§ £548,073, to complete the sum for Public Education, Scotland.
§ * THE SECRETARY FOR SCOTLAND (Sir G. TREVELYAN, Glasgow, Bridgeton)
It is well, perhaps, that I should first make a few remarks, brief, and, I trust, businesslike, and I hope that the Committee will think when they have heard my statement that Scotch education is in a condition that is satisfactory for the present and hopeful for the future. The Estimate is for 565,000 day scholars, which appears to be a falling-off of 2,000 from last year; but it is only an apparent diminution. Last year there was an over-estimate in the actual average attendance, which was 549,000. That number has been increasing regularly, though not quite so rapidly as in the years immediately following free education. As regards finance, the increase in the Estimate is £16,000, of which £7,300 is the normal increase in the annual grant, and £7,600 is the fee grant from the Exchequer. I know there are hon. Members who think that Scotland should get 10s. a head for every child. I have no doubt that that would be an advantage to Scotland. There was some doubt as to whether or not Scotland was getting the whole of ll–80ths to which she was entitled, so the Scotch Office made a representation to the Treasury, and after some fighting—for nothing is got without fighting—Scotland got the sum which we believe is her due. In addition to that, £40,000 was paid under the Customs and Excise Duties Act, in aid of free education, so that, instead of 10s. per child, 12s. per child is provided. The 767 total cost of the maintenance of schools is £1,250,000. The children in average attendance was 213,000 in 1872, 404,000 in 1880, and 549,000 in 1892. The education of each child in Scotland costs £2 5s. 9½d. The cost is £2 8s. 4d. in English Board schools, £1 16s. 5d. in Church of England schools, and £1 14s. 3d. in English Catholic schools. In the public schools in Scotland, which answer to Board schools in England, the cost per head is £2 6s. 4d.; it is £2 5s. 8d. in Free Church and Church of Scotland schools, and in Catholic schools £1 19s. 9d. It is satisfactory to find that the money spent upon the education of children in Scotland is equally distributed all over the country in a remarkable degree, and that every child, in whatever school he is taught, has the chance of getting the best of what is going in the way of education. As to the quality of the education given, it is natural to ask what is the result of the alterations of the Code under which greater liberty is given to teachers, and children have not to climb to knowledge by the hard-and-fast steps of the ladder of the Standards. Dr. Ogilvie, the Chief Inspector of the Western District, in his Report for 1892, says—The New Code, on further trial, has proved a substantial gain to education. It has abolished the temptation to produce a maximum of minimum results, and substituted as the test of efficiency the greatest progress on intelligent lines of the greatest number. It gives free scope to individual talent, and, at the same time, secures that dullards and weaklings shall not be driven at a faster pace than nature intended. Teachers have more, freedom in the choice of subjects and methods, and examination, where practicable, by sample gives more opportunity for the inspection, as distinguished from the examination, of the school. The Inspector has thus more time to examine the processes at work in the school, and to bring, where occasion offers, his varied experience to bear on the improvement of subjects that are susceptible of more intelligent handling.It was believed that the danger of this change in the system was that, the teaching of the elementary subjects would suffer by the abolition of individual examination; but, so far from suffering, the education of children in elementary subjects is much better than before. Dr. Stewart, the Head Inspector of the Northern Division, in his Report, states—My colleagues are agreed that the standard subjects are on a sound footing, and are making steady if slow progress. I am disposed to speak 768 more strongly of the progress made in my own district. I believe a deal of it originated in our excellent city infant departments. There the beginnings of pleasantly modulated, clear, and audible reading, and of tasteful and even artistic writing arose. Mr. Macleod thinks there is an increased number who work all the sums correctly. My own experience has been similar. Not only are the sums worked with greater speed and accuracy, but they are set down in a more tasteful and businesslike style. All this we are fully entitled to expect, for, with the freedom of classification and with arithmetic as the test subject, the teacher's duty is to place the boy in the class where he can work his sums satisfactorily.Let me tell the Committee that no less than 81 per cent, of the schools have been pronounced "excellent for organisation and discipline." Out of 540,000 children, 357,000 have been classed as "good," and 148,000 as "excellent." As an incentive to excellence a special honour has been instituted, and an order of merit given to those children who have made the utmost use of opportunities, and have learned everything elementary schools can teach. These are not pecuniary rewards, but neat little certificates which are greatly prized. Already we have issued 2,346 of these certificates, and in the words of the gentleman who invented the idea—It must be remembered that the value of such pupils to the country is not, measured by their numbers only, and that the benefit which accrues from their having obtained an adequate education extends far beyond the individual pupil immediately concerned.Now, Sir, with regard to the Highland schools, they continue to engage the careful attention of the Department. They have been rightly treated with exceptional generosity by the State. In the insular parts of the Highlands one-seventh of the cost of education comes from local resources, and in the rest of Scotland nearly one-third. Under Articles 19 and 21 of the Code nearly £7,000 a year is earned by certain Highland counties more than in the rest of Scotland. In this estimate, £2,000 has been taken to meet the exceptionally distressed condition of the School Boards in certain districts, which in the past, as hon. Members from Scotland know, have been rescued by the bounty of the State from a distressed and what was almost a hopeless position. The effect of this is very good. In Lewis the average attendance has increased by 26 per cent., and in Skye by 48 per cent., over what 769 was the case in the year 1888. But this attendance is kept up under remarkable difficulties. There are districts which were quite unprovided with roads, or even with a substitute in the shape of decent footpaths, and the very approaches to schools were dangerous. But this year the Government allotted £10,000 to improving the footpaths of the Highlands, with a special view to education, and the Scotch Office tried to see that the money was spent for the purpose for which Parliament intended it to be spent. Now, Sir, I want to say one word about night schools. In the opinion of the Government, and I have no doubt of the House, these night schools are founded on the principle, not only of tilling up defects in the elementary education of unfortunate persons, but to give to persons not able, in the work of life, to go through the regular round of secondary education, a real and solid knowledge of and interest in the higher branches of mental cultivation. This has been very well expressed by Dr. Ogilvie, when he says—It is recognised that the future of the evening schools depends on their advanced programme, and there is everywhere an earnest desire to foster and develop them, and make them attractive sequels to the day schools. They promise to become the permanent secondary schools of the working classes.These evening schools, which are so congenial to Scotland, which hung heavily for a time, have taken a fresh start. In the year 1891 there were 207 evening schools, and in the year 1892, 257. In the year 1891 there were 16,613 scholars, and in the year 1892 there were 19,000. That is the progress made already, and the Code which I have had the honour of lying on the Table will give it, I hope, a great and marked impulse. The age of scholars at night schools will be continued over 21. The Inspector's General Report on the schools is to take the place of individual examination, and visit without notice is to take the place of announced visit, whilst the giants in a good school will he sensibly larger. All this is as in the English Code, but there are certain differences in our New Code which will tell in favour of simplicity, and obviate the necessity of keeping those minute registers which, as everyone who is acquainted with elementary education knows, are the curse, though, perhaps, a 770 necessary curse, of carrying on the system. I should be grossly ungrateful if I said anything in depreciation of the English Code, for we owe it very much indeed. We have adopted their Schedules of subjects, modified carefully, and I think wisely, to meet Scottish needs. We have printed even their detailed schemes of education with the necessary changes; but I want to put in one word of explanation here. Managers, I hope, will remember that these schemes are only suggestions, and if each subject is reasonably well taught they may teach it according to their own knowledge and their own lights, or may even select other subjects than those mentioned in the Code.
