§ Resolution reported,
That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £50,000, be granted to His Majesty,
to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1918, for Intermediate Education in Ireland, including the Teachers' Salaries Grant.
§ Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."
§ Mr. BOLAND
The Estimate as presented to the House is, to my mind, based entirely upon wrong figures, and for that, as well as for other reasons, I ask the House to consider for a few moments the basis on which it is now proposed to make a Grant of £50,000 for Intermediate Education in Ireland. If the House will refer to the Estimate presented, they will find the following note:Additional Grant for Intermediate Education …This sum, together with the amount (£381000) of the Supplementary Grant voted in July last for Public Education, Ireland, represents the Irish equivalent of the additional funds which Parliament has voted for Public Education in England and Wales, and Scotland.I take exception, first of all, to this basis of what is called the Irish Equivalent Grant. It is here stated that £384,000 is to be the equivalent for Irish primary education, and the Government apparently, in spite of all the protests from managers, from teachers, and from members of the National Board of Primary Education in Ireland, having still insisted on fixing this sum of £384,000, have proceeded on that basis to state that the equivalent for secondary, or, as we call it in Ireland intermediate, education is to be the sum of £50,000. It is, first of all, with the arithmetic of these figures that I wish to quarrel, and perhaps at the outset I could make this clear by quoting the admitted increase of the English Grant. The Treasury Grant to secondary schools in England will be found in the Civil Service Estimates of 1917–18, on page 11, to amount to £847,650. The proposed new Grant by the English Minister of Education for secondary education in England is £433,900, or a total of £1,281,550. Now, if the basis of the so-called equivalent Grant is followed, the Irish equivalent, on the figures which even you yourselves have always admitted, would amount to £144,173. In Ireland, it has to be remembered, the cost of administration is borne upon the Grants, and not, as in the case of England, by the Treasury, and when these figures are added the cost of 1755 administration upon the Grants in Ireland amounted in 1915 to £25,000. Consequently, I contend that the total amount which is due annually to Irish secondary education from the Imperial Treasury is a sum of £169,780.
What does the Imperial Treasury at present contribute to the cost of secondary, or, as we call it, intermediate, education in Ireland? There are two sources. There is, first of all, the Teachers' Salaries Grant, known as the Birrell Grant, which amounts to £40,000, and the Science and Art Grant, which comes to £29,000, or a total of £69,000, and when the deduction is made from the £169,000, which ought to be contributed from the Imperial Treasury, on the basis which you yourselves set forward of an equivalent to the English Grant, there is a sum of £100,000 which is legally due from you on your own calculation of the Equivalent Grant, and I presume the £50,000 which to-day we are considering is meant to be all that you are going to give of what I contend is the absolutely necessary and legally due Grant of £100,000. To return for a moment to the statement in the Estimate that the Irish equivalent for primary education in Ireland is £384,000, I am absolutely unable to understand upon what basis either the Irish Office, in accepting the figures, or the Treasury have gone. Here I cannot help remembering that, not many months ago, when the Chief Secretary, whose absence I regret to-day, was approached by a deputation on the subject, of the necessity of improving the position of secondary education in Ireland, I think I am not treating him unfairly when I say that his general attitude was this: He wanted to approach the whole question, not on the basis of what was called the Equivalent Grant, but on the wider one of the necessities of Irish education. That was certainly what the deputation and the general public understood to be his attitude—that he admitted the necessities of Irish education were the proper basis upon which to approach the Treasury; and, while we have the spectacle of the English Education Minister and the Secretary for Scotland being able to approach this House and the Treasury with a demand that the money for education in England and Scotland should be based upon the necessities of education here, and while we have the Chief 1756 Secretary also stating that he wanted to approach the question of secondary education in Ireland upon the admitted necessities of Irish education, the result to-day is that this has not been carried out, and again the Treasury is basing itself upon what it calls the Equivalent Grant, and is "doing" Ireland again in the process.
I wish to take this opportunity of exposing what it means and what will happen if the statements contained in this Estimate is allowed to stand. Upon the purely financial side of it, what strikes me as most urgent, and what this House should grasp at the very outset, is that in England, Scotland, and Wales you look forward at the conclusion of the War to spending, not the £4,000,000 which the Minister of Education announced last year would be necessary, but an ever-increasing sum, because I suppose if this War has shown one thing more prominently than anything else, it is that this country was lacking in the scientific and technical side of its education, and that after the War it will be more and increasingly necessary year after year to spend public money upon education. primary, secondary, and technical, and English, Scottish, or Welsh members are the last people in the world to say that the £4,000,000 announced by the English Minister last year is going to be stereotyped, and that, no matter what may happen in years to come, there is going to be no increase upon it. That is your attitude, and it is a perfectly wise attitude, that you will not allow such a great service as education to be stereotyped. But, as regards the position of Ireland, I do not know whom to blame more—the Irish Government for not forcing upon the Treasury the real needs of Ireland in the matter, or the Treasury. In Ireland to-day—and I invite the Irish Solicitor-General to correct me if I am wrong—the impression absolutely held by all educationists now is that owing to the terms and conditions on which these two Grants for primary and secondary education in Ireland have been made, these are going to be stereotyped sums, and if in the future England, Scotland, and Wales increase their service, and get further Grants for education, Ireland is to retain only the stereotyped sum laid down in the Estimate of this House. The matter is of such urgency that I hope the Solicitor-General, when he replies to me, will deal 1757 first of all with this point, because if he is able to make it clear that these sums are not to be stereotyped, he will at least show that the Irish Government have been able to achieve something from the Imperial Treasury, and that the Imperial Treasury have not won on this occasion as they have apparently always succeeded in winning. Now, the sum of £384,000 which has been put down in this Estimate—the so-called Irish equivalent for education—has never been accepted by us, or by any body of educational opinion in Ireland, as a fair proportion of the sum due to us for education. I believe that if the Scottish equivalent figures were followed, we should be entitled to at least £600,000. The National Board of Education and the Commissioners for National Education have made it perfectly plain in their published statements that the necessities of Irish education amount to at least £800,000. It is preposterous, therefore, that this £384,000 should, first of 'all, be fixed for Irish primary education, and that to-day, when we are dealing purely with the secondary side of it, we should be put off with this miserable sum of £50.000 now being granted. I invite the Solicitor-General to take up this point when he comes to reply.
