to take out of their small salaries a sum sufficient to provide them with comfortable lodgings, and the consequence is that, as a rule, they have to get lodg- 1445 ings in the houses of the small farmers, very often at a considerable distance from the schools which they attend, and they have to take these long journeys in good weather and bad—in snow and rain. But yet in spite of all that, the results they have achieved have been better than the results produced by the school teachers in this country. The right hon. and learned Gentleman has referred to a scheme which has been prepared by the late Chief Secretary for Ireland. I do not say it is a Bill which he has pre pared.
§ MR. HOLMES
I said nothing about a Bill. I said that my right hon. Friend had been engaged on several matters connected with this subject.
§ MR. MOLLOY
I understood the right hon. and learned Gentleman to say that the late Chief Secretary, who took a great interest in the subject of education in Ireland, and who was undoubtedly well qualified in this respect, had made preparations for introducing a measure to deal with the case of the Irish National School teachers. If that is not the case, I am sorry for it. He said that the new Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour) would take up the work where it had been left off by the late Chief Secretary. I point out to the Committee that the Government have again this year given us a pledge that the matter is in hand, and that preparations have been made to do what it would be a national grievance to leave undone. Well, Mr. Courtney, I hope these additional pledges will culminate in something more than they have during the last six years.
§ MR. H. J. GILL (Limerick)
I wish to ask the Government for some information with regard to model schools.
§ Mr. H. J. GILL
Am I not to under stand that in this Vote provision is made for salaries connected with the teachers in model schools?
Even if that were the case, it would not be in Order to discuss the organization of model schools in connection with this Vote.
MR. J. O'CONNOR (Tipperary)
In conjunction with my Colleagues, I desire to express my very great regret that the late Chief Secretary for Ireland (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) is not in a 1446 sufficient state of health to be in his place, and state what he has done with regard to carrying out the good intentions which he had with reference to the National School teachers in Ireland. I believe that the late Chief Secretary possessed good intentions in that respect, but I certainly have a fear that the work which he left was not in a very advanced state; and I think, therefore, that it is very natural that we should seek for some information as to the items of this Vote. We have every reason to be satisfied with the explanation which the right hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Holmes) has given of the items. I cannot see, however, how the removal expenses in respect of new districts affect the general position of the National School teachers of Ireland. That the increased expenditure is the result of classification is a revelation to me, because I have always been under the impression that no matter what the classification might be, no augmentation of salaries would take place; and that a man who was a first-class teacher would only have the pay of a second-class teacher, according to the scale. The explanation of the right hon. and learned Gentleman, although candid and fair, does not appear to me to go to the root of the question. I do not wish to go at length into this matter, but I may point out that last year I happened to be in charge of the Bill which it was thought fit to bring forward to rectify the many grievances which this long-suffering class have to bear. At that time I entered pretty extensively into the question, and I have no desire whatever to repeat the speech I made on the occasion; but I propose to-night, by way of impressing upon Her Majesty's Government the necessity of carrying out the intentions which I believe were possessed by the late Chief Secretary for Ire land, to emphasize a few of the facts which have been already stated by my hon. Friend who has raised this question to-night. It is clear, from the figures which he has stated, that the National School teachers of Ireland are worse paid, although they produce better results, than their brethren in England and Scotland. The average pay of the National School teacher in Ireland is £57 9s. a-year, as compared with the much larger sum which has been shown by my hon. Friend to be the pay of the 1447 teachers in England and Scotland. Without dwelling at length upon his figures I may say that they amount to a statement of facts which ought to weigh with Her Majesty's Government when they come to consider this question; and when they put into shape the proposals which they tell us the right hon. Gentle man the late Chief Secretary left in a crude state in the pigeon-holes at Dublin Castle or at the Irish Office. I also wish to point out as a matter of business that, when they bring forward their Bill, there should be in it a clause to compel landlords to give sites for buildings. I believe that in many cases no great amount of compulsion would be necessary; but there are others which render it desirable that some such clause as I have suggested should find a place in the proposal which they may bring forward. Now, the position of the National School teachers in Ireland has been for a long time considered a sort of last resort, and no one who can do anything else will take up the position of teacher. I can safely say that the position of the policeman is vastly superior to that of those persons to whose hands the education of the children of the country