§ MR. M. HEALY
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether, by their new Rule No. 8, the Board of Intermediate Education in Ireland intend that a student in his 14th year, who this year passes in the junior grade for the second time, should next year, when only in his 15th year, enter for the middle grade, intended for students in their 17th year; and, if not, what other course of study they intend for students so situate? I have also to ask whether, for the purpose of showing the effect of their new Rule No. 8 in practice, the Board of Intermediate Education in Ireland will, without delay, supply a Return in the following form: (a) number of junior grade students who passed in June, 1890, being in their 13th year on the 1st June, 1890; (b) like in their 14th year on the date mentioned; (c) the number of junior grade students who have sent in their names for the forthcoming examination in June, 1891, and who will be in their 13th year on the 1st June, 1891; (d) like in their 14th year on said date; (e) the number of middle grade students who passed in June, 1890, and who had either attained or were under 15 years of age on the 1st June, 1890; and (f) the number of middle grade students who have sent in their names for the forthcoming examination in June, 1891, and who will either attain or be under the age of 16 years on the 1st June, 1891; whether by No. 8 of the new rules of the Board of Intermediate Education in Ireland, teachers, and second year students in the junior grade, have been compelled, at six weeks' notice, to choose between entering for this year's examination, and thereby surrendering the chance of passing with honours in a future year, or to forfeit the whole results of last year's study by postponing their exami- 572 nation till next year; whether as it now stands the rule will, as regards next year and afterwards, treat students who this year pass a second time in the junior grade as if they had got the benefit of the "preparatory grade," which comes into force next year for the first time; whether the rule operates in an analogous way on students for the middle and senior grades; and whether, owing to this, teachers and students are placed in a position of great embarrassment, their plan of study for the past year having been based on the assumption that the existing rules would not be altered, and this rule being now published for the first time six weeks before the coming examination? I beg further to ask the right hon. Gentleman at what date the Board of Intermediate Education in Ireland propose to meet to consider the objections which have been taken to No. 8 of their new rules; and whether they will come to a decision at a reasonable date before the coming examinations for this year; also to ask whether, since the intermediate education system was established in Ireland, it has been customary for teachers and pupils very generally to make the junior grade a four years' course by increasing the number of subjects at each year's examination during that period; whether the new preparatory grade in effect recognises this practice and allows two examinations in that grade and two afterwards in the junior grade or four in all before a student is compelled to enter for the middle grade; and why the Commissioners, by making Rule 8 retrospective, limit students who pass this year in the junior grade to a two years' course, though all past students and all future students have had and will have a four years' course before entering for the middle grade?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I have not yet been able to obtain information to enable me to reply to the questions of the hon. Member.
§ MR. M. HEALY
Do I understand the right hon. Gentleman to say that he is unable to reply to any of these questions?