§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £707,712, be granted to His Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1903, for Public Education in Scotland, and for Science and Art in Scotland, including a Grant in Aid."
§ (2.25.) THE LORD ADVOCATE (MR. A. GRAHAM MURRAY,) Buteshire
In the few remarks which according to custom I shall have to address to the Committee upon this estimate, there is nothing of a very startling nature either to communicate to the Committee or to comment upon. The general position of the education system in Scotland at the present moment is, I am glad to say, one of steady and quiet progress. As the Committee are aware, in the last few years a considerable number of changes have been made. Those changes have had to do with the general curriculum of education, and, more especially, with the methods of testing efficiency in the various State-aided schools which have at this moment reached a point at which frequent changes would not be a matter for congratulation, because the changes to which I have alluded have been received with general satisfaction upon both sides of the House. Their operation has so far been beneficial; and it is now desirable to consolidate the practice which has arisen from those changes. During the past year there have been several occasions upon which the Department has thought it right to issue circulars; but those circulars have merely been issued for guidance where it was needed; and I hope the Committee will approve what has been the universal practice of this Department, namely, to issue these circulars direct to the managers of the schools rather than to trust that their views should permeate to them by mean of instructions issued to the inspectors.
156 Having armed the Committee that I have nothing novel or surprising to tell it, perhaps I may be permitted to say a few words on the outstanding features of this year's report. In the first place, no far as the great pièce de résistance of our educational affairs—the day Code—is concerned, it is practically unaltered since last year. The actual statistics for the year show a steady advance on those of the previous year. For instance, the number of schools is 3,141, as against 3,135, an increase of 6; the accommodation is 921,119 places, as against 903,134, an increase of 17,985; the numbers on the school register were 767,421, as against 756,558, an increase of 10,863; and the average attendance was 636,374, as against 629,038, an increase of 7,336. The census returns for 1901 show an increase of 11.09 per cent. in the population of Scotland during the last ten years, and it is interesting to compare the leading educational figures for that period, keeping that increase of the population in view. The school accommodation has increased by 25 per cent., the numbers on the school register by 13 per cent., and the number in average attendance by 18 per cent. In regard to those figures we must keep in view, not only the increase of the population, but also the prolonged school life of the pupils. The average attendances, as compared with the numbers on the register, were 79.4 per cent. at the beginning of that period of ten years, and 82.9 per cent. at the end; while the percentage of scholars on the school register over 12 years of age was 15.91 at the beginning of that period and is now 20.53. When you take the combined effect of those figures it is not an unjust deduction to draw from them that the efficiency of the schools, both in teaching power and equipment, has made very satisfactory progress. Of course that progress has been accompanied by the necessity of additional expenditure; and consequently there need not be any surprise to find at the beginning of the period that the average cost per scholar in average attendance was £2 3s. 10d., whereas at the present time it is £2 16s. 3¾d. Of that increased expense the greater part has been borne locally, the income from the rates for public schools having increased from 11s. 7¾d. to 19s. 3¾d. per scholar, while the contribution from the Imperial 157 Exchequer in the shape of annual grant has increased from £1 0s.3¾d. to.£1 2s. 8½d. In the estimate for the current year it will be found that the increase under the annual grant for day scholars is rather above the normal rate. This is due to an unusual rise in the average attendance, on which the estimate is based. The rate per head has risen 2½d., from £1 2s. 8½d. to £1 2s. 11d.; but in the previous year the rise was 4½d. The estimated increase in the average attendance has more than doubled as compared with the previous year. The figures for the various years are as follows—
1899–19(10 631,515 1900–1901 629,867. 1901–1902 634,500. 1902–1903 645,404.
§ and inasmuch as this last total is based on the actual average attendance for the year ending the 30th September, 1901, it looks as if the more elastic conditions of the new code have had some effect in improving the attendance. I think it is a fair deduction to be drawn from these figures. I ought also to remind hon. Members of the Act of 1901, which made 14 the age for ordinary attendance to cease, and which also introduced, instead of the old labour certificate, exemption, not by examination but by School Boards, for actual reasons submitted. That Act was introduced by my right hon. friend the Member for South Aberdeen, it was subjected to a considerable amount of pruning, but the altered system it involved became part of the policy of the Government. It is too early to have statistics as to the working of the Act, but I am enabled to say that the Education Department have every reason to believe from what they have seen that the School Boards of Scotland are exercising that judgment which was committed to them in a sensible and temperate way, and that they are granting exemptions with due regard to the particular circumstances in which they are required. On the whole, we have no doubt that the combined effect of the changes will certainly be to increase considerably the ordinary prolongation what I may call school life.
§ I next come to a code which in its present form makes its appearance for the first time—the Continuation Code. 158 It comes as a substitute for the old Continuation School Code, and the various regulations that were made from time to time in respect of science and art classes. The Continuation Code provides a certain amount of secondary education for those whose circumstances compel them immediately after the termination of elementary school life to betake themselves to the serious bread-winning of the world. I would particularly ask the attention of the Committee to the well thought out circular of August, 1901, in regard to this matter, for it expresses much better than I could the views of the Department as to what these continuation classes should be.
§ MR. THOMAS SHAW
There have been a good many circulars issued, and as they may be referred to in the course of the debate it is well to be clear as to which is referred to.
§ MR. A. GRAHAM MURRAY
An hon. Member has no difficulty whatever in obtaining any circular he desires. But the one I am referring to is not a public or Parliamentary Paper.
§ MR. A. GRAHAM MURRAY
The circulars are issued by the Scotch Education Department to all the schools in Scotland. Any hon. Member can get a copy if he desires on applying to Dover House.
§ MR. CALDWELL (Lanarkshire, Mid)
suggested that they might well be included in the annual report in future.
§ MR. A. GRAHAM MURRAY
It is rather embarrassing to discuss this point just now. If the report is to embrace all the circulars issued, it would involve an enormous amount of printing. I have always done my best to give hon. Members access to these documents.
§ MR. A. GRAHAM MURRAY
I pretest against the idea that hon. Members are necessarily to be treated as a sort of baby. They must exercise a certain amount of initiative.
§ MR. A GRAHAM MURRAY
I ask the leave of the Committee to read a few sentences from this circular, as they show the general policy of the Department in issuing the new Continuation Code. They are as follow—The present Code is a further step in the process of re-organising the educational system of the country (in so far as that is controlled by Departmental regutations) which their Lordships entered upon in 1898, when the administration of science and art grants in Scotland was transferred to-the Scotch Education Department. The first important step in that process was taken in the Code of 1899, which dealt with the organisation of schools aided under the Code and utilised I the money hitherto given for specialized, instruction of various kinds in these schools, both under the Code and the Directory, for the more generous support of advanced instruction of a general character beyond the merit certificate stage.By the Minute of the 24th August, 1900, a second important step was taken. In that Minute they dealt with the conditions of Science and Art instruction in schools which, though not eligible for grants under the Code, were in receipt of grants under the Science and Art Directory.In both these cases their aim has been to simplify and consolidate school work by making instruction in science and art, of a kind and amount to be determined by the general aims of the school, an integral part of general education given to all pupils, rather than to encourage the teaching of a maltitude of subjects to special sets of pupils.The Continuation Class Code, on the other hand, pre-supposes that this general education, whether of an elementary or a more advanced character, is ended, that the pupil has definitely left school, that he is either engaged in some employment or is making special preparation for entering upon it, and that what he desires and needs is instruction dictated by his experience of the requirements of life and of his particular occupation. Even when the subject matter is the same, the method of instruction will be considerably different from what it is, or ought to be, in schools which aim at giving a general education, whether of the elementary or secondary type; and, now that provision has been made in the present code far specialised instruction adapted to the most varied requirements, it 160 will be matter for consideration whether further steps may not be taken to relieve the curriculum of the schools proper, whether elementary or secondary, from elements and subjects which are foreign to their proper purpose.It is ideally meant for those who have not time to go on with secondary education as a general curriculum, but who, having already become engaged in the practical work of life, want a certain amount of secondary instruction in supplement of what they have already learnt, and also some specialised instruction. While that is the ideal, there is, unfortunately, another function which the evening classes very conspicuously perform —namely, to supplement the deficiency of education in the primary schools. It is, unhappily, too true that many go through their course of elementary instruction and emerge from it without remembering all that they are supposed to have learned, and, awakening a little later in life to the true advantage of educational requirements, are anxious to have a place where they can learn that which they should hive learned long since. That is not lost sight of, for the circular goes on to say—Whatever the success of these measures, may ultimately be—and it is to be hoped that it will he great— for the present the fact has to be faced that, considerable numbers of pupils who have left school are still lacking in those elements of a general education which would enable them to profit by specialised instruction in almost any form. It is to meet the case of these pupils that the preparatory classes of Division I. are included in the Code, but this division of the Code should be regarded as serving a temporary purpose only, and its elimination should be effected by we I-directed effort to prolong attendance at school, and to diminish the interval that might otherwise exist between the school proper and the continuation class.Accordingly, hon. Members will find that the Continuation Code is not a hard and fast code. The first division deals with the functions of the evening continuation classes, while the difference between Divisions II. and III. is explained by the following words—Both pre-suppose the instruction of the Pupils in a subject, or a well-defined and the homogeneous group of subjects, of practical value to them in view of their occupations; but whereas in certain cases local circumstances may render it possible to arrange a comprehensive and progressive course of study extending over several years, in others such continuity of instruction cannot be looked for, 161 and sections or fragments only of the complete course can be dealt with, these being deter mined by the prevailing wants of pupils and the supply of teachers with suitable qualifications. This latter case is provided for by the regulations under Division II., but it is to be remembered that desultory instruct on of this kind, though not without its value, is but an imperfect substitute for the systematic and prolonged study required for recognition under Division III.;and, wherever possible, courses should be arranged under that division —under which alone the objects of this Code can be fully carried out—in preference to Division II.I hope that these sentiments will commend themselves to hon. Gentlemen opposite. The fourth division in the Code deals with such matters as gymnastics, drill, and music, and there is one sentence under this head which I cannot forbear to read—My Lords dissent entirely from the view that pupils should be coaxed or bribed into attending continuation classes by adventitious attractions,adding that students who attend on account of such attractions would only be likely to retard the progress of the more earnest students. In listening to the debates on the education of the sister country, I remember some very eloquent sentences of the Vice-President to a similar effect.