§ * SIR G. TREVELYAN
It is in type. It will be a question, I should think, of a day or two. As to pensions, we have received from the Treasury our proportionate share of increased grant. At present, in addition to what was absorbed by teachers who were in office before 1851, who have a statutory right, there was only £920 a year given to most necessitous cases. We have now received an additional sum of £830, which almost doubles our means of assisting those teachers who have a claim on our sympathy and gratitude. In the New Code for night schools we have learned something from England, but there are matters in which England might take a leaf out of our book. The great success which has attended the Scottish Act of 1890 for the education of blind and deaf-mute children will be very gratifying to the Representatives of a country which has been the pioneer in this matter. The State now undertakes, either through taxes or by local funds, the education and even the maintenance to the age of 16, of children who are in this unfortunate state of body. The payments for the actual teaching of the children are made by the Department in the Estimates in the case of some 500 to 600 scholars. The other day £600 was paid to one great institution—namely, the Deaf and Dumb Institution, Glasgow, and there are two admirably conducted institutions of the same class in Edinburgh. That is not all. Under the Act, payments for the maintenance of 129 children at these institutions, at the rate 771 of from £10 to £15 per annum, have been made by School Boards, so that the parents of these poor children have their full share, and more than their full share, of the money which has been voted and given by the State in consequence of the great educational movement which has marked the last 20 years. And now one word on the burning question of fee-paying schools. I rejoice to say that Scotland has taken full, and is taking every year more full, advantage of the great benefit which she was the first to claim, and that Scottish people more and more assert their right as citizens to obtaining that free education for which, as citizens, the pay. In 1890, 87 per cent, of Scottish children enjoyed free education. In 1891, 92 per cent. enjoyed it. This last year there were 638,000 free scholars to 28,000 paying fees, or nearer 96 than 95 per cent. Without saying anything ungracious, I would ask hon. Members to compare that with England, and they will see, I think, that our method of dealing with free education in Scotland—the spontaneous outcome of private Scotch Members' initiation—has been, at any rate, conspicuously successful. There still were 42 schools which charged fees, and these were among the best schools in Scotland, and when I had the honour of taking Office I set on foot careful inquiries. One point I asked for information upon was as to the number of vacant places at these fee-paying schools; schools, it must be remembered, which had been built out of the rates, and which, therefore, ought to be fully utilised by the ratepayers. I found that while the accommodation in these schools was for 25,600 children, the average attendance was 16,756. Now, in Glasgow, in the fee-paying schools, the places were 7,369, and the attendance was 4,821, and this attendance had gone down very much indeed since the schools outside were free, and was still going down fast. Glasgow began with 10 fee-paying schools. They came down to eight, then to six, and a couple of months ago the School Board, which had been elected to support fee-paying schools, came to the conclusion that with fees fast falling off they could support them no longer. The School Board abolished fees in five of the schools out of the six, up to and including the Sixth Standard, and 772 have resolved to convert the sixth into a much-needed high school for girls. That is the way in which this question must be settled—by the people of the locality themselves becoming alive to their own highest interests. There is a community near Glasgow which has reserved four fine schools for fee-paying pupils. In those schools, out of 4,200 places, only 2,068 are occupied. I do not doubt that the same experience which has convinced the School Board of Glasgow will have the same effect elsewhere, and that ere long the 95 per cent, of free scholars in the elementary schools of Scotland will rise to 99 per cent., or will embrace all the children who frequent those schools. And now, Sir, one word about the work that the Education Department has done in secondary education. Sixty-one higher and endowed voluntary schools are now inspected by the officers of the Department, and to make the relations with these schools practical and effective five years ago the Government instituted the leaving certificates given after searching examination. That certificate has had since then a great success and a most remarkable development. In 1888 there were 972 candidates for leaving certificates; in 1892, 5,175; and in 1893, 7,148. The papers that were answered by the candidates respectively in those years were 4,300, 18,691, and 24,240. This certificate is accepted by the Oxford and Cambridge Universities as equivalent to responsions and little go, and even distinguished people who have gone through Cambridge may know that the little go is no trifle. They are accepted by Edinburgh, Glasgow, and St. Andrews for the preliminary examination for the three years' course; by the Lords of Council and Session for the purpose of the Law Agents Act; by the General Medical Council; the Institute of Accountants; the Society of Solicitors, and a long list of dignified and important Bodies who are only too glad to accept the guarantee of an examination conducted by adepts in the result of which they have the highest confidence. This examination enables the Government to keep a close watch on the merits and defects of secondary education. The result is, on the whole, most satisfactory. Mathematics and classics are creditably, sometimes excellently, taught. There is, something to seek as far as modern 773 languages are concerned which may be attributed to uncertainty of system rather than defect of zeal, and I have asked a very competent gentleman to report on the teaching of modern languages in the schools of Belgium and Switzerland, especially on the point whether that system is founded on seeking to attain conversational facility, or through educational discipline and literary practice and cultivation—in fact, whether a classical education, as far as time allows, can and should be got out of the modern languages. But, Sir, I have said enough, I think, for the purpose of laying before the House the new points, such as they are, and explaining the progress in the older parts of the system included in this Estimate. Of the vast amount of silent and normal continuous work that has been going on for so many years with ever-improving methods and ever-increasing energy and experience I say nothing, and it needs no praise of mine. The education of Scotland is the outcome of Scottish history, and the express image of Scottish character; and I trust that the House will cheerfully, and readily, and even promptly, vote the money on which the efficiency of that education depends.
MR. GRAHAM MURRAY (Buteshire)
thought the Members of the Committee would feel very much indebted to the right hon. Gentleman for the extreme lucidity of the statement which he had made, and he felt sure that on the Opposition as well as on the Government side there would be a disposition to be satisfied with the general progress which he had indicated, and with the general administration of the Department which fell under the right hon. Gentleman's cognisance, and of which he had indicated some of the features. At the same time, he felt also they were under very great and most unmerited disability in discussing this subject as it ought to be discussed. Up to that moment they had not seen a copy of the Report—an advantage which was not denied to English Members. He believed, technically speaking, the Report as to Scottish education was placed on the Table the previous night, but, of course, that meant placing upon the Table a dummy Paper; and they were, therefore, obliged to discuss this great and important question without 774 knowing what they had to discuss at all until they heard the right hon. Gentleman's statement. He could not but regard that as a great disadvantage and a great pity. He did not indicate who was to blame in the matter, but if the subject were to be adequately discussed they ought to have had the Report before them. The speech of the right hon. Gentleman, in point of lucidity, left nothing to be desired; but there were certain points he had not touched upon, and as to which it was necessary they should have some information. The right hon. Gentleman told them he did not see any particular difference between the cost of the various classes of schools; and, therefore, without opening up the subject of denominational education, at any rate, they had to congratulate themselves that so much of Scottish education as was denominational did not seem to be hampered by any bad management, and, in fact, upon this question of economy both in England and Scotland, the economy seemed to be rather in favour of the denominational than the Government system. The next point touched upon by the right hon. Gentleman was the fact that greater liberty had been given to the teachers to map out the particular curriculum which the scholar was to follow, and he was extremely gratified to hear the unstinted praise which was accorded by the right hon. Gentleman to the method which was undertaken, certainly as an experiment, a few years ago. There were some at that time who did not entirely agree with it; but he thought the statement of the right hon. Gentleman must be taken as a meed of unqualified praise. He thought he should not be doing justice to one who was deserving of much praise in this matter if he did not recall the few sentences that were pronounced in the discussion that took place some years ago by the late Lord Advocate (Mr. Robertson), who, in heralding the introduction of the system, said its initiation was really due to the energy and constructive ability of the gentleman who, more than any other, had the control of the development of the Scottish educational programme by virtue of his official position—namely, the Secretary of the Scottish Education Department. The next question his right hon. Friend had dealt with was the question of the High- 775 land schools. They were glad to find the average attendance had progressed by such leaps and bounds since the year 1888. He did not know if the right hon. Gentleman attributed that progress to any special reason. He spoke, of course, of what had been done as regarded making better roads, and all would agree that that was well-spent money; but that he understood was a work which had been done quite recently, therefore the increased attendance so far was due to some other cause than that, and it would be well if the right hon. Gentleman would explain the cause, because it undoubtedly might disclose some method or benefit which they might apply in other places. He was also pleased to hear what the right hon. Gentleman had to say about the education of blind and deaf children. They who lived in either of the two great towns of Scotland were familiar with the interest taken there in that subject, not only in the Institutions which the right hon. Gentleman referred to, but also in the case of Donaldson's Hospital, which was one of the best Institutions for the blind and deaf to be found. As to the subject of fee-paying schools, he would, for reasons which the Committee would presently appreciate, rather hold over his observations on that, because it was cognate to another matter upon which he should otherwise have to trouble the Committee in a few moments. For the same reason he should defer his remarks upon the observations of the right hon. Gentleman on secondary education. There were some matters on which, as they had not got the Report, he thought the Committee were entitled to more information. One great subject of interest had been the progress of attendance in Scotland, and the right hon. Gentleman had read them out certain figures showing the progress as indicated by the number of scholars in attendance in 1872 as compared with the present year. There was a prophet in that House whoso voice he was sorry to say was temporarily silenced—he meant Mr. Caldwell—who used to assure them that these figures were illusory; but the right hon. Gentleman had shown them that such was not the case. But there was another question as to that progress which was equally interesting, and which had nothing to do with the change that took place in 1872. 776 Of course, there was a great change in 1872 from the old Scottish parochial school system to the system of Board schools under the Education Act. But there had been a change in another way since those days. He referred to the introduction of free education, and certainly one was anxious to know now whether the Department were in possession of such statistics and had got such experience as would enable them to pronounce an opinion more or less certain as to what the tendency of free education had been in really stimulating the anxiety for education as evidenced by the fact of the numbers that betook themselves to that education. In the Report of 1891–2 statistics were given as to the numbers, and then the Report went on thus—Looking to the magnitude of the question, and the number of circumstances which may affect it, it is scarcely yet possible to pronounce as to the effect which this scheme may have upon the successful enforcement of the compulsory clauses. But we are convinced that, as a general result, it has not only increased the number on the books, but also added considerably to the average attendance. Meanwhile, we can only repeat, the hope that Scottish parents will show their sense of the boon conferred by a constant and vigorous effort to make the school attendance of their children full and regular.He should like to hear from the right hon. Gentleman whether the hopes expressed in this Report of 1891–2, that the new scheme of free education would add considerably to the average attendances, had been realised. In 1888 the figure of increase in attendances was 1.55 per cent., in 1889 it was 1.27 per cent., in 1890 it was 2.22 per cent., and in 1891 it was 3.90 per cent. This increase might be accounted for by the fact that one result of paying no fees had been that very much younger children were sent to school; but it would not be altogether just to include the attendances of children under five years of age in estimating the increase in attendances. The Committee would like to know whether there had been an increase on the percentage of 1891? Again, in reference to the method of collective instead of individual examination, which had been introduced into the Code in 1886 as an experiment, and in respect of which the Report of 1891 did not sound any confident note, the Committee would, he 777 thought, desire, if possible, some fuller information from the right hon. Gentleman upon the subject. The right hon. Gentleman had not dealt with the question of Training Colleges at all. He believed that these Colleges were extremely well worked, and that the denominational element was of so mild and indistinctive a character that it did not injuriously affect them; but he was anxious to know whether the system was still entirely satisfactory? Another question of interest was the subject of evening continuation classes; but here, again, he most bitterly regretted the absence of any Papers before the Committee. The right hon. Gentleman had told the Committee that, as a matter of fact, he had put a Code dealing with the subject upon the Table; but, if so, that was admittedly a new departure, and it was a great pity that no opportunity had been afforded for discussing it. It was said that this Code resembled the English Continuation Code; but there were some portions of the English Code that were open to the criticism that they went beyond the scope and object of these Scotch, continuation schools. That Code included such subjects as "the public life and duties of citizens," and directed the teachers to select such part of that subject as was most appropriate to the circumstances and needs of each particular school. The Syllabus said—The teacher will select that part which is most appropriate to the circumstances and the needs of the school and the locality. … The object of the teacher should be to proceed from the known and familiar, such as the policeman, the rate collector, the Board of Guardians, and the Town Council, to the history of and reasons for our local and national institutions and our responsibilities in connection with them.And it was added—Good illustrations am I diagrams and pictures will be of great service in teaching this subject.They might introduce magic lanterns. If they were to deal with subjects which included the whole scope of political life they would be introducing controversial matters. He thought he had shown the difficulty that lay in the way in relation to this branch of the question. He wanted next to deal for a moment with the question of secondary education. He was glad to hear from the right hon. Gentleman that under the system of secondary education he hail found that 778 the leaving certificate examination which was introduced by the late Government had been attended by excellent results. As to the money devoted to secondary education, he wished to say that Scotchmen were certainly not satisfied with the position in which the administration of the fund of £60,000 was left by the action of the Department.
