§ 66. Mr. LYNCH
asked the President of the Board of Education whether he can 447 state, in regard to this country and the various countries of Europe, the proportion amongst the pupils of elementary schools who afterwards complete a university course; and whether a scheme will be prepared to improve in all respects the teaching in the elementary schools and also to establish great national universities to which access will be facilitated to all young scholars who have shown unusual ability in the preparatory schools?
§ The PRESIDENT of the BOARD Of EDUCATION (Mr. Fisher)
I am unable to give the information asked for in the first part of the question. I am fully alive to the need for further improvement in the elementary schools, and for facilitating access to the universities, and proposals for these purposes, among others, are under consideration.
§ 67. Mr. LYNCH
asked the President of the Board of Education, whether he is preparing a scheme for recasting the system of national education; whether in the establishment of the scheme he will be guided by considerations of the increase possible of the efficiency of the nation, intellectual and moral; whether such a purpose will control the successive steps from elementary education to the highest training of the universities; whether the scheme will be submitted to the criticism of this House before final adoption; and whether he can state when the first draft will be completed?
§ Mr. FISHER
I have been doing my best in the short time since I entered upon my office to study the problems involved in a comprehensive scheme for the development of the national system of education from the elementary schools to the universities. The House will, I hope, have full opportunity of criticising my proposals, and as they will inevitably involve expenditure they are dependent on the approval of the House.
§ Colonel YATE
In this new scheme of national education, will the right hon. Gentleman give full consideration to the necessity for physical education as well as mental education?
§ 68. Mr. FERENS
asked the President of the Board of Education what additional duties have been-imposed upon local education authorities by law during the past ten years, and what amount of special new grant has been placed at the disposal of local education authorities accordingly?
§ Mr. FISHER
The only provisions in any Education Acts which impose new duties on local education authorities in the last ten years are those contained in Section 13 (1) (b) of the Education (Administrative Provisions) Act, 1907, and in the Elementary Education (Defective and Epileptic Children) Act, 1914. The grant paid to local education authorities in respect of expenditure under the first Act incurred in the exercise of their powers-of medical treatment, as well as in the performance of their duty of medical inspection was £196,571 in 1915–16, and is-estimated at £195,500 in 1916–17. The second Act makes the obligation imposed on the authority conditional, on the provision of Parliamentary Grants equal to-half the cost.