This is a general summary of what is striven to be effected by the Continuation Code, and I can only ask hon. Members to study it for themselves. As it is a new Code, it is obviously too soon to know what success will attend it. But there are one or two small matters I must allude to. In the first place, representations have been made by Highland counties that the conditions attached to these schools are too onerous. The Department has considered that very carefully, and, though they wish to make matters easy for localities, they cannot go the whole length of giving assistance where there is no local assistance given at all. The ordinary assistance demanded by the Department making a grant is, of course, local; but now, Article 51 of the Code has been modified to meet the case of the Highland counties, and instead of local assistance to the extent of one-fourth being required, the proportion to be insisted on has been reduced to one-eighth. It is also complained by the districts referred to that too much attendance is asked. The Department, 162 however, are of opinion that they will never get any good educational results at all unless they insist on a certain amount of attendance, and on this point, therefore, they are not prepared to give way more than they have done already.
Now I pass on to call attention to another matter of novelty and interest, viz., the special arrangements made under Article 87 of the Code. The Article is in these terms—The Scoteh Education Department may from time to time exempt, any technical college, school of art, or other special institution eligible for grams under this Code from the operations there of, and may substitute therefor, with the consent of the Treasury, a special Minute embodying the conditions of grants to each such college, school, or institution so exempted.The intention of this Article is to exempt from the operation of the Code any technical college, school of art, or other institution which is carrying on technical work of an advanced kind; the amount of the grant to such institutions depending not so much on attendance as on the character of the work they are carrying on. It is of importance that the grants to such institutions should not fluctuate, but should be fixed. Under this Article "my Lords" have, with the consent of the Treasury, fixed grants to four institutions—Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College, Glasgow School of Art, the Heriot-Watt College in Edinburgh, and the Technical Institute in Dundee. There are a few other cases as to which negotiations are going on.
§ Mr. THOMAS SHAW
Is it any part of the arrangements with these four institutions that they shall be specially financed?
§ MR. A. GRAHAM MURRAY
lam not quite sure. As I take it, they come under a special arrangement whereby they are not subjected to the ordinary conditions of the Code, although there are of course special conditions as to supervision. But I will pass from that to another point. The administration of the local taxation fund for secondary and technical education is working smoothly and well, and greater regularity and co-ordination than has been the case in the past has undoubtedly been the result. As the law is so complicated one need 163 never offer an excuse for reminding people of the various sources from which these moneys come. The first item is the amount, which, under the Act of 1890, may, at the option of the Town or County Council, be allotted to technical education. That has been rising very rapidly of late years. In 1898–9 the total residue grant was £58,793; in 1899–1900, £71,192; and 1900–01, £87,600. That was, as will be admitted, a very large increase. When we come to split up the total residue grant, we find that, of the £87,600 in 1901, £25,153 was allocated to the relief of rates, and £62,447 to technical education. Including outstanding balances in hand, the sum was raised for this year to £81,958, and the sum expended on technical education vas£61,700. Out of the £61,700, the amount handed to the Secondary Education Committees was £16,072. Hon. Members will remember that the residue grant need not necessarily be handed to the Secondary Education Committees, but if it is so handed it comes within the operation of the Minute. Therefore, of the total sum, only £16,072 was actually under the Minute.
The next source of supply is the fixed amount of £60,000 under the Act of 1892, which, of course, is distributed by Committees. Then the last source is the amount available under the Act of 1898, known as the Local Taxation Act, which is distributed in the terms of the Minutes of April, 1899, and June, 1901. The amount of that grant is not nearly so much. In 1899–1900 the amount was £37,109; in 1900–1, £37,795; and in 1901–2, £38,087. The allocation of that in each year was as follows: a fixed sum of £2,000 towards higher inspection and leaving certificate examination; £2,000 to agricultural education; grants to higher class secondary and technical schools under paragraph 3 of the Minute, in 1899–1900, £25,450, and in 1900–1, £24,450; and to fund established under paragraph 6 of the Minute, £7,659 and £9,345 in those two respective years. As regards 1901–2, the allocation has not yet been made, but I have the figures which are available. There are the two fixed sums of £2,000 as before, leaving available for the purposes of paragraphs 3 and 6 of the Minute £34,087. That sum is now being dealt with, and it is estimated that the sum of £24,250 will be required for payments in the terms of paragraph 3 of the Minute, 164 leaving available for the establishment of funds under paragraph 6 the difference between £24,250 and £34,087.
So much for the supervision of secondary education under the Minutes. There is an important new departure with regard to the training of teachers which is introduced this year, covered by Article 91 (d) of the Day-school Code. Under that, the Department pays three-fourths of the cost of the classes there mentioned. Article 91 (d) is as follows—Where courses are established by County Councils or other local authorities, either within their own area, or at an approved technical college or other central institution, for the further instruction of teachers, as in Article 83 (d), according to a scheme approved by the Department, and under instructors whose competence for this special work is proved to the sati-faction of the Department, there shall be paid a grant amounting to not more than three-fourths of the actual expenditure upon the classes, after deduction of the income from fees, provided that such expenditure is duly set forth in properly audited accounts, and is approved by the Department.If the Department, having regard to the existing provision for the further instruction of teachers in the district, and other circumstances of the case, deem it expedient so to do, they may recognise any School Board, or other educational authority recognised under the Code, as a 'local authority' for the purposes of this Article.The result of that is to throw a considerable additional sum on the Estimates, because the provision has been very largely taken advantage of. The actual figures of what has happened will be found in the Blue book called "Training of Teachers." On pp. 62–65 of that report will be found the particulars of 68 courses sanctioned during the 17 months ended March 31st, 1901, while during the following 12 months no less than 134 courses were sanctioned. The result has been to increase the Estimates by £2,500.
There are only two other matters of interest to which I need call attention. The first is as regards the leaving certificate examination. The matter of the certificates has been re-arranged—circulars 340 and 358. In future, instead of a leaving certificate being given in each subject, the proper leaving certificate is to be a group certificate. But over and above that, there is to be another certificate, called the intermediate certificate, which is not a group certificate, but a special certificate in a special subject. Then, to make the matter complete, there 165 is also for those who are going into commercial life, a special commercial certificate, which, so to speak, follows the intermediate certificate, but which is not of the absolutely general character of the group certificate. Full particulars of those certificates will be found in the circulars to which I have alluded.
The other matter is that dealt with in the Report of the Committee of Council, p. 36. The various steps are there shown that their Lordships have taken at the Edinburgh Museum of Science and Art to make that institution more popular, and to avail themselves of the additional facilities provided by the transference of the Science and Art grants from South Kensington to Edinburgh. Those steps include the opening of the Museum on Sundays, which has been to a certain extent a controversial topic, but which, I am glad to say, the general feeling of Scotland has entirely borne out. I think we may fairly claim that they have popularised the whole subject, and attempted to make as much use as could be made of the educational value of the Museum.
§ (3.10.) MR. THOMAS SHAW
said there was no greater contrast in Parliamentary life than this discussion with regard to the development of Scotch education, and the proceedings, often acutely controversial and sometimes so thorny, with regard to educational affairs south of the Tweed. It was certainly to Scotchmen a matter of the greatest satisfaction that, whatever else they might have failed to attain, they had at last reached the region of educational progress and educational peace. The Lord Advocate had made an admirable statement, but, notwithstanding its clearness and brevity, the Committee were placed in a position of great disadvantage by not having been furnished with the technical material of the various developments of policy which had been inaugurated. It would add but a very few shillings to the cost if copies of all the circulars issued to the teaching profession were sent to the Scottish representatives in the House of Commons, and, moreover, the complexity of educational finance, developed over a series of years, made it highly expedient that before entering on the Scottish Education Estimates Members should be furnished 166 with a convenient memorandum in the nature of the Budget on the whole situation. Although they had differed on many matters of policy during the last ten years they had striven on both sides of the Committee to develop education in Scotland, and they could not fail to look back with satisfaction upon the history of the last ten years as contrasted with the census statistics given by his right hon. friend. While the population in Scotland had risen by 11 per cent., in those areas the school accommodation had risen by no less than 25 per sent. So far as he could judge of the statistics in the Report of the Committee from year to year in Scotland, there was no part of the country in which there was not complete accommodation for all children of school age. The population increased by only 18 per cent., but the number of scholars on the register increased by 13 per cent., and what was better still, during those ten years the number of children in average attendance had increased by 18 per cent. He agreed that the prolongation of school life in Scotland was immensely to the advantage of the community, but the increase in the population and average attendance was to some extent connected with the fact that there was a large decrease of the rural population, and a corresponding increase in the population had taken place in the urban areas where facilities for school attendance were much greater. He thought that explained the figures which the right hon. Gentleman had given them under that head.
There were one or two things which he wished to say with regard to education in its three branches as re erred to in the Report now under discussion. He urged hon. Members not to give way to the feelings indicated in the Reports of the Education Department that Scotland was a country in which you were able to ticket off elementary education from secondary schools. They should do everything possible to give every facility for boys who had passed the elementary stage receiving secondary education even in the elementary schools. He looked upon higher education in primary schools as of great importance, because by this means boys could be fitted for university 167 life. Under the present cast-iron administration a boy often had to go 100 miles away from home before he could find facilities for higher and secondary education. He had a few remarks to offer upon the finances which appeared in this Report, and upon certain financial proposals which had recently been placed before the country. They ought to establish in all localities where there were primary schools without facilities for higher education convenient centres for secondary and higher education. In those centres they were to have higher secondary schools, but they also wanted a very large development of the evening continuation school system. They required facilities for non-agriculturists and the young sons of artisans in remote villages to pursue their studies in continuation classes furnished in the primary schools of the country.