§ MR. HUNTER (Aberdeen, N.)
rose to a point of Order. He wished to know whether the question of this fund had not been already dealt with? Had it not been made the subject of a Motion during the present Session? Apart from that, there was no mention of it in this Vote.
Mr. GRAHAM MURRAY
said, he only proposed to deal with the question of administration by the Education Department, and he submitted he was quite in Order.
§ MR. BARTLEY (Islington, N.)
said, in that case the Report must come within the scope of discussion.
MR. GRAHAM MURRAY
said, he had made some careful inquiries about that, and he had been told that if he raised the question in that way he would probably be ruled out of Order.
§ An hon. MEMBER said, the proper time would be when the Minute was before them.
MR. GRAHAM MURRAY
said, they had the Report, and he thought it was hardly possible be could be out of Order.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN (Aberdeenshire, E.)
was understood to ask whether the subject had not been dealt with on a previous occasion?
said, he had given his ruling, and he thought the question of administration could be discussed.
MR. GRAHAM MURRAY
said, he would not wander beyond the limits of proper discussion. He believed the Department had gone wrong in the matter by trying to give in to the clamour of certain sections, and they wore exceedingly sorry that the Department did not stand up to the Report of their own Committee, the Members of which were taken impartially from both sides of the House. He hoped that by next year the Department would re-consider the position in regard to this matter. Then there was the question of the 9d. limit, which, being a technical matter, might not be quite understood in all parts of the House. This limit arose in this way. In 1872 the existing system was introduced. In 1876 an English Act was passed dealing with elementary education in England; but in Section 53 of that Act it was enacted that certain provisions in the English Act should be grafted upon the Scotch system. In fact, under the Act of 1876 the 9d. limit, in accordance with the opinion of the majority of the Law Officers of the Crown—the English Attorney General, the Lord Advocate, and the Scotch Solicitor General being agreed, and the English Solicitor General dissenting—was read into the Scotch Education system. The point next mooted between the Controller and Auditor General and the Department was as to the meaning of the word "ordinary." Another opinion was consequently taken from the Law Officers, and they laid down that "ordinary" did not mean in respect of ordinary education, and did not mean average payments, but meant simply ordinary payments. That supplied the practice, which went on until 1889, when the first subvention was obtained from Parliament towards the relief of fees. Then the point was raised by the Controller and Auditor General as to whether in calculating the 9d. payment from the scholar the fee alone was to be taken, or whether in the case of schools that had got fees the amount given by Parliament in relief was to be included in calculating the 9d. The opinion of the Scotch Law Officers was taken, and they hold that the relief of the fee grant was not to be so calculated. The matter went before the Committee on Public Accounts—a Committee which, as everyone knew, did good work in the House. He had never heard, however, 780 that it was any part of the functions of that Committee to give an opinion on law. On finance their opinion was unrivalled. In 1891, however, they indicated that the opinion of the Scotch Law Officers was not in harmony with the intentions of Parliament. The Committee on Public Accounts did not go further then; but this year—and he was sorry the Member for North Aberdeen. (Mr. Hunter), who was familiar with this subject, was not in his place—they went a great deal further, for they repeated the doubt whether the opinion of the Scotch. Law Officers was in harmony with the intentions of Parliament, and expressed regret that the opinion of the English Law Officers as well as of the Scotch Law Officers had not been taken on the subject. He had no objection to the opinion of the English Law Officers, being taken; but he did object to the suggestion of the Committee that, in the meantime, future payments should be made at the risk of the accounting officer. He (Mr. Murray) wanted an assurance from the Secretary for Scotland that he was not going to dislocate the system in Scotland at the instance of the Committee on Public Accounts. It seemed to him that all the Committee had to do was to see if the payments were legal, and whatever their view as to its being in harmony with the ideas of Parliament they had no business to make the recommendation that until a new opinion was taken the payments should be made at the risk of the accounting officer. No one could expect that that official—who in this case happened to be a paid Secretary of the Education Department—would take on his shoulders this great and burdensome payment. He regretted that the Government had put them in the position of having to discuss this question in the absence of Papers—particularly so far as the evening schools were concerned. At the same time, he thanked the right hon. Gentleman opposite for what he had done in explaining the matter, and, as Scotchmen, he was sure they were all proud to see that the progress of education in, Scotland was such as it was.
§ MR. COCHRANE (Ayrshire, N.)
felt obliged to reiterate what had fallen from the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down as to the difficulty in which 781 they had been placed by not having the Papers before them. He desired, with regard to Articles 133 and 134 of the Education Code, to ask the Secretary for Scotland a question. Article 134 said that the Scotch Boards, with the sanction of the Scotch Education Department, might maintain a certain number of schools in which fees were charged to infants in all or any of the Standards. The preceding article said that in State-aided schools no fees should be exacted from scholars who were between five and 14 years of age. He wished to contrast that with the Statute under which free education was given to England. He wished to know if be was correct in the inference that Scotland had not been placed on the same footing of equality as England? Under the English Act it was the duty of the Education Department to take stops to secure proper accommodation for the education, without fees, of children over three and under 15; but in Scotland the limit was fixed between five and 14. He should like to know if there was any valid reason for this difference, which was very considerable? He had not had time to properly consider the Reports sent in. They had come in detachments. That relating to the Western Division—in which he (Mr. Cochrane) was interested—gave particulars as to the infant department and the good work being done. It stated that the numbers of infants in the schools had largely increased, and attributed that increase to the abolition of fees. It was, therefore, a great advantage that children in Scotland could be educated without the payment of school pence. The Report went on to say that children went to school at an earlier age than formerly, and the infant room in many of the schools was quite full. Infants in Scotland were largely sent to school, and he wanted to know why they should not have the same right as English infants to education without the payment of fees? In describing some of the drawbacks in the county he represented the Western Report said that all the infants were put together, and the teachers only got unqualified assistance. Was there any reason why there should not be proper accommodation and proper assistance in these schools? In one school in Kilmarnock there were too many infants 782 put together, and an inadequate amount of class room for sectional work. The Report for 1891–2 stated that the relief of fees had largely increased the attendance of children of early years, and brought into attendance many children under school age. How was it that this matter had not been attended to? In 1891—on the 9th July—a Debate was raised by Mr. Caldwell, and the Secretary for Scotland spoke in a sympathetic manner of the want of uniformity between the Scotch and English Regulations. He said—We already know a great deal as to Scotch opinion on this subject. Experience has shown that Scotch parents are anxious that their children between three and fire years should go to school. The parents, it is found, are sending them in largely increasing numbers, as stated in the Report of the Scotch Education Department, yet the Government propose that children between three and five years who can now attend school free should in future be liable for fees. Human nature and the circumstances with regard to parents and children are the same in Scotland as in England, and the same causes which induce parents in England to send their children to school below the age of five years will lead Scotch parents to do the same.And he finished up by saying—Let us complete the good work by asserting that 15 shall be the age up to which a child shall be sent to school without its being a burden to his parents, and enabling him to reap the benefit of that education which Parliament has given.The Solicitor General for Scotland at that time pointed out that the gift of free education to Scotland had been quite recently made, and it was desirable that a little time should he given for gaining experience. He (Mr. Cochrane) submitted, however, that sufficient experience had been gained. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Scotland had had a year in which he could carry this out, and perhaps he would explain why it was that in this matter Scotch children had not been treated like English children.
§ DR. MACGREGOR (Inverness-shire)
did not want to make a speech on education, but there were two or three questions he should like to ask, if they were in Order. In the first place, he desired to know whether the question of the retiring pensions of schoolmasters in Scotland had been further considered; secondly, he wished to know whether the Government, in developing secondary education in Scotland, had paid special regard to 783 the claims of the Highland counties, and whether it was contemplated to give increased facilities for teaching the children in the Highlands in their native tongue—Gaelic? He was sorry to hear the right hon. Gentleman opposite throw cold water on the practical methods suggested in the English Code for the English schools. He thought that the Kindergarten system—teaching by aid of models and drawings—was more impressive, and likely to be more lasting. Therefore, instead of deprecating the Gladstonian van, as the hon. Member opposite did, he would suggest the addition of the village circus! He thought that the increase which had taken place in the attendance at Scotch schools since 1889 was due to free education, for Scotland, however industrious, was practically a poor country, and when it was remembered that for many years she had been called upon to pay to the Imperial Exchequer £1,500,000 per annum more than her just share of taxation, no wonder she had some difficulty in giving elementary education to her children. With free education she had a better chance. Scotch education had been in the van of English education for 300 years at least; and he had no doubt that, under the able management of the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Department, Scotland would continue to assert her proud position.