Coming now more particularly to the position of the intermediate schools in Ireland, I think the House should bear in mind this remarkable fact: In 1900 the total which was being spent on secondary education—I gather this from the figures supplied to me—was practically the same as it is now. During that period the pupils attending the secondary schools have doubled in number. Whereas in 1900 they numbered 8,287 they now number 19,124. On these grounds, also, I think it is only right that a further Grant should be established. It looks to me as if in budgetting for secondary, as well as for primary, education the Imperial Treasury, or the Irish Government, always go upon the idea that Ireland is going to lose every year more and more in population, and that therefore they can safely go on cutting down the expenditure on education. I am glad to know that just prior to the War, and indeed some years previously, the rate of emigration had been steadily declining. Since the War emigration has practically ceased. There is no doubt that in the years to come the numbers of boys and girls in our secondary schools will show a remarkable increase. There 1758 is thus the double reason why we should not for a moment allow that there should be any stereotyped Grant at this moment, when an increasing population, as we shall see, just as you have in this country, suggests need for added educational grants. I hope, therefore, that the Solicitor-General will take this point into consideration.
I have looked at the provisional Rules which have been introduced, and which accompany this Grant of £50,000. I am not sure to what extent I shall be in order in dealing exhaustively to-day with these particular Rules I am not quite clear on what date these Rules will become absolute. But if there is still some measure of time during which the Irish Government—and the Chief Secretary is now in. Ireland—can modify those Rules, I do hope something will be done. It is impossible to take them all and to go right through them. I agree that some of them are excellent. The idea of a capitation Grant has been introduced, and I think that is all to the good. But there are considerations which, I know, have been brought personally to the knowledge of the Chief Secretary, and it is important, if what we ask can be granted, that it should be, though I do not wish to see this Grant of £50,000, meagre as it is, lost. I should be very sorry indeed to see even this small instalment of justice lost by any action that we Irish Members might take. As I understand, however, the provisional Rules which accompany the Grant can still be modified in some particulars, which have been brought to the notice of the Chief Secretary, I hope that will be done as soon as the Rules of the House permit. Here one cannot help feeling—indeed, it is almost a byword in Irish education—that it is only when rules of this kind are presented to the House that Irish educational opinion for the first time really becomes possessed of what are the intentions of the Government. We have not, as you have here in this country, in Scotland and in Wales, local education authorities. We have not, so to speak, Irish education "devolutionised," with the result that in England and Scotland the educational leaders are consulted before great measures are taken. In England, and it is the right thing to do, the Minister of Education, before he takes action, calls into consultation people from all parts of the country. That has 1759 no counterpart in Ireland—not a bit! So far as we are concerned, the first we learn of any action—as to what the Government is going to do in regard to Grants—is when the Estimates are presented to Parliament, or when provisional Rules, such as those I allude to now, are laid upon the Table of the House. We are continually in the dark. If that is so as regards educational opinion in Ireland, if it is so as regards the Irish representatives, then, so far as the public are concerned, they have not the least opportunity of learning what is going to be done when a. great measure of education is likely to be introduced into this House. There is every reason, therefore, why, on an occasion of this kind, the hon. Gentleman who replies for the Government should be absolutely frank in his statement and give us some indication as to what extent he is going to meet us, now that the Rules have been published, now that the Irish Chief Secretary has received a deputation and has had definite and concrete proposals put before him, to what extent he proposes to modify the Rules which have been laid upon the Table.