There was another Department that he was extremely anxious about. He did not accuse the Scotch Education Department of negligence, but he did accuse them of lack of initiation in the development of technical schools throughout Scotland. He interrupted the Lord Advocate to inquire whether there was any special grant given to one or other of the institutions he referred to, including the West of Scotland Technical College. In Scotland he thought they had now reached the stage in both country and town districts when there was to be found a neucleus of highly educated men engaged in educational work, and there was a great desire for technical schools in various parts of Scotland. The objection was that these schools would not be self-supporting, but by the aid of grants it was very likely that they would become self-supporting. He was told that the ratepayers of certain parts of England objected to be rated for this purpose, but that was not so in Scotland, where the ratepayers were quite willing to be rated for technical education. The real obstacle in Scotland was that they required the initial expenditure in buildings, and this expenditure was far beyond the resources of individual localities.
He desired the Scottish Education Department to do two things. In the first place they should show more initiative in encouraging local efforts in the building of technical schools; and in 168 the second place show a little more, courage in facing the Chancellor of the Exchequer. If they did that in Scotland they would put every country in Europe, with the exception of one or two portions of Switzerland, to shame in the matter of technical education. He had heard what had been said about relieving the rates in England, but from their point of view they looked upon that with contempt. In Scotland they used to pay 9d. in the £ on the valuation, but now they were paying 10¾d. There was a balance due from the Chancellor of the Exchequer to Scotland, and they had not got it, and they should go on demanding it year after year until they did get it. The principle of the equivalent grant was said to be dead in regard to educational matters, and if that was so it had been killed by the Government.
In the present year there had been a special development of that doctrine under the new grant of nearly a million of money. There was a sum of £900,000 a year to be given to England out of the Imperial Exchequer, and for what? In order to relieve a situation created by putting rates all over England for educational purposes. Why should Scotland contribute for purposes of that kind into the Exchequer of the country, in order to bring England up to the rate paying level which Scotland reached in 1872? If that sum was granted for English education out of the English Exchequer, by the ordinary financial rule applied to Scotland, they ought to have an equivalent sum. He made no apology whatever for raising this question in the House. He knew that on both sides Scotch Members were absolutely agreed on this topic. In the debate two years ago with regard to the financial relations between Great Britain and Ireland, the Chancellor of the Exchequer reiterated the principle of the equivalent grant which had been laid down in 1889 by Lord Goschen, who stated that that grant was originated to save Ireland and Scotland from the disadvantage under which they would otherwise have lain. The present Chancellor of the Exchequer had said that it had been held by Parliament, and repeatedly acted upon that when a certain proportion of the Imperial revenue was intercepted from the common purposes of the United Kingdom, and handed over to England in relief of local ratepayers, an 169 equivalent grant should he made to Scotland and Ireland in the proportions of 80, 11, and 9 per cent., and that it should be expended for the local purposes of those other parts of the United Kingdom. There was a clear case now for applying the principle. There was to be £900,000 granted to England for the relief of the ratepayers. It was practically a grant from the Imperial funds, to which Scotland contributed in order to enable English ratepayers, forsooth, to avoid paying for their education in the same way as Scotch ratepayers had always been ready to do. Under these circumstances, what was Scotland's share? It was £123,500 in addition to all the other grants which had been mentioned, and, indeed, that did not complete the score, because the entire contribution made from the Imperial Exchequer for English educational purposes now was stated to be £1,730,000, and therefore Scotland was entitled to an equivalent grant of £237,875. Of that they only got £40,000. If Scotland had the equivalent grant of £123,000 to which it was entitled in view of the grant to England of £900.000 now, his scheme for education would be within reach of accomplishment, namely, that there should be no son of Scotland who should not be able to enter upon the battle of life fully equipped with a University education. That was his ideal, and he hoped it would be realised. It had been realised on a splendid scale so far as the Universities were concerned by the munificence of Mr. Andrew Carnegie. There was now an extraordinary situation in Scotland. They had primary education free, and University education free. They had secondary education nibbled at by free passes here and there for selected scholars, and now and then a bursary. His idea was that they should free the entire system, so that in the whole of Scotland every person of proved capacity to receive secondary instruction should not be debarred from receiving it. He should like to see, and he made the suggestion in no controversial spirit, a system by which if a locality furnished a fourth or a fifth of the expenditure on buildings it would be able to borrow the remainder on easy terms. He wanted Scotch Members to show greater courage in the face of the Exchequer. The Chancellor of the Exchequer was a man who required to have a united and firm front presented to him, 170 and, having that, he would yield to what was undoubtedly a national demand, the granting of which would be followed up by very great national progress.
§ (3.37.) MR. RENSHAW (Renfrewshire, W.)
said he agreed with what had been said by the hon. member for the Border Burghs as to the way in which the education grant was made to Scotland. If the English Education Bill became law, and the amount of money proposed were voted, the united voice of Scotland would be raised. The Scotch Members would knock, and he hoped they would not knock in vain, at the door of the Exchequer, demanding that Scotland should have a similar grant. He believed if they had that grant they could go a long way towards solving the problems referred to by the hon. Member for the Border Burghs, and in the solution of which Scotch educationists took the deepest interest. The condition of matters at the present time, with regard to technical and secondary education in Scotland, was unsatisfactory, and the time had come when it ought to be dealt with by legislation. Two years ago, the Secretary for Scotland introduced a Bill in the House of Lords, with the view of dealing with the question of secondary education, but it did not pass. The delay in dealing with the subject was due to the English Bill blocking the way. As a solution of the English question would probably be reached this year, he thought the Scotch Members were entitled to ask that the Government, in the next legislative year, should deal effectively with the question of secondary education for Scotland. Since the County Committees were established in 1892 there had been very great changes in regard to the system of education in Scotland. The Science and Art Department grants had been very properly handed over to the charge of the Scotch Education Department; and a new Code had also come into operation. One great feature of the new Code was the system by which higher grade schools or departments had been established. To that extent a new and rival system had been established which had impinged upon the work of the secondary schools in Scotland. The County Committees, however, who were charged with the administration of secondary education, had been tied by the fact—as the Lord Advocate 171 had pointed out—that the sums to be expended on that education came to them in such a variety of ways that they never were perfectly sure as to what the amount available for secondary education would be. The conditions on which these grants reached them were very different. For instance, there was the residue grant of 1890 which was distributed between the county and burgh authorities, and might be appropriated either for technical instruction or for the reduction of the rates. He was especially glad to think that after the criticism which had been passed on the English system during the late discussions on the English Education Bill, there was perfect unanimity on the part of the counties in Scotland, that that residue grant should be devoted to educational purposes. The larger burghs had devoted it in the same direction, but with the smaller police burghs it was impossible to properly apply this fund for the purposes of technical education. After many years of experience as to the expenditure of this money in one of the counties in Scotland, he did not hesitate to say that one of the great difficulties in the administration of the existing system was the way in which this fund was distributed as between burghs and counties. Then there was the further grant coming under the Act of 1898, but the Scotch Education Department retained that in their own hands, and the local education authorities had no knowledge as to the precise terms on which it was expended. It certainly was not expended precisely in proportion to the work which was accomplished under the general schemes sanctioned by the counties. The position in regard to variety of funds was intolerable in Scotland at the present time. He contended that these different sums of money, reaching in the aggregate to a very considerable amount, should be put into one common fund, and distributed proportionately to each locality which should be responsible for their administration in support of not only technical but secondary education. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Border Burghs spoke of the readiness of the Scotch people to rate themselves for the cause of education; but when the Bill of 1900 was introduced there was one clause which 172 gave rise to very considerable discussion and opposition in Scotland, and that was the rating clause which proposed to give the local education authorities the power to levy a rate up to 1d. in the £1 for secondary education. He did not believe it was necessary that that rate should be levied throughout Scotland for technical and secondary education. There were other funds which could be got, so that it might not be necessary in any future Bill to raise funds out of the rates, however ready the people of Scotland might be to bear that burden.
The Lord Advocate had dealt with the question of the circulars which had been issued from time to time by the Department. He was not quite sure that his hon. friend the Member for Clackmannan was right in saying, in reply to the Lord Advocate, that these circulars had not been communicated to Members, because some of them were quoted verbatim at the end of the Continuation Code. But the point he wished to refer to was this—last year an Act had been passed to regulate the employment and attendance of children at school in Scotland. The clause in that Bill to which he wished to direct the attention of the Lord Advocate was the third, by which it was provided that—It shall be lawful for any School Board, where, after due inquiry in each case, the circumstances seem to justify such exemption, to grant exemption from the obligation to attend school to individual children over 12 years of age, for such time and upon such conditions, if any, as to the amount and manner of further attendance at school until the age of 14, as the School Board shall think fit.Now he recognised the assiduity of the Scotch Education Department, and the able way in which the work of education in Scotland was conducted. But he protested against that Department issuing circulars in which they expressed their views as to the intention of Parliament in passing a certain Act. Was that to override the words of the Act of Parliament itself? The first circular which directed my attention to this subject was that quoted by the Lord Advocate. In the second section, on page 2, of the circular dated August, 1901, it was stated that—The Education Act of the present year confers upon School Boards powers which may he used for this purpose, and exemption from school attendance in the case of children over 12 and under 14 ought not to be granted upon any certificate of attainment, however satisfactory in itself, unless there is evidence to 173 show that the pupil is to enter upon regular employment under suitable conditions, and that such employment is rendered necessary by the circumstances of the parents. In all cases exemption, when granted, should be accompanied by stipulations as to attendance at suitable continuation classes.Now there was not a word about the circumstances of the parents in the Act of Parliament. There might be other circumstances altogether. In might be of vital importance, in some particular localities, that children should be employed in some particular industry under fourteen years of age. Another circular was issued on 8th December 1901, in which this system of gloss on an Act of Parliament was carried still further. In that circular, the Scotch Education Department said that—They believe it to be the intention of the Act not to give a right to a claim for curtailment of school attendance in respect of every child who satisfies certain conditions previously laid down—such as, for example, the obtaining of a Merit Certificate.And then followed the passage to which he took exception—But only in respect of those cases where special circumstances, irrespective of any standard of attainment, appear to justify such curtailment.Now, from his point of view there were numerous objections to the issue of circulars of that kind. The School Boards of Scotland were not unintelligent. They were quite capably guided by clerks qualified to construe Acts of Parliament, and form their own opinion as to the intentions of Parliament; and the Acts of Parliament ought to be allowed to go to the School Boards without any gloss from the Scotch Education Department. He objected to the Department imposing on the Schools Boards obligations not imposed by the Act of Parliament itself. The School Board of Glasgow, in common with other School Boards in Scotland, had been misled by that circular.