§ SIR MARK J. STEWART (Kirkcudbright)
said, they had to thank the right hon. Gentleman opposite for having given them some useful information; but beyond that they were arguing the matter almost in the dark, except as to certain Reports which had just been laid on the Table from different parts of Scotland. At the same time, it was satisfactory to know that in regard to these Reports there appeared to be a large and good work done. For example, instead of paying the capitation grant for individuals in elementary schools the whole school obtained the grant according to the success at the inspection. He observed that in the Report in connection with the Eastern Counties of Scotland Dr. Kerr said—We have now had a complete year's experience of the operation of the New Code, about the stimulative effects of which, through freedom of classification and the substitution to a large extent of class for individual examination, my colleagues are unanimous. The 784 tendency to overpress the dull and unduly keep back the quicker pupils has been removed. In my own district this has been matter of careful observation, and my distinct impression is that this discretionary power has been, on the whole, judiciously used. In the infant and junior classes, especially, the advantages of freedom of classification have been observable. The teachers, instead of aiming at one or two objects as ends in themselves, have felt themselves at liberty to develop in all directions the mental' moral, and physical capabilities of the pupils, while accuracy and advancement in reading, writing, and arithmetic have not suffered, but in many cases improved.In regard to infant classes, there could be no doubt that they were making marked progress in the country. He himself noticed—taking considerable interest in these matters—that the infant schools were the best attended of any schools throughout Scotland. The reason of that was that the parents knew that the children were being well looked after as well as well taught. The teachers took great trouble in training the little children, until, as a matter of fact, they were better taught than the classes immediately above them. The progress made in the infant classes, in his opinion, was due to the adoption of the Kindergarten system. He thought that, in other respects, they might adopt German methods, which were calculated to form a fondness for school life among the young people. They owed a deal to Germany to the way in which they educated the touch and formed the ringers of the little children. In the continuation and evening schools, as the right hon. Gentleman had told them, there was great improvement. The right hon. Gentleman had quoted figures to show that, instead of 6,000 pupils attending the schools two years ago, there were now about 19,000. That, at all events, was most satisfactory. Where they failed to get hold of the pupils was in the country districts. It was all very well to have continuation and Sunday schools in towns to which they could attract a number of young persons at the end of their day's work—young people who were only too glad to go into a shelter, especially when they could there have the mental training they so much desired. But in the country places, where the distances were long and the roads were bad, especially in winter, there was great difficulty experienced in having any continuation schools at all. He would suggest that some method 785 should be adopted of inducing pupils to attend such schools. He thought that a little less should be given to urban schools, and a little more to the country schools. Last year in the Highlands no less a sum than £10,000 was given by the Scotch Department for the making of footpaths, so that little children might attend school in something like comfort-There were large tracts of country in the county he had the honour to represent where there were no roads whatsoever. In the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright there were shepherds who were anxious to send their children to school, but who lived four, six, and eight miles from a school or from a hamlet, and, therefore, had to get their children educated in the best way they could. They were put to considerable expense in the matter, and if Parliament could see its way to assisting these poor people, say, by paying half the expense they were put to, it would be of incalculable advantage. He was aware that this could not be done at present; but if assistance was given to parents in the Highlands, why should it not be given to those in the Lowlands? One parish he could name was 106 square miles in extent, with a small population of between 300 and 400. This parish was as badly off as any part of Skye or Ross-shire, or of the Highlands. With regard to class subjects, when dealing with from 50 to 80 children it was almost impossible to deal with them all on the same level; but if they wore divided they could be more easily dealt with, and the tuition would be more acceptable to their minds. Of course, a few more teachers might be required; but if a little more money were allowed for the staff of the schools the results would not only be favourable to the schools, but also to the pupil teachers. If the staff was larger the teachers could be better educated. At present the pupil teachers were very badly educated. It was all nonsense to say that they were well educated. If they were to be good teachers hereafter Parliament must insist upon their being well trained. The pupil teacher received a small pittance of £5, £10, or £15 a year, and for that had to give all his time to teaching—that was to say, it was not until the school hours were over that his turn for instruction came, when he was tired and worn out. He (Sir Mark Stewart) was glad 786 to think that specific subjects were gaining ground. He was aware of the difficulty they stood in in the country as compared with the towns. He had hail some experience of cookery classes, and was bound to say they could not confer a greater boon on rural populations than by teaching young girls how to cook. But, at the same time, he thought that in order to keep up the interest of these classes something more should be taught than the mere drudgery—than the peeling and cooking of a potato. He toped that, as far as they could, the Education Department would permit of specific subjects being taught in connection with cooking. In regard to agriculture he was glad to think that in the Southern part of Scotland the proportion of pupils who had continued their study of specific subjects at the third and more useful stage at which they generally left off was on the increase. In Standard I., in 1890, the numbers were 153; in Standard II., in 1891, 52; and in Standard III., in 1892, 19. The more they increased this scientific teaching the better it was for the pupils and for education generally. He was sure that all hon. Members who had paid any attention to this matter would agree with him when he said that hitherto the Agricultural Department had paid too much attention to mere technical education, as in dairying, for example, and had neglected the more scientific branches of instruction—that was to say, in lectures and explanations. No doubt something was being done in this direction, but more theoretic teaching was required With regard to free education, he desired to ask the right hon. Gentleman what was the opinion of the Department as to its success in the way of bringing more children into the schools? Dr. Kerr, on this subject, said—It is probable that the stimulus supplied by this novelty has ceased to operate, so far, at least, as sending very young children to school. There is besides now less motive for a full attendance at inspection. But after taking these causes into account it is apparently safe to conclude that free education has not produced more regular attendance, and discouraging to find a decrease in IV. to VI. and such a small increase in ex-VI. pupils.That, no doubt, was a very discouraging fact, and he should like to hear what had been done in the past year generally—for this statement only applied to one 787 part of the country. Had free education proved to be that success which many of them hoped and believed it would be? Was education at a standstill, and not that go-ahead concern they would like to see it? Another point that deserved attention was the marked decrease of male teachers and the marked increase of female teachers. Although it had not an important bearing at present, it would have an important bearing ere long. There might be reasons for it which the Committee could not see or understand; but why was it the fact that so many young women were coming forward and so many young men were holding back? Was it because salaries wore not high enough? In many parts of Scotland it was thought that the status of teachers should be higher. They must give the teachers something more than salaries to depend on; and he hoped that some assurance would be forthcoming that pensions would be given. As to secondary schools, under the Minute of last February certain schools must have been hit very bard. Under the last Minute there were far more rural schools that would be hit still harder, and the general opinion was that the first Minute ought to be acted upon rather than the second. He thought, speaking as a county Member, that in the rural districts they were in danger of losing what they had hoped to gain. Looking at the basis on which they must make certain new departures, he was afraid that in the great majority of schools they would get nothing at all. The money would always go to the large centres, where it was really least required. No doubt there would be a great deal to show for it, and there would be a great many pupils; but how were they to educate the rural population? They knew that depopulation was going on in the rural districts, but were they doing anything to prevent it; were they doing anything to induce the young people to remain in their districts? They could not get education at home now, and were bound to go into the towns, and yet they were taking away from the rural schools that which had been given to them, and were heaping it on to the burgh schools, that had a plethora of riches in comparison to the poor, poverty-stricken rural schools. Hon. Members knew very well that it was difficult to 788 raise a higher rate than at present, even to promote the good cause of education.
§ MR. CROMBIE (Kincardineshire)
wished to ask a question on the subject of the inspection of secondary schools. He desired to know whether it was not the case that the Inspectors of these schools had so much other work to do that they could devote very little time to inspection? He believed that one of the Inspectors was a Professor of Divinity, that one was a secondary schoolmaster, another was a retired schoolmaster, and another was one of Her Majesty's Inspectors. The system of inspection at present in operation was not continuous. Inspectors made their visits at the end of the Session, instead of dropping in during the Session. Under such a system it was impossible to deal with the curriculum and the method of teaching, which, of course, were matters of great importance. He understood that the standards of examination varied every year on account of the changes made in the Examiners, and that a pass in a country school was easier than in a town school, so that it sometimes happened that those who failed in towns were better informed than those who succeeded in the country. He suggested that a Board of Examination of a permanent character should be established. He had heard, with astonishment, the tone of disparagement in which his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Graham Murray) had referred to the teaching of the duty of the citizen. As far as he had been able to grasp the details of the English Code, they seemed to him to exactly correspond with the teaching that was being given with enormous success at present in America.
§ MR. HOZIER. (Lanarkshire, S.)
said, the present Debate furnished one of the many glaring instances of the gross negligence of Scottish Business displayed by the present Government. The English Members considered it extremely hard that they had to discuss their Report on Monday, inasmuch as it had only been presented that morning; but the wretched Scotch Members were expected to discuss a Report they had never seen, and that was only presented in dummy on the previous evening. There was no excuse for so gross a neglect of Scottish Business, because it so happened that there were in the Cabinet six Members who were closely 789 connected with Scotland, five of them being Members of the House of Commons, and one (Lord Rosebery) a Member of the House of Lords. If those six gentlemen could not force their views on the rest of the Cabinet it was certainly rather curious, more especially as they had at their back the Patronage Secretary to the Treasury, who was the man who chiefly arranged business in the House of Commons. The interest of the Scottish Members of the Cabinet on Scottish Business had been shown by what had been witnessed that afternoon. No doubt the Secretary for Scotland, the Lord Advocate, and the Solicitor General for Scotland, had been unremitting in their attention to the Debate; but not one other Member of the present Government had paid any heed to it, except the Civil Lord of the Admiralty (Mr. E. Robertson). Two Scotch Cabinet Ministers came in about five minutes ago, but they had paid no attention to the Deflate. As the Report was not in the hand* of Members, he had, since the Secretary for Scotland spoke, got a copy of the English Code, and he had been able, in the short time that had since elapsed, to glance at a few of its provisions. He noticed that in the English Code Welsh was a very prominent feature; and, further, that good illustrations, diagrams, and pictures—he presumed of the policeman, the ratepayer, the Board of Guardians, and the Town Council—would be of great service in teaching the duties of the citizen. He also found that children were to be taught how a Bill became an Act of Parliament. As the Scotch Code would be more recent than the English Code, he would suggest that the Secretary for Scotland should arrange to have children in Scotland instructed in the modern method of forcing a Bill through the Committee of the House of Commons. He thanked the right hon. Gentleman very much for the way in which he had spoken of the past, as the right hon. Gentleman had referred in the most generous terms to the action of his predecessors. He (Mr. Hozier) wished to draw the right hon. Gentleman's attention again to the case of the Bowling Public Hall, respecting which he had already put some questions to him. Several years ago this hall was built by public subscription, and vested in a body of Trustees. The Trustees handed over the ball to the School 790 Board of Old Kilpatrick, with the primary legal obligation in the covenant of "teaching the elements of English education in the building for all time to come." About five years ago the School Board gave up using the hall for teaching purposes, and then, in the opinion of the Trustees, the property went hack to them. A few years ago the School Board were approached by the Trustees, and asked to hand hack the hall. The School Board asked for the instructions of the Department, who at once ordered a sale of the ball. In view, however, of the various conflicting interests, they in April of last year instituted an official inquiry. The outcome of that inquiry was that in April of this year the Department issued an Order that the hall should be exposed for sale by public auction "under reservation of all rights, obligations, and burdens of the original deed of trust." Three days before the sale the School Board received a letter from the Department countermanding the instructions for the sale. This letter was followed by a letter from the Secretary for Scotland himself and a telegram from the Department ordering the School Board at once to return the previous letter and instructions. Directions had since been sent to the School Board that they were to give the property for nothing to a perfectly irresponsible body of inhabitants. All he wanted to know was what had made the Secretary for Scotland change his mind between the time when he authorised the sale of the hall and the time when he stopped the sale—in other words, who had got at the right hon. Gentleman?
