§ MR. A. H. DYKE ACLAND (York, W.R., Rotherham),
in rising to move—That in the interests of technical, commercial, and agricultural instruction, as well as of general education, it is indispensable that the attention of the Government should be no longer limited to primary education and science and art teaching, but should be extended to the secondary education of the Country which remains without organization or public supervision under a responsible Minister of Education, notwithstanding the repeated recommendations of Royal Commissions and Select Committees of this House on the subject,said, it was a good many years since any discussion arose on this particular subject in the House. It was not what was called a popular subject; but he hoped that interest in it was growing in the country. Many middleclass ratepayers were beginning to entertain the suspicion that they might have something more for their own children at a small increase of expense and a very little additional trouble on the part of the State. He thought many working men had a suspicion that the ladder from the primary schools to the University was not in such a good state as it ought to be. He should leave out of sight almost entirely the higher branches of secondary education with which our great public schools and the schools which prepared for them were concerned, and refer only to that education which concerned our lower middle classes, and those members of the working classes whose capacities, if properly trained, would enable them to rise to a superior position. He would ask three questions—(1) What were the defects in our present system and their results; (2) How our present needs were being met; and (3) What could the State do in the matter? As to the number of children concerned, that was a point on which they had little information; but 814 he reckoned, according to such figures as could be obtained, that they ought to have in their schools 20 per 1,000–12 boys and eight girls. Of the 500,000 for England and Wales that these figures would bring out, not more than 100,000 were in their endowed schools; there might be 300,000 in private schools; and that left another 100,000 who would take advantage of the privilege if they could get it. Of this 400,000, at least one-half were under no kind of check or guarantee whatever. They were not able to act in this as in other countries owing to our want of social unity. There was a large and wealthy class who could and did spend large sums in educating their children at private and public schools, and then the middle class, which could not reach this higher education, were unwilling from social reasons to avail themselves of primary education. They must recognize these social divisions. He passed from that to the great defect of all—the want of organization. That fact was so notorious that he need not dwell upon it. Many of the chief evils of secondary education were simply the result of want of organization, but to talk about re-organization by shifting endowments was to talk about a very difficult thing. This want of organization was felt most keenly in our great towns. Not only so, but the local Colleges, for which many hoped some State aid might be forthcoming, complained again and again that they were not able to do good technical and scientific work because their pupils came forward so hopelessly badly prepared, and the obvious cause of their being thus crippled was that secondary education was so ineffective. As to general organization throughout the country, it went without saying that there was no such thing. With regard to defects in schools, he would go so far as to say that if an endowed school was not in an effective state it had better not be where it was at all. He could point to places where, owing to endowed schools being ineffective, practically nothing was being done for education; whereas, if there were no such institutions, the wealthier inhabitants would put their hands to the oar and found a thoroughly good and effective modern school. Private schools could not fill up the existing gap, for as soon as a master was thoroughly successful there was everything to in- 815 duce him to raise his fees, and thus the need to provide good education at a moderate price remained unsupplied. In many private schools, moreover, sanitary conditions were utterly neglected, and something ought to be done in this direction, as well as in checking the large number of adventurers who still fed upon our lower middle claases. Everyone knew the kind of appeal which spoke of aSelect boarding school, in which only a few young gentlemen are received, on the most moderate terms, without extras, including washing and pew rents, and where the utmost attention is paid to gentlemanly deportment.Only the other day ho saw the following in a newspaper:—To Butchers and Grocers.—Education.—A young lady can be received in a first class and old established school on the sea coast on reciprocal terms.He would not try to analyze the process of mind through which the butcher would go as he contemplated whether it would pay him, on the whole, to educate his daughter at a place where he would retail the meat for 9d. which he bought for 6d. This primitive method of barter in relation to education which was able to exist in England would probably startle some educationists in other civilized communities. He submitted that, without any harsh and severe method, it might be easy to form such a system of registration of teachers as, while encouraging the best teachers, would gradually leave the charlatans to die a natural death. He could not doubt that, by a certain amount of State encouragement and more public attention being called to the question, progress might be made in our secondary schools as great as the progress which had attended our system of primary education in the last 18 years. There were, he admitted, many good schools. But if every hon. Member for England and Wales were asked to mention the six best secondary schools he knew some schools would be mentioned two or three times over, and it was not with reference to the 25 per cent that might be really good, but rather for the other 75 per cent that he was now speaking. If our secondary education was in a defective state the result to the country must be bad. It might be true that children trained in elementary schools were in many in- 816 stances cutting out the children of the middle class; but that was not good for the country. What they wished was that every class should be able to avail themselves of a cheap public system of education, and to encourage forethought and promptitude in every class. With regard to technical education, he had taken considerable interest in the question in connection with an association of which the noble Lord the Member for Rossendale was President, and wherever he went he was told—"You must improve and organize middle-class education." When they had done all that they could by Technical Education Bills there still remained much to do in putting such education on a sound basis. Germany had for years and years been building up a sound system of general education permeating the whole of her people, and we should never have anything worthy of being called a system of technical education unless we had a sound system of general education. With regard to commercial education, that was a question of secondary education; the two things went hand in hand. The agricultural question was a much more difficult one, and there, again, he was glad to find that the Departmental Committee that had lately reported were alive to the great need that existed in many of our agricultural district for effective secondary day schools. This need, in his opinion, must be met by a system of peripatetic teachers, such as already existed in the best organized of our towns, and he hoped also that the new County Councils would take a real interest in this subject. The late Mr. Matthew Arnold, for whose irreparable loss to the country nothing could make up, speaking of the relation of secondary to primary education, had said that the organization of secondary education was desirable, no doubt, in the interest of higher instruction, but that it was indispensable in the interest of popular instruction also. He would now refer to the question of how our present needs were being met. In the first place, with regard to money, assuming there were 500,000 children in need of secondary education; and, assuming roughly that the average cost for each would be £10 a-year, that gave a sum of £5,000,000 a-year to be expended on effective secondary education. Endowments only came to about 817 £500,000 a-year, but there were many parents who would be willing to pay, say, £7 10s., if necessary. Organization and public supervision and, encouragement were what were wanted far more than money. It was not, therefore, wholly a question of money, and there were many parts of the country where the people were perfectly willing to find the money when wanted. The people of Wales, for instance, were willing and anxious to be enabled to put into effect the provisions of the Bills which were brought forward on both sides of the House dealing with this question. How far were our present needs being met with reference to effective tests? A good deal had been done, no doubt, to test, encourage, and stimulate secondary schools. The local examinations of Oxford and Cambridge and the work of the College of Preceptors had been most valuable, but these bodies did not touch more than one-third of the children. In all schools where public money was being used they wanted more inspection and more guarantee than existed at the present time. With regard to secondary teachers, also, more tests and more efficiency were required. Immense strides had been made by primary teachers, and same of the best of them were fit to stand the test by the side of any teachers in any schools in the country. That was brought about by a system of public training which had produced good results. They might talk about the great improvement which they desired to see brought about in education, but unless they got better teachers in the subjects to which he had referred very little progress would be made. The next question was, what could the State do? All work of this sort must be gradual, and too much State interference would do a great deal more harm than good. Two things might be done immediately. In the first place, they might obtain some information as to tile facts. Only last year Mr. Matthew Arnold expressed the opinion that it was possible to get powers to ascertain what was the actual supply of secondary education and what was its character. He was of opinion that that information could be obtained without much difficulty or expense, and there was no doubt that it would be of infinite value to public bodies interested in education. In the second place, there ought to be a 818 Minister of Education, and not a mere duplicate of the President of the Council, who would be able to bring the whole subject within his ken, and have by his side some sort of effective council. In addition to this, more effective inspection of public schools was also wanted, and private schools should be encouraged to pay attention to this matter. In the fourth place, there ought to be registration of teachers; and, lastly, Local Bodies should have power to deal with this question by way of rating if they chose. He felt that he had given but an imperfect sketch of a great subject, and urged but little that was new, or that had not again and again been placed before Commissions and Committees. He was glad, however, that there was not now so much tall talk about our great middle classes and State interference as there used to be 20 years ago, but rather a growing opinion on the part of teachers and parents alike that there was something wanting in this particular department of our national life. He hoped that the Government would not invent an answer just sufficient to prevent his taking a Division. This was not a Party question, but one which interested all parties. Ho believed there were large numbers among the working classes who could be helped to rise to most important positions in the industrial world, and we ought to beware of stifling talent among them. If anything could be done by the State it ought to be done, and encouragement and help ought to be afforded wherever there was a real demand. The hon. Gentleman concluded by moving the Resolution of which he had given Notice.
§ MR. JOHN MORLEY (Newcastle-on-Tyne),
in seconding the Resolution, said: My hon. Friend need not, I am sure, apologize to the House for anything at all inadequate in the statement which he has laid before the House, and I think he must have felt that he received from both sides of the House in an almost equal degree interest, sympathy, and approval. It is very agreeable to find that wo are now upon ground upon which both sides of the House have a common interest and. common views. I only differ the least in the world from my hon. Friend in one point. I thought my hon. Friend referred more than I should be inclined to do to the fact that the improvement 819 of secondary education is to be carried on with a view to the special interests and technical instruction of the wage-earning and working classes. I am second to no man in this House in my conviction that the wage-earning classes have the first claim upon the regard and attention of the House for this reason if for no other—that they are more numerous than all the other classes of the community put together. But, at the same time, in dealing with this question, we have to think also of those who are called in France the directing classes, whose interests in education are at least as great, and in secondary education greater, than those of the wage-earning classes. My hon. Friend has presented to the House a most interesting picture of the present condition of middle-class education. I shall not follow him into any details, but I will rest my view of the case upon authority. I will take three kinds of authority—the man of science, the man of business, and the man of letters. The man of science is Professor Huxley, who is not only a man of science, but a man who is well acquainted, who is specially acquainted by long experience, with the whole of the methods and all the necessities of secondary education in this country. What Professor Huxley says is this—The organization of industrial and commercial education is not the least of the great problems which await the future. That this problem has to be solved under penalty of national ruin proves to be no longer a mere alarmist fancy.That is the opinion of the man of science. The man of business to whom I shall refer is a gentleman well known to all Members who take an interest in technical and advanced education—Mr. Swire Smith, of Keighley. He is a Commissioner of Technical Instruction, and has travelled through the United States, Germany, Austria, and France. He is, therefore, well qualified. What he says is this—In a large proportion of the Northern manufacturing towns there are no really secondary schools at all. Such middle-class schools as exist are graded, not according to educational standards, but according to the social grades of the scholars; the result being that, instead of all the children, as in every other country, receiving their elementary education in the public schools, the larger ratepayers, for fear of contact with those below, send their children to private schools, where 820 they obtain inferior elementary instruction at a higher price, supplemented by extras which in too many instances do not represent any solid teaching. The boarding and grammar schools, where the education of many is 'finished,' with some commendable exceptions, 'neglect that knowledge in which there is progress, and devote attention to those branches in which we are scarcely, if at all, superior to our ancestors.' The result upon the student is about what might be expected.
