§ SUPPLY—considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ CLASS I.—PUBLIC WORKS AND BUILDINGS.
§ (1.) £441,500 (including a Supplementary sum of £256,000), to complete the sum for Disturnpiked and Main Roads, England and Wales.
§ COLONEL NOLAN (Galway, N.)
I wish to ask the Government a question in reference to this Supplementary sum of £256,000. It seems to me to be part of a sum of £450,000 supplied in the beginning of the year by the Chancellor of the Exchequer for the highways generally. It would appear that there is a sum of £50,000 given to Ireland, though it is not a gift to Ireland in the ordinary sense of the word, but simply an equivalent—and not a very large one—for the sum of £450,000 allocated this year to England and Scotland in respect of highways. The £50,000 given to Ireland is to be devoted to a variety of purposes, one of them being the breeding of horses; but I understand that more than that sum will be taken from the county cess towards this grant.
I must point out to the hon. and gallant Gentleman that 1366 the question he is raising is not relevant to the present Vote.
§ COLONEL NOLAN
The grant is given to relieve the highway rates in England, and I want to know what equivalent sum is to be given to Ireland as against this £450,000? For all I know there I may be another item in the Votes dealing with the turnpike rates in England, and undoubtedly the Irish people have to contribute to the cost out of the county cess. Therefore, what I wish to know is, whether this is really the only sum which appears in the Votes, or whether there is any corresponding sum for Ireland?
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. GOSCHEN) () St. George's, Hanover Square
The £50,000 which has been granted to Ireland is in consideration of the extra grant which this year has been given to England and Scotland in respect of highways.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
It has no reference to the ordinary grant, but is in respect of the additional grant given this year which appears in the Supplementary Estimate. It is given in order that Ireland may have her fair share this year of the special grant.
§ COLONEL NOLAN
I do not clearly understand how the matter stands. Are there two sums given for highways?
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (2.) £60,000 (including a Supplementary sum of £35,000), to complete the sum for Diaturnpiked and other Roads, Scotland.
§ COLONEL NOLAN
I am not going to quarrel with the amount of money proposed to be given to Scotland; but I would point out that while £60,000 is given to Scotland in consideration of the proportion of her contribution to the Imperial rates, only £50,000 is given to Ireland. In one sense I am sorry, and in another I am glad, that Scotland is so well off that she is able to contribute more to the Imperial Revenue than Ireland; but I cannot understand, if the population of the two countries is taken 1367 into consideration, why Scotland should receive £60,000, and Ireland only £50,000.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (3.) £213,392, to complete the sum for Public Education, Scotland.
§ DR. CLARK (Caithness)
I regret that I am unable to see upon the Treasury Bench either of the Members who represent the Scotch Office—neither the Lord Advocate nor the Scotch Lord of the Treasury. [The LORD ADVOCATE here entered the House.] I regret that I feel myself compelled to take up a few minutes of the time of the House at this late period of the Session in order that I may bring under the notice of my right hon. and learned Friend the Lord Advocate a question which affects one of the local school boards in Caithness, the county which I represent. If the Vote had been brought on earlier I should like to have said something about the present condition of education in the Highlands, where the school rates only run from 2s. to 2s. 6d. in the pound in consequence of the local school boards having been compelled to build palatial schoolhouses where they were really not wanted. I have no wish to move the reduction of the salary of the Inspector, because I think my right hon. and learned Friend will agree with me that the withholding of the grant in the case I am about to call attention to is an unjust act, and will direct the money which has been unlawfully and unjustly withheld by the Education Department to be paid over, and that the Government will not allow the school board, which is supported out of the rates, to continue an unequal fight with the Education Department, which is supported by taxes. The Inspector recommended in the case of the Highland School at Latheron a few window blinds, and some illustrations of natural history might be supplied with advantage. When the school board expected to receive their grant their attention was called to this recommendation, and "my Lords" stopped one tenth of the grant because it had not been complied with. When the school board were made acquainted with the stoppage they wrote to "my Lords" asking what it was they wanted, and especially to inform them what kind of natural history illustrations the Inspector required; but "my Lords" refused to tell them. 1368 They told the board to ask the Inspector; but the Inspector, on being appealed to, said he was unable to instruct them. They put up a blind to the only window at which the sun could enter; but the blind they put up did not satisfy the Inspector, and because the window blind of a small Highland school does not suit the Inspector again the grant is stopped. Twice, then, the grant has been stopped upon a recommendation which, the Inspector says he has no power to define, and in regard to which "my Lords" refuse to give any information whatever. I maintain that the grant has been illegally withheld. The board put up one blind, which is all that is necessary, and to put up more would prejudicially affect the ventilation of the school. So far as the natural history illustrations are concerned, there is in a town in the neighbourhood with 1,000 inhabitants a big school where secondary education is taught. This is only an elementary school; but the Inspector requires in the small elementary school exactly the same natural history illustrations as are provided in the school for secondary education. The result is that the school board have been compelled to provide these illustrations; but I hold that the act of the Education Department was unjust, and I will go further and say that it was illegal. The section under which "my Lords" have acted is the 32nd of the Scotch Education Code, which allows a reduction of the grant or a fine if the Inspector reports that there are faults in the instruction, discipline, or registration, or overcrowding in the class rooms, if after six months' notice there has been a failure to remedy any defect which the Inspector has pointed out which seriously interferes with the efficiency of the school, or if the managers have failed to provide proper books and maps for the carrying on of elementary instruction. Now, these natural history illustrations have no connection with elementary instruction, and by compelling the school board to obtain them "my Lords" have gone beyond the limits of the law. It would appear, in this case, that the Inspector has been animated by pique against the school board, and "my Lords" distinctly refused to say what they wanted. Whenever they have stated what they wanted their wishes have been complied with, whether the things provided were con- 1369 sidered to be necessary or not. The question I wish to put to the Lord Advocate is whether he considers that the action of "my Lords" has been justifiable or in accordance with the law?