I have had from my own part of the land, county Kerry, a resolution from the Association of Secondary Teachers. I understand that this resolution is being passed practically by every Association of Secondary Teachers in all parts of Ireland. This resolution, passed by the Kerry Branch of the Secondary Teachers' Association, calls attention to the disappointment they feel on the proposed Rules governing the distribution of the Grant, which are not, in their opinion, likely to ameliorate the lot of the teachers They press that feeling for the amendment of these Rules, and "We demand a representative Committee should be appointed to secure for the Irish Secondary Teachers the same rights that have been conceded to their confreres in England and Scotland, and to examine the whole question of Secondary Education in Ireland." I do not wish to detain the House too long, and I shall just recapitulate what I said were the necessary points to the Solicitor-General, with which he must deal here to-day if he wishes in any degree at all to satisfy Irish public opinion on the matter. First of all, we complain that the statement in the Estimates, that the Grant for secondary education in Ireland is based. 1760 on what is called the Irish Equivalent Grant of £384,000 for primary education, is absolutely based on wrong beginnings, and in no degree answers the necessities of Irish education. It has been scouted and ridiculed as in any way a settlement of the claim for Irish education. To base upon that this Grant of £50,000 for secondary education is to make the position even worse than it was before. The second point is this: Is this Grant of £50,000 now to be a stereotyped Grant in the same way as it was suggested that the £384,000 for primary education is to be a stereotyped Grant; that no matter what increase of population in Ireland there is, no matter what improvement there is in the attendance at our schools, that that is all of no account, while money, increasing by millions, is to be spent in the case of England, Scotland, and Wales? We apparently are to remain in the position in which we are to-day ! I invite the right hon. and learned Gentleman to make the position perfectly clear: whether or not this Grant is to be stereotyped. The third point I wish to deal with is the position of the Rules which have been put forward. Is his mind, is the mind of the Irish Government, still open to be convinced that these Rules do not meet the necessities of the case, and that they are open to amendment? Or is it that the Chief Secretary has been influenced, in vain, by a deputation which met him on the subject? Will the hon. and learned Gentleman to-day speaking for the Irish Government take up the attitude which it is right that any representative of the Irish Government should take up and demand that it is the necessities of Irish education and not the idea of the basing it on Equivalent Grants which should really always be before their minds when they approach the Treasury; that he should join with us, the Irish Members, in impressing upon the Treasury that these figures cannot stand as they are, that there must be a more liberal and progressive Grant for Irish secondary and primary education in accordance with needs, before the Irish people will be satisfied that justice has been done?
§ Sir EDWARD CARSON
I am tempted to say a few words on this Vote, first, because I find myself, at all events for once, in entire agreement with the hon. Gentleman who has just addressed the House, and, in the second place, because I feel that I have a particular claim upon the Solicitor-General, who is my colleague in the representation of Trinity College, 1761 Dublin, a great institution, as he himself knows, and I also cannot help thinking that we may never have a more favourable opportunity of presenting the claims of intermediate education in Ireland than the present one. What the hon. Gentleman who has just spoken has said about the Equivalent Grant is to my mind unanswerable. I have, year after year, protested against this system of Equivalent Grants for Ireland. It is the most illogical and most mischievous method of financing the needs of Ireland that can possibly be conceived. To what does it come? In the present case that the sum of £50,000 is to be allocated for intermediate education in Ireland, not because of the necessities of the case—not founded on any estimate of what is required for intermediate education—but because you have a strong Education Minister in England, who has thought it necessary to bring in an Education Bill which will increase certain Grants from the Treasury here. Because he has done that, it is said, You are to bring in an Estimate for Ireland founded upon the proportion, in relation to income and population, and not at all according to the necessities of the case." Anything more absurd or more ridiculous it is impossible to conceive!
I must say I think that the Irish Members themselves are in a certain degree to blame for this method of conducting the financial necessities of Ireland, because whenever anything is thought necessary as a Grant for England, Irish Members, whether it is required or not, immediately get up and say, "We must have the same thing for Ireland." The only question that ought to be considered is what is the position of intermediate education in Ireland? Is it run on a proper basis? Is it sufficiently financed? Have you got proper teachers? Are the teachers properly educated and are they paid such a salary as will attract the proper kind of teacher for those pupils who go into the secondary schools of Ireland? Nothing to my mind in relation to Ireland is more lamentable than the way in which the question of the teachers has been dealt with for many years past, not merely the teachers in the intermediate schools, but also those in the primary schools. I remember, as long ago as 1896, when the party to which I belonged came into power, going to the then Chief Secretary (Mr. Gerald Balfour), and imploring him to take up this question in a sympathetic way and 1762 not have as teachers of the youth of Ireland a number of underpaid, underfed, disgruntled people, who had hardly the bare means of subsistence, while they had to appear before the classes with as cheerful a face and as good an appearance as was possible. I have pressed the claim of this class in Ireland over and over again. Having got this sum of £50,000, which so far as I know has no relation to the needs of the case, what is going to be done? I do not profess to be able to follow the Rules which have been laid down, by the Government, nor do I—like the hon. Member opposite—know whether there is any opportunity of now altering them. But I do assure my hon. Friend and colleague that I have never had in relation to any subject more protests and more complaints from Ireland, from north, south east and west, than I have received as to the method and manner to which it is proposed to allocate this sum.
There was a Grant a short time ago known as the Birrell Grant, which it was thought would have been immediately applied to bettering the position of lay teachers of secondary schools. But that has proved illusory, as I am informed by the teachers themselves. They complain bitterly that the Rules laid down here now will not better their conditions, but will leave them with minimum salaries such as they have hitherto received. Let me tell the House how these teachers are treated. Remember that a good many of them are people who have university qualifications, and who have attained a very high standard of education. They have extremely hard and difficult work to do. Here are some of the figures sent to me. Out of 350 schools only twelve pay salaries of £200 or over. There are not forty assistants altogether who receive such salaries, 35 percent. of the whole number receive less than £100 a year non-resident. Two hundred of those qualified lay assistants receive above the minimum, but 140 of these come from thirteen schools, and the remaining 337 schools contribute only sixty between them; about 170 lay assistant qualified teachers receive the actual minimum. They complain that, while receiving that minimum, there is no chance of any increase whatsoever as time goes on and as they give their services to the State.