§ MR. P. S. POWELL (Wigan)
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman from what document he is quoting, as I am well informed as to the opinions of my friend Mr. Swire Smith?
§ MR. JOHN MORLEY
From an article written in The Westminster Review about two months ago, to which Mr. Swire Smith's name is appended. Now, Sir, finally, the man of letters is Mr. Matthew Arnold. I hope the House will not think it unbecoming if at this moment, so soon after the loss, after the disappearance of that bright ornament of his time, I express for many on both sides of the House our sense of the loss of one who was a man of letters of the first eminence and distinction, who, besides that, was a public servant of the greatest usefulness, and who, finally, constantly showed a very keen and luminous insight into some of the most urgent social, intellectual, and political needs of his generation and his country. What Mr. Arnold said upon the subject is conveyed in sentences of which I will read three or four to the House. They are pithy and pregnant—Our middle classes are among the worst educated in the world. The education of the mass of the middle classes is vulgar and unsound. Our body of secondary schools is the most imperfect and unserviceable in civilized Europe. Our middle class is the worst-schooled in civilized Europe.Mr. Arnold was very competent to speak of the state of education in Germany and France, and fully competent to speak of education in England. I do not think that, after this consensus from so many different sources, we need longer time to convince ourselves of the existence of the want which we have to remedy. The question is, what is to be done? I am only going to dwell upon two points, of which the first is the necessity of creating a real Minister of Public Instruction. Everybody admits the necessity for the organization of secondary education. It is not too much to say that everything in our edu- 821 cational system between the elementary schools and the Universities is in a state of neither more nor less than chaos. I am speaking in the presence of Gentlemen well acquainted with the state of education in this country. Every person who watches as to secondary education is only too familiar with the confusion of wasted and misapplied endowments, distracted trustees, and bewildered parents—a very Babel of abounding conflict and misdirected criticism. Education must come into contact with the wide range of our most important interests. We have University extension lectures, Oxford and Cambridge examinations; we have conferences of Head Masters, International Conferences on Education. What we want is a Minister round whom, as a nucleus of activity, all this mass of information, so variously collected, all the various points and interests raised in these controversies, may be brought into a clear and definite form. Now, Sir, I hope the House will not suppose that I, at least, am advocating any imitation of the French system, under which, according to the well-known story of the French Minister of Instruction, at a certain hour every boy in France was doing the same lesson. I agree with my friend Mr. Huxley that even the present chaos would be better than that mechanical system. I do not believe that anyone on either side of the House has any desire to transform English boys into the kind of boys whom we see on the Continent. We have no desire to see the Minister of Education, when he is created, unnecessarily meddling or making himself unnecessarily busy. What the Minister of Education would do would be to keep up a constant pressure in the direction of instructed public opinion. The friends of such a proposal think we should find in a Minister of that kind the most simple way of focussing the information on educational subjects. It should be the business of the Minister of Education to judge the direction in which the educational indications of the time are tending, and by degrees to force on those bodies which did not take voluntary action a modification of their system in the desired direction. My hon. Friend who brought forward this Motion referred to the creation of Colleges in great towns, and it is a remarkable fact that 822 in England—I believe in every large town—they have found it necessary to start these Colleges; but they are finding they could only keep their heads above water by making them what are called "bread and butter Colleges"—by making them into mere schools of technical instruction. That is most indispensable; but some of us who are going to support this Motion—most of us—feel that we want to make those Colleges into something more—we want to make them great, broad, and general educational agents. What will he the relations of the Minister of Education to it? I hope the right hon. Gentleman opposite will give us something to look forward to in that respect. We do not ask that those relations should be the cast-iron relations of the War Office to the Army or the Admiralty to the Navy. What our view points to, I believe, is this—that the Minister should be a great intelligence department for the collection of all possible information from the best sources, and in turn diffusing that information to all those Colleges. It is the same with the endowed schools. What happens in their case is that the Charity Commissioners frame a scheme which lies on the Table of both Houses of Parliament, but the schemes once passed we hear no more of them, whether they turn out well or ill, and whether their operation is or is not what the Charity Commissioners intended it should be. The Minister of Education and the Department would have a constant stream of light shed on those schools, and it would be poured out on the whole education system of the country. It is said that the Charity Commissioners have legal powers to make trustees do their duty. I know they have; but that is a very different thing from having powers to ascertain the educational efficiency of the school, and for this the Charity Commissioners have no apparatus. What we want is that the most experienced officers of the Education Department and the Charity Commissioners should become an authority and be represented in Parliament by a head who would be responsible to and able to satisfy Parliament as to the continued efficiency of those institutions. There is no more excellent authority in all matters of education than Mr. Fitch, and he said in his evidence before the 823 Select Committee of two years ago that—A responsible Minister of Education would be valuable in relation to endowed schools.I ask the attention of the House to this, in order that they may know definitely what it is that a Minister of Instruction would be. He wouldNot, of course, have to administer a grant in aid, because they ought all to be practically self-supporting, nor to lay down any code of regulations so as to require secondary education to be always of one type or follow the same course; but to inform parents and the public of the nature of the existing provisions and of the state of efficiency of all the endowed schools.The plain truth is that we want a Minister of Instruction to prevent endowed schools from falling back into a condition analogous to that in which they were before the Endowed Schools Act. My hon. Friend has referred to the Endowed Schools Act. My hon. Friend has referred to the probability that within a short time the County Councils will have to deal with educational funds and important educational interest. I am not to-night going to touch the financial aspect of this question. I can only make this remark—that in Germany the State begins its contribution to education at the opposite end to that at which we begin. It gives no grant, I am informed, to primary education, though it sends Inspectors to test the work done. What it does is to reserve its grants for the higher education. And here I should like to read a few lines from the last Report that Mr. Arnold ever wrote—We are misled if we are merely told that the schools for the lower classes in Berlin are free, while those for the middle and upper classes charge school fees. What would the schools for those classes be in Berlin or anywhere else in Germany if they had merely the school fees to depend upon The schools are built and maintained, their teachers are paid by the State or the municipality; the school fees of the pupils, always very moderate according to their notions, are merely a contribution in aid of the expense of admirable schools provided really like the elementary schools by the public.The Chancellor of the Exchequer is a very zealous and a very competent friend of higher education in this country, and I do not know how he will reconcile his undoubted zeal for secondary education with demands which will necessarily and speedily be made upon the Exchequer for secondary education. It 824 is too late to ask whether we should not have done better to have begun at the same end as the Germans, because nobody denies that part of the funds contributed to primary education in this country are little better than wasted in giving a thin veneer of education, which is very rapidly worn off by the friction of daily life. But though it is too late to ask whether we would not have done better to have begun at the other end, it is not too late to ask whether, if you admit the principle that it is the duty of the State to share the burden of primary education with the localities, it is not the duty of the State to share the burden of higher education too. When this is done it will be one reason the more for having a Minister of Public Instruction. The County Councils will undoubtedly be called upon to take charge of education, but they will need guidance and they will need light, and their efficiency from an educational point of view will depend upon their having access, through some natural and self-working machine such as an Educational Minister would be, to information in the ever-advancing science of education. What Parliament will want is that there shall be a responsible Department to see that the country is getting money's worth for its money. I will detain the House only for a moment or two upon the attitude of this House towards a Minister of Public Instruction. The School Inquiry Commission of 1868 recommended in their Report that there should be a great central educational authority, and suggested that this central authority should be got by enlarging the powers of the Charity Commission; but they pointed out that the Minister of Education is the proper head of the Commission, because the Minister would be supported by the whole strength of the Government. There is a further and stronger reason from the point of view of the Commission of 1868 why there should be a Minister of Instruction—it is the only way in which you would get real responsibility to Parliament. In 1868 the Duke of Marlborough, then President of the Council in the Administration of Mr. Disraeli, introduced in the House of Lords a Bill to create a Secretary of State to deal with educational matters. When Mr. Disraeli was challenged in a debate in 1874 by the right 825 hon. Member for South Leeds (Sir Lyon Playfair) with having gone back on the proposal in the Duke of Marlborough's Bill, Mr. Disraeli said that he had found out in the course of the six years which had elapsed that the proposal was premature. The next step was taken in 1883, when my hon. Friend the Member for the University of London (Sir John Lubbock) brought the subject before the House, and the end of his action was a Committee which reported in 1884. That Committee was presided over by the right hon. Member for South Edinburgh (Mr. Childers). The Report was to the effect that (1) a Board of Education should be appointed under a President who should be real as well as nominal Minister, in this respect holding a position like that of the President of the Board of Trade, and that the duties of this Minister should be recognized. as not less important than those of some of the Secretaries of State. (2) That the Minister should have authority over the endowed schools to the extent of calling on the Governing Bodies to furnish him with such Reports and information as he may require, and to direct any inquiries or inspection which he may deem necessary. (3) In the case of public schools that he should be authorized to call for information, but they were not of opinion that his powers should extend to inspection. It is on the Report of the Committee of 1884 that we base our strong desire that now to-night, if it be possible, we should receive an assurance from the Government that they seriously contemplate carrying out that recommendation as to a Minister of Education. I know it may be said by the right hon. Gentleman that he or the President of the Council is a Minister of Education. But whether it is the President or the Vice President of the Council who is the actual head of that Department, I submit that at present he is not a Minister of Public Instruction at all, but simply a giant school-manager—a manager of elementary schools. What we want, what the Resolution points to, is a man who will survey the whole field of public instruction, who will keep his eyes open all round, who will find out at every point the defects of the secondary system, and will, wherever it is necessary, constantly come before Parliament to apply for powers to remedy 826 these defects. Mr. Lowe, in 1874, said that there was not in the Education Department material enough to occupy a Minister of the first class. It may be so or it may not; but if the functions of the Minister were enlarged in the sense I have indicated they would undoubtedly be worthy in England, as they have long been thought worthy in France, of the whole energies of a Minister of the highest dignity and position. There is only one other point to which I will refer before I sit down. Neither the Mover of the Resolution nor I are here to frame a Bill; but there is one point to which I would refer namely, the registration of secondary schools and of teachers. I do not know how far opinion is yet ripe for the proposition I am going to lay down; but I feel confident that the time will come, if it has not come already, when England, like some other countries, will insist that no schools shall be opened by any man or woman without the properly recognized qualifications. That is a counsel of perfection I dare say, but I think it is one of those aims which we ought to keep before our view. As things are now, any man broken down in any other calling of life thinks he is good enough for a schoolmaster. Parliament has passed many Registration Acts. It has even passed a Veterinary Surgeons' Registration Act, and I think the time has come when we may expect a Teachers' Registration Act to pass, and that by-and-bye measures should be taken to prevent any persons opening a secondary school unless they possess some title to qualify them for registration. That is not a new point; Mr. Forster brought forward what was called No, 2 Bill, and it contained a clause for registration; and in 1881 the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Leeds (Sir Lyon Mayfair) brought in his Teachers' Registration Bill. Both of those Bills had what appeared to many of us the defect of being voluntary. I hope the time will come when this House will not be afraid of a Teachers' Registration Bill which shall be not voluntary, but compulsory. I know the objection to it is that if you make it compulsory, then the State will appear to be giving a guarantee as to the competency of the person so registered. We must take that objection for what it is worth, bit it has not been 827 held valid against the Medical Registration Act. We may go so far as to say that you can have no guarantee of the efficiency of a school unless it is annually examined; and if the right hon. Gentleman should say that such annual examination is impossible, I shall only remind him that in Scotland the Government does examine and inspect all the endowed schools, and, I think, all the higher schools.
§ THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL (Sir WILLIAM HART DYKE) (Kent, Dartford)
§ MR. JOHN MORLEY
If it can be done in Scotland, I do not see why our higher schools in England should not also be examined.
§ MR. JOHN MORLEY
I think they examine all, but I will leave my right hon. Friends to settle that between themselves. The Lord Advocate does not contradict me.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. J. H. A. MACDONALD) (Edinburgh and St. Andrew's Universities)
Only those which apply are examined.
§ MR. JOHN MORLEY
Our difficulties with respect to private adventure schools in the future are lessened, and will be progressively lessened, by this very interesting fact, which I am told is true by the best educational authorities—that since 1868 the principal educational movement in this country has been in the direction of establishing secondary schools on a public basis and of a public character. Mr. Fitch said in 1886—If it was the duty of the Education Department to present to Parliament a list of all efficient secondary schools in a given district, all really good schools, whether private or proprietary, would be glad to be included in that list, and would volunteer to ask for inspection and examination, in order that parents might have greater confidence in them and their work.I have endeavoured to put before the House one or two points with regard to a Minister of Education and with regard to registration. The want is admitted—the necessity for this serious step is admitted on both sides—without reference to political Parties. All our present education that is good is intolerably dear, while the moderately cheap is exceedingly bad. My contention is that 828 by imprinting the stamp of publicity and the stamp of the State upon these secondary schools we shall not only be exalting the professional spirit of the teachers, which in itself would be an immense again, but we should do more than anything else we can do to enlarge, to quicken, and to vivify the minds of the learners, and without impairing the native boldness or virility of the British stock we shall be stimulating that intellectual alertness and strengthening that moral force which are the only solid foundations of national greatness.
To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "in the interests of technical, commercial, and agricultural instruction, as well as of general education, it is indispensable that the attention of the Government should be no longer limited to primary education and science and art teaching, but should be extended to the secondary education of the Country, which remains without organization or public supervision under a responsible Minister of Education, notwithstanding the repeated recommendations of Royal Commissions and Select Committees of this House on the subject,"—(Mr. Arthur Acland,)
§ —instead thereof.
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ MR. KENYON (Denbigh, &c.)
said, he hoped he should not be considered presumptuous in intervening at this somewhat early period of this exceedingly interesting debate. His reason for so doing was that he desired to treat the subject from a particular point of view—because he wished to speak solely on the question of intermediate and technical education in the Principality of Wales. The subject was one which demanded some consideration from the Front Benches, because they had from time to time given pledges to Members interested in it. What was its history? Why this—so long ago as the year 1880 a Royal Commission was appointed to consider the subject, and a strong Royal Commission represented by men who had the confidence of the whole of the Principality. That Commission was appointed with the consent of both the political Parties in the House, and its President was a man whose name, without doubt, commanded the assent and confidence of every Welshman—he meant Lord Aberdare. Well, that Commission 829 visited every part of Wales; it took evidence all over the Principality; and the conclusions it arrived at, after a most searching investigation of the whole subject, were given in a somewhat lengthy volume, which he would not inflict upon the House. The effect, however, of the conclusions they arrived at as to the dearth or want of intermediate and technical education in the whole of the Principality he would read. These were the principal points they referred to—The very inferior aggregate number of scholars attending intermediate or technical schools in Wales as compared with the remainder of the United Kingdom. The whole number of scholars attending intermediate schools in Wales only amounted to the small number of 4,006, and of those the proportion in town schools was only 1,540, the rest being in private country schools.That one point showed the small number of scholars educated by the intermediate schools in the Principality. He did not wish to weary the House with figures, but he should like to ask them to compare the statistics relating to Wales with those showing the number of scholars educated by these schools in other parts of the United Kingdom—In Ireland the comparison of children between 10 and 11 years of age who are educated is as one to 3,121; in Scotland it is as one to 840; whereas in Wales the comparison is as one to 8,000.Could it for a moment be contended that the intermediate education system was doing its work in Wales when only one child was educated where the number ought to be 8,000, and when one in 840 were educated in Scotland? It seemed to him that this proved almost to demonstration that there must be something radically wrong in the system. Another point he would like just to allude to was this. It was asked why different rules and different laws should be applied to Wales to those which were applied to other parts of the United Kingdom? The answer to that was fairly given in the Report of the Royal Commission. The first point was the isolation—the comparative isolation—of Wales, partly owing to its geographical features, and partly owing to its Cymric language. Then, again, there was the poverty of the Principality, and with regard to that point he should like to mention one or two facts. People said—"Why is Wales a poor country?"
830 They said—"It is a great industrial country." So it was a great industrial country, but all the same it was an extremely poor country. He should like to call attention to a few figures which he thought were thoroughly trustworthy, and which threw some light on this question of prosperity. It had been proved conclusively from the Income Tax Returns that whereas in England the Income Tax averaged £15 per head in the English counties, in the Welsh counties it only averaged £12 per head, and in one particular county—probably the poorest in Wales—namely, Cardiganshire—only £8 per head. In the English boroughs, it was shown, the Income Tax averaged £24 per head, whereas in the Welsh boroughs it only averaged £13 per head. This seemed to him a very fair comparison of the wealth and prosperity of Wales and England. Now, he wanted to point out a few of the specific grievances which he thought the Welsh people suffered under, and these he took mainly from the Report of the Royal Commission, to which he had already alluded. Wales, as the House knew, had a very mixed population. It had a population a great portion of which was agricultural, but it also had mining industries. He did not suppose there was any part of the United Kingdom where there were so many mixed industries as there were in Wales. They had in the Principality lead mines and iron mines; they had or had had copper mines; they had coal mines; they had very large slate quarries, a large industry in pottery and terra cotta; and, last of all, they had the great industry coming to the front, gold mines. [Laughter.] This last industry might be looked upon as somewhat of an ignis fatuus; but, at any rate, they had lately seen the proprietor of these mines coming up to London with three bars of gold in his possession, valued at £3,000, taken from his mines, and when that was the case it was not for the House of Commons to laugh. What he wanted to say on these points was this. There they had all these various industries, and what had they got in the shape of technical or intermediate education to train the people and fit them to make the best of them? Those industries must require great knowledge of metallurgy, engineering, and all those technical subjects which the 831 hon. Gentleman who moved the Motion (Mr. A. H. Dyke Acland) would say they were interested in. And had not the Welsh industries been injured by the fact that there were no good technical or intermediate schools for the education of the children? He would give the House a small illustration of what he meant, and it might not, perhaps, be a very unhappy one. When the Liverpool Corporation were borrowing water from Wales by means of a great aqueduct, and works involving the employment of a large number of persons and requiring a large amount of engineering skill and technical knowledge were in progress, amongst the great body of men engaged there were, comparatively speaking, no Welshmen on skilled work. And why? He did not believe himself that it was from any congenital want of intellectual power in Welshmen in acquiring engineering skill, but because they had not had the opportunity given them of studying these matters. The work Welshmen ought to have had was given to others. He thought that was an argument in favour of what was advocated—namely, the giving of more power and assistance to intermediate schools in Wales. And there was another point. Wales was a great watershed. If they wanted water in London, where would they go for it? They would have to go to the watershed of Merionethshire. Then give the Welsh the opportunity meanwhile of educating their people, and give them the chance of knowing something technical as to the method of making use of their natural advantages. Do not let them handicap the poor Welsh people unfairly in these matters. They were naturally of an engineering disposition. It might not be known to Englishmen that the first water brought to London—
§ MR. SPEAKER
Order, order I must point out to the hon. and learned Gentleman that he is treating the broad Question before the House in a very special manner.
