§ MR. CHIOZZA MONEY (Paddington, N.)
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if his attention has been directed to the fact that neither the preliminary nor the final examination for the office of factory inspector includes, as obligatory subjects, hygiene, chemistry, machine construction and drawing, applied mechanics, steam, and electricity; and whether, in the interest of efficient factory inspection, he can give any promise that the present form of the examinations referred to shall be revised.
§ MR. GLADSTONE
The present scheme of examination for factory inspectorships is the result of a recent revision, the object of which was to bring it more into accord with the ascertained needs of the Factory Department. Those needs are so diverse in their character that technical and scientific training, valuable as it is, is not, taken alone, found to be sufficient to make a good inspector. Thoroughly good general abilities are always required, and the object of the present scheme of examination has been to obtain such men, by drawing upon as wide a field as possible of candidates with the best modern education which the country affords. The hon. Member will not have failed to notice that candidates of technical and scientific attainments are provided with an entry to the inspectorate by the inclusion of chemistry, physics and practical mechanism among the optional subjects of examination, while sanitary science is made an obligatory subject in the deferred examination; the reason being that this subject is found to be most thoroughly acquired in the course of the actual work of inspection. The highly technical questions connected with the use of electricity in factories are now dealt with by an electrical inspector specially appointed for that purpose. I do not therefore think that any further alteration in this examination is required, but should experience of its results show that modifications are necessary, I shall be prepared to make them.
§ MR. CHIOZZA MONEY
Is it not a fact that, according to definition, factories are places where power is used, and should not, therefore, a candidate for examination have the requisite knowledge of power?
§ MR. J. R. MACDONALD (Leicester)
asked whether the right hon. Gentleman proposed to use the January syllabus for the next examination?
§ MR. GLADSTONE
I think it will be used. In the last two or three days I have been asked to give a definite and final opinion on this matter. As, however, the question has been under consideration for fifteen months I am not prepared to give a final answer after fifteen days consideration of the subject. I will see how the system works and then form my own opinion.