I do hope that my hon. and learned Friend will really seriously take this matter up, not merely with a view, for 1763 the moment, of doing something satisfactory to the pupils, but really with a view of considering what is of vast importance, namely, having a set of teachers on whom you can rely as being absolutely qualified and absolutely satisfied. You have these people, who for years and years have had admitted grievances which have never in the slightest degree been remedied, and you bring them from day to day in contact with the youth of Ireland. To do that is nothing but disastrous, and I do plead with my hon. and learned Friend—and I know how interested he has been all his life in education—to take this opportunity of putting before the Irish Government the necessity for not dealing with this matter piecemeal, but to really bring forward a scheme which will deal with the whole position of the teachers and put it on a progressive basis with a view to the further development of intermediate education in Ireland. The necessity for this has been impressed upon me from all parts of Ireland. I have received many letters dealing with the question, and I hope my hon. and learned Friend will press on the Irish Government the desirability of making a definite public statement that the Grant is to be used for the teachers, and that the Birrell Grant must also be made more available for the some purpose. Above all things, I would join with the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Boland) in asking the Irish Government to at once appoint a Committee, as has been done in England and Scotland, to inquire into the whole question of the position of secondary education and of the educational machinery of the country, and to make proper provision for its progressive development in the future. I know it was contemplated when I was in the Government to set up a Committee of Inquiry into elementary education; I do not know whether it has been done. But the proposal was passed by the Government when I was a member of it. That, of course, is a question by itself. What I am asking is that this Committee we now ask for shall not be mixed up with that Committee, because that would entail delay for a very long time. I would suggest a Committee ad hoc which can report almost immediately, because the whole material it will require is really available in the Irish Office. I can assure my hon. Friend, my old class fellow in col- 1764 lege, who has been my friend through the many long years we have had together, that he will have done the very best thing he could for Ireland as the representative of a great institution like Trinity College if he can get the Irish Government to take up this question.
§ Mr. JOHN O'CONNOR
I desire to enforce, if it be at all necessary, the most eloquent appeal made by the right hon. Gentleman (Sir E. Carson). I followed closely the opening observations of my hon. Friend (Mr. Boland) who brought this matter forward, and I noticed that he dealt with the whole Grant of £50,000 in a general sort of way. I am certain he laid before the House arguments sufficiently strong to impress on the Government the necessity for enlarging the Grant that is now being made. But apart from the general demands and suggestions made by my hon. Friend, I would specially impress upon the Government the necessity of taking the case of the teachers into account, and for that reason I propose to pay more particular attention to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman opposite. Let me recall the fact that an Act of Parliament, passed in 1914 for the purpose of putting into operation what is commonly known as the Birrell Grant, was referred to in the body of the measure as the "Teachers' Salaries Act." Well-intentioned as the object of that Act of Parliament was, and well-intentioned as the Grant was, experience shows that it has been misapplied and that it did not reach the teachers, although it contained a very severe penalty Clause which enabled the Treasury to withdraw the Grant unless the object of it was kept completely in view. Notwithstanding that, the Birrell Grant has been misapplied. It has been badly administered, and the class for whose benefit it was passed has not received that benefit. There is one principle contained in that Act which works out at a great disadvantage to the class for whose benefit it was intended. It establishes a minimum salary, and experience has proved—and it is shown by the figures quoted by the right hon. Gentleman just now—that when a minimum salary is established it absolutely becomes the maximum. I will trouble the House by reading the following passage from the Report of the Intermediate Education Board for the year 1916—the last Report which has been published: 1765The Reports which have been made by the Board for the two past consecutive years on the administration of the Teachers' Salaries Grant have called attention in a striking manner to the unsatisfactory nature of the status and remuneration of teachers in Irish secondary schools. Out of a total of 1,142 lay teachers only 398, or less than 35 per cent., have salaries and security of tenure which satisfy the very modest requirements of the Rules of the Grant for Teachers' Salaries for duly qualified teachers. These Rules provide that they shall have a right to three months' notice of dismissal and that the salaries shall be not less than £140 for non-resident men and £90 for non-resident women teachers, and not less than £110 and £70 respectively for those who have in addition to the salary their board and lodging supplied. On the other hand, considerably over 35 percent. of these teachers are non-resident, in receipt of an annual salary of less than £100. Out of these 1,142 lay teachers, there are not forty assistant teachers who enjoy an annual salary of £200 or over.5.0 p.m.
Just think of those figures as salaries for men and women who are duly qualified!