There was one other matter in connection with the Education Vote on which he would like to say a passing word. Hon. Members had received a circular from Mr. Quarrier of Kilmalcolm in regard to a decision which had been given by the Court of Session in regard to the action he had raised against the School Board of Kilmalcolm. It was a 174 matter of the deepest regret that this matter had taken the course it had. He believed that by a little more diplomacy Mr. Quarrier might have avoided the difficulty into which he had been led. Speaking with full knowledge he could say that the County Council and the School Board authorities had been more than anxious to strain their powers in order to grant remission of the rates. But as the law stood at present, and as the Order of 1894 made a change in regard to the auditing of the accounts of local authorities, it was possible to make a surcharge on the members of the local authorities who had granted illegal exemptions. He would like to appeal to the right hon. Gentleman the Lord Advocate whether it would not be possible to place the county and the School Board authorities in a position to do in regard to the Quarrier Homes what had been legal in regard to hospitals since the year 1845. He would suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that School Boards should have a similar power to that given under Clause 67 of the Poor Law Act of 1845 to the parochial boards. That Act provided that it should be lawful for parochial boards to contribute annually or otherwise to hospitals such sums of money as might seem reasonable. As far as hospitals were concerned, that Act had not been largely availed of by the parochial authorities; but he thought that a similar provision should be enacted in regard to School Boards; and that they should be empowered, after considering all the circumstances, to subscribe to objects which they believed to be good, if they so wished. He should be very glad if his right hon. friend would consider that matter, as he was perfectly certain that if the School Boards had a freer hand, all existing friction would disappear. If such legislation were passed, it would, of course, be necessary that the local authority should carefully consider how far the benefit conferred by an institution was local, and how far it was general. In many cases, the benefit was not confined to the parish in which the home or school was situated, but was spread all over the country. In the particular case referred to, the benefit was not confined to the County of Renfrew and the parish of Kilmalcolm, and, therefore, the school authorities would have to be careful not 175 to impose too heavy a burden on ratepayers in the locality for benefits which were not confined to the locality itself, but which were spread over a wide area. He felt strongly on the subject, and was very anxious to see an arrangement arrived at. He thought that by a little more kindly consideration on the part of Mr. Quarrier for the authorities established by law, it would be possible to arrive at a modus vivendi. He thought that the offer made to Mr. Quarrier by the Education Department of a substantial grant, which he understood was declined, was an offer which he might very reasonably have availed himself of. He hoped still that a settlement might be arrived at, and that a difficult and painful question might be amicably arranged.
§ (4.5) MR. HALDANE (Haddingtonshire)
said he was inclined to agree with the concluding part of his hon. friend's speech. He thought that Mr. Quarrier showed a great want of discretion in the difficult situation in which he was placed. His hon. friend, in an earlier part of his speech, alluded, however, to another topic with reference to which he did not agree with him, and that was the conduct of the Education Department in sending out a circular interpreting the School Attendance Act of 1901. He did not agree with the view of his hon. friend that the Department had, with the circulars issued to the School Boards, put a gloss on the words or Act. There was a clause in the Act of 1901, which some of them had doubts about, but which was allowed to go through on the understanding that the exemptions it provided for in the case of children under a certain age should be carefully supervised by the Education Department. It was the duty of the Department under the Act to see that the School Boards did their duty in the matter of exemptions, and if it thought that exemptions were given without sufficient reason, then the Department was empowered to withhold its grant.
§ MR. RENSHAW
said that what he complained of was that the language used in the circular differed from the words of the Act.
§ Mr. HALDANE
said that was just where he thought the Department had not erred. The Department called on a 176 School Board for a return of exemptions, and if, after due inquiry, the Department was satisfied that such exemptions were granted in circumstances which did not justify them, and that the attendance was unsatisfactory, it might call on the School Board to recall such exemptions, and take steps to improve the attendance. It was the Department that was the judge, and it possessed very wide powers over the School Boards. Although the section might not have been very clearly drawn, he thought the Department had acted very wisely in putting the construction they had put on the Act, not only in the public interest but for the protection of the children; and he hoped the Department would adhere to it.
The Lord Advocate opened the debate in a speech, which, considering the subject matter, was one of admirable lucidity. The right hon. Gentleman had the power of making the most complicated facts plain, but lucid and plain though his speech was, he could not make it interesting. The spectacle presented by the Committee showed how dull a Scottish Education debate was. No one cared about their proceedings. That was not the fault of the Minister or the topic, because education in Scotland was an interesting topic; it was largely the fault of the system. How could a debate be interesting when the Lord Advocate was constantly referring to circulars and minutes in a manner which might do justice to a Russian bureau of education, but which was quite foreign to the people of this country. He did not believe that much advantage had accrued to Scotland from the admirable, if somewhat excessive, amount of supervision which it received from Dover House and from the distinguished permanent official who presided there under the Minister of the Crown. That official had a great grasp of the subject, and a knowledge of all its details, and he exercised his power with a determination that it should be respected. There were only two institutions in Scotland which were alive. Dover House was very much alive, and it was constantly spreading out its tentacles and laying hold of the entire machinery of education north of the Tweed. Then they had the School Boards, not always very satisfactory, but sometimes very good indeed; and they were alive because they were in contact with the public. He 177 thought one of the most valuable contributions to the debate was the insistence of his hon. friend the Member for West Renfrew that steps should be taken to put the miserable Committees which existed in Scotland on a proper footing. It was impossible that they could do their work satisfactorily between Dover House on one side and the School Boards on the other. Having said that, however, the fact remained that Scotch education was a topic which was deadly dull. He did not share the sanguine view of his hon. friend that education in Scotland was in a satisfactory and hopeful condition. Notwithstanding the activity of Dover House, and the good step which was recently taken of transferring the Science and Art Department, and other evidences of progress, which he gladly acknowledged, he still thought that education in Scotland was not progressing with that rapidity which they ought to see relatively to the rest of the country. The reason, in his opinion, was that Scottish education, instead of being homogeneous, was broken up and ground to pieces through conflict with other authorities. In England the duty of the Education Department was not to manage education but to supervise, assist, and superintend it. Instead of the amount of popular control which obtained in England, they in Scotland were ruled from a distance under a system which was in many respects admirable, but which was a system of government by minutes and codes. Where was the part which the universities of Scotland ought to play in this question? The universities, as a whole, had not made their mission manifest in this matter. He agreed with his hon. friend that the country ought to be divided into four divisions, one to each university, and that each university should be a centre of educational influence. They had, however, first to make education in the universities better, and the great gift of Mr. Carnegie would assist that; but they would not have the Scottish universities playing their proper part until they had more enlightened governing bodies. The reason why the students in Scottish universities showed a tendency to diminish in number was because the methods of the universities were mediaeval; and, until the system was brought more in contact with the industrial life of the country, no real progress would be made in the general system of Scotch education. 178 It should not be imagined that every person entering a university should study law. He hoped they would not be confined to that, or to theology, which was worse, or to medicine, which was rather better. He agreed that a good deal more technical education was required, but expressed the opinion that Scottish education would never be perfect until all systems were co-ordinated one with another.
The greatest curse that had ever been introduced into the consideration of the relations between England, Scotland, and Ireland was the equivalent grant. He had often sat in the House and seen money thrown at Scotland when she did not want it, and which was put into the sink of the relief of of rates, and he had seen the time when they could not get money for a necessary purpose, owing to this equivalent grant, which worked both ways. At the same time he thought they ought to keep a careful account of the money given to England, earmark it, and, when the time came, make their demands. It did seem hard that, when money was given to England, they in Scotland should not be able to develop a case for getting money for a thing which urgently required to be done. What he disliked about the doctrine of the equivalent grant was the way in which it was put forward, which resulted in Scotland getting money which it did not want, and not getting the money which it did.
There were other topics which had come up in the discussion which were worthy of some little attention. He was certain, first of all, that education was suffering very much from the narrow standards and ideals which were set before the teachers. The present teachers of Scotland were the successors of men like the old parish school teachers—men, no doubt, in many ways ignorant, but men of great individuality, because they were allowed to continue their learning on their own lines. The present system of the training of teachers in Scotland was a very bad one. It offered no encouragement to the teachers to throw themselves into contact with the wider and larger educational life of the country. Until the four chief Scotch Universities were induced to buckle to the work of the 179 training of the teachers of the schools, they would never get the teachers in the proper frame of mind in which they should he. It was not the fault of the teachers, it was the fault of the law and the Constitution. Alter the law, and they would get teachers on the broad lines of the old parish school teachers of Scotland. That part of the body politic of Scotch education which required more attention at this time than any other was the training of elementary school teachers. They would never get efficient elementary school teachers until they wore brought into contact with a much better system than they had at the present time. In Wales, under the operation of the Intermediate Education Act of 1889, there had been enormous progress; educational development had so entered into the life of the, people that, when he contrasted the keenness of the Welsh on the subject with the feeling of the Scotch, he was ashamed of the Scotch. Why should it not be possible to establish in each University district a Consultative Committee for higher education in Scotland? He was satisfied that things would never be satisfactory while the Scottish system remained the centralised system it was at present, and until they adopted the plan of making the people themselves responsible, in a far higher degree, in affairs which concerned themselves and the future generations most deeply.