§ SIR J. LENG
said, it was rather surprising that the hon. Member who had just sat down should complain of Ministerial neglect of Scottish Business, when there were no fewer than six Scotch Representatives on the Treasury Bench.
§ MR. HOZIER
asked whether his hon. Friend was satisfied with the conduct of Scotch Business by the present Government?
§ SIR J. LENG
said, he would reply to that question in the affirmative, and he would point out that when the late Government was in Office it not un frequently happened that Scotch discussions took place when there were only one or two Members on the Treasury Bench. He was not aware of the 791 title of the hon. Gentleman opposite to continually lecture hon. Gentlemen on the Ministerial side of House, especially those who sat on the Treasury Bench. Both the hon. Member for Dumbartonshire and himself had weeks ago placed questions on the Paper, and received satisfactory answer's from the Secretary for Scotland with regard to these continuation schools. Great complaint had been made that the Report of the Scotch Education Department was not before the House. That was undoubtedly to be regretted; but those who were acquainted with questions of this nature knew that it was owing to exceptional circumstances that that Report was not before the House. Apparently the serious ground of complaint on this head was that there was so little fault to be found with the administration of the Scotch Department. Those who had been present that day must have seen that the greatest difficulty had been found in obtaining grounds for serious objections to the administration of the Department. Although those Reports were undoubtedly useful for the information of School Boards and Education Committees, and for the teachers, Scottish Representatives knew from their visits to Dover House that there was no Department more carefully and efficiently conducted than the Scotch Department of Education. Many of them did not need to refer to these Reports. Some of them in various ways were connected either with School Boards or Educational Trusts or College Councils, and they know how carefully and attentively the Department was conducted. As he had said, they were greatly pleased that the Scotch Education Department was acting on the same lines and principles as the English Education Department. With respect to Training Colleges, there was one point on which he wished some information from the Secretary for Scotland. In many cases it was an advantage to teachers to go to these Training Colleges. They were anxious, especially in large cities like Dundee, that the facilities for the training of teachers which were possessed in these Colleges—more particularly in the University College at Dundee, which was one of the best-equipped and best-conducted local Colleges in the country—should be taken advantage of. They had Professors of great eminence and ability, their time was 792 not fully occupied, and the resources of that well-endowed Institution were ready to be applied to the lessening of taxation, as they would be if teachers were to avail themselves of the advantage of the College. He hoped that, as the demand for teachers was continually growing, the resources of that institution would be taken into account. A Professor of Teaching in the University of St. Andrews would be only too glad to place his services at the disposal of the Education Department for the College of Dundee. In reply to the question of the hon. Member (Mr. Hozier) as to whether they were satisfied, for his part he begged to assure him that without depreciating in any way the conduct of the Department under the previous Government, they knew that it was being conducted on the same lines now, and that it was doing everything in its power to bring the educational system of Scotland up to date and to make it as efficient as it possibly could be made.
§ MR. HOZIER
I asked my hon. Friend whether he was satisfied with the general conduct of Scotch Business by the present Government, and he has not answered it yet.
§ MR. J. P. SMITH (Lanark, Partick)
said, he thought the Secretary for Scotland and the permanent officials were to be congratulated on the condition of education in Scotland. The right hon. Gentleman had said he hoped he would get a speedy vote; it would have helped towards the getting of a speedy vote if they had had the Report before them. In the first place, he was very glad to hear of the success of the standard examination tests; he was extremely glad to find that this year the Inspectors were able to give a clear and decided opinion as to the complete success of that reform. He was also glad to hear of the success of the merit certificate; but he wanted to know whether the 2,000 who had recently passed were confined to certain schools or districts, or were distributed over the entire country? He was sure a great deal of encouragement was given to children by the distribution of such certificates. In the matter of what might be taught in evening continuation schools, he differed from his right hon. Friend on the Treasury Bench. So far as regarded the teaching in these schools of the duties of citizenship, that was a very important part of what should 793 be every man's education. It had been neglected to an almost incredible extent, and he believed it would be quite possible, without introducing politics, to teach something of the duties of citizenship, just as in Scotland they taught religion, according to "use and wont." As to fee-paying schools, that question should be settled by the people of the locality, according to the best interests of the locality; but while such schools existed, they should be treated fairly and generously. They were doing real good work, and he most strongly deprecated their being harassed in the manner some hon. Members had attempted to harass them. It was a very great pity that by a sort of side wind a matter was introduced into Scotland at all which was never intended for Scotland, and that had worked very serious inconvenience to some of the best schools in Scotland. He appealed to the right hon. Gentleman whether, in considering the question of getting rid of the 9d. limit, he would not also endeavour to get rid of the 17s. 6d. limit? That pressed very hardly on many of their schools. It should either be raised, or the Inspectors should be given some latitude in saying how the schools, which deserved all they could get and ought not to have anything taken away from them, should be managed. Then in regard to leaving certificates, he wished to know what had been the result of throwing open the leaving certificate examination to State-aided schools on the Universities and other Bodies that were willing to receive the children? He approved thoroughly of what had been done in this matter, but he asked that the examiners for these leaving certificates should make individual Reports, so that their names and their individual opinions might become known in the same way as would the Reports of Her Majesty's Inspectors of Schools. Further, he should like to know what would be the action of the Department in carrying out the Minute of the 1st of May? Was the provision as to giving the grant intended purely to deal with the initial starting of the scheme or with the working of the schools from year to year? What power would the Department have to say that a scheme which was satisfactory, say, 10 years ago, was not being carried out now in an efficient way, and that consequeutly the grant must be withheld? Was the 794 Department laying down any general principles as to the right of supervision it was to have, or was the matter to be settled by arrangement in each scheme? He commended the action of the Glasgow School Board in dealing with their pupil teachers in a manner that would ensure them time in which to forward their own education, and asked the Secretary for Scotland whether the Department might be able to put pressure to get the same system introduced in other parts of the country? As to Training Colleges, the present position was not a very satisfactory one. It was true that they were nominally denominational, but not in reality denominational. In Glasgow Free Church Training College, for example, there were only 55 Free Church students and 105 of other denominations: and the same thing was true of all the other Colleges. In all the Training Colleges in Scotland there were only 464 students of the Bodies to which the Colleges belonged, against 393 of other denominations, so that not far off half belonged to other denominations. Some kind of assimilation of the Colleges was needed in order that the best students might be chosen throughout, and that system which allowed entrances to one College of students with low marks might be got rid of. The very early age at which children left school was a crying evil on Scotch education. Had the Department been able to make an impression on that problem, which was one of the most urgent character? It was one of the most important that could be submitted to them. He was sorry the right hon. Gentleman had said nothing on that question, or the question of what the Department were doing in regard to technical education. The hon. Member concluded by hoping that in future they would have the Reports in their hands when the Estimates were taken, as under such an arrangement they need not raise so many questions in the House.
§ MR. W. WHITELAW (Perth)
said, the hon. Member for Inverness-shire had urged upon the Secretary for Scotland the desirability of paying greater attention to the teaching of Gaelic. They all wanted to see the Gaelic language preserved, but he did not see how it could be taught in schools to the exclusion of English. In Dr. Stewart's Report, speak- 795 ing of pupil teachers and of candidates examined for admission to Training Colleges, he regretted that very few candidates were forthcoming from the Highlands and Islands, and that only Skye supplied any candidates at all, and he added—Undoubtedly, the inhabitants of these Islands are handicapped by their ignorance of English, but there are other causes at work as well.
§ Dr. MACGREGOR
said, that what he desired was not that Gaelic should be taught to the exclusion of English, but as a medium for better acquiring a knowledge of English. Where there was no English, it appeared to him that teaching it through the mother tongue would enable the children to acquire a better knowledge of it.