In most cases all these lay assistants are duly qualified persons holding degrees from universities and other institutions. I submit that at the present moment, when large proposals have been made for the improvement of the teaching class, it is only necessary to quote these figures to show that the system that is carried on in Ireland for the purpose of dealing with intermediate education is very short of the requirements of the case, and in no respect in harmony with the spirit of the time. I am fortified in expressing that opinion by what has been proposed in this House by the right hon. Gentleman who is President of the Education Board in England He proposed what I might call a great democratic measure for the furtherance of all things necessary for intensified education, the intensified education which it is now declared is absolutely necessary to put us in a position to compete with other nations when happily peace will have been restored, and when the nations will have taken up all their peaceful occupations. It has been laid down most eloquently in this House by the President of the Board of Education in England that the whole future of the country depends upon the manner in which the people will be educated, and the intensified manner in which production will be carried out, the result of scientific and secondary education principally. What did this large-minded Education Minister say on the 19th of April when he made his very famous statement that charmed us all, instructed us all, and made us all look 1766 forward with an enlarged scope of view on the future education of the country? On this subject of the teachers of secondary education in schools he made use of these remarkable words:The calling of a secondary education schoolmaster in a State-aided or State-provided school has yet to be made reasonably attractive to a really able man. At present the secondary school teacher is ill-paid. He receives no pension, and yet his is a profession which ought to compete on equal terms for ability with the First Class of the Civil Service."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 19th April, 1917, col. 1905, Vol. 92.]That is the opinion of the greatest authority upon education matters living at the present day, perhaps. That is the opinion of the President of the Board of Education in England, and when you compare what his views of the requirements of the teacher are with the statement that I have just read out to the House—that these fully-qualified persons, these men and women holding university degrees, are dependent for remuneration on £110 and £70 respectively—I think the House will agree that it is a shame, that it is a disgrace, and that it is altogether out of harmony with the spirit of the time. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Dublin University (Sir E. Carson) stated what is clearly the minimum that the teachers of secondary education in Ireland demand. He very briefly and tersely put before the House what the view of the teachers themselves is on their position. He stated three things. He asked that the Chief Secretary, if he were here, and in his absence his hon. and learned colleague the Solicitor-General for Ireland, should get a definite statement that the money was to be used for the purpose of improving the position of the teachers. Nobody can contend that their position at the present moment is a satisfactory one, and I therefore hope that the hon. and learned Gentleman may not fail to make a statement under that head, and that the Rules that govern what is known as the Birrell Grant shall be modified so as to make it certain that the £40,000 a year which was placed at the disposal of the Board for the purpose of improving teachers' salaries in 1914 shall reach its destination. At the present moment it does not reach its destination. It has been misapplied, and that should be no longer allowed to go on.
The third point—and this was one upon which the teachers of secondary education in Ireland are not alone in 1767 their demand—was that, as well as the Committees which were appointed for England and Scotland, a Committee should be set up to inquire into the whole position, and to lay down the requirements of the whole position for secondary education. The secondary education teachers demand that, and so do also the primary education teachers demand, that a Committee should be appointed. If a Committee be useful in England and Scotland, why should it not be useful in Ireland? If a Committee be appointed for England and Scotland, why should you fail to appoint one for Ireland? What is there in the case of Ireland which so distinguishes it in this question of education? That is what we should like to know. Everything, I fancy, has been said that can be said by my hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Boland) and the right hon. and learned Gentleman who so ably supported this demand. This state of things can be no longer allowed to go on. You will hear more about it. You are constantly hearing about these things, and why? Because when you take them in hand you do not apply a full and complete remedy. It was pointed out in 1914 that the remedy was inadequate. It has proved to be inadequate, and therefore, for these reasons, I do very humbly, but as strongly and as strenuously as I possibly can, support the Motion that has been made by my hon. Friend, and so ably supported by the right hon. and learned Gentleman.
§ Mr. McKEAN
By way of preface to the few remarks I propose to make, I should like to say that in ordinary circumstances I should be inclined to deplore the absence of the Chief Secretary for Ireland, the bead of the Irish Government, but in the particular circumstances of the case I am very glad he is absent. I am very glad we have here one of the Law Officers of the Crown in Ireland, who is a great deal more than a mere lawyer, or a mere Government lawyer. He is a man who understands these subjects, and I only wish that we had the Solicitor-General as Chief Secretary for Ireland instead of his being in the position in which he is. It would almost convert some of us from Home Rule. The hon. Member who has just sat down said that really there was nothing more to be said on this subject. There is just a little more to be said on 1768 the matter. The way that the hon. and learned Member (Mr. J. O'Connor) and the way that the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member who preceded him (Sir E. Carson) presented this case to the House is calculated to give a totally false view as to the whole position in Ireland. I will show where the falseness of their view comes in. They dwelt on the position of the assistant teachers in the secondary schools in Ireland, they rang the changes on the inadequacy of salaries that are paid to these men, and the natural conclusion that any stranger who did not know Ireland listening to them would come to would be that there is a wholesale system of sweating on the part of the secondary schools in Ireland. That is the conclusion that a listener who did not know Ireland would come to, and it is the only conclusion to which he could come. I say that is a false view of the situation in Ireland. The majority of the secondary schools in Ireland are in the hands of, and conducted most efficiently, by the Religious Orders, and, for my part, I rejoice that it is so for the good of my country. Whatever you hare in England may do, as apart from the Catholic population in England and Wales, whatever secularist principles you may pursue in England, at all events we in Ireland will never allow that unnatural divorce to take place—the divorce between religion and education. Of all the hollow and false views of life there is none falser than the view that education ought to be conducted apart from religion. That principle governs the whole situation in Ireland. The overwhelming majority of the secondary schools in Ireland are conducted by the Religious Orders, and, as I said before, they are most efficiently conducted by those Orders. I want to emphasise the point I have already made that anybody listening to the speeches that have been delivered by the last two speakers—I am sorry I was not here during the whole of the speech of the hon. Member who opened the discussion—at all events the drift of those two speeches and the drift of the writings on behalf of all the assistant teachers in Ireland leads one to that conclusion, that the secondary schools in Ireland are underpaying their teachers. I will show that that position is totally unwarranted by the facts.