(4.30.) MR. PARKER SMITH (Lanarkshire, Partick)
said he did not want to enter into the merits of the Quarrier question, but, assuming that the authorities were wrong and Mr. Quarrier was right, he had had 1,000 children in his charge, whom he had left for three years without elementary education. No man who was in charge of so many children, with a public building erected for the purpose of their education, had a right to do such a thing as that. It was a strange vagary on the part of a man who had done such good public work, and in his opinion was a serious dereliction of duty. With regard to the question of the grant corresponding to the new grant for England, the matter would be felt as strongly among the Scottish Unionist Members as it was on the other side, if there was any doubt about the corresponding grant to that 180 given to England. The hon. Member for the Border Burghs had got heated upon the subject, but the matter of the grant was so certain that it was unnecessary to generate any heat. He thought that money, when they got it, they ought to use according to their needs for educational purposes. He did not agree that the universities should be made absolutely free to all. It seemed to him only perfectly right that those who could afford to pay should do so. What was really needed in Scotland was, additional resources for the training of teachers and for higher education. He entirely agreed as to the necessity of getting an improved class of men in the teaching profession, and of developing it from a mere mechanical calling into a liberal profession. All the changes that were being made in education made it the more essential that they should move in that direction. Under a system in which payment by results was abolished, the school being judged by impressions, far higher qualifications were needed on the part of the men who were put in charge of the children. He was glad that greater attention was being given to this matter, both by the Department and by the universities. The training colleges themselves were curious institutions. They belonged mainly to the various churches, but in little more than name, except in the case of the Roman Catholics, and out of their total income of about £57,000, £44,000 came from Government grants, and less than £2,000 from subscriptions and donations. The amount supplied by the churches was, therefore, very small, and it was getting less and less. The tendency in Scotland was to open the teaching profession to those who were outside the training colleges, but who had attended the universities, and it was very desirable that that tendency should be developed. The pupil teacher system was a thoroughly bad one, and he would like to see it abolished altogether. It would be better that boys and girls should devote their time to learning while they were young, and go to the profession without having had that early grind, when they themselves were not sufficiently developed to develop others, which was part of the pupil teacher system.
181 He congratulated his right hon. friend in the recent appointment of a Commission to investigate the question of physical training. It was a most important move, and one which would have a great effect in the future, both in Scotland and in England. We were getting more and more to realise that education meant something else than mere book-learning—that it meant getting a sound mind in a sound body. When these children were under our full control in the schools, it was the merest waste of public money to put things into their heads which dropped out immediately they left school, without taking care to give them that training which would remain in their minds, and seeing that they received that physical and moral training which many did not get in their own homes. Nothing helped children to become useful citizens more than to be taught while they were young the elementary principles of health. By teaching children to develop their chest, to look after their teeth, to stand and walk correctly, many of the troubles and deficiences which arose from ill health would be obviated, and strong fathers and sound mothers created for a future generation. Much might be learnt from the industrial schools. The courses there gone through were in many ways more profitable for the children than much of the work under the School Boards. Not that he wished School Boards to go in for "practical" education, as it was called; he did not, believe in children being taught snips and snaps of a trade, but he did believe in implanting within them ideas which would stay in their minds and be a means of development through the rest of their careers. The teaching of cookery, laundry, and domestic work was much more a reality in the industrial than in the board schools, where frequently the children were taught with such an equipment as they would never see in their own homes. He would like to see many more day industrial schools, which, instead of being worked independently, should be under the School Boards and the Department.
In regard to the Continuation Code and the system of calculating the grants, 182 there, was a complexity of calculation which was almost overwhelming, and it would be well to consider the possibility of making the payments depend on some simpler system.
But the most important matter of all was with regard to secondary education and the progress they were making in it. For dealing with the larger questions legislation was required, but much could be done in the meantime to make the flow easier fur those children who had to pass from the lower schools into the higher grade and secondary schools. In most places in Scotland there was some arrangement for passing promising children from the board schools to the higher schools, and he desired to know how that flow was going and whether the results were satisfactory. He believed the solution of the question was to transplant the children as young as possible—not to leave them in the lower school until they had arrived at the top of that school; but to bring them up as soon as it was seen that they were promising children who would be able to profit by higher education, though they were only twelve, eleven or even ten years of age. He advocated that, partly for social reasons, but much more for educational reasons. If the education of a child was to be continued after he was fourteen, the child required to be taught in a different way from a child whose education was to stop at fourteen. Under those circumstances the curriculum would be conceived in an entirely different spirit, and they would be able to bring a child of fifteen out of the curriculum and place him in more appropriate circumstances, where he would be able to get on better. He was aware that this involved a good deal of unselfishness on the part of the teachers in the lower grade schools, who would be expected to part with their most promising children. That was only what could be expected from the teacher, but they had to remember that the schools were intended to benefit the children, and not that the teacher should have the most agreeable kind of pupils. What they required, and what he hoped the new grant would give, was funds enough to make secondary education more satisfactory and more complete. He looked to the rearranging and unifying of all the different sources of income, and also to the precedent and principle of the English Bill being followed in giving very much larger 183 powers to the local authority and to the Committees who took charge of secondary education. They ought to have autonomy, difference of opinion, and difference of method in the different parts of Scotland. He thought the great development made in Scotch education of late years had been mainly due to the wise direction from head-quarters, but he thought it was also most important that, having got the course started, they should encourage interest in the local authorities, which they could only do by giving them large and extensive power over the particular course which education was to take in their district. Where the central authority had done extremely good work it ought not to be left in the hands of that authority altogether.
With regard to the leaving certificate examination, that examination governed secondary education completely in Scotland, and the Secretary for Scotland was moat justly proud of it. He prided himself on the fact that twelve years ago, in 1888, there were only 972 children who obtained leaving certificates. He did not believe in too much of this outside examination of boys as they were going through their school career, and he was doubtful about the advantage of the lower grade certificate in the course of their school career, instead of at the end of it, as was usually the case with the higher certificate. The whole of this leaving examination which controlled secondary education in nearly all the schools in Scotland was governed entirely by the Secretary of the Department. The work had been done admirably and, on the whole, the examination was a wonderfully good one. He thought however, that this was placing too much power in the hands of a centralized individual, because it was really an individual and not the Department at large who had charge of these leaving certificates. They did not even know who the examiners were, for their names were not given, and there was no corporate body to approach. The whole thing was done under the direction of Sir Henry Craik, who signed the report and was the responsible person.
There was another matter to which he should like to refer, and it was that he thought the Universities ought to have a responsible share in the arrangement of the leaving certificate examination. The 184 influence of the Universities was comparatively insignificant in the secondary schools of Scotland, and it was only through the bursaries that they made themselves felt. The leaving certificate was sought after as the one test of excellence in the results of secondary schools, and that work was to a very great extent devoted to the attainment of that standard. He did not know any other parallel of a single examination which was controlled by a single individual. While he agreed that excellent work had been done, he thought this examination should be put upon a broader basis in which the Universities ought to be allowed to take part. He hoped he had not detained the House too long discussing these matters. It seemed to him that these discussions must necessarily be disjointed, when it was remembered that they were all thoroughly satisfied with the general principle, and only wished to raise criticism and start discussion upon minor points. Necessarily such a discussion must have less unity and cover a great deal of ground. He hoped that they might long continue, in regard to Scotch education, to have nothing more vital to raise than such minor points as those to which he had alluded.
(4.52.) MR. J. A. CAMPBELL (Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities)
said he thought there was a danger that in the discussion of particular points they might forget the broad fact of how much had been done in the cause of education in late years. The changes which had been made in the Scottish Code had been referred to. Years ago there was a general complaint of the mechanical character of education under the Code then in operation. The Scottish Education Department had made several changes, all tending to give greater latitude to the teacher, greater responsibility to the School Boards, and greater elasticity to the system. He believed that in this respect Scotland was now the envy of other countries. The Lord Advocate had referred to changes in the treatment of certain institutions in connection with the Science and Art Department—changes which gave a certain amount of self-government and freedom 185 of action, and at the same time the security of annual assistance so long as the institutions maintained their present character for efficiency and good work. He believed that this reform was highly appreciated by all who had given attention to science and art education. He agreed with what had been said by his hon. friend who had just spoken as to the desirableness of the Universities being brought more in connection with some of the work of the Education Department. The remarks of his right hon. friend the Member for Haddingtonshire seemed to cast a certain reflection upon the Universities of Scotland in this respect, but he did not think they were altogether to blame. They had done as much as was possible for them in the way of giving access to their classes to those who were preparing to be teachers, and the statistics showed that this was progressing satisfactorily, and that more teachers were taking advantage of the University classes. The right hon. Member had complained of the Universities being mediaeval in their character. He seemed to have forgotten that they had been reformed in this respect within recent years. Some people, indeed, were of the opinion that in regard to this matter the reforming process had gone too far, but, at any rate, the Universities were no longer exposed to the charge of restricting themselves to the old curriculum, because the classes were now open to a much larger body of students, who were offered a much greater variety of subjects of study. Why the Universities had not done still more was because of their poverty. They had been liberally assisted to extend and improve their buildings, but a University required more than good buildings: it required ample funds for general educational purposes. He believed that better times were coming. Mr. Carnegie's gift had been referred to. It was too often spoken of as if it were only for paying class fees, but as a matter of fact one half of it, at least, was ear-marked, so to speak, for grants for general equipment. Of that there had not yet been sufficient time to have experience, but they trusted that the effect of the assistance from the Carnegie 186 Trust would very soon be felt in developing the whole system of University education. His right hon. friend had also desiderated more enlightened governing bodies for the Universities, but he forgot that in this respect also there had been reform. There was now a considerable popular element in the government of the Universities, and there was nothing to be found fault with in that respect. He joined in the claim for a Secondary Education Bill for Scotland. It was needed in order to unify their system and make it more consistent and simple. There was at present, as had been pointed out, great complexity of finance, which interfered with the satisfactory progress of secondary education. The County Committees had a certain task given to them, but there were other Committees working alongside of them, which made it a little difficult to say where theystood in relation to the other funds. There was evidence that Scotland, in one respect at least, had not gone back since what were called the good old days of the parish schools. Those were good days, but since then the position of the teachers had not deteriorated. He found from the Report that during the last thirty-two years the average emoluments of schoolmasters and schoolmistresses had considerably advanced. The average salary of schoolmasters in 1870 was £101 16s., and was now £146 6s, while the average salary of schoolmistresses had risen in the same time from £55 14s. to £72 6s., so that, on the whole, teachers had not much to complain of in regard to the changes that had taken place since the palmy days of which they heard so much.