is entrusted. I have not the least wish to disparage the Irish policeman on the present occasion, but still I point out to the Committee that in point of remuneration, prospects, and pension the policeman is far beyond the National School teacher in Ireland; and that being so, I think the position and prospects of that deserving class merit all the attention which we are told so often that the Government are going to bestow upon it. As the Committee may have forgotten some of the facts bearing on this question, I shall briefly refer to a few of them, for the purpose of making the position of the National School teachers in Ireland as clear as possible to hon. Members. In 1878 a Resolution was brought forward in this House on the subject; that He-solution, which was unanimously passed, was to the effect that the National School Teachers of Ireland Act of 1875, and the other means adopted by the Government, having failed to satisfy the just demands of the Irish School teachers, the House was of opinion that the position of the Irish National School teachers called for the immediate attention of Her Majesty's Government with a 1448 view to the satisfactory adjustment of their claims. As I have said, that Eesolution was unanimously passed by the House, and it is almost unnecessary to point out to the Committee how little has been done to carry it into effect since then, that is to say, to enhance the position of the National School teachers of Ireland. There was, I believe, set aside the sum of £46,000 to improve their position, but it was made conditional that they should pay away £12,000 of that money in the shape of premiums to the pension fund. Again, the result fees having fallen from £20,000 to £15,000, there has been a loss in this way of £5,000, which, added to the £12,000 for premiums to the pension fund, represents a loss to the teachers of £17,000: so that out of the £46,000 I have mentioned as having been set aside for the purpose of improving their condition, they only get the benefit of £27,000. Beyond that I say that nothing has been done to carry out the Resolution which was agreed to by this House in 1878. Then, in 1883, the then Chief Secretary for Ireland stated in this House that he was strongly impressed with the statement made by a deputation which waited upon him in connection with this subject, that he thought immediate action ought to be taken by the Government, if possible, to increase the teachers' salaries, and he added that he recognized the pledges which had been given on the subject. The right hon. Gentleman who is now Member for the Stir ling Boroughs (Mr. Campbell-Banner-man) was then Chief Secretary for Ireland, and he said that he recognized the pledge given in Parliament in 1875; that he admitted likewise that the measures taken by the Government in redemption of the pledge had been only of a temporary nature; and that he should be extremely glad to introduce a measure at once to deal with the subject. Such was the statement of the Chief Secretary for Ireland in 1883, and we have to-night another statement from the right hon. and learned Attorney General. Why, Sir, this House passes a Resolution. Chief Secretary after Chief Secretary prepares or promises to prepare a Bill to deal with the matter in this House; but year after year passes away notwithstanding, and nothing is done whatever to improve the position of the Irish National School teachers in the slightest 1449 degree. Although I am not one to fail in using every opportunity to bring forward the claims of this deserving class of men; yet I should prefer, if the Government will give us a positive assurance which we may convey to the National School teachers that something will be done to place them in the same position as their brothers in England and Scotland, to allow the matter to rest there for the present, and allow the Government to take the amount of this Supply Estimate. I should be anxious to postpone this discussion until the Main Estimates come forward, when I shall be again prepared to press upon the Government the consideration of these claims. I have reason to believe that the discussion which we had last year was fruitless, and I have reason to know that very few inquiries have been made as to the operation of the Act. I give the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General every credit for his statement, and the late Chief Secretary every credit for his good intentions, but I am still unable to believe—taking into account the promises made to the National School teachers, and the entire absence of the results from those pro mises—that the measure intended by Government will go to anything like the extent to which the just necessities of the case demand. I have no desire, as I stated at first, to prolong the discussion of this question. I accept the statement of the right hon. Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland, but I ask how far the measure he has indicated is in a state of preparation? I should like to know what is contained in the measure the Government intend to propose;—whether they intend to increase the salaries of the National School teachers in Ireland; whether they intend to do anything to encourage the building of residences; whether it is their intention to provide for pensions—in short, whether they are going to bring forward a measure that will make the Irish National School teachers comfortable in their position? Will the Government make the position of this long-suffering class such that any man in the country may desire it; and will they relieve this Committee from the reproach of discus sing this Vote year after year, and indeed twice a year, in order to force upon their attention the just demands of the National School teachers of Ireland?