§ MR. A. SUTHERLAND (Sutherland)
The Lord Advocate went minutely through the heads of this Vote when he introduced it the other day, and I must congratulate the right hon. and learned Gentleman upon the successful work which has been done by the Scotch Education Department. The Vote has been of a most interesting nature for the last live or six years, inasmuch as it has been an experiment as to the result of separating the education of Scotland from that of England, the system of centralization which had previously been carried on not having been attended with the most satisfactory results for a considerable period of years. Viewed in that light the Report of the Department is a gratifying one. We have the Report now in our hands, and I am sure that hon. Members must have been much interested not only by the statement which was made by the right hon. and learned Gentleman, but by those which are contained in the Report. In the part of the country in which I am most interested myself— namely, the Highlands—there has been difficulty in regard to the attendance, and I know that in that respect greater difficulty has been experienced by the Scotch Education Department than in any other part of the country. The root of the difficulty lies in the fact that the country has hitherto allowed private persons—owners of land—to interfere with the distribution of the population in the Highlands; and the consequence is that the population is now so widely scattered in some places, and the conditions which prevail are of such a character, as to put serious difficulties in the way of the rates, and to prevent the maintenance of proper schools except at very great expense. I am willing to acknowledge that what are called the attendance grants are on a liberal scale; but there are some anomalies, which arise from circumstances I have already called the attention of the Lord Advocate to. For instance, there is an invidious distinction drawn between teachers who are graduates of a Scotch University and those who are not. In certain specified districts any school 1370 taught by a University graduate can get a grant of 10s. for certain subjects; whereas teachers who are not University graduates can only get a grant of 6s. Only the other day there was a meeting of Scotch teachers and members of school boards at Oban to take into consideration principally the working of the Scotch Code as applied to the Highlands, and that meeting came to the conclusion, that the distinction between graduates and non-graduates is invidious and unjust, and that the grant should be paid for good results irrespective of such distinctions. I think that when the Education Department comes to think over the matter that should be the test by which the payment of grants should be made. The question should not be considered whether they have been obtained by University graduates or non-University graduates. I can understand the desire of the Government to get the most highly qualified teachers they can obtain; but I can scarcely conceive why teachers who do not happen to have had an opportunity of educating themselves at a Scotch University should be placed at a disadvantage. At the same time, I hope the Government will be able to see their way not to the taking away of the increased grant from University graduates, but to extending it to all teachers who can show the same results in the district to which this rule applies. There is another point which I should like to bring under the notice of the right hon. and learned Gentleman, and that is the teaching of Gaelic in the Highland schools. I know quite well that the sympathies of the right hon. and learned Gentleman are in that direction, and I should like to see it properly dealt with. I have never advocated it on purely sentimental but upon utilitarian grounds. It is distinctly stated in the Report that the Education Department is willing to recognize the importance of teaching Gaelic, because it would facilitate the teaching of English. There is something else which would make it a very valuable adjunct to the teaching of the young—namely, that it would be a means of enabling grants to be earned in connection with specific subjects, and of earning them in places where such, grants are a great desideratum. Therefore, upon utilitarian grounds, I think 1371 the teaching of Gaelic ought to be encouraged. I am not going to attempt to prove why, in the Highlands, Gaelic should be taught any more than in England the English language should be taught. What I complain of is that Her Majesty's Ministers have not encouraged the teaching of the Highland language in the same way as they have encouraged the giving of instruction in other subjects. As far back as the year 1875 there was a Minute of the Scotch Education Department admitting the necessity for doing this. The Minute stated that in certain specified Highland counties Gaelic might be taught as a specific subject, provided it was taught on a scheme to be approved by Her Majesty's Inspectors. Such a scheme was drawn up, but it never got beyond the proof stage. Too much was demanded, and the consequence was that no more was heard of the scheme. In a subsequent Minute it was stated that a scheme for instruction in Gaelic had been drawn up by the Inspectors and submitted to the Department, which had it under its consideration. On page 248 of the Blue Book hon. Members will find what one of the Inspectors says on the subject. I think it bears out what I have stated. The Inspector says that a few schools offered to teach Gaelic as a specific subject; but the pupils only numbered 39. He adds that the conditions of the examination were of an unsatisfactory nature, and that no curriculum was prescribed. I think it is not too much to ask that the Scotch Education Department should put the matter upon a proper footing. This Inspector says, further, that he has never seen a graduated scheme, or had an interview with any school manager on the subject, but that he has not, on that account, refused to examine the pupils, although he adds that he probably ought to have done so. Nor, he says, has he declined to examine any work submitted to him. My complaint is that Her Majesty' s Inspector should be placed in such a position. There ought to be a graduated scheme by which to examine the pupils, the same as in any other language, and in the case I have mentioned the Inspector was obliged to put his feelings against his duty as an officer of the Education Department. Then, again, the Inspector of the district should be an Inspector qualified by his knowledge of the 1372 language to examine the pupils; and if the Department are of opinion that they cannot draw up a sufficiently good scheme there is a Professor of Celtic in the University of Edinburgh, and a number of teachers with a knowledge of the Highland language who would, I have no doubt, be glad to give their aid in this direction. I sincerely trust that the present state of matters will not be allowed any longer to exist, and I urge upon the Department the necessity of doing something, because it would afford a means whereby the least populated districts of Scotland may be able to earn a fait share of the grant. In that way it would be of great service to the school boards, and would do much to advance the intelligence of the children. Another effect it would have is that it would lead to the development of the national spirit of the people of the Highlands, which I am sure the right hon. and learned Gentleman himself would be glad to see. On the whole, I have to congratulate the Scotch Education Department upon the good work they have done since their separation from the English Department. I see that there are some references in the Report to secondary education, and that the Scotch Education Department goes as far as to provide inspection for secondary schools in Scotland. I do not know that the mere inspection of secondary schools will do much good without some means of providing secondary education being supplied; but it has been pointed out by a gentleman who is a high official authority in Scotland that the secondary schools in Scotland are doing admirable work—such as the High School of Glasgow and the Glasgow Academy. I hope that the Scotch Education Department will be able shortly to deal with secondary education in a better way than now; but I know that under circumstances of difficulty the Glasgow Academy is doing very good work. I know that there are great difficulties in the way, but I think that if my suggestions are acted upon a great deal may be done to further the cause of education in Scotland; and I hope that, judging from the public spirit shown by the Department of late years, they will continue to advance, and that all these points will be given effect to.
§ MR. CALDWELL (Glasgow, St. Rollox)
In the Report of the Commit- 1373 tee of the Council on Education reference is made to the subject of school attendance, and their Lordships state that there is reason to believe that many boards in Scotland are not carrying out the Compulsory Clauses of the Education Act as effectively as they might. The Report adds that Her Majesty's Inspectors have also been of that opinion for a great number of years. We have had the same complaint detailed in the Scotch Education Department year after year, yet we have not discovered that the Department has ever made any representation to any school board on the subject, or has taken any steps against a school board for not complying with the Compulsory Clauses of the Act. The excuse is that it is undesirable to interfere with the action of the local boards in these matters; but it must be remembered that while the school boards in this matter have the interests of the ratepayers to look after primarily, yet, on the other hand, they get from Parliament over £500,000 for the purpose of endowing education in Scotland; and Parliament, in voting that large sum of money, necessarily looks to the Scotch Education Department as the authority to see that the Act is being carried out, and that compulsory education is being enforced throughout Scotland in the terms of the Act. If they tell us that they do not desire to interfere with the local boards, the result is that Parliament votes the money, and there is nobody taking the interest necessary to see that the work is being properly done. If the Scotch Education Department is not able to do the work, it should see that some other Department is constituted which would; and if the Scotch Education Department have no powers, they should have come to Parliament and asked for powers. The assertion of the Education Department that they have no powers is not an argument which should be held to justify their inaction. It only shows the necessity of a reform of the Department itself, seeing that this is a very important part of their duty that compulsory attendance is not enforced by a single authority; and although there have been repeated complaints, there is nothing to show that the Scotch Education Department have done anything in the matter. Another matter which I desire to bring under the notice of the Lord Advocate is that the 1374 Department has not carried out the spirit of the Act of 1872. When that Act was brought in it was on the footing that board schools were to provide for the deficiency of school accommodation. It was not intended to supersede the existing schools, but simply to be supplementary. Now, in 1872, it was found that the non-State-aided schools in Scotland took in a-half of the whole school attendance, while, at present, not one-seventh of the children attending the schools in Scotland are in non-State-aided schools. The result is that non-State-aided schools have been practically suppressed by one-half, and the children have been transferred to the State-aided schools. But the Department compare the numbers in 1872 with the present numbers, and say that the progress made is 125 per cent, while there really is little increase of attendance, but merely a transfer of attendance from non-State-aided to State-aided schools. According to the Census of 1871, there were 543,000 children above five years of age receiving State education in Scotland. Sixteen years have now elapsed, and, allowing for the ratio of the increase of the population during that period at 1.3 per cent per annum, we should have a total, in the present year, of 634,000 children above the age of five years receiving education in Scotland. But what is the result, according to the Report of the Scotch Education Department? It appears that there are only 614,000 children above the age of five years receiving education in the State-aided schools. How many are receiving education in the non-State-aided schools we are not told. That important fact is carefully concealed from us; probably about one-seventh, although we are told that year by year the attendance in the non-State-aided schools has been going down in Scotland. According to the estimate of the Department, there are at the present moment in schools of