§ Mr. TENNANT (Berwickshire)
said that the three distinguished Gentlemen who had spoken on the Government Bench had done their best to galvanise the dry bones of Scotch education into something like life, but he could not congratulate them on the result of their efforts, judging by the present appearance of the House. In sober earnestness was it not quite true that this subject of Scotch education was not only dull, but appallingly dull, and was not that duo in some measure to the methods by which the educational business of the 187 country was conducted? He could not help thinking that the codes and documents and paraphernalia were distasteful, troublesome, and complicated in the extreme. In order to come to some arrangement co-ordinating primary, secondary, and University education, he hoped the Lord Advocate would consider the possibility of holding an inquiry, by Commission or Committee, into the whole general educational system of Scotland, with the view of arriving at some arrangement for co-ordinating primary, secondary, and University education. They were inclined to say in Scotland that their system of education, and especially primary education, was all right and that they did not want to be troubled by outside interference. But were they sure that their house was so admirably in order as they sometimes said it was? He could not help thinking, as his right hon. friend the Member for Haddington had said, that they were really not quite so efficient as they sometimes thought they were. He concurred with what the hon. Member for Partick had said in regard, to physical training, and he hoped the Commission which had been appointed by the Scotch Office would be able to do something to bring about an improvement in that matter. If they wanted to get the people of Glasgow taught how to stand or even how to look, it was not by education they could do that, but by the food of the people. He was sure the habits of the working classes were so altered as to make the children appear in the lamentable condition they were in at the present moment. He asked the Lord Advocate whether anything could be done for the education of what were known as tinkers' children. The education authorities in Scotland were anxious that those children should be trained and educated, but they had no power over them, because their nomadic parents were here today and away tomorrow.
§ (5.12.) MR. URE (Linlithgowshire)
said that the disparaging remarks made by the hon. Member for Renfrewshire and the hon. Member for the Partick Division about Mr. Quarrier and his Homes left the impression on his mind that they had left on one side the spirit of sweet reasonableness, and that they 188 had shown no disposition to solve what had turned out to be a very difficult problem. The dispute between the School Board of Kilmalcolm and Mr. Quarrier was at present subjudice in the Court of Session, and until judgment had been given it would be entirely unbecoming to discuss the question here. There was a question altogether outside the legal point raised. Mr, Quarrier undoubtedly took charge of from 750 to 800 children, mostly waifs and strays gathered from the city of Glasgow and other parts of Scotland; and from the subscriptions he received he provided elementary education for those children in a way which tho local authorities seemed to regard as satisfactory, but which Mr. Quarrier did not himself regard as satisfactory. He was not able to secure from time to time the best certificated teachers, because a situation in the Home did not offer any chance of advancement or promotion to the teachers. Matters were brought to a head when the local authority levied a school rate on the school buildings, and indeed all the other buildings of the Home. When Mr. Quarrier found that he was to pay the education rate, while he was at the same time providing education, for about 800 children, he took a step which seemed to him to be necessary. He closed his school and demanded from the School Board that provision should be made for the elementary education of his children. That was peremptorily refused and rigidly adhered to oven after Mr. Quarrier had offered gratis to the School Board the use of the very handsome school building which he had erected for the children. He would not say whether the School Board was reasonable or unreasonable in refusing that offer, but he could tell the Committee that, without taking into consideration the Use of the building, the children would have earned a grant which would have made the parish better off than it was before. Accordingly this was not a case of extreme hardship which his right hon. friend would have the Committee to believe it was. The School Board would not have been a penny the worse if they had undertaken the education of these children.
§ MR. MAXWELL (Dumfriesshire)
said that the hon. Member for Berwickshire had remarked that this 189 discussion was a very dull one. Perhaps so, but it had been very useful in calling attention to several matters which concerned very closely education in Scotland. He agreed with the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Haddingtonshire that the great want and defect of the Scottish educational system was the lack of co-ordination and unification. That arose mainly from want of a body to which there should be entrusted the charge and administration of all the funds which went to maintain secondary and technical education. They had the County Education Committees which administered the funds for secondary education; but the Scotch Education Department had attempted to persuade the local authorities to entrust them with the funds for technical instruction. In that respect, the Department had failed except in respect of one or two counties. He trusted that the Government would not pay any attention to the suggestion of the hon. Member for Berwickshire that a Committee or Commission should be appointed to inquire into the subject of secondary education in Scotland; because he feared that that would only lead to delay, for they would not see the report of such a Committee or Commission for two or three years. There was no need for delay as all the facts were known. If a strong body was set up in the counties and larger burghs for secondary education, that would tend to solve the problem raised during the debate. Nothing was satisfactory at the present time with the Normal Schools for the training of teachers in Scotland. It was true that they had done good work in the past, but those connected with them were not satisfied with their present position. The universities had been pointed to as the bodies which should be entrusted with the duty of training the teachers. For himself, he thought that everyone who intended to enter the educational profession should have a university training which would give them broad views of life, but they should also have some training as teachers. If strong popular representative bodies were established to manage secondary education in Scotland, it would be possible for them to combine and work together with the universities in the training of the teachers. The right hon. and learned Member for Haddingtonshire seemed to be of opinion that the teachers of the present day in Scotland, as compared 190 with those of the past, lacked in dividuality, and that that arose from the difference of their training. He thought the reason was different. In. the olden times teachers in Scotland held their office for life, and occupied a position in every parish and burgh which the teachers of the present day did not possess. No doubt they now received better emoluments, but that was not the same as giving them an assured position for life. He thought the position of teachers would be improved, and the education in Scotland would be correspondingly improved, if the teachers were appointed to their post with some security of tenure.
§ (5.26.) MR. WEIR (Ross and Cromarty)
said that all the Scotch Members were agreed that Scotland did not get a fair share of the equivalent grant. He was certain that if they would only combine together and approach the Chancellor of the Exchequer, they would get a fairer share of the equivalent grant for educational purposes. All Highlanders were thankful for the smallest concession. In the matter of the continuation schools he was glad to learn that in future the managers would only have to contribute one-eighth, instead of one-fourth as formerly. He could assure the right hon. Gentleman that many of the schools in the poor districts of the islands were quite unable to contribute even one-eighth. He would refer the right hon. Gentleman to the report of Mr. Walker, one of the chief inspectors of the Northern Division of Scotland, who said with regard to Lewis that the secondary school was still in abeyance, and was not likely to be tackled until external aid of a very substantial kind was assured. It was quite impossible for the Island of Lewis to give any assistance towards such a school as the condition of the island undoubtedly called for; such a school was absolutely necessary; and he hoped it would not be long deferred. He (Mr. Weir) echoed that hope. He thought there should be a distinction made by the Secretary for Scotland when considering the requirements of the Highlands as compared with the Lowlands of Scotland. The poorer districts of the Highlands should have the full amount allowed. This inspector himself, in his report, said it was impossible for 191 the people to meet the expenditure, and the result would inevitably be that they would have no technical education. He thought the Secretary of Scotland should intervene in this matter. Why had the noble Lord overlooked the island of Lewis? He trusted the right hon. Gentleman would bring the question under the notice of the Secretary for Scotland, and impress upon him the desirability of further assisting these congested districts. There was really no chance for these children unless technical education was provided by the Government. The people could not do it. There was an old saying, "Ye canna tak' the breeks aff a Hielan' man," and they could not get 6d. out of those people who had not got it. He appealed to the Lord Advocate to bring this under the notice of the Secretary for Scotland, and see if a point could not be stretched in favour of the schools in the congested areas.
Last year he had called attention to the insanitary condition of the schools in many of the outer islands. Here again, if the right hon. Gentleman looked at the inspector's report, he would find that in many cases the sanitary offices of the schools were built too near the school, or too near the teacher's house. They were often insufficiently cleansed, and in many cases there was an insufficient water supply. He had suggested that a report might be made by the inspector with regard to the insanitary condition of the schools. It was, no doubt, the duty of the sanitary inspector to do this, but there was no reason why the inspector of schools should not send in a report to the Education Department, who could then bring the matter before the sanitary authorities. It was no easy matter to visit these places in the Highlands of Scotland; it had taken him on some occasions as much as a week's continuous travelling to visit some parts of his constituency. He believed that matters were slowly improving, but very slowly. The same inspector said some schools, even the palatial town schools, were not properly heated, some rooms being uncomfortably hot, whilst the temperature in others was many degrees below what it should be. It was perfectly obvious that good education could not be acquired by children who were sitting cold 192 and shivering in a temperature not very far above freezing. Ventilation' too, was often defective, which was a matter of great importance to children in these schools. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would bring these matters under the notice of the Education Department, and that the Department would move in the matter. If the Lords Commissioners, or the Secretary of the Education Department, would only go and see the schools in those islands, they would come back, if they had any heart at all, with the strong determination to put these matters right. He thought the Scotch Office might spend a few shillings (it could not be more) in posting to Scottish Members the circulars issued by the Department. The learned Advocate had said that he could not treat them like babies and feed them with a spoon. He was not surprised that the hon. Member for Clackmannanshire rose in his wrath and objected to be compared to a baby. Another question of some importance was the lack of sufficient cloak-room accommodation in these schools, in many of them there being no pegs on which the children could hang their coats and hats, which were often soaked through with the rain. We wanted soldiers and sailors, and no better men could be got than those who were obtainable from the Highlands; and that being so, it was the duty of the Government to take care of the children, and bring them up so that they would be healthy and strong. With regard to the inefficient water supply, he might point out that in many cases the children themselves had to go down to the burn and get the water. Often when a spate came down, the burn was very strong, and was, therefore, very dangerous; it was not fair to the children that they should have to fetch water from the burn. It was a very easy thing to bring down a pipe from the higher land to give a proper supply of water to the school. He believed he would be out of order if he referred to the Bill which Lord Balfour had introduced two years ago, and therefore he did not propose to allude to it. But that Bill had been dropped, and he wanted to know why it had been dropped. It was a Bill which he would gladly have supported, because it proposed, with money obtained from the Congested Districts Board, to give technical education to the congested districts. Why was not that Bill proceeded with? The noble 193 Lord knew perfectly well how it would affect the condition of boys and girls in the Highlands who could not afford to pay for technical education, and who should not be allowed to go out into the world as mere hewers of wood and drawers of water. There were some other matters to which he would like to draw attention. Item A, for instance, in the Estimates showed an annual grant of £100. What was that for? Then on p. 401 in the Estimates there was a sum of £1,750 for extra allowance to inspectors and their assistants for inspection of the evening schools for last year which amount had disappeared from the Estimates for this year. He would like some explanation with regard to that, because if ever money was wanted it was wanted for these inspectors, who had been worked so hard and so continuously that they had been unable to have a holiday for some years. Another item for the coming year for special assistance in examinations was £1,680, last year it was £2,105;—that was a reduction of £525. Seeing that there was an increase of school accommodation, he was at a loss to understand why this amount had been knocked off. The inspection of schools was of the highest importance to the Highlands of Scotland, because the people had practically no vote for the School Board. Of the 3,000 Parliamentary electors in a certain district in his constituency, he did not suppose 200 had a vote for the School Board; it was the deer forest owners, the landlords, factors, and others who had the control of the schools, and it was to their interest to keep the expenditure down. He hoped he should have such an explanation as would render it unnecessary for him to go to a division, but at the same time, to put himself in order, he thought he had better move that item C, the sum for inspection, be reduced by £50.
