HC Deb 24 July 1890 vol 347 cc838-9

Resolutions [18th July] reported.

First Resolution (see page 229) postponed.

Second Resolution (see page 275):—

(12.9.) MR. W. P. SINCLAIR (Falkirk, &c.)

I wish to draw the attention of the House to one matter in connection with this Vote. The question of national education in Ireland did not receive any attention whatever from the House during the fortnight the Irish Estimates were discussed. The particular point to which I wish to draw attention is that there has been a complete change in the curriculum of the education of girls; a new departure has been taken, and I think that change ought not to be passed over without notice by Parliament. According to the new departure, when girls have passed the Fifth Standard they are to be deprived of all further intellectual training, and to devote the remainder of their school life to "industrial work," which means needlework. Up to the present the adoption of this rule has only been optional, but now it is proposed to make it obligatory. I think the change should not be enforced, because I believe it will have a very injurious effect on the future of those girls, and will tend to swell the already overcrowded ranks of sempstresses. I hope the House will express in some way its desire that the training of the womanhood of Ireland shall continue on the same lines as in the past, and that consequently this new departure will not be sanctioned.

(12.19.) COLONEL NOLAN (Galway, N.)

I only wish to say that I disagree with everything that has fallen from the hon. Member on this subject. I know a parish where the girls, thanks to instruction in needlework, have been able to contribute materially to the support of their homes. I hope the Chief Secretary will do something for boys also, by giving them some teaching in agriculture.

(12.20.) MR. MACARTNEY (Antrim, S.)

I also differ from the hon. Member. Nothing better could be done for Ireland than to give young girls a training which will fit them to be good housekeepers and wives.

(12.21.) MR. A. J. BALFOUR

I believe that the National School Commissioners never reject any representation made by a school manager to relax the rule in favour of his particular school. There is therefore a large elasticity in the working of the rule that will prevent any evil results arising from it. If a manager thinks that the education in his school is prejudicially affected by these regulations, he has only to make a representation to the Board of National Education, and his application will be considered. The rule has worked well in the past, and I hope it will continue to do so in the future.

Resolution agreed to.

Subsequent Resolutions (see page 275) agreed to.

Postponed Resolution to be considered to-morrow.