§ MR. KENYON
said, he felt it his duty to make an appeal to the Front Bench on this question of educating the people which had been so long before them. He should like to make an appeal to the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury (Mr. W. H. Smith), and he trusted that in so doing he should not be trespassing against the Rules of 832 the House. The Marquess of Salisbury visited Wales the other day, and delivered a great speech to the people. There was only one fault he had to find with the speech. It was a great disappointment to find that intermediate education was not dealt with in it. The Welsh Liberal papers, after the noble Lord's visit, said this—which he was afraid represented to a great extent the feeling of the Welsh people on this sub-ject—Wales will get nothing from him or his Party. We expect the effect of his visit will he to rid North Wales of every Tory who now misrepresents it.He (Mr. Kenyon) would make a pathetic appeal to the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury to avoid, if possible, so terrible a catastrophe. In all sorrowful earnestness, he said, the Conservative Party now had the chance of dealing with the matter of doing something for Wales. Wales had been neglected in the matter of education, and he would appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to consider whether some place could not be given to Wales in connection with this burning question—for it was a burning question—of intermediate and technical education. If he would do so, he would, he (Mr. Kenyon) was sure, earn the gratitude not only of Welshmen sitting on that (the Conservative) side of the House, but of his Welsh Friends sitting opposite, who were fully prepared, he thought, to accept a reasonable and conciliatory measure, from whatever quarter it might come.
§ MR. PRESTON BRUCE (Fifeshire, W.)
said, he rose to ask the indulgence of the House for a few moments, to allow him to consider this Motion from the point of view of Scotland. He was afraid he could not hope to treat the matter in the pathetic style in which the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had treated the case of Wales. But he desired to ask how far this Motion was applicable to the case of Scotland, and to express his opinion that in its general purport this Motion was applicable to Scotland as well as to England. The defect which had been pointed out—that was to say, the want of efficient schools—existed in Scotland as well as in England; and the remedy which was pointed at—the aid of the State in organizing, supervising, and assisting those schools—was a remedy highly necessary, he 833 thought, in that country also. At the same time, there were very marked differences between the educational arrangements in Scotland and those which prevailed in England. For example, he was struck by the frequent references made by the hon. Gentleman the Mover of the Motion (Mr. A. Dyke Acland) and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Mr. John Morley) to the middle class. They treated this question as if it was almost exclusively a matter for the middle class. Now, he (Mr. Preston Bruce) thought that the people of Scotland had never been accustomed to regard their educational institutions as class institutions. Their old parochial schools were not schools of a particular class; the present board schools were not schools of a particular class; and the Universities of Scotland were not the Universities of a class; and the sort of secondary schools which were wanted in Scotland would not be the schools of one class, or for a particular class, but schools for the benefit of all classes. Well, it had also been an honourable tradition of their old parochial schools that children should get there; not only elementary education, but a good deal of higher education, and he gladly acknowledged that many of the board schools now existing had carried on that tradition, and did supply a great deal more than merely elementary education. At the same time, while that was true, he believed that no educationist would deny that an intermediate class of schools between the National Board Schools and the Universities was a necessity in Scotland. Well, then there was one other point with regard to Scotland which he should like to mention. Their schools there were essentially day schools. In England boarding schools, he believed, had been very successful, but the boarding school had never taken root in Scotland. The day school system was what they were accustomed to there, and the result of that peculiarity was that what they required in regard to secondary schools was a very extended system of secondary schools. It was not enough that they should have secondary schools in a few of their largest towns, but they must have thorn in every considerable centre of population, in order that the children might come in from the surrounding districts and attend them as day scholars, returning to their 834 homes in the evening. That being so, he thought the only question was, could they get a sufficient supply of secondary schools without asking the aid of the State in the matter? A few years ago many people in Scotland were inclined to say—"You should not go to the State for this. These schools ought to be supplied out of your educational endowments." He (Mr. Preston Bruce) wished to say, under correction from the hon. Gentleman the Member for the Glasgow University (Mr. J. A. Campbell) whom he saw opposite, one of the Education Endowments Commissioners, that he believed he was correct in saying that that Commission had now had through its hands practically all the educational endowments of Scotland. They therefore knew how far the want of secondary schools could be supplied out of educational endowments, and the result which they had from the Chairman of the Commission was that these endowments were not sufficient to supply what was wanted in the matter of secondary education. He would ask leave to quote just one sentence from the speech of Lord Balfour of Burleigh, delivered at Glasgow in September last. The noble Lord said—I am most anxious that the public should not suppose that when the Commission has done all its work that all that it is necessary to do for higher education in Scotland will have been done. I look forward to the time—and I hope it is not far distant—when higher education will come more within the sphere of Parliamentary action, and more within the sphere of assistance from the rates, than it is at the present time.And he went on to say afterwards—Parliament has acknowledged its duty to the elementary schools and to the Universities, and both are aided from the public funds. Why is secondary education alone to be left out in the cold to be starved and neglected?Now, Lord Balfour of Burleigh held Office under the present Government. He was a great supporter of the Conservative cause in Scotland, and he (Mr. Preston Bruce) called on the Government not to be behind this supporter of theirs in the matter of their educational policy. If the Government adopted the views of Lord Balfour of Burleigh on this point, they would be very nearly adopting the views of the hon. Gentleman who had moved the Motion. Now, he must just quote one other authority on this subject, and he would do so from 835 the last Report of the Scotch Education Department. They had during the last two years begun a system of inspecting the higher schools, which system had been referred to to-night already, and they said—In view of the fears which have been expressed as to the decadence of secondary education in Scotland, we have naturally looked with great interest to the reports which have as yet reached us. We regret to find that these do, to a considerable extent, confirm the fears to which we allude.And in the special Report of Professor Chrystal, who was employed by the Department, and who inspected 12 of these schools, there occurs this remark—The time has arrived for plain speaking regarding our system of secondary education. Year by year since the re-organization of the English schools under the Charity Commission, my experience as an Examiner in Scotland has forced more and more on me the unwelcome conclusion that, with a few exceptions here and there, we have been falling behind in higher education properly so-called.Well, now, he (Mr. Preston Bruce) thought he had sufficiently shown that this want, already referred to in the Motion before the House, existed in Scotland. Ho would not venture to detain the House by any special remarks on the question of technical education, or evening schools, or special points of that kind. What he wished to show was this—that this want equally existed in Scotland, and he agreed with the hon. Gentlemen the Mover and Seconder of the Motion that organization was the main thing required. They wanted assistance in the shape of funds, but organization was even more important than money in this matter. He did not think it could be said that there was as yet any formed public opinion in Scotland as to exactly in what shape and in what degree the State should interfere in this matter; but, on the other hand, his experience was that there was in that country a great enthusiasm for the cause of education looked at broadly. He believed that any Government that appealed boldly to that feeling and brought in a broad and comprehensive measure for the advancement of secondary education, would find a very hearty response among the people of Scotland, and a very warm support of such a measure. There was just one other point to which he would allude before he sat down. The Motion before the House 836 mentioned the subject of a Minister of Education, and a great part of the speech of the Seconder of that Motion was devoted to that matter. Now, it would be in the recollection of those who took any interest in Scotch affairs that two or three years ago Scotch education was handed over to the Scotch Office, being transferred from the English Department, and connected with the Scotch Department, and that it was now practically, although not in theory, under the Secretary for Scotland. He did not wish it to be supposed that he, in supporting this Motion, as he very heartily did, wished to intimate an opinion in favour of going back upon that arrangement. He did not think it would be at all wise, having regard to the tendency of public opinion in this matter, to attempt to go back on that and replace Scotch education under the same Office as English education; nor did he believe that that would be desirable in itself. Much as he thought education required assistance and organization by aid of a central authority, on the other hand he was of opinion that nothing was less to be desired in education than excessive centralization. Surely it was much better that Scotland and Wales and other parts of the Kingdom should be allowed to develop their education on their own lines, rather than that any attempt should be made to drive them into one mould. The higher the education with which they were dealing, the more objectionable it seemed to him to attempt anything like similarity or uniformity in it. Subject to this one remark with regard to a Minister of Education, he gave his most cordial support to the Motion. He earnestly hoped that it would not be long, as Lord Balfour of Burleigh had said in the speech he had quoted, before there was some movement and some action taken in this direction, and there was an effective organization of our secondary education introduced throughout Scotland and England alike.
§ THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL (Sir WILLIAM HART DYKE) (Kent, Dartford)
Sir, I think, at all events Her Majesty's Government cannot pretend to have any ground for complaint at a question of this importance having been raised in this House with reference to educational matters, and still less can they have any cause for com- 837 plaint in regard to the manner and matter of the speeches addressed to us from the other side of the House. Although I am afraid I cannot agree with all that may be urged as to this Resolution, at the same time I can join most heartily in the suggestions that have come from the other side in reference to these matters of education being no longer matters of Party controversy in this House. I think I may urge with some justice that this Resolution, from the very form of it, is one that it is very difficult to deal with. I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman the Member for the Rotherham Division of York (Mr. A. Dyke Acland), who so ably brought it before your notice to-night, is the actual author of it; but I think I may venture to say that whoever has drafted this Resolution has reduced to something like a fine art the system of mystical and hazy draftsmanship. I will refer to the terms of the Resolution. In the first place it urges—That, in the interests of technical, commercial, and agricultural instruction, as well as of general education, it is indispensable that the attention of the Government should be no longer limited to primary education and science and art teaching.Well, I do not think, with reference to a matter of this importance, that there could be a much more vague and hazy term than this word "attention." If the Resolution had urged upon the House some proposition of this kind, that the time had arrived for immediately dealing with the question of secondary education, that would have been a matter upon which the House would have had to pronounce a clear decision, and with regard to which the Government would have had to give some definite announcement of policy. And if, as I have said, this Resolution bo somewhat vague in its character, I think I may also venture to urge that the speeches of the Proposer and Seconder of it, if not entirely vague, yet are wanting, at all events, in this respect—that though they indicate that changes are necessary, and though they indicate, and rightly indicate, that as regards our system of secondary education in this country it is not altogether in a satisfactory state, yet, what I do complain of is that they do not come to close quarters and indicate any clear policy that might be pursued. The right hon. Gentleman 838 the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Mr. John Morley) has stated that in regard to this question of secondary education it is in a complete state of chaos at this moment. When the right hon. Gentleman makes that statement, and supports it by the evidence which he has adduced from very authentic sources, I cannot help asking myself—it is natural that I should ask myself, and it is also natural that many of my hon. Friends sitting behind me should also ask themselves—if this state of chaos really existed to-day, what happened during the five years from 1880 to 1885, when right hon. Gentlemen sitting beside the right hon. Member for Newcastle were in Office? It seems to mo that if anything like a state of confusion existed in 1880 it was the duty of those the right hon. Gentleman was then acting with to have taken up the matter and dealt with it.