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Item C (Salaries) be reduced by £50."—(Mr. Weir.)
§ MR. A. GRAHAM MURRAY
said the item of £100 that was referred to was, as the hon. Member would find under subhead P., to meet any little 194 expense which had not been foreseen. The item of £1,750 which had been referred to appeared in the Estimates originally in 1875 as £150; it had grown up to its present amount. It was voted to cover payments to inspectors and their assistants at the rate of a guinea for each night on which examinations were held by them. There was now a different system, and inspectors and sub-inspectors were paid higher salaries instead of receiving these allowances.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ (6.0.) MR. BLACK (Banffshire)
referring to the Lord Advocate's expressions of satisfaction with the Scotch system, expressed surprise that a similar scheme of undenominational education was not good enough, in the opinion of the Government, for England. It could not be that the circumstances were not the same, because in Scotland at one time they had a denominational system of education, out of which the present admirable representative system sprang. He desired to endorse the views of the hon. Members for the Border Burghs and West Renfrew with regard to the equivalent grant. Why should Scotland be taxed for English education without getting a full equivalent grant? He had never been able to understand why the comparatively poor country of Scotland should be taxed for the richer country of England in this matter, and he hoped that before the debate concluded the Government would give a promise that in the next re distribution of educational money full justice should be done to Scotland. As to technical education, all were agreed as to the necessity of it being developed and pressed forward. But it was necessary to create an appetite for technical education, and he hoped that in the next revision of the Code something would be done in that direction. It was a remarkable fact that, for a bursary offered in the County of Midlothian to enable a young man or woman to give up their ordinary occupation and go in for technical education for a year or two, out of a population of 600,000 there were only two or three competitors. It was not enough to provide facilities; the people must be educated into the idea of taking advantage of them.
195 Another matter of importance was that of the education of tinker children of the vagrant population. Hundreds of these children were as badly educated as children in the centre of Africa, and it would be a most desirable thing if the Government could see its way to do something for their education, because at present a large proportion of them went to swell the criminal class.
As to secondary education, a very anomalous position existed with regard to the distribution of the £24,000 available under the Act of 1898. By the Minute of April, 1899, that money was distributed to higher class secondary schools, which existed only in the larger centres of population. Whether the term "higher class" referred to the social status of the pupils, or to the character of the education given he did not know, but, as a matter of fact, the money was distributed among a comparatively small number of schools, most of which did not appear to be very necessitous. Upon what principle was the money divided? It was divided arbitrarily amongst schools which did not participate in the ordinary grant under the Scottish Code, so that the higher departments of the primary schools, which were doing excellent work, were entirely excluded. There were large tracts of the country where the elder scholars had not access to these higher class secondary schools, and the whole matter required re-consideration.
§ Mr. COCHRANE (Ayrshire, N.)
attributed a certain dulness in the debate, partly to the shadow overhanging the nation—a shadow the influence of which made itself particularly felt that day— and partly to the absence of any Party feelings in matters concerning Scotch education. They had reason to congratulate themselves on the absence of sectarian animus in the discussion of Scotch Education Estimates. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Haddingtonshire, after expressing his appreciation of all the advantages of the Scottish system, and admitting that the increasing number of scholars were better and more adequately educated, went on to suggest that the whole system should be pulled to pieces, and that Scotland should be broken up into 196 a number of departments, each under a University. It would take too long to discuss that proposal, but he did not think it would find ready acceptance in Scotland, where it was not always admitted that the Universities would best interpret the parochial system of education which had grown up. The hon. Member for Partick had followed much the same line, suggesting that if not the teaching, at any rate, the examination, should be under the professors of the Universities. The professors, however, were very largely employed in the examinations under the present system, but it was exceedingly desirable, if not absolutely necessary, that they should be supervised by a Department with a machinery at its back such as that of the Education Department. Professors were not inflallible. Some had been found to be weak even in simple arithmetic. When the total of marks given to scholars, as added up by the professors, came to be revised by a competent authority, the results had been found to vary by as much as 25 per cent. It was very necessary that these professors should be subject to the authority for education. No efforts were being spared, and nothing was being left undone to adequately grasp this most important subject for the whole of Scotland.
There was only one other point he wished to allude to, and it was in regard to the unfortunate controversy which had raged in Renfrewshire for two or three years, and which was of a most unfortunate description. Roughly, the facts were that Mr. Quarrier, who had done so much for the orphan children of Scotland, and for private education at the cost of the Home for some thousands of children for many years, and who had done other excellent work in that direction, was still called upon to pay the education rate. The local authorities were not satisfied with the good work which Mr. Quarrier was doing, and they had rated his establishment for educational purposes, although Mr. Quarrier himself provided the education required for the children in his own school. That seemed to be a most unfortunate thing both for the district and for the school. While Mr. Quarrier was finding the education necessary for those under his charge, it seemed very unfair to charge 197 him for the education of the children of the neighbourhood from which he derived no advantage. Surely Mr. Quarrier was entitled to have his children educated out of the rates, but that had been denied him, and the authority would neither permit his children to be educated in the parish or relieve him of the rates, with the result that these children had been deprived of the advantages of education. It seemed to him too pitiable and childish a case to deserve the attention of the Committee. He urged the Lord Advocate to try and bring some of that commonsense which they believed him to possess to bear upon this question. Mr. Quarrier desired his children to be educated, but some petty differences appeared to have arisen between the local authorities and Mr. Quarrier. He appealed to the right hon. Gentleman to give the weight of his experience in order to see if some satisfactory arrangement could not be made to relieve this deadlock, and allow those children to have that education to which they were entitled.
§ (6.20.) MR. CALDWELL
said said that with regard to elementary education the figures given were the statistics of the appendix. As to whether education had been progressive in regard to standards, and matters of that kind, he could not say one single word, because there had been a complete change with regard to the system of examination in Scotland. In the course of time experience would show that the change which kept Scotland in the dark with regard to whether education was making progress or not was very unsatisfactory. The principle of the Act of 1872 was to secure that every child in Scotland should receive an efficient education, and the State was to pay grants for the examination of every individual child. Where a child did not make the satisfactory progress of one standard per year no payment was made by the State until the child passed. That was a security to the State that there should be no waste and that every child should be looked after individually. The parent of the child knew that his boy or girl would be presented at the end of every year for examination, and the progress made would be put down and reported by the inspector.
198 Everybody knew why this system was changed. The teachers did not wish it, because they felt that if they had to present every individual child they had to work hard in order to see that each child passed. The School Board authorities were influenced by the teachers who thought this was an amount of supervision they wished to get rid of, and these parties alone agitated for the change. It was important that the individual examination of each child should be made known from year to year, so that the parent could call the school authorities to account for any neglect. Under the old system they could see how many children were in the various standards, and it was always a matter of pride and boast when they found the numbers in the higher standards increasing more than in the lower standards for in that way they could tell the progress that was being made. What could they do now? The Lord Advocate could not tell them how many children were in the fifth, sixth, or ex-sixth standards, because they had practically abolished all those standards, and they were now giving simply the general result. There was no test now at the end of the year, and no materials were furnished to give them the information which they desired. When this change took place he followed it up for a year or two, for it applied at first to those under Standard III. He found that when they abolished the individual examination the effect was that the children were kept longer at school, but fewer of them reached the higher standards in the same given time. The average per cent. was not much in two or three years, but its operation in a period of ten years would have assumed very serious proportions. Just when he was testing the effect of this change the whole thing was swept away, the statistics were cut out altogether, and all they could see now was that there had been an increase in school attendance and in the average attendance during the past year. As regarded anything else they could not possibly tell. If this system went on for any length of time they were kept in the dark, they would not know how education was progressing, or whether the principle adopted was a sound one. He 199 thought they should take care that there should not be a "submerged tenth" in regard to education in Scotland, because it had been said that the strength of a nation depended upon its weakest points.