§ MR. W. WHITELAW
said, there was also the question of an appeal by teachers against the decisions of School Boards in regard to themselves. He suggested the desirability of finding some kind of Court of Appeal to which teachers might go in cases where they were dismissed by a very small majority of the Board. It seemed to him the only course feasible was to allow them to appeal to the Scottish Education Department; but that was only a rough-and-ready way of dealing with the matter. If, as had been hinted the other day, legislation was introduced to deal with this question in England, he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would take care that it was dealt with in Scotland at the same time. With regard to school attendance, the hon. Member for Inverness-shire said he thought the attendance was better in consequence of free education; but from all the Reports to hand, he thought they might safely say that all the Inspectors were unanimous in reporting that free education had practically made no I difference in the attendance at school. Something more was wanted to induce parents to send their children to school. What they required was some system by which, to use a colloquial expression, they could "get at" the children. In one of the Reports for the Northern Division the Inspector gave it as his opinion that what was wanted was that children should be compelled to make a certain number of attendances at school before they were allowed to leave. Dr. Stewart, in his Report, gave an instance of how 796 this might possibly work, stating that a few weeks ago, in one of the large schools, the attendance was larger by 200 than on the day before. Mr. White, another Inspector, gave it as his opinion that if it were enacted that no child should be employed who did not make a certain number of attendances after five years of age, parents would see it to be their interest to keep their children regularly at school after five years of age. He (Mr. Whitelaw) thought that a system of that kind would not only induce parents who were habitually neglectful to send their children to school more regularly, but would also induce the children who wished to go to school to attend. There was a difficulty about buildings in mining districts where the population shifted; and it seemed to him that instead of the Department insisting upon an increased area per child, in every school where some alteration of the building was made, in districts where the population was shifting, some relaxation of the rule might be made by the Department. Something must be done to overcome the difficulty of the scarcity of male pupil teachers, and he hoped the Department would give its attention to the matter.
§ MR. HUNTER (Aberdeen, N.)
said, he would like to say a few words on the question of Training Colleges. He did not propose to move an Amendment on the question, but he must commend the subject to the attention of the Secretary for Scotland. The Training Colleges were most expensive. They cost about £36 a year for each male and female student, a sum which was considerably beyond that which University education cost in Scotland; and not only was the system more costly, but it was unquestionably less efficient. He believed that at the present moment the public opinion of Scotland was if not altogether ripe, at all events almost ripe, for a transfer to the Universities of the training of teachers. So far as the Training Colleges were concerned, it was a mere question of compensation. Arrangements, he thought, could be made by which the transfer could be effected. If the change could be accomplished, there was no doubt that it would greatly raise the position of teachers in Scotland. It would add immensely to their efficiency, and would also strengthen 797 the Universities for the work they had to perform. He recognised that the Secretary for Scotland had scarcely had time to deal with so difficult a question, but he hoped he would seek for opportunities before next year of considering the question.
§ MR. DIAMOND (Monaghan, N.)
said, it was well known by the Members for Scotland that the Board schools there were purely denominational schools. Ministers came in to examine them in the Catechism. That made it impossible for Catholic children to attend those schools; but while it was impossible for the Catholic children to attend those schools, the Catholic ratepayers contributed to their support. He appealed to the Secretary for Scotland and to Scottish Members on both sides as to whether it would not be fair that the Catholic schools should receive some share of the local rate to which the Catholic ratepayers contributed? He also asked whether there could not be something provided in the Code in the shape of temperance teaching as well as teaching in regard to the rights and duties of citizens?
§ * MR. RENSHAW (Renfrew, W.)
said that, notwithstanding the somewhat rosy view which the Secretary for Scotland had taken, substantial grievances still existed in Scotland in regard to educational questions, and one of those grievances was, he thought, the fact that while of the total Imperial expenditure on education as much as £2 3s. per scholar was paid in Ireland, having regard to the average attendance, only £1 16s. per scholar was paid in Scotland. He admitted that there had been a considerable increase in school attendance since the introduction of free education, but he believed that it applied in most part to the lower standards. He would like to receive from the right hon. Gentleman a statement as to the number of children in attendance at the various schools in Scotland under five years of age. He strongly deprecated a very large increase in the number of these children coming to the schools. However beneficial such a system might be in the large towns, it was impossible in rural districts to got these young children to the schools, and they would have a corresponding disadvantage in the rural districts in the 798 amount of fee-grants. He was bound to say that the operation of the 17s. 6d. limit had been rather to encourage School Boards to extravagance than to habits of economy, and he would be glad if the Secretary for Scotland, after inquiry, introduced a measure to do away with the 17s. 6d. limit. In 1873, when 15s. was the fixed limit, the grant per head in average attendance in Scotch schools was only 11s. 10¾d.; in 1876 it was 14s. 3¼d.; in 1879 it was 16s. 11d.; and in 1880 it was 17s. 2d. Last year it was over 20s., and he understood that it was estimated at 21s. for next year. This raised questions of considerable importance. He wished to know whether, supposing through the action of a County Committee a school received £100 out of the money voted by the Local Taxation (Scotland) Act, the money would be treated by the Department as part of the school's income coming from a source other than the Parliamentary grant, and whether the earning capacity of the school would be raised accordingly? With regard to the question of pupil teachers, the difficulty was a pressing one, for it was almost impossible for some of the country School Boards to get them. But the prospect of a teacher was not a bad one. In 1870 the average remuneration earned by male teachers amounted to about £101 16s. 7d., and in 1891 it amounted to £ 133 14s. 6d. He was afraid the cause for young men not coming forward was the difficulty experienced in getting ahead after they had gone so far on their course of study and work. He thought that a remedy might be found in a wider and more open system in connection with the Training Colleges; and if the Authorities interested in the question could not take up the difficulty, he hoped the Secretary for Scotland would have the courage to take it up. The question of Training Colleges in Scotland was brought very prominently before them this year by Dr. Kerr, who, in his Report for 1892, stated that in 1891 there were in the whole of Scotland over 3,000 pupil teachers; about 1,000 came forward each year to the Training Colleges. In July, 1892, 1,003 candidates presented themselves for examination. Of the 915 of both sexes who had been pupil teachers, 84 per cent., and of the 88 who had not been pupil teachers, nearly 48 per cent, passed the examination. 799A place in the first or second class is necessary for admission to a Training College. The number of male candidates who were so placed is 152, and of female candidates 426. On comparing these figures with those of 1891, I find (1) that the number of pupil-teachers who were successful is 4 per cent. smaller, and of those who had not been pupil-teachers 6 per cent, larger than in the previous year; and (2) that the number of successful candidates, 152 males and 426 females, should have been 190 and 495 respectively had the level of last year been reached. I have no reason to think that either the papers were more difficult or the marking more severe. This probably points to the expediency of a general adoption of the plan in which, to the best of my knowledge, the G lasgow Board has set the example—namely, that the pupil-teachers should, in general terms, teach one-half of the day and be taught the other. Room will be found in the Training Colleges for the 152 qualified male students, that being the number of places left vacant by the outgoing students; but for the 426 qualified female students, there are only 274 vacant places, so that 152 will either enter the profession through the side door provided for acting teachers, and without the advantage of a Training College course, or seek other employment. The majority, as a rule, take the former alternative. But to this large number of untrained teachers must be added the 175 who failed to reach a first or second class in the July admission, many of whom remain in the profession, being qualified to act as assistant teachers, though not admissible to a Training College. This untrained element is undesirably large. Its diminution is a question for settlement by the Treasury and private enterprise.Then further on Dr. Kerr said—It is not suggested that these anomalous results occur in the same College or are due to favouritism. The explanation is that the Colleges are entirely separate, and that a student is lucky or unlucky according as she has chosen to enter a College where her competitors are few and ill-prepared, or numerous and well-qualified. But in view of the fact that the Colleges are to the extent of three-quarters of their expenditure supported by Government grants; and that, so far as the Presbyterian Colleges are concerned, denominationalism has so largely disappeared as to be almost left out of account, it is exceedingly desirable that some plan should be adopted by which merit in an examination common to all candidates should receive approximately fair recognition.It seemed to him that statements of that kind made by such an authority as Dr. Kerr would commend themselves to the Committee, and he hoped the views which had been put forward would induce the right hon. Gentleman to place the Training Colleges in a more satisfactory position than they were at present.
§ Dr. CLARK (Caithness)
said, that the Bill that was passed did not give to Scotland the same sum that it gave to England. The English Bill gave 10s. 800 per head, but in Scotland they only got 11 per cent. of the money to be spent in England. The facts proved that they in Scotland were not getting a fair equivalent. Last year the estimated number of children for whom money was taken was 567,000; but actually there had come forward only 549,000, and he did not think there had been a satisfactory explanation as to the discrepancy. At any rate, if they in Scotland had got 10s. per head, as in England, they would have got £9,000 more than they received by the 11 per cent, arrangement. This year, however, the result would be better, he expected, because they were estimating for 2,000 children less; while in England they would have 200,000 of an increase. As a matter of fact, nevertheless, the 11 per cent, calculation would give them, in the money now to be voted, £272,000, or £10,000 less than the total on the basis of 10s. per head. This year they were going to lose in the Vote £10,000. He had always fought against this 11 per cent., because he was never satisfied that that was the fair proportion paid by Scotland, and the fact that during the present year a Return had been issued crediting Ireland with £350,000 more for Excise than she ought to have been credited with strengthened his doubts on the subject.