§ MR. ADDISON (Ashton-under-Lyne)
May I be allowed to say in reply to what has fallen from the hon. Gentleman opposite, to whom I listened last year with very great pleasure, that there is a very strong impression now among hon. Members on this side of the House, that the condition of the National School teachers of Ireland is not satisfactory. Having heard the discussion which took place upon this question last year, I was very much struck with the reality of the grievances which the hon. Gentleman and his Friends put forward. It does seem to some of us on these Benches quite shocking that so useful a body of men, and doing their duty so efficiently, should, as the hon. Gentleman has pointed out, be in a position worse, both, as regards salary and pension, than an ordinary policeman in Ireland. I remember the promise made to hon. Gentle men opposite in this House, that some thing would be done in this matter; and I desire to say that if the Government will undertake the introduction of a Bill to deal in a liberal spirit with the National School teachers in Ireland, they will gratify a large number of Members who sympathize with the teachers, and especially those Members who are connected with the county in which is situated the borough I have the honour to represent.
MR. P. MODONALD (Sligo, N.)
I am glad to hear the hon. Gentle man opposite saying these words with reference to this hardly-used and yet deserving class of public servants in Ireland; and I desire, also, to state my entire concurrence with the views put forward on this question by my Colleagues in the course of this discussion. This question has been often referred to in Committee, and I have been pleased when I found, during each of the last two Sessions that assurances were given by the Representatives of the Government that something would be done in the very near future to ameliorate the condition of this most deserving class. I wish, together with my hon. Friend, to express regret that the right hon. Baronet who lately held the Office of Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) has not been permitted, by the state of his health, to be present here this evening to state to the Committee the views which we had hoped he would have been able by this time to have put into 1451 a practicable shape. I hope, nevertheless, that those right hon. Gentlemen on the Treasury Bench will take cognizance of what we on this side of the House say on the question of the Irish National School teachers. There are, on the part of these teachers, three great causes of complaint—first, as to salary; secondly, as to the want of residence; and, thirdly, with regard to the inadequacy of pension. The pensions, according to the present scale, are utterly insufficient for the purpose; and with regard to the salaries, it has been admitted over and over again, not only to-night but in former Committees, that in this respect the Irish National School teacher is far below the teacher in England, Wales, and Scotland. It is clearly admitted that the literary status of these men is, if anything, higher than that of their brethren in this country. Why, therefore, do you pay for a higher class of work in Ireland less than you pay for the work in this country? I do not know that the necessaries of life are a bit cheaper in Ireland than anywhere else. I do not know that clothing is less expensive in Ireland than it is elsewhere. These men and women—the National School teachers of Ireland—have, in fact, just the same expenses as the teachers of England and Scotland. Why, there fore, should they not be paid at the same rate for the same work? But that, Sir, is not the entire grievance. I have already stated that one of the chief grievances of the Irish National School teachers is that they have very insufficient residential accommodation. In fact, in the greatest number of cases there are no residences at all. It has been stated already that some of the Irish teachers, especially the females, have to walk five miles to their schools—they have to do this in the morning and then to walk five miles back at night—that is, in the course of the day, 10 Irish miles, which, I suppose, are equivalent to 12 or 13 English miles. That is a labour in itself, and a labour quite sufficient for a man, but still worse for a woman. How can you expect proper respect to be paid to the teachers of the country, whether male or female, if their social and domestic status is of such a character? The last of the grievances of which they complain is that of insufficient pensions, or retirement allowances. Now, at present, retirement 1452 allowances are given only at the ages of 60 years for females, and 65 for males.
§ MR. P. McDONALD
I will pass from that to another question—namely, the question of the monitors. I believe there are not sufficient so-called monitors; they are commonly assistant teachers, they do very good and useful work, and they go through a course of training which befits them for employment later on as teachers. I am aware that complaints have been made—and they are strong complaints—as to the illiberal manner in which the National Board of Education treat some of their managers in respect to monitors. I have had, within the last month or two, several letters from the very rev. gentleman the manager of one of the National Schools in Sligo, complaining of the action of the National Board in this respect. Although the rev. gentleman has communicated with the Board on the subject very often, he has not, as yet, received a satisfactory reply. He has shown—to his satisfaction at least, and I may add to mine—that his cause was a very good one. He has shown, by comparison with schools in the town and in the district, that he has equal claims, yet the National Board have not met him in the generous spirit in which they ought to have done. I certainly think that a little more liberality might have been expected from the National Board under circumstances of this nature. In conclusion, I appeal to the Government, as I have done on two previous occasions, to favourably consider the position of these hard-working but ill-paid public officials—for public officials they are. They are doing public duty in educating the people; and I believe, Sir, it will be conceded they are educating them in a right and proper direction, in the direction of making the rising youth of Ireland good members of society and a useful portion of the population of the British Empire.