What are broad facts that govern intermediate education in Ireland? I will tell 1769 the House. In Ireland you have a people highly intellectual. I do not want to pay any compliments to the race to which I belong, but I think it is a fact admitted by all people that the Irish are a highly gifted race intellectually. Not only are they highly gifted intellectually, but they love education with a passionate love. The people of Ireland would make any sacrifice to give their children not merely a good education, but the best education of which the children are capable of availing themselves. On the other hand, you have a poor people, a people who, while they love education and are anxious to advance education, are not able to pay for this luxury of secondary education. What does that lead us to? In ordinary circumstances, in a different country from Ireland, what would be the result of this? The result would be that you would have a people who are thirsting for this intellectual fruit—what Lamb callsthe sweet fruit of academic instruction "—you would have them starving for this fruit, and not getting it. But they do not starve in Ireland. To whom is that due? Is it due to good government in Ireland; is it due to adequate provision for good education in Ireland? No; it is not. It is due to the Religious Orders in Ireland. They come in and supply this boon of secondary education at rates and on terms such as it is not supplied on in any other country in the world, not since the Religious Orders were expelled from France. Before the Religious Orders were expelled from France a similar state of things obtained there. To what does this lead us? In each of these secondary schools conducted by the Religious Orders you have the greater part of the work of education carried on by men who never get any salary at all. They are men who have to get their living out of education, but they get no salary and they are doing the work of the State without any recompense whatever from the State. With the claims of the assistant teachers I am heartily in sympathy, but the teachers in the intermediate schools ignore entirely the fact which I have been dealing with. I am now dealing with Catholic schools, and I do not want to interfere with any claims that may be made on behalf of the Protestant assistant teachers. What I want to do is to protect the Roman Catholic schools of Ireland from the serious reflections that have been made upon them by implication. Those reflec- 1770 tions have not been made directly but by insinuations in half a dozen different ways, and they are wholly unwarranted.
The assistant lay teachers in the Catholic schools have to bear in mind the facts of the situation. They must remember that the country is poor, and that in the same colleges they teach side by side with a number of other men whose qualifications are certainly not inferior to those who get no salary whatsoever. The last speaker said the Grant was misapplied, but I deny that the Birrell Grant of £40,000 was misapplied. I say, and I am prepared to prove it before any impartial and intelligent audience, that so far as the administration of the Catholic secondary schools is concerned, they have treated their teachers not merely with justice but with Irish generosity. If the Grants that the Catholic secondary schools in Ireland get were taken, if the sums granted to Catholic secondary schools or the Grant in Aid of the teachers were taken and divided up amongst all the teachers of the colleges, ecclesiastical as well as lay teachers, the assistant lay teachers would get a good deal more than they are getting to-day. That is a view of this case which has never been presented to this House, and I do not think it has been presented anywhere, and it is the true view.
My experience of this House is that it has the false view of every case presented to it, the hollow, shallow and specious view of every problem and the real true view that lies beneath the surface you seldom get presented, and there never was a case where you had the shallow view put forward so conclusively as in this case arising out of the payment of the teachers in the secondary schools in Ireland. In these Rules there is a Clause dealing with secondary schools which I believe compels; the school to employ one or more lay teacher, and I object entirely to any such rule. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why?"] Why should there be such a rule? Why should it be made compulsory that a school should employ any teacher? What virtue does there reside in a lay teacher that his presence in a school should be. insisted upon? I think the opposite ought to be the case. The fact that a man is religious in nine hundred and ninety cases out of a thousand is an absolute guarantee that he is a man of absolute moral intelligence, and that is a matter of supreme importance.
1771 Why should you oust one ecclesiastic in order to make way for a layman? It is an utterly indefensible rule and there is no justification for it whatever. There is no such rule in this country. I do not know what Grants the secondary schools receive here, but I know there is no such rule applying to Catholic schools in this country, and I want to know why we have such a rule in Ireland. I will tell hon. Members. It is the thin edge of the wedge of secularism, but you will never drive that wedge home in Ireland. We should always give in Ireland that position to religion in connection with the work of education that it ought to have, namely, the dominant position. This rule, imposing upon Catholic schools the necessity of employing one or more lay teacher is indefensible, and it cannot be defended on any ground. It certainly cannot be defended on the ground of efficiency, because these men, whom I know personally, for I have been taught by them myself, are men of the very highest qualifications, and I say that so far from intermediate education in Ireland being inferior to intermediate or secondary education in England it is quite the contrary. There is no country in the world that provides so admirable secondary education as Ireland.
§ Mr. McKEAN
I heard that portion of my hon. Friend's speech which dealt with the insufficiency of the Grant, and certainly it is a subject which needs to be driven home. That is exactly where the shoe pinches, and it is a necessity of the case. The religious men in Ireland are doing the work of the State and they are getting practically no pay for it, although the State is accepting their work. If there is any sweating in Ireland or underpaying, it is the British Government that is the sweater. That brings me to the subject with which the hon. Member opened the discussion. It is a gross scandal the way in which the British Treasury deals with this matter of education as well as every other matter. You got from Ireland last year £22,000,000, and how much did we get back for Irish services? We got back about £11,000,000, or only about half, and consequently you are making a profit out of your trust in Ireland. There is nothing more scandalous in the whole history of the world than the way in which England deals with Ireland, which is a poor country. 1772 You are bleeding Ireland and have been doing so for years. You take from us this large sum of money every year—
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Sir Donald Maclean)
That topic is quite outside the Vote which is now before the House.