§ SIR WILLIAM HART DYKE
Now, I should like, if the House will bear with me, to deal with one or two points connected with this Motion. In the first place, I should like to deal with that portion of the Motion with reference to the question of technical, commercial, and agricultural instruction. So far as that part of the Motion has regard to the attention of the Government being called to these subjects, I think it is fair that I should, at all events, point out that very shortly after Her Majesty's Government entered Office they broke through what I may call the old official régime observed in these matters, and did give their attention to this branch of education. I remember that I was rash enough—having held the Office I now hold only a few months—to endeavour to frame a Bill dealing with technical, commercial, and agricultural instruction. I think it is fair that Her Majesty's Government should claim some credit in that regard, because, although they were unable to carry a Bill in reference to England, yet they were successful in carrying a measure through in regard to Scotland last Session; and as the House is aware they are pledged in the Speech from the Throne to deal practically with this question this Session. Therefore, as regards the "attention" of Her Majesty's Government being extended to these particular subjects, I think we can claim some credit 839 in that regard. As to another matter that arises in connection with this part of the Resolution—namely, the subject of University Colleges—the highest class of secondary instruction—that, again, has been particularly alluded to in the course of this debate, and there again, whether rightly or wrongly, or whether within our province or not, the attention of Her Majesty's Government has been directed during the present Session. I have received a deputation, and so has the Lord President of the Council (Viscount Cranbrook) on behalf of the University Colleges, and we are now daily engaged in getting information with regard to their financial position and the whole system of the training pursued at them. Although, of course, it would be wrong for me to pledge Her Majesty Government for one moment in regard to this question, I think it is only fair and right, on this occasion at all events, to say that we are gathering this information with the view of discussing the question whether we should not grant State aid in some way or other. I should now like to proceed to what, after all, is the more important part of this Resolution. Of course, I need hardly urge that it is that part of the Resolution which refers generally to the position of secondary education in this country. I notice that the Mover of this Resolution seemed rather to slur over, or to slight, the work which has been done up to this date by the Charity Commissioners in respect to the Endowed Schools; but I was glad to observe that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Mr. John Morley) did not take the same view on that point. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to consider that the operation of the Charity Commissioners, at all events in respect to Endowed Schools, had some very important bearing upon the question of secondary education.
§ MR. A. H. DYKE ACLAND
I did not intend any slur whatever upon the work of the Charity Commissioners. I approve most highly of the work the Charity Commissioners have done in the last few years.
§ SIR WILLIAM HART DYKE
I was referring more particularly to that portion of the hon. Gentleman's speech in which he referred to endowments; and I think he stated he had known cases where endowments had done more harm than good. I am bound to say 840 that, although there may be cases possibly where the existence of endowments has done harm, still there are hundreds of eases where the existence of a very small endowment has led to much voluntary effort, resulting in the establishment of a most excellent school. I should like to point out that, up to the end of 1887, 826 schemes have received the Royal Assent. Many of those schemes provide for exhibitions tenable at places of technical and scientific instruction, 159 provide for technical and scientific instruction connected with local industries, while others provide for instruction in land surveying, and other useful occupations. Certainly, I think, there is no section in the House who will assert that the work the Charity Commission has done since the Act of 1869 was passed has been in any sense thrown away. I will refer a little later on to the remarks which have been made by the right hon. Gentleman in reference to inspection and other matters. Well, Sir, I, for one, think that there is some danger of the future operation of this Commission being impeded by the course taken by certain Gentlemen in this House. I see opposite to me the right hon. Gentleman (Sir Lyon Playfair) who was the Chairman of a Committee on Endowed Schools, which reported in 1887. My right hon. Friend will, I am sure, give me his attention when I allude to a point which he feels deeply upon, and which is, I believe, a matter of serious importance in regard to the good results in the future of schemes which may be framed by this Commission. I refer more particularly to what is called the ladder system. Now-a-days, it is very easy to get up the cry in democratic constituencies of the robbery of the poor; and although, of course, we are all most anxious that so far as the poorer classes are concerned, they should have ample and full justice done them, and that all these schemes should be most jealously watched and safeguarded, there is some danger still that this cry of the robbery of the poor may have this result, that all schemes dealing with the ladder system may possibly be opposed in this House, and that it will be difficult in the future to carry out the policy of the Commission to the end. It is only fair that this should be mentioned. I have heard hon. Members say that they do not believe in the ladder 841 system, and they do not think it right, or just, or fair, that in any possible case where a child has received free elementary instruction, that free instruction should be taken away for the sake of giving a chance to that child to rise through the different grades possibly up to the University. They do not think that is any adequate compensation at all. This subject was gone into most carefully by a Committee of this House upstairs; most valuable and important evidence was given in regard to it, and not only was that evidence most conclusive that this ladder system of the Commissioners was included within the four corners of the Act, but that it ought to he persevered with to the end. I need hardly weary the House by quoting from the Report; but hon. Members who take the trouble to refer to that Report will see that that policy is most emphatically endorsed by the Committee. I merely mention this subject now because I know it is so easy in popular democratic constituencies to get up a cry that such and such a scheme is simply robbery of the poor, and for Motions to be brought forward in the House seriously interfering with the success of schemes. Now, I should like to deal more specifically with the speech of the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. John Morley). I noticed that so long as the right hon. Gentleman was, so to speak, firing at long range, he said much with which one must agree; but when he came to close quarters, I think we have some reason to complain that he was not more specific in his language. I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman one or two questions upon the subject of secondary education. I observed that the right hon. Gentleman did not exactly advocate an inspection of schools, but only prophesised that the time might come when an inspection of private adventure schools would take place in this country. I should like to know, supposing the labours of the Charity Commission are concluded, and that gap as to secondary education which the right hon. Gentleman regrets still remains, how he would propose to fill up that gap; because it seemed to me that in his speech he indicated no policy with respect to this point. He asks the Government to accept this vague Resolution, a Resolution which is so worded that it may mean a 842 great deal, or it may mean but very little; and it is the language of the Resolution, coupled with the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, which makes it difficult indeed for Her Majesty's Government to accept it as it stands. But, Sir, we had no indication from the right hon. Gentleman how he would fill up the gap of which he complains; he did not indicate to us whether he would like to see this done upon the lines of the Education Act of 1870—whether he would like to see the existing education supplemented by State aid locally applied, or State aid in the shape of Imperial grants. I do not think the right hon. Gentleman has sufficiently considered the grave difficulties which must confront any Government in dealing with secondary education. I am not here to-day to say it can never be dealt with, and I am not here to-day to say that the system which now exists is altogether satisfactory. But, when the right hon. Gentleman quotes Germany and other countries, and tells us with such facility of diction that that which exists now should be immediately improved, I do not think he dealt quite fairly with the question. Take the case of private adventure schools. Does the right hon. Gentleman mean to tell us that he is prepared to-morrow to inaugurate a system of examination, and generally to interfere with the private adventure schools in this country? I confess that, in my opinion, that would be a very hazardous step for us to take. At present we have no power of interference of that nature even with regard to primary schools. So far as I understand the Act of 1870, or the position of the Education Department, we have no right to interfere with any primary school in the country where teaching is going on; and I think it would be a very strong measure to take, with all your centralized force at Whitehall, if you were to inaugurate this new policy of interference with private adventure schools either as regards examination or registration. Now, the Government do not wish to enter any strong non possumus in regard to the matter urged upon them. With respect, for instance, to the schemes which are now in existence under the Charity Commission, I hold a strong opinion that the inspection and the examination of the schools is not that which 843 it ought to be, and that some further system of inspection ought to be adopted. It is true that a system of inspection now exists, but it is of a very partial character. I think I stated the other day, in answer to a Question, that it is well known that the staff of the Charity Commission is pretty well occupied at present in the formation of schemes. [An hon. MEMBER: The inspection is not educational.] I am coming to that directly. I was saying that the staff of the Commission is now pretty well occupied in the formation of schemes, and that if they are to inspect the operation of schemes, it would be necessary for them to very largely increase their staff. There are two branches of this subject. The inspection of schemes is undoubtedly distinct from the examination of the quality of the teaching given in the schools. The question of examination is a matter which requires very serious consideration, and I can only say, on behalf of the Government, that in principle I approve that examination. I will say, however, that I will give the matter further consideration with the view, if possible, of establishing something of the kind; but with regard to the former branch of the subject, I would not like to make the same pledge. I think, however, that the House has every claim upon the Government, both as regards the inspection of schemes and the examination of the actual work, good or ill from an educational point of view, which is being carried out. I am quite willing, in that spirit at all events, to accept the remarks which have been made by hon. Gentlemen opposite. Then it may be said it is all very well to go so far, but why not go a little farther and deal with the private adventure and other schools? But that is a matter which requires the very gravest and widest consideration. I, personally, am not prepared to adopt any such system as active interference with these schools; I believe you will promote the strongest hostility if you endeavour to carry out such a system. [Cries of "Oh, oh!"] That is, however, my opinion; but I am open, of course, to conviction. With regard to the very schemes which are from day to day being framed, there is an intense local jealousy in the dealing with endowments. That is the great practical difficulty you have to deal with in this matter. Take the scheme 844 concerning which Motions were put down week after week not long ago—namely, the Hitchin scheme. That scheme is a sample of the difficulties which meet any Government which attempts to deal with secondary education in the sense of utilizing, to the utmost extent, all local funds and capabilities, for, after all, that is the practical way of approaching the subject. We are not going to throw over the labours of the Commission, and still less are we going to snub or check voluntary effort with regard to secondary education. We must bring all our forces to bear upon the work. Now, what was this Hitchin scheme which I have mentioned? If ever there was a scheme framed by the Charity Commission which was to be supported on grounds of equity and common sense, and which could be said to be strictly within the four corners of the Endowed Schools Act, it was this Hitchin scheme. What did it propose to do? Among other things, it dealt with a small charity in a small village outside Hitchin. This village had 187 inhabitants in all, it had a good elementary school, and was well endowed both as regards charities, and, I think, there was also a payment to the vicar. The village was certainly more handsomely dealt with than any other village in the Kingdom. The scheme proposed to deal with the surplus fund, the fund which could not be utilised in the village, the endowment was so rich. When it was proposed that in aid of a large scheme for an excellent grammar school in the town of Hitchin close by, where the inhabitants had subscribed £3,000, £100 per annum should be appropriated as a scholarship fund for competition among the elementary school children, as a matter of fact, the scheme was opposed in the House of Lords, and no less than three hostile Amendments have been at different times placed on the Notice Paper of the House of Commons. I merely point this out as an instance, and I think it is a very fair and just instance, to show the huge difficulty any Government will have if it attempts to deal, in a practical way, with the great question of education. I do not propose to detain the House much longer; but I must say a few words in regard to a matter which has been dealt with at length very eloquently by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for 845 Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Mr. John Morley), and that is the question of the appointment of a Minister of Education. The right hon. Gentleman has suggested the appointment of a Minister of Education, who would supervize the whole of our educational machinery; but