§ MR. G. A. WHITELAW (Lanark, N.W.)
hoped he should be excused for introducing a matter which was entirely one that dealt with a local question of great interest—namely, the very strong desire of the Maryhill and Springburn School Boards to be amalgamated with the Glasgow School Board. This was an arrangement which, as the right hon. Gentleman knew, would bring great benefits both to Springburn, Maryhill, and Glasgow, and would add but a very small cost to the Glasgow School Board and Glasgow ratepayers. This desire for amalgamation had only sprung up since the area of the City of Glasgow had been extended, and these School Boards claimed that the boundaries of that area should also be the educational boundaries. He spoke more especially for Springburu, and the Springburu Board had put forward certain reasons why they considered this amalgamation should take place. One was that the line which divided Springburu from Glasgow for educational purposes cut off 801 from it the better classes of houses and left the houses which were almost entirely occupied by the working' classes, and a further reason was that that particular boundary line divided a district which was to a very great extent inhabited by migratory working classes, and consequently the continuous removal from one side of the boundary to the other interfered with the continuity of the education of the children. He would only give one other reason why attention should be paid to this matter, and it was a financial one. In the 20th annual Report on the accounts of Scotland he found the rate of assessment in Glasgow-was 7d. in the £1, in Maryhill it was 11d., and in Springburn it was 15¼d. which latter was an enormous amount for any district to be rated with. In 1890–91 the rate of Springburn was only 10¼d., thus showing that it had increased by 5d. This assessment produced in 1891–2 in Glasgow £74,172, in Maryhill £4,000, and in Springburn £950, so that the total for the whole of flu: extended area would be £79,122. If these various School Boards were amalgamated, the produce of an assessment of 1d. in the £1 would be: Glasgow, £10,596; Maryhill, £363; and Springburn, £62. If they deducted 1–11th of £363 and £62, as the amount paid by landward portions of Maryhill and Springburn from the amount produced on 1d. assessment in Maryhill and Springburn, the total produce of such assessment by the amalgamated boards of Glasgow, Maryhill, and Springburn would be £10,983. If these districts of Maryhill and Springburn were amalgamated with Glasgow, a rate of only 7¼d. in the£1 would produce the sum of £79,122. He thought that showed what a great benefit would be conferred on the districts of Maryhill and Springburn by this amalgamation. The rates which were in Springburn (15¼d.) and in Maryhill (11d.) would be reduced to 7¼d., showing a reduction of 8d. in the first case and of 3¾d. in the second, whilst all that would be done against such a benefit would be the imposition of the trifling sum of ¼d. on the present Glasgow rate. He thought that, in view of the circumstances, the people of Glasgow would not object very strongly to paying this farthing considering the great boon they would be conferring on their fellow-citizens, and he expressed the 802 hope that the Government would give careful attention to this matter.
§ SIR C. PEARSON (Edinburgh and St. Andrews Universities)
The discussion has ranged over a large variety of topics, and here I must say I leave the hon. Member for Dundee. I do not think the discussion has been either uninteresting or unpractical, and in saying so I would specially commend, if I may say so, the admirable speech to which we have just, listened. What I shall say will not add very much to the number of topics which were taken up, and the burden of replying to which rests upon the Secretary for Scotland. But I am anxious to say this in reference to a practice which seems to prevail in certain quarters—namely, of holding Members to an opinion unless they get up, when it is expressed in this House, and disavow it. I am unwilling to be bound by any such rule, and, therefore, I feel compelled to say, with reference to the remarks of the hon. Member for North Aberdeen, although I am not going into the question of Training Colleges, that I do not agree with his premises, and I entirely dissent from his conclusions. But although I join in the expression of thanks which I think has been well merited by the right hon. Gentleman for the elucidation he gave to this somewhat dry subject, I must say I must also join in the feeling that if is most regrettable that this Committee should be asked to discuss a Vote of what is rapidly becoming one of the large spending Departments of the country— a Vote amounting to £968,000 without having before us the ordinary Departmental Report, and without anything more before us as material for discussion than the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, which, however able and however clear, cannot possibly take the place of a Departmental Report to which the Committee has been accustomed in previous years in a matter so charged with facts and figures. I think it would have tended very much, in the first place, to have shortened the discussion if we had had this Report before us, because we must all feel that, to a large extent, we have had to ask for information; and hope I shall not, in asking for any additional information, fall under the ban of the hon. Member for Dundee, who seemed to think that our position was rather that of fault-finding. 803 He seemed to congratulate himself and the Committee on the fact that those on this side of the House have had so little to find fault with in the past six or eight months. That is not our position. Our position may be that of critics, but not that of searching for faults, and I trust the right hon. Gentleman will not be able to say we have any fault to find, because we may have called attention to various items in his administration, and have offered such criticism on others as is open to us. I say such criticism as is open to us, because in one of the most important items which is before the Committee we have not those opportunities of criticism which the Committee or the House has with reference to other classes of items. It is a source of regret to me that, whatever Government is in power, such topics as we have had to discuss twice over, upon the Minutes of the Council on Education, must be discussed after the hour of midnight, and it is because we have not adequate opportunity after that time of discussing the most important change which is brought about in the Minute of the Department relative to secondary education that I am glad, Sir, you gave us another opportunity, which I trust we have not abused, of, at all events, mentioning that subject. There are two matters with reference to that particular topic as to which I wish very much the right hon. Gentleman would enlighten the Committee. One of these is, how far he has got in the re-organisation which was promised of local advisory and administrative the Committees? Questions have been raised on previous occasions which would have been dealt with if this Report, which we have not got, had been printed and laid before the House. Questions were raised as to the amount of representation on these Committees as between the School Boards and Local Authorities, and I trust that the right hon. Gentleman will be able to give us satisfactory assurances that that matter has not broken down, but, on the contrary, is being put in a way which will lead to its being settled. The other matter is this—Promises were made in another place by a distinguished Member of the Government, when this topic was under discussion, which I understood had the endorsement of the right hon. Gentleman, in reference to a modification of the scheme embodied in his Minute of the 804 1st May, more in the direction of following previous Minutes which he had abandoned. I think the main respect in which he promised to alter that later Minute was that a certain lump sum was to be paid—I do not know on what principle it was calculated—to the Local Bodies before the main distribution took place. I trust we shall be able to hear —as no doubt we shall see when we get the Report—how that proposal is to be carried out. Now, Sir, there is one other topic already mentioned as to which I feel bound to say a single word, and that is that which was so clearly and well dealt with by my hon. and learned Friend on my right (Mr. Murray). The Report of the Public Accounts Committee is a document, of course, of this nature—that one can only deal with the statements and suggestions made therein when the relative Vote comes up for discussion on the Estimates. And I hope that when the right hon. Gentleman comes to answer the many questions which have been put to him he will not omit to give a categorical answer to the question my hon. and learned Friend put to him on that subject, because it does seem to me rather extraordinary that a Committee on Public Accounts should not only take upon itself—as that Committee did—to interpret in its Report what it presumed to be the intention of the Legislature, but also to say that if the intention of the Legislature were so-and-so, and had not received effect, then there was urgent need for fresh legislation. I think that is altogether beyond the purview of the Public Accounts Committee. But, at all events, whether it is so or not, the legislation which is pointed at is a matter for the Government of the day, and I humbly think it does not properly fall within the purview of that Committee at all. There are two other particular matters which I am anxious to lay before the Committee, each of which, I am afraid, will lead to a question to the right hon. Gentleman. But, before I do so, I desire to say a single word of explanation with reference to the matter of continuation evening schools, and the proposals which have been made recently in England and, I believe, adopted in Scotland, as to teaching the duties of citizens. I do not believe there will be any difference between us on the matter of principle as to the propriety and the advan- 805 tage to be derived from such tuition. I, for one, would, in the highest degree, commend that as a proper subject for instruction, but, at the same time, I think the hon. Member for Dundee completely missed the point that was made on that topic by my hon. and learned Friend. His objection was not to tuition upon a certain class of subjects, but to the suggestions which were made in a certain document touching the corresponding subjects in England, and the mode in which that teaching was to be carried out; and I must say I shall look with interest to the Code which is said to be in preparation or to have been laid on the Table— though none have seen it—with reference to Scotland in the same Department. I hope and believe it will not be open to the objections to which the Code in England seems to be obviously open in certain particulars, and, among others, those mentioned already by more than one speaker. The two matters with which I conclude are rather matters of detail, but it has been found convenient to use this general subject for the purpose of directing attention to such matters of administration. One of them has already been entered upon, and I am not sure I am entitled to call upon the right hon. Gentleman to deal with it in any practical shape; but I do desire to urge it upon his careful consideration, and that is with reference to the question of the dismissal of public school teachers. I have no doubt the right hon. Gentleman has considered that matter with particular reference to a case which arose in the month of December last in the East of Scotland, and which has already, I think, been alluded to by an hon. Gentleman behind me. It was a case, so far as 1 can discover, where there was no unfitness or inefficiency on the part of the teacher who was dismissed by five to two by the School Hoard, and who is without appeal. I am aware, of course, that the Department must act according to Statute. This case gave rise to so much feeling in the neighbourhood that there was an indignation meeting o the ratepayers, and it has also been very severely animadverted upon by the local association of the Educational Institute of Scotland. I must say I think this is a matter well worth the right hon. Gentleman's consideration—although, like a previous speaker, I have no suggestion to offer— 806 and I sure we shall be satisfied if he would assure us the matter has had, and is receiving, his attention. The other matter is of a somewhat humble kind, but one whose importance to the community cannot be over-rated; and that is the question of cookery and classes in domestic economy. I cannot imagine anything which goes nearer the comforts of the future population of these islands than that there should be a good, well-organised system in that direction, and I would commend to the right hon. Gentleman a statement which I believe he has had before him, and as to which, it may be, we shall hear something in the forth coining Departmental Report—as to the propriety of fixing a minimum of instruction to be received by those elementary school teachers, and of students who require to become qualified to teach cookery and domestic economy. I believe that some difficulty is likely to grow up through the want of any recognised or authorised Body for the granting of certificates to such teachers. I observe that in the Reports of two Inspectors, Dr. Kerr and Mr. Ogilvie, they speak favourably of the movement; but, at the same time, I think it will be seen that if this is to be allowed to be set on foot without sufficient organisation, not only should we not get that good which might be obtained from proper tuition in these subjects, but the thing would be very apt to become disorganised. Therefore, I hope the right hon. Gentleman will be able to give us some assurance that, although one is disappointed to see this matter is not dealt with in the Code issued at the beginning of the year, he will keep it in view, and possibly deal with it administratively in some other way.
