MR. MAC NEILL (Donegal, S.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether, till recent years, candidates for First of First and candidates for Second of First, as teachers under the National Board of Education were examined in the same papers, the minimum per-centage to obtain the former class being 65, and to obtain the latter class being 55; whether, in recent years, separate sets of questions of exceptional difficulty have been set to candidates for First of the First Class, the same per-centage of answering, namely, 65, being required, as was formerly requisite when the papers for candidates for the First of the First and Second of First were identical; is so high a minimum laid down for any other non-competitive examination in the United Kingdom; and whether, considering the altered circumstances, he will recommend the Board to reduce their minimum per-centage of answering for candidates for the First of the First Class to 55?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The Commissioners of National Education report that the facts are as stated in the first paragraph; also that it is the case that in recent years different sets of questions, but certainly not of "exceptional" difficulty, have been given, as stated in the second paragraph. They have deemed this course advisable in view of the fact that the first division of First Class is virtually a different class from that known as the second division of First Class, and carries absolutely an increase of £17 for masters and of £15 per annum for mistresses over the second division. The Commissioners have not information to answer the inquiry in the third paragraph. No reduction of the standard of answering is contemplated by the Commissioners.