§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ The CHIEF SECRETARY for IRELAND (Mr. Birrell)
I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
This Bill, to which I now ask the House to give a Second Reading, is an unopposed Bill. It is an Irish Bill, it is an Education Bill, and there is no money in it, a somewhat unusual circumstance, but also true. Not only is it unusual in this respect, but it is a most useful measure which, I am happy to say, receives the support of all parties in Ireland. The object is simply this: The Intermediate Education Board, which lives, like a gentleman, upon its own income, never comes to this House for a farthing, and is therefore not upon the Votes, has yielded a great educational advantage, and has abolished the system of examinations which press very heavily upon the young scholars of Ireland between the ages of eight and fourteen. They are now relieved from a very pressing and somewhat searching, painful and disastrous examination, and the money is spent in the far better and wiser way of securing that the schools whither they go are properly inspected and are in themselves excellent educational establishments. Inasmuch as it is desirable that these schools, which are a half of the secondary schools of the country, should not be deprived of the 1669 pecuniary support which formerly they obtained by the examination process, the Education Board, by this Bill, is permitted to appropriate one-sixth of its own revenue to rewarding those schools which submit successfully to the test of inspection. That is the object of the Bill which I now move.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read a second time.
§ Ordered, "That the Bill be committed to Committee of the Whole House." [Mr. Birrell.]