I did not gather from his remarks what the precise functions of this Minister were to be as regards our primary instruction, secondary instruction, and University instruction. It does strike one that this is a retrograde step in the present day. The whole of our present legislation is tending surely rather in a decentralizing than in a centralizing direction. All the Bills in regard to technical, commercial, and other instruction which we have been discussing have been essentially permissive in their character, and their object has been to allow localities to deal with this question with as much freedom and as little State interference as possible. The evidence which was given before the Committee of 1884, in regard to the appointment of a Minister of Education, was not at all conclusive. It is perfectly true that, in the Report, a strong recommendation was made in the direction of the appointment of a Minister of Education; but I can quote a witness whom hon. Members opposite will be prepared to listen to, I am sure, with great respect. Lord Granville, speaking, after eight years' experience as Lord President of the Council, once said he thought the present arrangement was a very good one, and that he did not know of any other arrangement which would give more weight to the Department in the Cabinet or in the Houses of Parliament. It seems to me that the time has practically gone by for any such step as that now proposed. I should like to ask the House whether, if this Minister is appointed, his functions are to extend over Ireland and Scotland? The strongest evidence was given before the Committee of 1884, by the late Mr. Forster, against any interference by such a Minister with Irish education; and, as regards Scotland, we have already had to-night an earnest protest from the hon. Member for West Fifeshire (Mr. Preston Bruce) against any interference by such a Minister with Scotch education. Is it proposed by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. John Morley) that this Minister of Education should be appointed for England? If that be 846 the proposal, surely it is perfectly natural that a claim and demand must at once be made for such a Minister for Ireland and for Scotland. It certainly does not appear to me that the proposal is one which can be entertained in the present day; indeed, so far as I am concerned, I would rather fall back upon the opinion of Lord Granville. I believe honestly that, on the whole, the present system is the best system that can be adopted to meet the educational wants of the country. In the Committee of 1884 Mr. Forster was again and again asked whether, when he carried the Act of 1870, he could have carried a better Act if he had been Minister of Education only, or whether the present system was not the best? The highest evidence was given that when the Bill of 1870 was carried the constant communication with the Lord President of the Council, and the system then adopted, and continued now, was the best, on the whole, that could be adopted in regard to the interests of education. I am afraid that I have not altogether satisfied hon. Members in regard to the Motion. My chief complaint against the Motion is on account of its indefinite character; it might bind the Government very little, or it might bind them a great deal. It is vague in its terms, and, while it contains much with which I personally sympathize, yet, on behalf of the Government, I feel bound to say that we cannot give our assent to the Motion.
§ MR. MUNDELLA (Sheffield, Brightside)
said, he hoped the right hon. Gentleman did not suppose that the mover and seconder of the Motion complained in any way of Her Majesty's Government in their speeches, or that there was any intention to make such a complaint in the Resolution placed before the House—[Sir WILLIAM HART DYKE: Oh, no!]—because the right hon. Gentleman asked his right hon. Friend why something was not done by the last Government, or why they did not make more progress with the subject. Now, as he (Mr. Mundella) was the responsible Minister for educational matters from the year 1880 to 1885, he might frankly say that he held the views then that he held now, and he so urged his views on the then Government that every year some considerable progress was made. Advances were made that the right hon. Gentleman had failed to 847 recognise in his speech. He had no desire to make comparisons between what had been done by this Government or that—it was a question of too much national importance, and should be dealt with apart from any Party recriminations. Still, he might say that he succeeded in securing from his Colleagues as much, or more, than any Minister of the Educational Department. A great Bill was passed dealing with the endowed schools for Scotland, and a system for dealing with, not only the public and endowed schools of Scotland, but private schools was arranged before he left Office. He held an inquiry into the position of Intermediate Education in Wales, and introduced a Bill which, if the Government had not been turned out of Office, they would have carried, and for which a promise of £14,000 was made by the Treasury, and he trusted that Treasury promise still stood good to this day, and would stand good until a scheme of Intermediate Education for Wales came into operation. Much more was done, of which he did not wish to talk, but would keep to what the House had before it at the moment. The right hon. Gentleman made a strange and new protest against the appointment of a Minister of Education. He said the day had gone by for the appointment of such an official; he said he did not at all see why such a Minister should be appointed for England or Scotland, or what he would find to do. Setting Scotland apart, there was a population of 27,000,000 in England and Wales, and the lamentable defects that existed in the educational system for this population would supply ample occupation for such a Minister. Was not the right hon. Gentleman Vice President of the Council for England and Wales? Was there not a Secretary and Vice President for Scotland; and was not the Lord President the Minister over both and final resort in both cases? What would be the difference in the position of a Minister of Education, except that, instead of being President of the Council, President of the Department of Agriculture, with work increasing year by year, President of the Endowments Commission, besides all the duties in connection with the Court of Council, you would have a real Minister of Education to take his place in the Cabinet and see that Education was dealt with in a proper manner. The 848 right hon. Gentleman quoted the late Mr. Forster; but he seemed to have forgotten that Mr. Forster gave evidence before a Committee in favour of a Minister of Education, and in 1874 he seconded the Motion of the right hon. Member for Leeds for the appointment of a Minister of Education, and to his dying day Mr. Forster was a strong advocate for a Minister of Education, as he (Mr. Mundella) had good reason to know. It was a little surprising that the right hon. Gentleman (Sir William Hart Dyke) should make the statement he did make, for did he not, on April 21, 1887, agree with the unanimous Report of the Commission of which he was a Member, part of which ran in these terms—The responsibilities of the Commission (that is the Charity Commission) should be clearly defined and made complete. This might be readily accomplished by carrying into effect the recommendations of the Commission of 1884, that a responsible Minister of Education should be appointed, and should be charged with the general supervision of endowed schools.He thought the right hon. Gentleman was the first Vice President of the Council who was not in favour of a Minister of Education. The noble Lord the Member for South Paddington (Lord Randolph Churchill) who sat near him had always been strongly in favour of it, and advocated it very effectively in his evidence before the Commission. The question what such a Minister would find to do might be dismissed, for it was only necessary to look around at the condition of education in England and Wales and find that there was work enough. He agreed with the excellent speech of the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Preston Bruce), and always welcomed an educational speech from him; they were always of value, and went straight to the point, and the hon. Member had put good work on the Statute Book in respect to Scotland. He agreed with the hon. Member that there ought to be no attempt on the part of any Minister of Education to produce uniformity in the educational system throughout the country. Scotland should have its own system under the control of its own Minister, and he would go further, and say that Wales should have its own system adapted to its requirements. There was no reason why Wales should not be put in an equally good position, and the Bill he 849 introduced provided for the appointment of a Council for the supervision of Endowed schools, placing them under Local Authority. He rejoiced that the Local Government Bill would afford facilities for dealing with this question through and by means of local authorities. The local Councils should be brought more in touch with the education question, and should take a really active part in the intermediate education of the counties. He would like to see them exercising much more control over endowments, not that this control should be entirely centralized. His right hon. Friend (Mr. John Morley) spoke strongly against the French system as a bad drill and barrack system, and he spoke strongly in favour of the development of national life in our country districts. In that there would be general agreement. He was very glad indeed to find that the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council agreed that there ought to be some inspection of Endowed schools. For years the Charity Commissioners had made reports again and again in that direction. The Commissioners framed schemes; those schemes passed from their hands, and practically they did not know what became of the schemes afterwards. They were now sending some Sub-Commissioners to ascertain if certain schemes were being carried out, but he had before him the Report of the Commissioners for 1882, which had impressed itself strongly on his mind. The Commissioners spoke of having dealt with schemes amounting in the aggregate to £471,000 a-year, and that 22 years ago it was estimated that the amount they had to deal with was £660,000. Then they went on to say—Judging from occasional opportunities of observation afforded to us in the course of ordinary business under the Charitable Trusts Act, we are led to believe that in many instances they are disregarded (that is the schemes). We know of no means for securing their due execution except by the creation of some system of periodical inspection of Endowed schools as we have already advocated in previous reports.They went on again to advocate the inspection of Endowed schools, for they had too much reason to fear that schemes were not being carried out. What had happened in regard to that? He framed a Bill to carry out a system of inspection, but afterwards attention was called to the subject in the House of Lords, 850 and on that occasion the noble Marquess the present Prime Minister (the Marquess of Salisbury) denounced—with all that force of sarcasm and invective of which he was such a master, the audacity of—the men who dared to propose to interfere with the working of Endowed schools. After hearing that speech of the Marquess of Salisbury, he met the then Chief Charity Commissioner, Sir Seymour Fitzgerald, who also had heard the speech, and remembered his expression of regret at it. After that he (Mr. Mundella) knew it would be impossible to carry through the House of Lords any measure for the inspection of Endowed schools, and was obliged to drop it. He was glad, however, to hear the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President speak in favour of such an inspection. On those schools mainly rested middle class education in the country. Enormous progress had been made under the Endowed Schools Act since 1885, and that in the face of great difficulties and the fiercest opposition. The right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury (Mr. W. H. Smith) would forgive him if he referred to one scheme which at the outset of the Act nearly wrecked the Commission and the Government too; he referred to the Emanuel School at Westminster. The right hon. Gentleman was one of the strongest opponents of that scheme, but he could now appeal to him and ask could there have been a more beneficent change? Every Governor of that school had told him that the opposition to the scheme was one of the greatest mistakes, and to-day the school was doing noble work in the City the right hon. Gentleman so worthily represented. Elsewhere the same thing had happened. There was the Hitchin scheme, which had passed through both Houses, opposition to it in the other House being defeated, and it only awaited the Royal assent to become law. But then there was a great scheme like that for dealing with Christ's Hospital, for years on the anvil, and was now tossed to and fro and pulled to pieces again and again and again. And whence came the opposition to it? From vested interests, local prejudice, and stupid obscurantism. There was money enough to educate three or four times as many students as now attended the schools and to do the work better, but the scheme was delayed 851 because there was a want of force behind the Charity Commission to carry it through. Associated as he had been with those Commissioners, he could testify to the admirable work they had done. Often he had heard them criticized and abused, and often he had defended them, and, take them for all in all, no public body in the country had done better service to the cause of education than the Charity Commissioners. But let not the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President suppose that when a system of inspection of Endowed schools was established, then all would be done that could be done. Inspection would have the very best effect on schools at work, but it would not plant new schools where now there were none. Manchester, Birmingham, and Bristol were the only three provincial towns that had anything approaching a fair supply of secondary education; and he believed the hon. Members for Birmingham would say that that town had not enough, but there were great towns in the North, numbers of them, with scarcely any endowments or any means of secondary education. Inspection would not fill up these gaps. Many parts of London, too, were as badly off. The right hon. Gentleman the Vice President complained that the speeches in support of the Motion were vague, but he (Mr. Mundella) did not think so. He thought his hon. Friend was specific in his language. He quoted the German system, and he said where there were vacancies, provision must be made to fill them. He said money would be wanted as well as inspection, and no Government would be fulfilling its duty that did not make an attempt to meet the wants of the community with respect to secondary education. The right hon. Gentleman said—Surely you would not venture to propose to inspect voluntary schools, private adventure schools.But did he not know that in Scotland that was being done to-day?