§ Mr. McKEAN
It would strengthen your ruling, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, if I saw it also. We are dealing with a Grant for £60,000 for intermediate education in Ireland, and I say it is utterly inadequate. I want to know whether that is relevant or not? I say it is utterly inadequate, and I strengthen my claim for a larger Grant by saying that we do not want English money, and what we want is Irish money that has been paid over to the Imperial Treasury, and we want our fair share of it back again. If I am not in order in showing that this country has a balance to its credit of £11,000,000, then I do not understand what the rule of relevance means. I protest against the way in which this matter has been put before the House by the last two speakers. I dare say they did not intend to convey this impression, but they did. I wish to say a word with reference to the Committee on Education. The senior Member for Trinity College suggested a Committee ad hoc. What we do want is more than a Committee ad hoc; we want a Committee to examine not merely into the justice of the claims put forward on behalf of the assistant teachers, but we want a Committee to inquire into the whole question not merely of intermediate but also of primary and technical education in Ireland. A Committee to deal merely with one of these subjects is utterly absurd, and we want a larger Committee. I do not speak with hostility to any of the assistant teachers. I am as friendly disposed towards them as anyone, and I will not have their case put forward in such a way as to cast injurious and unjust reflections on a high-minded and an unselfish class of men.
§ Captain S. GWYNN
I rise to say a word or two in support of the view that, if £50,000 per year were added to the provision, of salaries for secondary teachers in Ireland, that provision would still be inadequate. The speech to which I have just listened has strengthened the view that I hold very strongly that it will be very difficult to get this matter dealt with 1773 in any satisfactory manner so long as we have the present machinery for distribution. Unfortunately, that is a matter that one cannot go into on this Vote, but I can see perfectly well the strength of the case that is made by the hon. Member when he says that the Catholic clerical teachers do admirable work practically without pay. Take, for instance, the Jesuit Order, who may be, and in many cases are, as highly equipped teachers as there are in the world. They get no salary, and they are practically giving their services for their keep. I am interested in this matter not merely from the point of view of the Jesuit schools, but also from the point of view whether you are to have lay teachers at all in the Catholic schools in Ireland. The existence of these clerical teaching orders creates a competition which does not exist in the Protestant community, with the result that the Catholic lay teachers cannot get a living wage. If existence is to be made at all possible for the lay teachers in Catholic schools, the State must subsidise them, because, unfortunately, as the result of long decades or centuries in which there has been bad government in the whole system of education, people do not realise that it pays to spend money on education. Every class expects to get education under cost price. Education is indirectly subsidised by charitable endowments, and the whole thing from start to finish is on a rotten basis. It will never be dealt with reasonably and rightly until the two problems of Catholic and Protestant education are separately dealt with by a Protestant body and by a Catholic body to whom the Grant is allocated in proportion to the numbers of population. It is a question that I have naturally thought a good deal about, having myself once been a teacher, and I cannot conceive a more unfortunate position than the Catholic lay teacher. There is no outlook for him at all. It is a serious thing for the Catholic community. They will have to make up their minds for themselves—no one can dictate to them about it—whether they are going to have the teaching profession one which will attract men. Unless they do, in my opinion the quality of their education will go down. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why?"] For the very excellent reason that you will have a very limited choice. If you want to get the best minds you must be able to attract not merely the best religious minds, but some, at all events, of the best secular minds. As a matter 1774 of fact, the Catholic schools in Ireland do employ a certain number of lay teachers, but they cannot expect to get men of the first quality. They cannot expect to get laymen of the same quality as their best clerical teachers. Their best clerical teachers are as highly qualified teachers as there are in or out of Ireland. That is the problem you are up against.
There is also the problem of the Protestant lay teachers. They suffer, not from this difficulty of clerical competition, but from the underlying vice that everybody expects to get education too cheaply. It is a miserably underpaid profession. I have had family budgets sent me by highly qualified teachers, and they are simply heartrending to contemplate. Everybody knows that the price of every commodity has risen, and there is a clear case for putting up this Grant. The Grant was never adequate. The secondary teachers are worse paid in proportion than the primary teachers, and that is saying a good deal. I therefore add my voice to those who have said that this Grant, far from being excessive, is inadequate, but I do not expect this House to deal adequately with the question at all. It is one of those questions that remain for Ireland itself to deal with.
§ The SOLICITOR - GENERAL for IRELAND (Mr. Arthur Samuels)
I am sure that the teachers in Ireland are indebted for the speeches which we have heard from all sides of the House this evening, putting forward their irrefutable case. Anyone who has lived in Ireland or taken any interest at all, as all the hon. Gentlemen who have spoken this evening have taken a very liberal and active interest, in the case of Irish education, is compelled to agree with the words that have been uttered by the hon. and gallant Member for Galway (Captain S. Gwynn), that the position is on "a rotten basis," that "the position of the secondary teachers is comparatively worse even than the very bad position of the primary teachers," and that the whole position of these gentlemen of high education and attainments, who in other professions probably would have a great career before them in many instances, is altogether "a miserable one." We live, however, in times of great stress, when great demands are made upon the nation, and overwhelming financial demands have to be met, and with a Grant of £50,000 which comes to us for the first time we have to see how far it 1775 can be applied to carry out the intention of those to whom is entrusted the care and custody and direction of secondary education in Ireland. Let me say, in answer to the query very naturally put by the hon. Member for Kerry (Mr. Boland), who has taken such a very long and valuable interest in Irish education, and who, indeed, perpetuates in his own person and century the almost prehistoric reputation of Kerry for devotion to high educational matters, that this sum of £50,000 is what is called an Equivalent Grant.
