§ MR. M. HEALY (Cork)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether the Board of Intermediate Education in Ireland, in establishing the new commercial course, have provided that it shall first come into effect in the middle grade intended for students in their 17th year; and whether, in view of the fact that youths intended for commercial life in Ireland nearly always leave school when 15 or 16, the Board will consider the advisability of making it applicable to students in the junior grade also? I desire further to know whether the Board of Intermediate Education in Ireland, in fixing the subjects of study in the new preparatory grade and junior grade, have excluded book-keeping, though it has hitherto been a subject of study in the junior grade; whether the practical effect of the new rules is to exclude book-keeping as a subject of study until a student reaches his 17th year; and whether, in view of the fact that youths intended for commercial life in Ireland generally leave school when 15 or 16, the Board will consider the advisability of re-instating book-keeping as a subject of study in the junior grade?
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
The Assistant Commissioners of Intermediate Education report that, in limiting the commercial course to the middle and senior grades, the Board acted in accordance with the views of eminent mercantile gentlemen, whose opinions were submitted to the Board when the establishment of the commercial course was under consideration, the conclusion then come to being that a student should secure a good general education, as provided in the programmes of the preparatory and junior grades, before specialising in commercial subjects. They also report that bookkeeping, being essentially a commercial 973 subject, has been transferred from the ordinary junior grade to the commercial courses now established for middle and senior grade students under 17 and 18 years of age respectively. A student may present in the middle-grade commercial course before attaining his 17th year, provided he has previously passed in the junior grade.
§ MR. M. HEALY
I beg further to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the Board of Intermediate Education in Ireland, in fixing the subjects of study in the new preparatory grade, have excluded Celtic, though Celtic has always hitherto been one of the subjects for students, no matter of what age, entered for the junior grade, and all the other languages hitherto prescribed as subjects n the junior grade, namely, Latin, Greek, French, German, and Italian, have been now prescribed as subjects for the preparatory grade; for what reason Celtic has been put on a different footing from the other languages mentioned; whether he is aware that the exclusion of Celtic has caused great dissatisfaction in the schools where Celtic has been studied; and whether the Board will consider the danger that students, if precluded from the study of Celtic for the two years while in the preparatory grade, will not make it a study at all?
§ MR. M. HEALY
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he can state when the decision of the Board of Intermediate Education in Ireland as to the contemplated modifications in their new rules will be announced?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The decision of the Board of Intermediate Education referred to was made public last Friday evening.