§ SIR WILLIAM HART DYKE
said, he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would not think for a moment that he was opposed to such inspection where it 852 was asked for. He was speaking of cases where it might be objected to.
§ MR. MUNDELLA
was glad to find the right hon. Gentleman had advanced thus far. In Scotland there was a very different state of things to that in England and Wales—["Hear, hear!"]. The right hon. and learned Lord Advocate (Mr. J. H. A. Macdonald) acknowledged that with a cheer. In this country we wanted that legislation that had been promised to put the country on an equality with Scotland, nor would he be content until that was obtained. Was it not a fact that all over Scotland there were what were called public schools—they were not called elementary schools—Scotchmen would resent that—they were public schools for education at the public expense, with grants from the National Exchequer, and whence young men were sent up to the Universities direct in hundreds every year? There were some 25 or 26 High Schools throughout Scotland—at Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, and elsewhere—all under the School Board, all maintained by the aid of rates, and all inspected at the expense of the National Exchequer. Was not an Endowments Act for Scotland passed, and in six years the Commission had dealt with all the endowments in Scotland, and splendid work they had done? A clause was inserted in that Act that every Endowed school should be inspected, and every such. school was being inspected annually. And with what result? He wished there was time to go into that question. Professor Crystal, in reference to the first examination, put the facts clearly, indicating the mischiefs that came from long neglect of inspection, and the good that would come from the system. That was what was wanted in England. England had vast educational endowments—estimated 20 years ago at £660,000 a year—applicable to secondary education, and which to-day would be worth £1,000,000 sterling, and this £1,000,000 should be turned to the very best possible account. There should be no longer such opposition as was offered to the Christ's Hospital scheme, and other great schemes; they should all be brought under public control. Where ever there was a gap in the supply, that should be filled up. Let it be obligatory upon the new County Councils to fill up such deficiencies, and complete the edu- 853 cational system connecting elementary with secondary education. But the blackest spot in our whole educational system was Wales. It was a scandal and disgrace, and words could not adequately describe how bad things were there. Instead of 16,000 youths attending secondary schools in Wales, Lord Aberdare and his Colleagues pointed out there were not more than 1,600 scholars attending secondary schools there. This was from no want of appreciation of the advantages of education on the part of Welsh parents. The Welsh people had made great efforts, and subscriptions among all classes, including quarrymen, miners, and others, varying in amount from 2s. 6d. to £5, had established three University Colleges. But they could not establish a system of Intermediate Education; they must wait for the Government to do that, and they had waited for three years. The Government need not ask what plan was proposed; the scheme was in the Council Office, and when the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President came into Office, it was on the Table of the House, and the Treasury had promised the money. All that was required was for the Government to reproduce that plan and send it to a Committee Upstairs to work out the details. It was to be regretted that a debate of this kind should be relegated to the fag end of the last day of the week, and he deplored that only four hours should be devoted to it. He had trespassed so often on the House with this subject, and should probably often ask the indulgence again, that he would now make way for someone else. But, before sitting down, he would ask hon. Members not to sneer at the German system. When the noble Lord the Member for South Paddington stood up and described the German military system, the House listened with breathless attention. Attention was always paid to the German military system, why not to their educational system? Not long since he (Mr. Mundella) had the pleasure of a conversation with that most distinguished man, Professor Hoffman, to whom the afflicted German Emperor sent a patent of nobility on his birthday. Professor Hoffman said—Whatever we Germans are in arms, in arts, or in commerce, we have accomplished it all by our educational system.854 He further said, in answer to questions, that he sent his four sons to a school in the town, and their education cost 25 marks a-quarter, or £5 a-year each. With a smile and shrug of the shoulders, the Professor added that their education was a great deal better than that given at English public schools. The Germans had by their system made education good and cheap and acceptable to all classes of the community. One of the noblest State documents of modern times was that letter the Emperor, on ascending the Throne, addressed to Prince Bismarck, in which he said—After all we have done, we must still do more for higher education. We must make higher education accessible to the whole population.Why should the English people stand lower in this respect than the Germans, or any other nation? The quality of English brains was as good, if not better, than that of any nation in the world. It was only opportunity that was wanting, and that we should never have without organization. Voluntary effort was of no use in this case; organization was required, that the work might be taken up by local authorities on the best and most useful lines laid down by the State.
§ MR. F. S. POWELL (Wigan)
said, that though the hour was late he hoped he might be allowed to make a few observations on the subject to which he had given much attention, though he had not had the opportunity of speaking upon it in the House. A debt of gratitude was due to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Mr. John Morley), who seconded the Resolution, for the manner in which he had imparted a higher tone to the subject than that in which it had been often treated. He (Mr. F. S. Powell) confessed he was somewhat weary of what might be described as the bread and butter view of the subject, looking at it simply from the breadwinners' point of view. Such had been the view in the United States; but the United States had not ceased fighting with the wilderness, and were not in the position to give their people that higher culture and more elevated tone to which our own people ought to rise. He desired to call the attention of his right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Council (Sir William Hart Dyke) to the want of 855 information which existed in regard to middle-class education. There was a Report of the Schools' Enquiry Commission nearly 20 years ago, but since that time the public had had no information of a reliable character on the subject. He had endeavoured, in connection with clerical movements, and also in reference to efforts of a more strictly secular character, to obtain information, but all those endeavours had failed, because those schools which most required examination entirely declined to submit to inspection. Where inspection was most wanted it was not conceded. He hoped the Government would cause some further inquiries to be made, because, until the House had the facts before it, it could not deal with the circumstances or apply the remedy which ought to be applied. In the course of the debate he had been struck with the fact that hon. Members had referred somewhat too much to past events. Progress had been made in the course of the last 10 years, and he did not think that sufficient attention was given to the advance which had taken place. Some reference had been made to the want of inspection by the Endowed Schools Commissioners; but he did not think it had been sufficiently borne in mind that all the schemes of the Endowed School Commissioners now imposed upon the Government bodies the duty of holding an examination every year, and of sending to the Commissioners a Report of the result of that examination. Such being the case, it was in the power of Parliament to require from every school an annual statement respecting the results of the examinations. He had been glad to hear the right hon. Gentleman the Seconder of the Resolution, and also the hon. Gentleman the Mover, speak of the essential importance, with a view to technical education, of elementary education. There seemed to be an opinion in some quarters that technical education could be given to a young person who was ignorant of the rudiments of learning. The only possible method of giving technical education which was to be of any real use, was to lay the superstructure of technical education upon the sound foundation of elementary knowledge. He had intended to address the House upon some other points; but he feared that the hour was very late, and 856 would therefore refrain from making any further observations, and on that occasion would not do more than thank the House for the patience with which they had listened to the remarks which he had made.
§ SIR JOHN LUBBOCK (London University)
said, he had been sorry not to hear anything more encouraging from the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council (Sir William Hart Dyke), but hoped he had rightly understood the right hon. Gentleman to say that Her Majesty's Government would grant certain assistance to the University Colleges. The right hon. Gentleman had spoken of Universities, but he (Sir John Lubbock) supposed that was merely a lapsus linguæ, and that he meant University Colleges.