The Lord Advocate went back ten years, and compared the census returns of 1901 with 1891. He (Mr. Caldwell) did not think that comparison was a fair one, because the right hon. Gentleman must recollect that there had been considerable changes as regarded the legislation which had operated in favour of an increased average attendance. The compulsory age had been raised to fourteen instead of thirteen, and that alone would have a wonderful effect in increasing the attendance at the schools, and, therefore, this result was not due, as the Lord Advocate put it, to the improved education at the schools. Then, again, there was the labour certificate, whereby children could no longer get a certificate of exemption from school attendance by passing Standard V. at a certain age. The average attendance was increasing year by year; but that was not evidence of increased intellectual activity for this reason, the school took longer to turn out its scholars from the higher standards. That school would necessarily have a larger attendance than a school which was able to turn out its children quickly from the upper standards. So far as mere numbers were concerned, there was fairly satisfactory progress, but it was not anything to boast of. Last year the increase on the school register was 1.44 and the increase in average attendance 1.17. That was nothing more than the normal increase for a great many years. The number of scholars last year increased by 10,236, and the teachers increased by 720. The training colleges had not sufficient accommodation to admit all who had obtained the qualification which the Code prescribed as entitling them to admission as King's scholars. This was a matter he had referred to before, but it was necessary to emphasise it every time the Estimates came up, in order to see whether a reform could not be brought about some day or other. These colleges were denominational. The expenses of keeping them up 200 was almost entirely borne by the State and properly so, and practically the only things the denominations provided were the buildings. Obviously there ought to be increased provision for the training of teachers. Lately attempts had been made here and there to increase the accommodation but these in no way met the demand. The churches could not be expected to increase the buildings out of their own resources. There would never be a proper system of education in Scotland until there was a sufficiency of State training colleges. He did not agree with the suggestion that the money for secondary and technical education should be gathered into a single fund and that a uniform scheme should be adopted. In Scotland the old parish school was the type that ought to be aimed at in the community. There should be in the community a school able in itself to prepare children to enter a secondary school or a university. The great feature of the old parochial system in Scotland was that the schools even in the remote Highland districts were practically secondary schools. He maintained that under the equivalent grant Scotland did not get the proportion of money to which it was entitled. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had promised to pay £26,000, but not a single copper of it had been paid in order to make up the grant of 12s. In Scotland they suffered from the allocation of the equivalent grant. In England it was based on the number of scholars, 5s. being given to each in the voluntary schools. In Scotland they had comparatively few children in the voluntary schools, and the result was that they got a great deal less proportionately than England got. What he argued for was that the Scottish Office should take care that in the new allocation of this fund they should claim for the Treasury not on the principle of the equivalent grant, but on the principle of similarity of treatment between England and Scotland. If the English ratepayers were to get 7s. 6d. per child out of the Imperial fund, the Scottish ratepayers were surely entitled to the same amount.
§ (6.48.) MR. A. GRAHAM MURRAY
said that this had been a very discursive debate, and he would try to deal very briefly with the points which had been actually put to him. The hon. Member 201 for Ross and Cromarty had called attention to various reports which had been made in regard to the sanitary condition of some of the schools in the Highlands. Of course the hon. Member would see that that was a practical question which should be dealt with by the managers of the schools, and all that the Department could do was to write to them and ask them to do their best in the matter. That had been done. He could assure the hon. Member that the school inspectors did not bind themselves down to hard and fast lines. A gravitation supply of water had been laid down for the school at Poolewe. The hon. Member for Mid Lanarkshire had begun by complaining that we were unable to give any kind of progress to education at all, and he had justified his action in resisting the new method of examination. That was a controversy which however could not be re-opened. But he entirely joined issue with the hon. Member when he said that they knew nothing about educational progress except simply by looking at the average attendance. He thought they knew a good deal more. They knew whether, according to the views of the inspectors of the Department, the schools were being properly worked so as to earn grants at all, and they knew a little more through the merit certificates. The number of merit certificates gained during the year ending September, 1901, was 23,239, as compared with 20,977 in the previous year. In the judgment of everybody in the House, except the hon. member for Mid Lanarkshire, the advantages of the new system far outweighed the disadvantages of the old. It was not necessary to say anything on the question of the supply of teachers after what he had said last year. All he could say was he had much more sympathy with the views expressed on the subject by the hon. Member for North East Lanarkshire last year, than those of the hon. Member opposite, whose idea of the solution of that problem seemed to be a large State training institution. With regard to Mr. Quarrier, no criticism had been made on the Department and it was not for him to take sides, either with Mr. Quarrier or the School Board. He could say, however, as there had been an application made to him to do his best to end this unhappy state of affairs, that they had done their best on more than one occasion to do so. Mr. Quarrier had 202 now had recourse to law to compel the School Board to do as he wished, but he had not as yet been successful With regard to the yearly "Education Budget," which the hon. Member for the Border Burghs thought should be in the possession of the Committee before this Estimate was discussed, he thought if the hon. Member looked at the end of his Blue Paper he would find the Continuation Code schedule, which was practically what he asked for. With regard to this Budget, he pointed out that the Estimates were really the Budget for Scotch Education.
§ Mr. THOMAS SHAW
said he wanted a detailed report containing all the financial operations. That was not issued till the end of the year. They should have that before this debate came on in the same way as they got the detailed statement with regard to the Navy.
§ MR. A. GRAHAM MURRAY
said it was obviously unnecessary to have such a document, because in Scotch education they had no building programme like the Navy Department. The Estimate was really their Budget. He was very much interested in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Lothian. The right hon. and learned Gentleman complained of the dullness of the debate, but he thought the reason why a debate on English education was so lively in comparison was because it was always better form to see fighting than peace. What that speech really came to was this. It meant the abolition of the central department in its present position of control, and the creation in Scotland of divisions, each division being co-ordinated and corresponding with the four Scottish Universities. That was a perfectly different system from the ideal of the hon. Member for the Hawick Burghs. The right hon. Member for East Lothian complained that the Scottish Universities, though they had done much in the past, had never got a grip of practical life, and he wanted to get them in touch with practical work, by which he meant the great work of technical education. One could not help thinking that the right hon. Member had Germany probably a great deal more in his mind than England, for, whatever might be said 203 of the Scottish Universities, one might say that the English Universities had just as little grip of practical work as the Scottish Universities.
§ Mr. HALDANE
I had in my mind the Victoria University and the Birmingham University, which are doing magnificent work.
§ MR. A. GRAHAM MURRAY
said it was impossible for him to reply to the right hon. Gentleman's arguments or to give his own opinion on the matter, but it was quite obvious that what was happening in the Bill now before the House in connection with England did open up a very practical question in the immediate future for Scotland and for Ireland too. Reference had been made to the equivalent grant. If he at all understood what had been said in the past by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that right hon. Gentleman had always gone against the principle of an equivalent grant. He (the Lord Advocate) would much prefer to state in the words which were used by the hon. Member for Renfrewshire—"A reconsideration of the grants made to Scotland for the purpose of education," or, as the hon. Member for Mid Lanarkshire put it, "a question of similar treatment." Now that they had got this concession to the needs of English education they were obviously in a position to say that they should have the needs of Scottish education considered in the same spirit— with a due regard to such demands as were made on the common public purse for the local needs of England. Although he could not say anything authoritative in the matter he quite understood his right hon. friend the Leader of the House to say quite positively the other day that the result of making the concession in the case of England would be that Scotland and Ireland would have justice done to them in the same way. He agreed with what had been said by more than one speaker, that the time had obviously come for the necessity of legislation in connection with the ordination and co-ordination of their pecuniary resources as regarded secondary education in Scotland. That was no new view to take, inasmuch as his noble friend the Secretary for Scotland actually did introduce a Bill two years ago, and of course that 204 Bill would have to be reconsidered in the light of the new situation. There were obvious differences of opinion on the subject, and he did not think the views of the hon. Member for Mid Lanarkshire would at all commend themselves to his right hon. friend the Member for East Lothian. But he did think the time had come for a Bill. The time had also come for a reconsideration of the pecuniary assistance to Scotland generally, and that might raise the some what larger question of whether, with this pecuniary assistance, it might not be time to reconsider the whole question of the educational system of Scotland—not merely the question of secondary education, but also the arrangements under which primary education was managed, because they took a natural pride in their Scottish system, without being what was called the "Pharisees of education." It was quite clear that the pecuniary views had opened up a new vista as regarded the present position, and it was also quite clear that secondary education brought with it the necessity for a reconsideration of the subject altogether. He could only say that these matters would occupy the most serious attention of his noble friend who was at the head of the Scottish Education Department.
§ MR. WEIR
expressed his dissatisfaction with the reply of the Lord Advocate to the questions he had raised. When the right hon. Gentleman commenced he had hoped to get some satisfaction, but the right hon. Gentleman had treated his complaints in the most light and airy manner as matters of no consequence, and, therefore, he felt compelled to move the reduction of the vote by £150.
Replying to a question by Mr. TENNANT, which did not reach the gallery,
§ MR. A. GRAHAM MURRAY
stated that he had not got any statistics yet concerning the large number of children who had been given the labour certificate in Dundee on the ground that their parents were poor. What the hon. Member had said was very probably owing to the extreme poverty that there had been in Dundee.
§ MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)
said that the important hint which had fallen from the Lord Advocate in the latter part of his reply was one that required a few remarks. The new contribution to Scottish education should be made the occasion for simplifying and rearranging the secondary and technical education grants, which were in a state of great confusion at the present time. It was earnestly to be hoped that in any plan which the Government might propose for amending and reforming or extending and developing Scottish education, they would not endeavour to assimilate the principles which had been adopted for England. There was no part of Great Britain where the English Education Bill raised stronger opposition than it did among the Presbyterians of Scotland. In Scotland they had one authority for all kinds of education. They had one specially elected authority which was not confined to any particular form of education, but which dealt with education as a whole. He hoped that in any project of the Government they would adhere to that principle.
§ MR. SHAW-STEWART (Renfrewshire, E.)
rose a few minutes before half-past seven to refer to the Quarrier case.
§ MR. SHAW-STEWART
said there had been no want of good feeling to endeavour to bring about a settlement in the Quarrier case on the part of the School Board of the parish. The hon. Member for Linlithgow had stated that Mr. Quarrier had offered his school to the School Board, but the Board was precluded from taking over the school by the law—
It being half-past Seven of the o'clock, the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.
Committee report Progress; to sit again this evening.