CAPTAIN COLOMB&c.) (Tower Hamlets, Bow,
Mr. Courtney, I have great pleasure in supporting the cause of the National School teachers of Ireland. I consider that the question of educational teachers is one of very vital importance to the future of Ireland. The pay of the teachers is inadequate, the pensions 1453 are inadequate, and there is not sufficient provision for residences. I trust that when the Government approach the question of residences they will not make it a question of house accommodation alone, but that they will go a little wider and give a garden or a small farm. I think there is one point that has not been alluded to in this House up to the present, but which has a most detrimental effect upon the interest of education, and that is that, though these National School teachers are paid servants of the State, they are really at the mercy of private individuals. Their pension and their salaries are not certain, because they can lose both at the arbitrary will of the manager, who is a private individual. I, therefore, trust that the Government will approach this question in a broad spirit, and I can only say that I shall give such action my most cordial support.
§ MR. O'HANLON (Cavan, E.)
s: I desire, Mr. Courtney, to support what has been said in regard to the National School teachers of Ireland. Meetings of the teachers have been held from time to time, and deputations after deputations have waited upon the Government and State officials in Ireland, and I am happy to say that to-night I find more sympathy with the cause of the Irish teachers from Gentlemen representing English constituencies than I do from Irish Representatives sitting on the Conservative side. It is a fact that many teachers in Ireland have to travel six miles to school and six miles back again in the evening, and this in itself is justly considered a great grievance. I consider it a great loss to the children, because no person who has to travel six miles before commencing upon his duties can be considered in a fit state of health to do the work which a teacher is called upon to perform. On this account I consider that provision ought to have been made in this Supplementary Estimate for the erection of additional residences for teachers. I am afraid I should be trespassing upon the Rules of the Committee if I said anything about the condition of the schools themselves in Ireland. I do not wish to so trespass, and I am very sorry that I have not an opportunity of saying something about the schools, and the insufficient accommodation for the children which 1454 they afford. We, of course, all regret the absence of the right hon. Gentleman the late Chief Secretary for Ireland (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach); but we naturally expected that, if the right hon. Gentleman found his health would not permit him to be present, the regulations he has framed would have been put into the possession of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland (Mr. Holmes), so that he could have communicated them to the House. If the Government want us to believe that good intentions are to do everything for Ireland—we have heard from time to time, and we are tired of hearing, of the good intentions towards Ireland—we should like to learn from a responsible Member of the Government that something is likely to be done, and done in the near future, in behalf of the poor children of Ireland. The children of Ireland have no chance whatever in the world unless they got a proper education, and it is impossible under the existing condition of things for an ordinary Irish child to be properly trained or educated. They are thrown on the world and come to England, and you blame them because they are ignorant. Who keeps them ignorant? Certainly not the Irish people, for many of them would almost starve themselves in order to give their children a good education. Unfortunately, this is not within their reach. The English Government hold the resources so closely in their own hands that they do not give the teachers and children of Ireland a fair chance. Now, with regard to the travelling expenses under this Vote, I think the sums set down for such expenses are rather high. I would much rather the Government had consulted some Irish Members with regard to the travelling expenses, and they might thus have been able to have seen a way of setting apart a portion of the sum taken for travelling expenses for the fund of the teachers. Now, with respect to the salaries of schoolmistresses in workhouses, I hap pen to be a member of a Poor Law Board, and I know a good deal about the position of workhouse schoolmistresses. Of all teachers in Ireland there is no worse-paid class than the teachers in the workhouses.
