HC Deb 18 August 1893 vol 16 cc510-1
MR. JEFFREYS (Hants, Basingstoke)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that, in consequence of his decision to abolish the preliminary examination for the Army, the majority of the candidates who have already passed that examination have been put to great and unnecessary trouble and expense in preparing for, and in coming to London to pass, that examination; whether he is still determined that these candidates shall not derive any benefit from having passed that examination; and whether he will consider the advisability of not making the new Regulations retrospective, but will allow those candidates who have passed the preliminary examination to compete in the further examination for the Army on the same terms and conditions as formerly?

SIR R. WEBSTER (Isle of Wight)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether, in view of the fact that the subjects in which candidates for the preliminary examination for the Army are examined are the following:—Euclid Book I., Algebra to Simple Equations, Arithmetic to Simple Interest, French, Latin, Geography, Writing, and Dictation, he was correct in stating, in the month of July last, that the above examination was only equivalent to the Fourth Standard in elementary schools; when the new Regulations for Sandhurst will be issued; and whether candidates who have passed in the above subjects will have again to pass, or whether they will be treated as being already qualified in those subjects?


As I explained on a former occasion, any candidate who has passed the preliminary examination will, when examined in the competitive examination, be relieved from the necessity of obtaining a minimum qualifying number of marks in the subjects which were embraced in the preliminary examination. So far he will have an advantage, but to exclude him from examination in those subjects would be a distinct loss to him, inasmuch as all the marks he would gain in any of them would count towards his total number of marks. The hon. Gentleman rather exaggerates the trouble and expense which the preliminary examination entailed, inasmuch as it was frequently undergone locally, without a journey to London. And it is intended that in future there shall be arrangements for localising the competitive examination. My hon. and learned Friend takes me to task for speaking disrespectfully of the preliminary examination. I used the comparison of it to the Fourth Standard, not as my own opinion, but as a quotation from a competent authority. It was a jocular comparison not meant to be strictly accurate; but I think if my hon. Friend considers that apart from an elementary examination in subjects which were embraced in the further examination, the special subjects of the preliminary examination were arithmetic, English, and geography—all of a simple character—he will agree that it could not reckon as a very formidable test of higher education. The new Regulations for entrance to Sandhurst are in the printers' hands.