all kinds 714,000 children above five years of age receiving education in Scotland, 614,000 of whom, although the number ought to be 634,000, ought to have been there if we had never had any Education Act in operation at all. The increase in attendance since the Act of 1871 has really been only 80,000 in a total of 714,000 children over five years of age, instead of the increase of 125 per cent for which the Education Department 1375 takes credit. Then another point to which I wish to call the attention of the Lord Advocate is the lowering of the standard of education in Scotland. According to the Act, the standard of education in Scotland was not to be lowered. The standard of education in the elementary schools was not to be lowered; and the education given in the parish schools was to lead directly to the Universities. But we now find it acknowledged for the first time in the present Report of the Department that there is good ground for holding that the fears of those who thought the standard of education in Scotland would be lowered were well-founded. Here, then, is a direct acknowledgment on the part of the Department of what has long been suspected. But why has the acknowledgment been so long delayed? It will be seen that the children are examined in a great number of specific subjects; but the instruction is of the most flimsy character, and the Department now acknowledge that the whole thing is a perfect sham. The lowering of the standard is entirely the fault of the Department, who give 2s. for the specific subjects in the first stage, and give the same rate in the second and third stages; and the teacher, who is teaching Latin, French, mathematics, and Greek, gets no more for teaching these high subjects than for teaching the commonest subjects for which the grant is given. In the common subjects he may have 50 in a class, whereas in the higher subjects he may not have more than five or six. The result is that he concentrates his attention on the simple subjects, for which he has large classes, and neglects the higher subjects, for which he only has a few pupils, and over which he would have to spend more time and earn less money. If you wish to encourage the higher education, why not give 2s. for the first stage, 4s. for the second—where the work is more difficult and the scholars fewer—and 6s. for the third stage? In that way the Department would encourage higher education, to a certain extent; whereas, by the method actually adopted in giving grants of equal amount for elementary subjects, they have practically banished the teaching of higher subjects out of the Scotch schools. Then, again, there is the provision that every child must put in 250 1376 attendances at one school in the school year before he can be examined or pass in any particular standard of examination. See how that works. Take the last election in Glasgow for the Bridgeton Division. In that case it was found that out of 10,000 voters in the Division, 2,000 had changed their residence during the year. The time of removal is Whitsuntide, and the time of the school board examinations is the winter—about January; so that when a parent removes from one district of Glasgow to another it is impossible for the child to make 250 attendances before the examinations, either at the school in the district he is leaving, or in the school in the district to which he removes. Consequently, he is unable to pass that year. The child who ought that year to pass Standard III. is thus kept back for a whole year; for the teacher in the school to which he is removed, finding that he has not passed Standard III., naturally puts him into the lower and easier Standard, so as to pass. What is the result? The result to the working classes is that a boy finds himself unable to pass Standard V. when he is 13 years of age, even though he has been regularly at school. When he reaches 13 years of age, he is found to be either in Standard III. or IV., and, consequently, he is unable to go to work, and this is entirely owing to the absurd regulation of the Scotch Education Department that there must have been 250 attendances in one school in order to entitle him to pass a particular Standard. I hold that if a child is able to pass an examination, it should make no difference where he has obtained his education, or whether he has put in his attendance at one school or at three. The result is that we find in Scotland, notwithstanding the efficient school board system which exists there, that however much smaller the percentage of passes is in Standard V. than it ought to be, it is simply owing to the changing habits of the population, and to the child not having been able, in consequence, to pass through a Standard once a-year, however qualified he may be to do so. There is another matter which has been referred to by one of the Representatives of the Highlands, and that is the absurd provision for attendance in the schools in the specified Highland parishes. The school rates have been 1377 brought up as high as 5s. or 6s. in the pound upon the rental value, and the school accommodation provided is double what is absolutely required. The Highland parishes are burdened with enormous local rates; and hon. Members will be aware that one of the recommendations of the Crofters Commission was that some relief should be given to these Highland parishes. But the Education Department have put in an absurd provision, requiring that the grant shall only be given where an average attendance of 80 per cent can be shown. The very districts that most require this help are those which are not able to give the 80 per cent necessary to earn the grant. How is it possible, in these sparsely populated districts, to secure so large an attendance? An average attendance of 80 per cent of the children on the roll is a far higher percentage than is proposed in the case of towns. Before imposing such a condition the Department ought to have considered the character of those different localities, the distances the children have to travel, and various other matters. Every school should be judged upon its own merits as to whether it has fairly complied with the provisions of the Education Code, whether there are peculiar circumstances, and whether the teachers can be shown to have done their best to comply with the provisions of the Code. There is another point in connection with these Highland schools—namely, that in order to obtain the full grant, the teacher must be a University graduate. That is to say, that if the teacher is a University graduate he gets a higher grant than another teacher who is not. Now, that I consider to be most unfair. Having appointed a teacher who may have been working in a school for a considerable number of years, are you to dismiss that teacher and appoint a University graduate, in order to secure the full amount of the grant which is intended to be given for the relief of the Highland parishes? In my opinion it is a most absurd contention, and I altogether fail to see why the Department should insist that in order to get the grant the teacher must be a graduate. A man may be a University graduate, and still not be a good teacher and instructor of youth. I hold that the Education Department should be compelled to take results by examination, and that 1378 they have no right to impose a restriction of this kind. Teachers appointed prior to 1872 cannot be dismissed by the school boards, and, therefore, you are refusing them these grants simply because they are unable to comply with the conditions you impose, and which are most unreasonable conditions. A demand is made by the Education Department in regard to school fees. They say that in those districts where the attendance is worst the school fees are hardly recovered at all. That argument, I think, goes completely against them. It means that where there is a bad attendance the people are poor. Parents will not send their children to school if they have not the money to pay the fees, and the poorer a man is the more he is tempted to keep his child at home. Therefore the very poverty of the people tells against them, and it is because they are not able to pay the school fees that they do not send their children to school. But if the school fees were abolished, the parents, feeling that they would be free from any persecution on the part of the school board, would have greater reason for sending their children to school. With regard to Dr. Ker, the Chief Inspector of Schools in the Glasgow district, he receives £900 a-year, on condition of devoting his whole time to the duties of his appointment. The Lord Advocate informed the House yesterday, in answer to a Question, that Dr. Ker also undertakes certain other duties, but that he does so in his holiday time. I was very much surprised to find the Lord Advocate, although he is merely the mouthpiece of the Scotch Education Department in this matter, taking up such a position. Why does Parliament give Dr. Ker £900 a-year and certain holidays? The holidays are given with a view of recruiting him and re-invigorating his health, so that the country shall have the benefit of freshness and vigour when he returns to his duty. Is it fair, then, if the country pays a man for taking a holiday, that he should, in defiance of that, employ his time in another way, and not as a holiday, and make a profit out of the matter? I say that it is unfair that a man getting such a large salary as £900 a-year, together with holidays, at the expense of the country, should be allowed to go away and deprive other people of work who are more needful and quite 1379 as capable as he is of performing the work. I am astonished that the Scottish Department should have come before Parliament to vindicate a servant of the Department for availing himself of his holidays in order to perform work of this kind, when he must know very well that the object of the holidays is to reinvigorate him for other work. Dr. Ker is one of the Examiners for the Scottish board schools; but he has been inspecting other schools, and depriving other persons of emoluments which they would otherwise have received. I hold that the course Dr. Ker has pursued is altogether inconsistent with the independent position he ought to occupy as one of Her Majesty's Inspectors, and that he should, at all times, be able to inspect the schools he is directed to inspect by the Education Department without fear or favour. Then, again, he is inspecting schools which he is also required to inspect for the Department — his own schools, in fact—and I maintain that this work ought to be done by an Inspector who has nothing at all to do with the elementary teaching the children receive. It is improper, in my view, that the same Inspector should examine the pupils for bursaries who has conducted the examination in regard to elementary education. If the two things are inquired into by two different Inspectors the work of the school is practically overhauled, and we have the advantage of an independent criticism on the part of a stranger as to whether the school work has been rightly performed or not. With regard to the Education Department itself, I think I have shown to a certain extent that there is need for reform. The Education Department of Scotland is really nothing but the permanent Secretary to the Department. He is the head and soul of the whole affair. It is all very well to send out letters signed by "My Lords," but, after all, it is simply the work of the permanent Secretary. When we take into consideration that we are giving upwards of £500,000 for purposes of education in Scotland, I think there ought to be a large representation of this House on the board in order to see that the money is properly applied. There ought to be a board composed of men to a considerable extent chosen from this House—men who 1380 remain in contact with the people, whom the people can approach, and who would take care that the grievances of the people will be considered. At present we receive an official non possumus to every request and suggestion that we make. It was complained that Dr. Ker was receiving £900 a-year for doing certain work in connection with education, and that he was not doing it. The answer we got was merely a defence of the conduct of the individual. The Lord Advocate and the other Heads of the Department are nothing more than mere instruments in the hands of the permanent officials. The permanent officials write down the answers to all Questions that are put in Parliament, and the Lord Advocate comes down here and reads them. If we are to have anything like a vigorous administration, we must get rid of the influence of the permanent officials and the non possumus which meets us at every step. We ought to have a Head of and an organisation in the Department which will be able to control the official element, and to give due consideration to the different matters brought before it, without being liable to be told at every corner that the work is being done for the officials and not for the country.