§ MR. O'HANLON
I must apologize to you, Mr. Courtney; I certainly thought that the workhouse schoolmistresses were provided for in this Vote. I suppose, at all events, they come under the head of teachers, and I must say that of all teachers in Ireland there is no class more miserably paid than the workhouse schoolmistresses. Something, too, I think, may be added to the Vote in respect of the monitors, for the purpose of giving the monitors a better chance of being trained, and of some day becoming schoolmasters. The whole future prospect of the Irish people depends upon education. You cannot expect anything from the industries or from any source in the country whatever, unless the education of the people is improved. There is nothing before many people now but emigration, unless it be to obtain a post in the Constabulary. The Constabulary is the only paying business in Ireland, and I am afraid that we have already got a sufficient number of that class of men in the country. I trust that some Gentleman on this side of the House will propose that this Vote be increased, because at present it is quite insufficient for the purposes of giving to the children of Ireland a good education, and for providing the teachers with proper remuneration.
§ MR. NOLAN (Louth, N.)
I do not intend to occupy the attention of the Committee for many minutes. Firstly, because I do not wish to trespass upon your kind indulgence, Mr. Courtney, in having already allowed the discussion to travel rather wide of the limits of the Vote; and, in the second place, because I believe that there is a disposition to redress the grievances of which the Irish National School teachers complain. There have been a great many discussions in this House, both before the whole House and before the Committee, and representations have frequently been made to Her Majesty's Government on the occasions when they have been waited upon by deputations of Irish Members, and also deputations of the teachers them selves, so that if the matter has not been thoroughly understood up to now it has not been for the want of discussion. I should like to say a few words upon the subject of the difficulty the Government will find itself placed in in settling this question. It strikes me the difficulty arises from the fact that they will per- 1456 haps meet with opposition in this House from English Members, who may think, looking at the proportion of money granted from the Imperial Treasury for educational purposes in Ireland, and the sum of money granted for like purposes in England, that Ireland has got an ad vantage already. Now, there is no parallel whatever between the position of National education in England and of National education in Ireland, and for this reason, that in England National education is under the control of local bodies who represent the people. Mr. Courtney, I will not follow that line of argument. Now, Sir, I have listened with interest to the statement which was made by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland (Mr. Holmes) upon this extra Vote. With regard to the travelling expenses of Inspectors he pointed out that the additional sum of £400 arises from the fact that some changes have been made in the geographical boundaries of the districts. I should have been glad if he had been able to point out to the Committee that the changes which have been made will result in economy in this item of travelling expenses; be cause it certainly does strike anyone who knows anything at all about Ireland as remarkable that a sum of very nearly £12,000 should be required by the Inspectors of the Irish National Schools. It certainly would occur to one that if the Schools of Ireland are not over-taught they are at least over-examined. Now, upon the question of monitors, I must say that, although I have got a pretty fair acquaintance with the matter, I cannot agree with a remark that fell from the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland—namely, that the extension of the monitorial system in Ireland is any very great advantage to the cause of education. Hon. Members of the Committee will be able to understand this better when they take into account the fact that monitors are appointed at a very tender age—at an age when they should be improving their own minds, and when they can give very little time with ad vantage either to themselves or to their fellow-pupils in the matter of education. It sometimes happens that in schools in Ireland where monitors are employed, that by the time the monitors reach the age at which they may be expected to 1457 become teachers they are quite wearied out with the work they have been obliged to perform. I know, from many conversations I have had on the subject with schoolmasters in Ireland, that they would very much prefer to have the aid of properly qualified assistants. But this difficulty steps in, that the Board lays it down as a rule that there must be a high average attendance at a school in order that the services of an assistant may be secured. The condition of the country militates very greatly against a high average attendance, and for this reason, that in the agricultural districts, where these National Schools are mostly to be found, the number of children sent to school at one season of the year is not more than 30 or 40; while at another season of the year, when the work in the fields is at an end, the number of pupils sent daily to school runs up perhaps to 100 or more. Therefore, the staff which is fully adequate to meet the requirements of a school at one time of the year is much too small to meet the requirements at another. I think that in any scheme for improving National education in Ireland which Her Majesty's Government may frame this system of averaging the attendance ought to be looked into, so as to allow of an assist ant being appointed for the higher attendances at least. Now, Sir, with regard to the position of the teachers throughout the country, I have only to unite with my hon. Friends upon these Benches in saying that the position of the teachers is anything but satisfactory; and that I am sure that the teachers in Ireland, as well as the bulk of the people in that country, will be very much pleased when they learn that hon. Members opposite fully recognize the situation, and unite with the Representatives of Irish constituencies in urging upon Her Majesty's Government the necessity for improving the present state of things.
§ Vote agreed to.