§ * SIR G. TREVELYAN
I may say, at the outset of my reply, that I feel very much I have been treated with great consideration to-day. I do not think it possible to have had the Reports laid on the Table at an earlier period, because they would have been imperfect; and the state of things has arisen, not by the fault of the Education Department, but from the arrangement of the business of the House of Commons. I regret very much that these Reports were not before the House. The material was before the House in the shape of the Statistical Returns, which I have always thought the most interesting portions of 807 the publications of the Department—and also the extremely excellent and Special Reports upon which the General Report is founded, and no one who has listened to the discussion this afternoon can doubt that the Scottish Members thoroughly understand how to use the material which they have already in their hands. I will show my gratitude in the best way I can—namely, by referring to all the points which have been brought forward to-day in the most succinct and sufficient manner I can command; but I will just answer the questions put to me by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Edinburgh University and by the hon. Member for Inverness-shire with regard to secondary education. They asked me what is the supplementary pecuniary arrangement which would be made next year with regard to the distribution of the grant? There is only one change that will be made, but it is an important change, and one which I have already explained in the House in reply to a question. Of the £57,000 for next year a sum of £200 will be paid over to every county irrespective of population or valuation, as a sort of dividend before the division of the estate, and that will be paid over accompanied by the recommendation and suggestion of the Department that it should be applied to the endowment of the upper class schools; but in case that suggestion is not adopted it will none the less be paid over for the primary reason that this is done in order to place in a somewhat better position those counties which suffer from a lack of population. I will now take the questions put before mo by the hon. and learned Member for Buteshire, He asks what is the cause of the increase in the attendance in the Highlands. I believe there are two principal causes. One is that a very large amount of money has been spent by the State upon Highland education in the manner I previously described, which has enabled the Highlands to get very much better equipment for their schools. And I am bound to say there is another consideration, and that is the exertions of Mr. Robertson, the Chief Inspector, one of the best and most able public officers with whom I have had to deal, and who has shown not only educational but very great administrative power in the advice he gave on 808 other matters connected with the Highlands, and especially on the advice which he gave, first, with regard to the £10,000 voted by the Treasury for footpaths, and then as to the localities to which that money should be applied. The right hon. Gentleman asks what is the recent increase in the percentage of the attendance of these children? And I have been asked, what is the effect of free education upon the attendance? That is a matter in which hon. Members must do what they are perfectly competent to do—collate the information for themselves from the Reports of the Chief Inspectors that have been laid before them. How much the increase in the average attendance has been promoted by free education can only be guessed at, and guessed most effectually by those who have a practical experience and, to a certain degree, by those who have read what is written upon the subject; but that guess cannot be absolutely conclusive. In the last Reports the Department has not expressed itself with any certainty in the matter, because absolute certainty has not yet been arrived at. So far as figures are concerned, the average attendance rose between 1889 and 1890 by 2.22 per cent., and between 1890 and 1891 by 3.90 per cent., whereas in the two previous years it had only risen by 1.55 per cent, and 1.27 per cent, respectively. There can hardly be any doubt those figures were considerably affected by the institution of free education. Between 1891 and 1892 the Department was considerably disappointed to find that the rise in that period was only 1.71 per cent., so it may be said to have fallen back to what it was before free education was set up. With regard to the Training Colleges, I am very glad to say that the connection between the Training Colleges and the Universities is becoming much closer in the shape of attendance on University classes. No less than 169 students in the Training Colleges have gone through the course of Latin, Greek, Mathematics, and Logic in the course of the past year. Students in Training Colleges are still, to an overwhelming degree, pupil teachers. The hon. and learned Gentleman—nay, both the hon. and learned Gentlemen opposite, have had a word to say about the scheme of subjects in the English Code, and especially they have made some rather 809 effective remarks upon the method by which the Department propose to teach men to be good citizens. I am afraid many of us in this House may have a limited idea of the duties of citizenship. The age being raised to 21, the question may be asked whether it is not rather dangerous to set up a system of teaching people of adult age how to be good citizens? For myself, I think the first duty of a good citizen would be to vote Liberal, and, no doubt, hon. Members opposite consider the first duty would be to vote Conservative. ["No, no!"] Well, if hon. Members take that remark seriously, I will not press it, for it is a matter which under no administration will enter into the curriculum of the night schools. The scheme for teaching the duties of citizenship which has been laid down most, admirably by the English Department, altered—I hope judiciously—to suit the needs of Scotland is a scheme I am perfectly ready to employ. It is said that there is something ludicrous in the idea that they should begin the teaching of good citizenship by teaching men their relations to the municipal and parochial officers. But one of the ablest masters of the principles of elementary instruction used lo tell me he always began to teach geography by teaching the conformation of their own parish, and after he had taught them that he proceeded to the country and then to the Kingdom, and so expanded the subject of education. Politics iii the broadest sense—that is to say, the duties of citizens to the State and their fellow-citizens—is very judiciously taught in the scheme laid clown by the English Department; and I am not at all afraid, for my part, that it will degenerate into that partisan teaching to which I referred in a light conversational manner a few minutes ago. The hon. and learned Gentleman asked me a question upon a matter with which he has had great acquaintance, and into which he went at considerable length and considerable detail—that is, the question of the 9d. limit and the relation of the Department to the Committee on Public Accounts. Into that question I am not going to enter, as it is a purely legal question, a question that requires a man to be a lawyer in order to give an opinion upon its merits; but upon the administrative point, I may say we are advised that 810 until the opinion of the Law Officers has been taken on the point raised by the Committee on Public Accounts the decision on the Committee on Public Accounts is binding on the Department, and we could not go outside it and set that opinion at defiance, especially when it would be accompanied by placing the responsibility upon a gentleman (the Secretary of the Scottish Education Department) whoso claim on Members of this House has been recognised, I am glad to see, in every speech that has been made. It must be remembered that, this is not a Scottish question only; that England is in the same plight as we are, and even, I believe, in a more serious condition; and, until this question has been settled for Scotland and for England, I must say that, as a Department, we are bound to hold our hand. The hon. Member for North Ayrshire (Mr. Cochrane) quoted a Debate from Hansard of two years ago, in which the question was raised of making the age in Scotland three years and 15 years, as in England, instead of five years and 14 years for Scotland, and which alteration was demanded by a certain number of Members, including myself. At, that, time we tried to make it three years and 15 years, but were outvoted. There is just this to be said about it—there would fie no gain for Scotland as a nation, no monetary gain, by the change; because, of course, we should only have the same sum of money to spend over the whole extent of Scotland, and our fee grant depends, not on the number of Scotch scholars, but on the number of the English scholars; but I am glad to think, though it is not obligatory, that Scotch children under live are, as a matter of fact, in the most part educated free. But I agree there is nothing in the speech of mine that the hon. Member read out which I am not bound to make good as the Secretary for Scotland in charge of the Education Department. I will look into the matter as soon as possible, and I am very much obliged to the hon. Member for reminding me of it. As to the teaching of Gaelic, I entirely agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Inverness-shire (Dr. Macgregor), and in the counties in Scotland in which he takes especial interest it is a specific subject, and no less than 2,287 pupils obtained the grant 811 for proficiency in this special subject last year, and 1,602 children are at this moment being taught by Gaelic-speaking pupil teachers. Then, Sir, as regards the Inspectors of secondary schools, the hon. Member for Aberdeenshire regretted the change of Examiners for leading certificates. I may say my hon. Friend is mistaken in saying the Examiners are constantly changed. The Examiners for Latin and Mathematics have been the same for some years, and the hon. Baronet opposite seemed to think there was a different standard for different schools. But the fact is, the same papers are sent round all the schools, and I cannot say I should regret that there should be an occasional change of Examiners, in order to bring new blood into the system of final examinations. This is done by such Universities as Cambridge and Oxford in the Mathematical Tripos, and with very successful results. The hon. Member for South Lanarkshire (Mr. Hozier) is mistaken in thinking that it was entirely under his suggestion that the increased grant was got for the pensions to teachers. Already the Department had made application to the Treasury, or, at any rate, had used their influence in that direction; but I fully agree the hon. Member had no public notice of it, and deserves every credit for the zeal he showed in the matter. As regards the Bowling Public Hall, that is a question on which I am bound to say I think the School Board have come to a right decision. It was originally subscribed for as a public hall for the use of the community; and the Trustees, in making it over to the School Board, absolutely divested themselves of their trust, the School Board naturally taking their place. When the School Board had no longer any use for the hall their first idea was that it should he sold, and that was acquiesced in by the Department; but when we found there was a great desire on the part of the people of Bowling to have the use of the hall we withdrew that sanction; we thought the value of the hall to the public, for whose use it was originally built, was much more to the people than the paltry £50 that would have been got for it. The change, in the view of the Department, was acceptable to the great majority of the people at Bowling, and was acceptable to the School Board, who showed considerable energy in carrying out the 812 instructions by which the property was put into the hands of Trustees. My hon. Friend the Member for Dundee (Sir J. Leng) has referred to the interesting question of the training of teachers at the Universities. I can only say that that subject shall receive my careful attention; but I think that whatever is done at Dundee would have to be done for every University alike. The hon. Member for Partick (Mr. Barker Smith) asked about the merit grant. It is now obtained by about 100 schools, and the application for it has been spreading very fast indeed. As regards the question that my hon. Friend the Member for North Monaghan (Mr. Diamond) referred to, I am afraid I cannot enter into that largo subject at this moment; but I fully recognise with him that Roman Catholic children are, as he described it, in a disadvantageous position in Scotland, as compared with Roman Catholic children in England. In answer to my hon. Friend the Member for North-West Lanark (Mr. G. A. Whitelaw), Maryhill and Springburn cannot be taken in, unless the whole space brought within the limits of the Municipality of Glasgow is included, which will involve a diminution of the School Board area of Go van. If Govan agreed the Department would sanction the amalgamation of these Boards. Now I think I have gone through every question that has been raised, and I earnestly hope that hon. Members will allow us to take this Vote.
MR. GRAHAM MURRAY
said, he regretted the determination of the right hon. Gentleman with regard to the 9d. limit, and he did not think the right hon. Gentleman quite appreciated the position. When the Government were in possession of the opinion of the Law Officers of the past that certain payments were legal it seemed to him that in that position of affairs it was not fair to cripple the practical administration—and he hoped the hon. Member for Dundee (Sir J. Leng) would take note of this—it was not fair to hamper the practical administration in order to get a second opinion of Law Officers which might or might not concur with the first.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ Resolution to be reported upon Monday next.
§ Committee to sit again this day.