§ MR. J. A. CAMPBELL (Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities)
I know the great amount of attention which my hon. Friend the Member for St. Rollox (Mr. Caldwell) has paid to this subject, and he has said many things with which I have much sympathy. But I cannot agree with all he has advanced, nor do I think he has been altogether fair in the amount of blame he has thrown upon the Scotch Education Department. As to the constitution of that Department, it does not become me to say anything, except that I feel sure that the Members of the Privy Council who constitute the Scotch Education Department are not men who are likely to be such mere dummies in the hands of the permanent officials as my hon. Friend seems to think. There is one thing, however, which we may be sure of, and that is they are acting now, and will act in the future, under very vigilant criticism on the part of my hon. Friend and others. My hon. Friend spoke of the Department as having done something like injustice or injury to the schools that were not State-aided. But I think my hon. 1381 Friend has been misled in his argument on that subject. No doubt, there are now in Scotland a comparatively small number of schools that are not State-aided; but the true explanation of that fact is, that there is no reason why any good school should not be State-inspected and State-aided. The aid that the State gives to a school does not interfere with the independence of the managers in anything that is worth maintaining. It leaves the school perfectly free in all that is important, and, at the same time, it insures that there is a thorough inspection by eminently qualified men. I know that after the passing of the Education Act many of the schools that before were not aided and not inspected fell out of the list by their managers surrendering them—not that they were obliged to do so, but that they felt there was no longer any reason for maintaining these schools, considering the provision that was made by the Education Act for others. It must be remembered, too, that the schools established under the Education Act were very much better schools than most of those that had existed before. Since the Education Act has come into operation we have had a very much better style of school. I think there is not much to regret in the disappearance of the great majority of the schools that were not State-aided, I think there are some points in this Report of the Scottish Education Department to which the attention of the Committee should be directed. There is one very startling fact and no explanation has been given of it, and that is the decrease in the night schools. The decrease is very remarkable. During the last six years they have diminished in number from 277 to 166. The average attendance has diminished from 14,297 to 8,759; and the numbers presented for inspection have decreased from 14,809 to 8,120. No explanation is given of this extraordinary decrease, but I believe, to some extent, it is due to the fact that in the early years of the present system a larger number of young children were sent to night schools than are sent now. For such scholars no grant is given, grants only given being in respect of the higher Standards. It is in the higher Standards that these schools are most required. The Report states that a wider range of instruction is now given in the evening 1382 schools; and this, it is hoped, will tend to popularise them. This, I believe, is already carried out to a considerable extent. It is in large cities mostly that these night schools are wanted. In Glasgow, which has the largest population of any town in Scotland, there has not been anything like a marked decrease in the evening schools. In that city the evening schools are at present attended by a very large number of pupils, both young and old. In fact, last year the number on the roll in evening schools was upwards of 9,000, In ordinary classes there were upwards of 4,300, and in advanced classes 4,680. About 1,000 of these were men over 21 years of age, and I presume they do not come within the statistics of the Education Department, but belong rather to the Science and Art Department. These evening classes are, no doubt, of immense use in large communities. As example, I may state that in the night schools of Glasgow the presentations in Standard VI. have increased of late years from 268 in 1880 to 803 last winter. The Report complains of the school attendance; and my hon. Friend the Member for St. Rollox has referred to the subject. I think, however, the Department are a little too severe. They seem not to be satisfied unless every child of what is called school ago is to be found at school, and they bring forward this rather startling charge against the condition of education in Scotland, that there are 100,000 children too few at school. There are 624,000 on the registers, and the Department say there ought to be 100,000 more. I think that the Department there go a great deal too far. In the Report the result of attendance is stated as follows, that of every 100 children of school age 79 are on the register, and 61 are in daily attendance. Now, the principal explanation why the attendance and the number on the register is so very much, short of the number of children of school age is that the Scottish people are not accustomed to send very young children to school, and in many parts of Scotland it is a sheer impossibility. In large towns it is advantageous that little children should go to school, provided there are infant schools for them. We are rather behind in Scotland in the matter of infant schools. We have not infant schools to the same extent as in Eng- 1383 land. But outside the large towns it is almost impossible—is not desirable — that very young children should be sent to school. In country places I do not think little children lose much by not going to school very early. It is stated in the Report, and stated as a matter of regret, that only 38 per cent of children between five and six years of age are on the register of any school. I think, taking into account all the circumstances, that 38 per cent is not a very bad proportion. But one fact is mentioned in the Report, which is undeniably an unfavourable one, and that is that so many schools are not provided with suitable teachers for the young children. It appears that of 88,000 children under seven years of age there are 48,000, or more than one-half of them, taught by male teachers—teachers, as the Report says, obviously unsuited for such work. Another reason why attendance at schools does not come up to the full standard, is that children are removed to work before they have reached the limit of school age. That is to say, they have passed the Fifth Standard, when it is no longer obligatory on their parents or guardians to keep them at school. It is a matter to be regretted that children should pass off to work at so early an age as they do. The normal age is 12 for the Fifth Standard, but a sharp child can pass at 11, and it is a deplorable thing that a child of that age should be sent by its parents or guardians to work.
§ MR. J. A. CAMPBELL
But they can get other work. At any rate, they need no longer be kept at school; and the fact in many cases is that when this stage has been reached the parents think it is no longer necessary to have their children at school. My hon. Friend has spoken of the desirableness of putting the screw on school boards in regard to enforcing more firmly the Compulsory Clauses of the Act. It may be necessary to do something in that direction; but I think it is desirable to adopt a milder method than compulsion, where it can be applied. Such a method has been adopted with very great success by the School Board of Glasgow They have offered prizes 1384 as an inducement to regular attendance, accompanied with good conduct, and a regular passing of the Standards suited to the stage and progress of the pupils in the school. The result of this prize scheme—and the plan has been in operation for some years—is highly satisfactory. A prize is given to every child in Standard III. and under, who has been in regular attendance with the exception of eight days, and in the higher Standards a margin of only four days is given. In Glasgow, last year, with an average attendance of 42,459, the number who gained the prizes was 13,863. That is to say, nearly one-third of the average attendance secured prizes for regular attendance, satisfactory progress, and good conduct. The prizes for 400 complete attendances were nearly 8,000, and for 370 attendances 5,896. The prizes are small books, and the cost is only about 6d. a scholar, but with this very small expenditure a great end has been gained in encouraging better attendance. There is one important feature of the New Code which is noticed in the Report, and which, I think, ought to be regarded with satisfaction by all interested in education, and that is the new system of dispensing with individual examination in the lower Standards. All under Standard III. are subjected to what is called collective examination; and I think there is a general hope that as this system may be found to work well and to give greater freedom, with much less pressure in the schools, it may be extended higher than the Third Standard. There has been considerable improvement in the numbers under specific subjects. I regret that in one respect there has been a going back on the part of the Department. I do not know whether my hon. Friend will attribute this to the fault of the present Department, but it is a misfortune that what was supposed to be a point gained some years ago has been lost, in the matter of schools being restricted to the 9d. a-week limit of fees. In many of the schools there is a better education given—that is to say, the higher subjects are more attended to—and the scholars attending are quite willing and able to pay higher fees, and it is desirable to have higher fees—so as not to undersell other schools. But after having for a very short time 1385 the liberty to charge higher fees, it was found that there was some difficulty about it, and the old restriction was reimposed. Reference has been made to the examination of secondary schools. That work has only now begun. It has been long of beginning. We had under the Act of 1878 the power, with the consent of the Treasury, to institute the examination, and school boards which had higher schools under their charge have been all along pressing for that examination. It has now been given for the last two years, and this year we have the first Report of a general kind. Thirty-eight of these schools appear to have been examined last year, and the report of their condition is by no means satisfactory. It is not satisfactory—not because the teachers are not doing their best, but because the conditions under which the schools are worked are such as to place them under great disadvantage. There is no doubt that something must be done for the secondary schools in Scotland; but I think, in the meantime, that something must be found in the form of private and voluntary benefactions. These have been given, in many cases, with the very best results. In Dundee, for instance, great assistance has been given to the High School by one or two gentlemen, and the school is now in an excellent condition. The higher schools throughout Scotland have certainly a claim upon the liberality of those who are interested in the promotion of the higher education. My right hon. and learned Friend the Lord Advocate mentioned one very encouraging fact at the beginning of his statement, which I think is an answer to the desponding views some people seem to entertain with respect to the condition of education in Scotland. He said that the rate of grant earned in Scotland this year is higher than that of last year, which again was greater than that of the year before. It was 18s. two years ago, last year it was 18s. 5½d., and I gather from my right hon. Friend that this year it is expected to roach 18s. 11d.
