HC Deb 30 November 1893 vol 19 cc106-7

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether teachers under the Irish Board of Education are restricted to the use in their schools of one series of reading or lesson books, while teachers under the English Board may select their reading or lesson books from several different series; whether the amount of literature required from monitors and monitresses at the examination to qualify them for the position of the lowest class of teacher is the same as that required from an Assistant Inspector, including all the lesson books (exclusive of the primer), in all 1,346 pages, and whether the monitresses have in addition to prepare for this examination 278 pages of the girls' reading book, which is an optional extra in the schools; is the course for the corresponding examination in England very much lighter, and will he grant a Return showing the percentage of marks obtained on this, as compared with the other subjects at the Irish teachers' examination, July, 1892; has his attention been directed to the inconvenience of the existing system by which, when a monitor or monitress fails in examination, the failure is punished by immediate dismissal, no new appointment is made for a year, and the school is, during that period, deprived of the necessary assistance to which it is entitled under the Rules; will he have inquiry made regarding the several grievances that have been suggested with a view to their mitigation or removal; and whether, having regard to the instructions to Her Majesty's Inspectors for the English Code, 1893, with respect to the requisites for school reading books, the existing Irish series can be revised and alternative books provided for selection, in accordance with the English system?


It is open to any manager to submit for consideration of the Board of National Education, in accordance with the terms, of Rule No. 91, any lesson books proposed to be used in his school, and any such books, if free from matter at vari- ance with the principles of the system, and not otherwise unsuitable, may be approved. Several books not included in the Board's published list have been sanctioned as reading books for classes in national schools. The questions for examination of monitors are of a comparatively simple character suitable for young persons of their age, position, and education, and, although taken from the same general course, those proposed for the examination of Inspectors' assistants are relatively different. The English and the Irish courses do not correspond, and cannot be compared. A Return of the percentages asked for regarding all the monitors examined last July would be tedious to prepare, and would involve considerable expenditure in time and money. If the circumstances of the school warrant it, the successor to a dismissed monitor is appointed from the 1st of July next following. There is no Rule and no practice that a year must elapse in all such cases. I see no sufficient grounds for the inquiry suggested, and I am informed that the Irish national school books have been constantly under revision, and, as already pointed out, the choice of managers is not limited to those books.