§ SIR JOHN LUBBOCK
said, that since 1880 a great deal had happened, and the Committee which sat in 1883 went into the whole question at considerable length, and gave many reasons why it would be extremely desirable to appoint a Minister of Education. When the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council said the Committee of 1883 merely gave an indication of a wish for the appointment of a Minister for Education, he must have forgotten the words of the Report, for the recommendation was as plain and distinct as anything could be. It was clear the Committee were strongly in favour of the appointment of such a Minister, and the Report even went the length of pointing out what his duties should be. The Committee said that a Minister of Education should be authorized, with respect to public schools, to call for Reports and information from time to time, and that with regard to Endowed Schools, it was desirable not only to have good schemes, but to see that those schemes were kept in good working order. This did not necessarily mean that the Minister for Education was to interfere with the working of the schools. The Committee also thought that with regard to the Universities which received grants, information might be given annually to Parliament, and that the miscellaneous grants for science and art should be under the control of some responsible Minister. The right hon. Gentleman the Member 857 for the Brightside Division of Sheffield (Mr. Mundella) had remarked that the great progress of Germany in commerce was very much owing to the education which the people received. He (Sir John Lubbock) might point out that recently the Chambers of Commerce considered the question of appointment of a Minister for Education, and passed a unanimous Resolution in support of the proposal. He hoped the Government would give the question their attention from a commercial point of view, as well as from the other standpoints which had been put before the House.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. W. H. SMITH) (Strand, Westminster)
said, he did not desire to occupy the attention of the House long. In the first place, he wished to return thanks to the hon. Member the Mover, and to the right hon. Gentleman the Seconder, of the Motion, for the very kindly manner in which they had dealt with the subject. They had both entirely divested it of anything approaching a Party character, while at the same time insisting upon the primary importance of education to all Parties in the country. The Government most cordially approved of, and concurred in, the spirit of the speeches of the Mover and Seconder of the Motion, in every sense of the word. It must, however, be remembered that the Resolution was of a somewhat abstract character, and the Government, therefore, desired to reserve a certain amount of liberty in interpreting it. Ministers, of course, felt that they had a responsibility to the House and to the country which was greater than that of Gentlemen who introduced propositions of this kind for the consideration of the House. His right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Council (Sir William Hart Dyke) had stated, on behalf of the Government, that they did recognize the importance of at least one of the propositions contained in the Resolution, and the speeches which had been delivered in support of it. They recognized the importance and the necessity for the inspection of Endowed schools after the schemes of the Endowed Schools Commissioners had been laid on the Table of that House and had taken effect. The Government felt that the course which had been pursued in Scotland was one which might with very great 858 advantage be followed in England, and that steps ought to be taken for securing that the intentions with which those schemes were drawn up should be properly observed and carried out. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Mr. John Morley) went somewhat beyond that, and insisted upon the necessity for the appointment of a Minister of Education. Well, it might be said that at the present moment there were two Ministers for Education, the Lord President of the Council and his right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Council. He (Mr. W. H. Smith) did not contend that the present system was by any means perfect. He did not exclude the matter from the consideration of the Government; but he might be allowed, perhaps, to be somewhat sceptical as to the important advantages which it was supposed were always to be derived from the action of a Minister. He had noticed, both in that House and in the country, that if there was any body of gentlemen who were much in earnest in promoting any reform, they generally wanted to obtain official assistance. He regarded as of much greater value than official assistance, the effect of public opinion and that self-reliance for which Englishmen had usually been distinguished, and as being much more likely to furnish the force which was necessary to impel and move forward affairs in regard to education, as well as with reference to many other matters of the same character. He acknowledged, however, that it was the duty of the Government to ascertain for themselves whether the system at present existing was one which was, on the whole, the best calculated to secure the result which all desired to see attained. He was perfectly willing on behalf of the Government to undertake that the matter should be carefully reconsidered, with a view to seeing whether they could better arrange the supervision of education so as to preserve the characteristics of English education—namely, that independence which they all prided themselves upon, and the absence of that cast-iron system which prevailed in some countries, and which pressed all children into the same mould, apparently with the object of producing the same results. He thought this country had much to be proud of 859 in the system of education now prevailing in it, and in the very valuable results produced. With respect to what had fallen from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Brightside Division of Sheffield (Mr. Mundella), he thought it would be a very great misfortune if any attempt were made to distribute endowments, as the distribution of endowments would give the greatest possible discouragement to those who, even in the present day, were willing to bestow their wealth in the endowment of objects in which they took geat interest. If Parliament insisted upon distributing endowments in a manner altogether foreign to the intention of the donors, he thought no greater discouragement could be given to the proper application of endowments. He wished to draw attention to the fact that there had been a certain amount of discrepancy between the speeches of some hon. Gentlemen who had, he believed, precisely the same object in view. He believed his right hon. Friend opposite was of opinion that it was not necessary to call on the State for any large contribution towards secondary education. He thought that also was probably the view of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne. This did not, however, appear to be the view of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Brightside Division of Sheffield. He (Mr. W. H. Smith) should be very reluctant to find that there was any desire on the part of that House or of the country that the Government should give a large contribution towards secondary education. He did not believe it was necessary. He believed, also, that it would tend directly to check that liberty which prevailed among private individuals at the present time, and who could be relied upon to supply the necessary support to secondary schools wherever such schools were wanted. The Government admitted the expediency and the duty on the part of the State of providing for the extension of Endowed schools. They admitted that the benefits conferred by those schools should be extended, if the managers of such schools were willing to teach other secondary schools which were ready to avail themselves of them. The Government were willing that the system which prevailed in Scotland should be extended to England, and they were also willing 860 to consider whether they could place the administration of the Education Department in a position which was more in conformity with the views of those who were called educational reformers than that which it at present occupied. He could not, however, enter into an engagement with the House that a so-called Minister of Education should replace the President of the Council and the Vice President of the Council for Education; all he could say was that the Government were thoroughly in sympathy with all those who desired that the education of the country should be supervised and directed in the best possible way, but at the same time in such a manner as to leave the most complete liberty to the managers of schools to conduct their own affairs as they might think best, and to secure the education which was regarded as most suitable for their children, Under the circumstances, he hoped the hon. Gentleman the Mover of the Motion would not think it necessary to press it to a Division.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON (Lancashire, Rossendale)
said, that as his hon. Friend the Member for the Rotherham Division of the West Riding of Yorkshire (Mr. A. Dyke Acland) had to a certain extent brought forward his Motion in connection with an Association for the promotion of secondary education with which he (The Marquess of Hartington) was connected, and as he took great interest in the object of that Association, he thought he might be allowed to say a few words. He believed that his hon. Friend might be extremely satisfied with the character of the discussion which he had originated. No doubt his hon. Friend had not obtained from the Government all the assurances and all the encouragement which might be desired; but it was tolerably evident, from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council (Sir William Hart Dyke) that the particular aspects of the question which had been brought forward that evening had not recently engaged the very serious attention of the Government. This was not at all to be wondered at, considering the very arduous duties which the Government had to undertake in other directions; but whatever the reason, it was pretty clear that Ministers had not recently been deeply considering the question of 861 secondary education in this country. The important discussion which had taken place this evening must, however, have the effect of turning their attention to the subject; and he thought the House might rely upon the promise which had just been given by the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury (Mr. W. H. Smith) that the views which had been brought forward would receive serious attention. He thought, also, it might be hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would endeavour to take some practical action in the direction indicated. He (the Marquess of Hartington) did not profess to be, in the smallest degree, an authority on educational questions. His attention had been solely directed to the subject in connection with that of technical education, and he had never attempted to look at the question from a high intellectual or moral standpoint. He had, however, been immensely impressed with the great importance of securing a good system of secondary education in connection with the necessity which, he believed, existed of keeping ourselves abreast of foreign countries in industry and commerce. He did not believe any Member of the Government would undertake to say that our secondary education at present was in a satisfactory position. It was not the business of any Member of the Government to do so; and any Member of the Government who ventured to make such a declaration would be exceeding the limit of his duty. What had been contended on that—the Opposition—side of the House was not only that a more efficient administration of the Educational Department might be secured by the appointment of a Minister, who should be more directly responsible to Parliament, but that it should be the duty of such a Minister to have regard to the efficiency of the system of education, both secondary and primary, than was at present the case. He did not say that secondary education should not be provided by private enterprize; but he did say that some responsible Minister of Her Majesty's Government ought to be able to give to the House information as to the position in which such education stood, and to advise Parliament as to what ought to be done in regard to the matter. That was the view he and his Friends took on the subject; and it was not merely the appointment of a new 862 Minister of State and the re-organization of the Office that they asked for. He hoped the Government would consider the question from this point of view. After what had been said, he trusted that his hon. Friend the Member for the Rotherham Division of Yorkshire would not think it necessary to place the Government in any apparent position of opposition to himself, when they themselves did not desire to take up such a position. He, therefore, hoped that the Motion would not be pressed to a Division.
§ MR. T. E. ELLIS (Merionethshire)
said, he thought he was expressing the views generally of those who sat on the Opposition side of the House, when he declared that the speeches of the two right hon. Gentlemen who had spoken on behalf of the Government had been thoroughly unsatisfactory. The right hon. Gentlemen had refused point blank to accede to the demand for the appointment of a Minister of Education. All the Government had promised was that the Technical Education Bill of last Session was to be introduced again. In his opinion, the Bill of last Session was unsatisfactory, as it met very few of the views advocated by hon. Members of the Opposition. He had another complaint to make respecting the statements of the two right hon. Gentlemen. Not a single word had the right hon. Gentlemen opposite spoken on the question of intermediate education in Wales. The Government had promised to deal with the question, and now that they had a chance of giving practical application to the generous and benevolent views they were supposed to entertain, they simply shelved the subject. The House was told that there was no time to deal with the larger question respecting England, that it was impossible to interfere with private schools, and that the time of the Government was so taken up with Imperial Business that they could not devote much attention to the question of intermediate education in Wales. But there was really not a shred of excuse for the neglect of this subject by the Government, because there was a Bill now in the Education Department which met the wants of Wales on the subject. The Chancellor of the Exchequer of the last Government gave his assent to the spending of a certain 863 amount of Imperial money in order to meet the expense of increasing intermediate education in Wales; and the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury had, therefore, a golden opportunity to give practical effect to his sentiments respecting education. The demand was made by the Welsh Members on no Party grounds whatever. They simply asked the Government to bring the Bill forward as an experiment in the direction of the re-organization of secondary education. Wales was a comparatively small part of the Kingdom, and it was distinct in its needs and circumstances and conditions. It was a part of the country which was sincerely anxious to deal with the question of education, and which had made many sacrifices in order to obtain education. There was a Bill on the subject ready to bring before Parliament. That Bill had been fully considered by the country, and its main principles had had the attention of Welsh Members on both sides of the House. Under those circumstances, he asked the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury to give the House a definite and specific undertaking that the Bill should be introduced without delay.
§ It being One of the clock, Mr. Speaker adjourned the House, without Question put, till Monday next.