§ MR. HUNTER (Aberdeen, N.)
I do not propose to follow the hon. Member for the University of Glasgow (Mr. J. A. Campbell) or the hon. Member for St. Rollox (Mr. Caldwell) into the important subjects they have brought be- 1386 fore the Committee. I am afraid that at this period of the Session the occasion is hardly propitious, I will not say for an exhaustive, but even for an adequate discussion of this subject, and therefore I will content myself with calling attention to a matter which is comparatively small, but is not without importance. I refer to the relations between the Inspectors of Schools and the Assistant Inspectors. The Inspectors receive good salaries, beginning at £400 and rising to a maximum of £800. Sometime ago it was found that the work was increasing, and Assistant Inspectors were appointed, with salaries rising by small increments from £150 to £300 a-year. But lam afraid there was one difficulty the Department did not foresee—namely, that the gentlemen capable of being Assistant Inspectors are not capable of being full Inspectors. I consider that it is not possible to draw a line of demarcation between the work done by the Inspectors and the work done by the Assistant Inspectors. The result of the present arrangement is that we have a number of men who are perfectly fit to be Inspectors, but who are paid on a very low scale. That is not the worst of it. The Assistant Inspectors are necessarily under the orders of the Inspectors, and there are no sufficiently definite instructions to Inspectors to determine what work should be done by the Inspectors and the Assistant Inspectors respectively. It therefore amounts to this, that an Inspector is provided with an assistant over whom he has complete control, and whom he can make do as much or as little work as he likes. That is a position of matters that is calculated to give rise to serious evils. Human nature, after all, is human nature, and if you provide one man with another to do his work for him there is a natural tendency for the Inspector to make his assistant do as much of the work as possible, and there is a complaint, which I know to be in some cases not unfounded, that some Inspectors, at all events, have been throwing a great deal too much work on the Assistant Inspectors. I may point out that the death rate among Assistant Inspectors during the last three or four years is higher than among the Inspectors. I believe it would be a more satisfactory arrangement if, when an Inspector finds the work too heavy, an additional Inspector, instead of an assistant, were ap- 1387 pointed. I do not wish to allude to any particular oases; but I think this is a matter that requires the consideration of the Scottish Education Department, and I hope the Lord Advocate will be in a position to give the Committee some assurance that the question will be seriously looked into with a view to a better arrangement being made next year.
§ GENERAL SIR GEORGE BALFOUR (Kincardine)
When last the question of Scotch Education was under consideration in this House, the English Education Vote was then taken, which occupied so much of the time allowed on Saturday, as to leave only 35 minutes for the Scotch debate. This time was spent in the Lord Advocate reading for 10 minutes the useful Memorandum prepared by the Education. Department, and my hon. Friend the Member for St. Rollox Division of Glasgow (Mr. Caldwell) employed 18 minutes in setting forth his enlightening views on education. There was thus left only five or six minutes before the Saturday debate closed, and this was used in the debate about the adjournment. Being disappointed in not being able to express my views, and not expecting another opportunity such as we now have, I placed my views before the Secretary of the Scotch Education Department, and I shall only now briefly refer thereto, in the belief that the points I touched upon will be taken up in the next year's Scotch Education Report; and as we cannot possibly expect at this late time of the year that public attention will be directed to the debate today, I strongly recommend my hon. Friend the Member for St. Rollox Division to lay before the Scotch Education Department the heads of the excellent and useful speech which he has just delivered. By that course he will be certain to receive information on the various obscure points he has raised, and draw the attention of the Department to the valuable suggestions he has made. I shall briefly, therefore, now mention the points to which I wish to draw attention. I consider that great advantage will be gained by the School Inspectors being better trained in the way of inspecting the Scotch children. No doubt, the training of English Universities is a guarantee of the Inspector's fitness in some degree; but I am informed that a 1388 further training is of vital importance to Scotch schools, by having the Inspectors trained to extract from, often, the apparently, dull children the sound information which qualified teachers have been able to give. Then as regards the teachers themselves, I believe it would be an immense benefit if they were encouraged to keep pace with the progress which teaching is making. I believe that a month spent at a Central Training College, where teachers could be instructed how to teach, would do much to further the progress of education in Scotland. I may also call attention to the disadvantage which children labour under, in having to reckon the 250 attendances at one school. The changes of residence on the part of the parents necessarily force the children to change the school. It would, however, be easy for the teacher to send to the teacher of the new school a report of the progress and of the attendances of the child. There is also a question of importance to poor parents in having to provide a new set of school books for the new school consequent on the books of the old school not being used in the new school. I do not advocate uniformity of books for all schools. That would be too much of the Chinese method; but the books in use in the schools in a district might all be of a uniform kind. From all I can make out, a complete set of books for each child cost nearly £1. This in itself is a sum of importance to a poor man with a number of children, which labouring men of Scotland usually have. I also advocate careful consideration being given to the question of school fees—I believe it would be beneficial to make free education in Scotland. The last point which I wish to raise, and to which I call the serious attention of the Lord Advocate, is the accusation made in the former debate by the right hon. Member for one of the Divisions of Sheffield (Mr. Mundella). In accounting for the largely increased earnings of scholars in Scotch schools as contrasted with the earnings of English scholars, he stated that the Scotch excess was due to the laxness of Scotch examinations. The report of his speech in The Times, though, not quite so strong as in the words of the speech I heard delivered, is sufficiently strong to bear out the imputation, that the Scotch scholars are less strictly examined than 1389 those of England. I therefore strongly advocate a careful inquiry being made as to the correctness of the allegations of the right hon. Gentleman, who, by his former position as the Head of the Education Department of Great Britain, by his zeal and devotion to the education of the country, is an educational authority of great weight. I may conclude by urging the Lord Advocate to bring under the notice of the Scotch Education Department the many useful and important suggestions which have been made in the course of this debate.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. J. H. A. MACDONALD) () Edinburgh and St. Andrew's Universities
The speeches we have heard to-night raise a number of very useful suggestions for the consideration of the Scottish Education Department. With reference to the objection of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Kincardineshire (General Sir George Balfour) to the shortness of the statement I made the other day, at least I can congratulate myself upon this, that my hon. and gallant Friend evidently thinks it was a very efficient statement, from an educational point of view, because he is under the impression that it had been drawn up by some official in the Education Department. I hope it will please my hon. and gallant Friend to know that the statement was drawn up by myself, and embodied my own views. I am not in the habit of having my speeches prepared for me by other persons. In regard to the shortness of time it took to deliver it, I am not sure that the statement was any the less clear on that account. I am inclined to think many of the speeches made in this House would gain in clearness as well as in other respects if people would stick to their notes, instead of wandering into disquisitions upon other matters little relevant to the subject under discussion. I think my statement was a very complete one, and I have not heard any objection to it. I propose now to take up in succession the different matters that have been brought forward by my hon. Friends. In the first place, my hon. Friend the Member for Caithness (Dr. Clark) has called attention to the very large expense incurred a good many years ago in the erection of political schools in the North of Scotland. I dare say the hon. Member will get a good many people to agree with him in 1390 that; but I think the hon. Member will also agree with me that that is a thing that cannot now be cured. The establishment that has been built cannot be turned into money, but must be used and held there. The hon. Member has also referred to one or two incidental circumstances that I think are hardly suitable for discussion in this House. One of them is, that at one school the grant has been withheld because the school board did not carry out the direction of the Inspector to have a blind put upon a window. That is very small matter; but if it is the fact that a blind was necessary to prevent the children being blinded, and if it is true that the school board was obstructive in regard to matters of that kind, the gentle hint conveyed by the grant being withheld for some time will probably not be disregarded. It appears that on more than one occasion the Inspector had found the children exposed to the sun, which was blazing in their eyes—a most improper thing, and a moat dangerous thing for their sight, as everybody knows—and, consequently, the grant has been withheld. I do not know whether or not there may have been faults on both sides; but, at all events, there is the Inspector's explanation of the facts. My hon. Friend the Member for Sutherland (Mr. A. Sutherland) has made some valuable observations on the question of teaching Gaelic in the Highland schools. I am very much afraid there are two great difficulties in connection with the teaching of Gaelic. In the first place, we cannot get those who are going out into life as teachers to trouble themselves much about Gaelic, and we cannot be much surprised at that when we consider that teachers are so crammed with other subjects that they have little time to devote to the study of a language which they would find of little aid to them, either at the time, or afterwards. It would be a great mistake to attempt to teach Gaelic in the same scientific way as other languages. What is wanted is rather the sort of acquaintance with the vernacular which is picked up by the children from their elders in most Highland cottages, and sufficient instruction to enable them to read the Bible in Gaelic. To attempt to teach Gaelic as a grammatical language, or by means of grammatical treatises, would 1391 be the height of folly. But I am afraid the first difficulty I have mentioned is the real one—that we cannot get young people who are taking up teaching as a profession to give sufficient attention to the subject. That is a difficulty that I fear cannot be met by the Education Department. It can only be met by the people themselves taking an interest in the matter, and doing what they can to secure that the subject is adequately taught. In regard to what has fallen from the hon. Member for the St. Rollox Division (Mr. Caldwell) on the question of secondary education, I can only say this, that I do not think secondary education has been promoted or stimulated by the passing of the Act of 1872, or any subsequent Act. The whole tendency of the system of compulsory education is to divorce secondary education from elementary education, and to prevent that gradual flow of teaching that used to obtain in the old parish schools of Scotland, and which was so valuable for all classes of the community. I am afraid we may come to a state of things in which the higher classes living in the outlying districts of the country would be unable to get from the teachers of the district that secondary education which they used to get from the parish schools, and also that the masters of board schools will not be stimulated to give the extra time—for it only is in extra time that it can be done—to those of their elder pupils who have the taste and time for higher education. There are great difficulties in the matter, and I do not think they would be at all met by a certain number of shillings being given for particular branches of education. The only way in which you can have this done is for the schoolmaster to make it one of his highest ambitions, not only to educate the children under his charge up to a particular low Standard, but also, while not neglecting that duty, and doing it efficiently, to give some of his time—leisure time, it may be—to higher education among those of his pupils who have the time, the talent, and the health to undertake it. I do not see how it can be done by attempting once more to graft secondary education on the existing compulsory system, and attempting to make it a means of stimulating secondary education within the school itself. With regard to the secondary schools, I think 1392 they are doing now what is the only thing they can do, looking to the divorce which has taken place between elementary and secondary education within the schoolroom. They are doing what they can to encourage the secondary schools that exist, and to stimulate them to greater exertions and greater success. That is an experiment that has been, up to a certain point, successful, and I trust in the future that it will be more successful still. The hon. Member for St. Rollox has also referred to the attendance in elementary schools, which is, no doubt, to a certain extent, defective. That it is not so defective as in some other places. I think that at a time when we are able to show substantially increased results, and especially in the most difficult districts, the hon. Member's words may be taken, not so much as words of condemnation, as a stimulus to us to do better if we can. No doubt, there has been a great improvement in Returns, and the Department have the matter thoroughly before them, and are thoroughly impressed with the importance of it. If they have been able to secure improved results in some of the most difficult districts, they may hope to do still more in the other parts of the country. I sympathize with my hon. Friend the Member for the Universities of Glasgow and Aberdeen (Mr. J. A. Campbell) in the opinion he has expressed that to hope to reach a very high percentage of attendance in the case of very young children is not a thing that any Department can look forward to. We might introduce any compulsory system we please, and exercise the powers of the law by inflicting imprisonment; but if we began to imprison large numbers of parents we should have exactly the same thing as we have had in connection with vaccination. We should have a public outcry against it. We must not press a law of this kind too far, above all, in the case of extremely young children. I sympathize with my hon. Friend when he says that in Scotland, at all events, it was not the practice in times past to send the children too young to school. I am not sure that education has not often been begun too soon by fixing one age at which a child ought to go to school. We would not do it with regard to any animal that we had to train. There are many children who are more fit to be educated at five than others 1393 at six, and I am very much afraid that our insisting on a hard-and-fast line would result in injury as well as failure. In that, of course, I am only expressing my own opinion, and I am bound to say that a contrary opinion prevails in the country—namely, that every child of a fixed age should be compelled to go to school. As to the non-State-aided schools being crushed out, that was the natural tendency of the Act of 1872, because when people felt that they were paying rates to provide education for the whole nation they were indisposed to put their hands in their pockets and pay for the education of their children in other schools, when they could receive a highly efficient education in the board schools, under the best monitory and other arrangements. My hon. Friend complained that the Department have concealed the facts as to the condition of the attendance in the non-State-aided schools. I think that arises from the fact that they are very carefully concealed from us. There is a great tendency on the part of the non-State-aided schools to avoid publicity.
§ MR. CALDWELL
What I said was that in regard to the City of Glasgow the School Board have given a complete statement of the annual attendance, and I asked why the Department should not do the same thing?
§ MR. J. H. A. MACDONALD
That takes the ground away from my hon. Friend's complaint, if it does not altogether remove it, because he has the figures, so far as Glasgow is concerned. My hon. Friend spoke of the number of children in attendance, and said it was not what it ought to be. There is a great deal of truth in that, and speaking generally upon the question I may say that it is a matter of considerable difficulty to bring the attendance up to what it ought to be. I can only say that in this respect we are progressing. Another matter referred to by my hon. Friend at the beginning of his speech was the lowering of the Standard and the schools not being feeders of the University. With regard to that I can only say that it is the real defect of the compulsory system of our elementary education, which does not tend to promote in the elementary schools the progress of higher education. A complaint has been made about the arrangement 1394 of the Department, by which the attendance of the child at school must be an attendance at the same school in order to obtain the grant. The matter has been fully represented to the Education Department, and is now under their consideration. That is a matter of great importance; but I believe it has been represented to the Education Department, and is now receiving careful consideration. A complaint was also made by the hon. Member for the St. Rollox Division with reference to placing on the additional grant which is given to the sparsely populated parts of the country the condition that they must show 80 per cent of attendance before they can receive that additional grant. I think the hon. Member would not have been so severe if he had known the actual result which has followed from the system. It has had the effect of stimulating larger attendance, and of giving to those sparsely populated districts an additional grant to the extent of £3,000 during the last school period. I think that is a very satisfactory result. Possibly the percentage may have been placed too high; but the population, instead of being a moving population, is a population always on the spot, and if a child once begins to attend school regularly there is no reason why he should not continue to do so. And so far as the children themselves are concerned, they are strong and healthy and are capable of using more exertion in reaching school than children who live in the large towns. The main point, however, is that 80 per cent has been reached, and these schools have increased the grant by £3,000. My hon. Friend also entered on the great question of the abolition of school fees. I will not enter upon the discussion of that question at the present time. It does not affect Scotland alone, but is a general question, about which there is a strong and vehement difference of opinion. Therefore, it would not be wise to refer to it now. The question of Dr. Ker has also been brought up. I admit to my hon. Friend that the information on which I answered the Question yesterday was derived from officials of the Department. My answer was not argumentative, but was simply as to certain matters of fact in reference to which I could get the information in no other way than from 1395 officials of the Department. My own opinion is that it would be unfortunate if a gentleman who is in a distinguished position as regards education should be so restricted in his holidays as not to be allowed to devote part of his time to doing some efficient work which does not interfere with his official duties. I do not suppose that Dr. Ker, the Inspector, spends the whole of his holidays in doing other work. Like a sensible man, he gives some of his time to reasonable recreation; but I do not blame him for devoting some of his holidays to a higher class of work. It is complained against the Scottish Education Department that it consists of the permanent Secretary to the Department. I hope hon. Members will not believe that important matters are not discussed by the officials, and that they have not a legitimate and proper influence on the Department; and if my hon. Friends would convey to me their ideas on different matters, they will find that that is a very good way of influencing the officials of the Department. The hon. Member for Aberdeen and Glasgow Universities (Mr. J. A. Campbell) expressed his regret at the diminution of the night schools in Glasgow and other parts of the country. There can be no doubt that these night schools are decreasing; but at this period, 15 years after the passing of the Education Act of 1872, just what we might expect to find is occurring, because when we have got the system of elementary education well established in the country, the result must necessarily be that a great many more children are getting their elementary education in their young days, It is not so necessary now for young people to attend night schools, because the great mass of the population have received their training and education in the elementary schools before reaching an age when people generally attend these night schools. Therefore, I think the diminution in the number of persons attending night schools is not an unmixed evil. I think it is to be accounted for, to some extent, by the fact that the education given in these night schools is becoming a higher education, which necessarily catches a much smaller proportion of the population than elementary education would do. I think it is a marked want that we did not get a sufficient number of efficiently 1396 trained female teachers for the very young children in infant classes. Everyone acknowledges that the influence of a woman on very young children with regard to their manners, morals, and education, is much more efficient and effective than that of a man. For one man who has the capacity for dealing with children of tender age, there are dozens of women who have it. I think it is a defect in our elementary system that we do not train young females for this special work. I suspect that the teachers that are chosen for teaching very young children are chosen simply because they are believed to know a great many things, without any test of their capacity for that sympathetic mode of dealing with young people by which alone they can be led happily into the first course of their education. If we endeavour in our Training Colleges to find out the young women who are best suited to this work, I believe it would be a happy thing for ourselves, a happy thing for the children, and a still happier thing for the community. There is only one other subject I desire to refer to, and it has reference to the remarks which fell from my hon. Friend the Member for the Edinburgh University. With regard to the question about the nine-penny limit of fees, we got great advantages from the belief that we have the power to charge a higher fee in the State-aided schools; but it has now turned out that, for technical reasons, we have not that power. It is just one of those instances that has so often happened in this House. A clause was put in the Act, at the instance of the late Mr. Duncan M'Laren, but in such a fashion that it has not proved effective. With regard to the question of Inspectors and Assistant Inspectors, I can assure my hon. Friends that it will receive careful consideration. The hon. Member has also spoken about the number of books and the expense of the books which are used in the schools, and there I am bound to say that I rather agree with him. I think the expense and number of books is a great disadvantage, and that the number of books is especially so; and I believe it would be more for the advantage of the children themselves if we were to have a system under which there were fewer books used and more instruction given by teachers in the schools, and less learning 1397 of lessons at home. That, I think, would be greatly to the advantage of the elementary education, and contribute as well to the future health of the population. Then my hon. Friend has remarked that we get our extra grants in Scotland by insufficient inspection; but I think we can answer that by pointing to the work done by Scotchmen in after life whether they are as well educated as Englishmen or not. I have now only to thank the Members of the Committee for the kindness with which they have received my statement, and to assure them that the questions which have been raised in the course of this discussion will receive the earnest consideration of the Department.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL (Kirkcaldy, &c.)
I Only want to ask one question—namely, who is the Head of the Scotch Education Department? We know very well that the Committee of Council for Education in Scotland contains some very eminent men; but I wish to know whether the Board is a dummy board or not—whether the Secretary for Scotland, in his own person, is the sole Board, or whether the eminent men whom I have referred to as being on the Committee of Education are members of the Board? We have on the Committee Sir Francis Sandford, a man of Scotch breeding, and a man of immense knowledge. We have, also, the Lord Advocate himself, a most able Scotchman, and I am sure that those who have listened to the right hon. and learned Gentleman will agree that he has vindicated himself of the charge of having acquired this knowledge of the Education Department from books; the right hon. and learned Gentleman has shown in his speech to-day great knowledge of the subject, and great sympathy with the questions that have been raised; and I want to know whether Sir Francis Sandford, the Lord Advocate, and the other able members of the Committee of the Council for Education are, as I have said, dummy members, or whether they take an active part in the management of Scotch Education— or is it the case that the only real Head of the Board of Education for Scotland is the Scotch Secretary himself, aided and abetted by the President of the Council?
§ MR. A. SUTHERLAND
Before the Question is put from the Chair, I should 1398 like to remind the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Lord Advocate that he has taken no note of what I said with regard to the results obtained by undergraduates as compared with those by graduate teachers. I quite agree with the right hon. and learned Gentleman's remarks on the subject of instruction in Gaelic, and now that we have it conceded as a specific subject, I hope it will have a fair chance. It has been said that although it has been conceded the subject has not been taken up; but I wish it to be put in the Schedule with the other subjects, and then if we see that it fails, there will be no reason for raising further arguments on the subject.
§ DR. CLARK
I am not altogether satisfied with the reply of the Lord Advocate as to the action of the Department in the case of the school board in my own locality. It is one of those inaccurate replies that Departments usually give. I have some correspondence here between the school board and myself regarding it, and I have to tell the right hon. and learned Gentleman that I shall bring the matter forward again rather than have £100 taken off the salaries. I wish to refer to a subject which last year I pressed on the attention of the Secretary for Scotland — namely, the very great grievance that the undergraduates in Scotland have with reference to their grant. You take these men, you educate them and give them a certificate that they are perfectly qualified to teach everything that is required to be taught in the elementary schools; and there is another class of men whom you do not examine and know nothing about so far as their qualifications are concerned. The latter are appointed as teachers, the class of subjects is the same, and the results are obtained by the same Examiners; and you give to the men you know all about 4s., and to those you know nothing about you give 10s. No doubt, there are some managers who prefer to take a man with a degree; but the effect of the present system is that the men who take your certificates are being shunted out and graduates are taking their places. I say you are acting unfairly towards a class of men whom you have yourselves certified to be efficient, and hence their complaint. Increase your own men's qualifications if you like, but I say that you 1399 ought to give them the same rights as graduates. I hope the right hon. and learned Gentleman will be able to give us an assurance that he will alter this arrangement next year, otherwise I shall be obliged to divide against the Vote.
§ MR. J. H. A. MACDONALD
In reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Kirkcaldy Burghs, I may say that I have referred to a very valuable work, Whitaker's Almanack, and I am happy to assure him that the members of the Scotch Education Department are not "dummy" members. I find that the Board consists of the Lord President of the Council, the Secretary for Scotland, the Secretary for the Home Department, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the right hon. Sir Francis Sandford, and myself. I have been at several meetings, and four members have always been present; Sir Francis Sandford and myself were there, and I have seen the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State for the Home Department present. The Board does not meet only in Council; it considers every question. With regard to the point mentioned by my hon. Friend with reference to the teaching of Gaelic, I had already taken a note of it, and it will not be lost sight of.
§ Vote agreed to.
(4.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £12,018, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1888, for Grants to Scottish Universities.
§ MR. HUNTER (Aberdeen, N.)
I regret that the Secretary to the Treasury is not present on this occasion, because I have to make one or two remarks which I am sure will be grateful to his ears as custodian of the public purse. I have to refer to the sums paid at the Scotch Universities for assistants of Professors. Now, there is no part of the money voted by Parliament to Scotch Universities which is more beneficially applied than that which goes for the payment of the Professoriate. But when some classes in the Universities become very large, enormous salaries, comparatively speaking, are obtained by fees from the students in those classes, and it seems to me that when the question 1400 of Scotch Universities comes up, the Treasury should consider the propriety of making the grant depend on the total amount which the Professors get. Take the case of Professors who receive £1,000 a-year and over. I find there are no fewer than 10 Chairs in Scotch Universities which return over £1,000 a-year to the Professors. This sum is largely in excess of the usual pay of Scotch Professors, and £100 is granted by Parliament to each of those 10 Professors for assistants. I venture to think that when the emoluments of a Professor exceed £1,000, he might very well provide the necessary assistance out of the excessive fees which he gets. That would give £1,000, which would be sufficient to endow five new Chairs at £200 each. I think that £200 would be found to be sufficient for the endowment of some Chairs which are urgently wanted in the Scotch Universities. Having called attention to this subject on the ground of usefulness and economy I wish to say a few words with regard to another possible reduction of this Vote. I refer to the sums voted for the Theological Chairs in the Scotch Universities. I have often felt that when Scotchmen have appealed to the Exchequer for Grants in Aid of Scotch Universities, there was one weak point in their case, because the English Nonconformists might turn round and say that before any additional money is given to Scotch Universities, the money already given should be applied to proper University purposes, and not to the endowment of denominational education. The amount voted by Parliament is not in itself large, but it amounts to one-seventeenth part of the entire Vote for Scotch Universities, and the other item which I have referred to is not an inappreciable amount. The reason why I think that Parliament should not grant any money for Theological Chairs in the Scotch Universities is that in. the course of events the Scotch Theological Chairs have ceased to be what we may call open Chairs, and they are practically used for the training of young persons of one Presbyterian denomination. The authorities of the Free Church require that all ministers of their bodies shall be educated at the Theological Colleges, which they themselves provide by voluntary subscriptions. The members of the United Presbyterian Church also 1401 proviades the necessary training for their ministers, and the result of this is that the Scotch Theological Chairs are practically confined to the preparation of candidates for the Established Church. It seems to me, holding as I do the principle of equality, with regard to religious endowments, that the present system is inconsistent with the principle of equality. There are some persons in Scotland who entertain the view that, although at the present time these Chairs are practically confined to candidates for the ministry of the Established Church, some possible changes may take place, and that at some future time the Theological Chairs may be available for the teaching of all ministers in Scotland as was the case before 1843. It does not seem to me that events are tending in that direction at the present time; and, that being so, I wish to move the reduction of the Vote by the sum of £1,000 in order that there may be an opportunity of dividing on and testing the principle involved, and I do so on the grounds both of economy and equality.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £11,018, be granted for the said Services."—-(Mr. Hunter.)
§ MR. J. H. A. MACDONALD
There are two points referred to by my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen (Mr. Hunter) in connection with this Vote, one of which is the emoluments of assistants and Professors. That is a matter which, of course, has already come under consideration in the proposals for University legislation, but I will point out this—that in proposing to make the Professor pay the sum voted by Parliament for an assistant, my hon. Friend ought to keep in mind that as regards a great many, if not all, of these assistants, the Professor could not keep them on the sum voted by Parliament In most cases £100 a-year to get the sort of man capable of being a really efficient assistant for these important classes is not enough; and not only is that so, but the Professors are also in this position, that although they get £100 to provide one assistant, which is not sufficient for the purpose, they have further to provide for assistance out of their own pockets, because, with only one assistant, they cannot possibly carry out the work of their Chairs. Then with regard to the Professors of Divinity 1402 and cognate subjects, I think my hon. Friend has done all he intended to do by bringing up this matter on the present occasion. It is a matter which cannot be properly discussed at the present moment. The question is a large and important one, and must also, to some extent, come up on the question of University legislation, and I am therefore not prepared at the present moment to enter into it. My hon. Friend has made his protest against the application of this money; but, at the same time, he is aware that it is the actual position of things at present, and we are not at this time in a position to alter it. The matter, notwithstanding the fact that I am not prepared to enter upon it now, is one that will certainly have to be considered; but I hope my hon. Friend will excuse me for going into it on the present occasion.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
I quite feel that it is impossible at the present time to deal with the whole question of the Divinity Professors at the Scotch Universities, although it is one which I think we shall have to deal with at a future day. But I want to say a word on the special case of St. Andrews. The Professors' case is that their incomes are almost at starvation point. It seems to me, quite apart from the general question of whether we ought to have a State-supported Church, that it is great folly that the Professor in Arts and Science should be starving while we keep up so liberally the Professors in the Divinity and Medical Departments, in which you have scarcely more students than Professors. It seems to me that there is not that demand for ministers of the Established Church of Scotland which would justify the keeping up of the divinity classes in the four Universities. My own opinion is that, unless an arrangement can be made with Dundee instead of enlarging the medical schools at St. Andrew's University, the proper course would be to abolish both Divinity and Medical Schools, and apply the money voted for them to the purpose of raising the status of the Professors in Arts and Sciences in respect of salary.
§ MR. HUNTER
I do not at all object to the tone in which the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Lord Advocate has met me on this question. I am perfectly aware that we are not in a position to find a satisfactory solution 1403 of the question on the discussion of the Vote before the Committee; but, at the same time, the only way in which we can formally raise the question in the House is by taking a Division on the Vote, and accordingly I shall do so on the present occasion.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 31; Noes 105: Majority 74. — (Div. List, No. 456.) [7.25 P.M.]
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ (5.) £1,300, to complete the sum for the National Gallery, &c, Scotland.
§ MR. MASON (Lanark, Mid)
There is an item in this Vote for the Board of Manufacturers about which I should like to receive from the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Lord Advocate some information. We in Scotland do not know much about this Board, and I should be glad to hear from the right hon. and learned Gentleman why the Board of Manufacturers exists, and what it is they do, so that we may understand on what the money now asked for is spent. I think the whole Vote requires some explanation.
§ MR. J. H. A. MACDONALD
This money is voted in connection with a number of institutions in Edinburgh for national purposes concerned with manufactures and arts. The Board of Manufacturers has under its charge large art collections and the School of Design, and there are buildings to be kept up, such as the National Gallery and the new National Portrait Gallery, the funds of which are provided by a private benefactor, while the maintenance is taken over by the State. There are, also, various matters connected with the School of Art and Design, and Science and Art Department. I will give one instance. The present staff sanctioned by the Treasury consists of a certain number of officials—a head master, assistant master, female teachers and curators, involving expenditure to the amount of £1,190 per annum, Then there are the expenses of the National Gallery and of the Museum of Antiquities; and there are prizes and various other things. The Board is working very efficiently, and having been a member of it for many years, I am able to say that it is very actively carried on, and is doing extremely good work.
§ Vote agreed to.