Personally, I am in accord with the opinion and with the conviction that Equivalent Grants have no real basis, constitutional or otherwise. As my learned Friend and colleague the right hon. Gentleman who represents the University of Dublin along with myself (Sir E. Carson) said, the real test is the need of any one of the three Kingdoms upon any particular question. It is absurd and preposterous, because England requires something to advance any particular object within its corners, that Scotland or Ireland should get an Equivalent Grant. On the other hand, if Scotland requires something for its particular needs, it should get it. The same with regard to Ireland, if it has any particular needs. If it has not, then it should not get the Grant. In this matter I would like to say that Ireland should be treated by the Treasury as a cheerful giver. We have, however, a sum of £50,000 given to us, and, as you see by the Vote, it is an Equivalent Grant. That at once implies that it is not a stereotyped Grant. I have had the advantage of consulting the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, who assures me that it is what is called an Equivalent Grant, and that it will vary from time to time, if this system of Equivalent Grants is continued, according to the amount that may be paid for English education. Let me remove a misapprehension that possibly may exist. The name of the late Chief Secretary (Mr. Birrell), who certainly did in his time all that he could to push the interests of Irish education, is very honourably associated with what is called the "Birrell Grant.'' That is a stereotyped sum of £40,000. This Grant of £50,000 is not a stereotyped sum. You must recollect that those two sums, amounting together to £90,000, are not the only sums devoted to secondary 1776 education in Ireland. There is a sum taken from an Irish source, the Disestablished Church Fund. That was a sum of £1,000,000, and, at 3¼ percent., it brings in £32,500 a year. That is devoted to secondary education.
§ Mr. SAMUELS
I quite agree that it comes from an Irish fund, and I think it ought always to be taken into account as an Irish contribution. I would go so far as to say that in reality it is a local contribution from Ireland, because it represents the commutation of tithes which were a charge on Irish land. That is a capital amount of £1,000,000. I would have been very well pleased, and others would have been very well pleased, if, when dealing with the Irish Church Fund, it had been made double or treble. Next you have the Grant which used to be given under the Customs and Excise Act, which fell from £71,000 in 1900 to £46,560 in 1909. To prevent a further decrease it was stereotyped at the latter amount in 1911. Then there is the £29,000 a year, referred to by the hon. Member for Kerry, which comes from the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction. That altogether makes a sum of £198,000. It is something to get it, at any rate, and it has been got comparatively within the last few years. When we come to deal with the question of how the £50,000 is to be applied, I am, and I am sure that the Chief Secretary will be, very greatly indebted to the hon. Members who have spoken for the suggestions they have made and the criticisms they have offered with regard to the proposed new Rules. My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Dublin University referred to the Report of the Commissioners of Intermediate Education, and other Members have also referred to it. In their last Report the Commissioners made certain suggestions and recommended them very strongly to the consideration of the Government. Those suggestions will be found on pages 9 and 10 of the last Report. They ask for a school Grant It should be remembered that the object of the Birrell Grant was for lay teachers. This is to be a school Grant, which they suggested should be a capitation Grant, paid to schools which have complied with certain conditions, on all pupils between certain 1777 prescribed ages who have been in regular attendance throughout the year. The conditions to be fulfilled by the schools are, first, that the Board should be satisfied as to the efficiency of the school; secondly, that a reasonable proportion of the pupils should pass the certificate examinations— that is to say, that they should come up to a certain high standard; and, thirdly, that the teachers should possess qualifications to be approved by the Board. They also suggested that the capitation Grant should be greater for students between the ages of sixteen and nineteen than for those under sixteen years of age. They also asked that special Grants should be paid to schools to meet exceptional circumstances. They further asked that powers should be given to the education authority administering the system to expend part of its funds on objects of the nature already referred to in the Debate, such as summer courses for teachers, and in general to pursue a progressive course free from such limitations as at present render the Board unable to adapt its methods to modern and varied needs. These were the lines upon which they asked to have further assistance given. When the Chief Secretary went to the Treasury and asked for a Grant for these purposes he got this £50,000, which is not a stereotyped Grant, but what is called an Equivalent Grant, which is made on the basis that for every £80 England gets Ireland is to get £9.
For a moment I shall now refer to the Birrell Grant. The object of that Grant originally was to benefit lay teachers only. With that object a register was to be formed, and these lay teachers were to have a salary which was fixed at £140 for non-resident men and £90 for non resident women teachers. For the purpose of fulfilling the conditions of the Birrell Grant it was necessary that a certain quota (fixed at one for each 40 pupils) of the certificated teachers—that is, teachers of high standing—should be in the schools before they were entitled to got their share of the £40,000. What has happened in regard to that? My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Dublin University and the hon. Member for Kerry have referred to the breakdown which has taken place, more or less, in regard to the Birrell Grant. In 1914 there were only forty-six certificated registered teachers in the Roman Catholic schools. That number rose to 125 in 1915 and to 164 in 1916.That shows a certain amount of 1778 progression. When we come to deal with the number of pupils in the schools we find that they have risen from 12,000 to 13,200 in those years. If you divide the 164 teachers into the 13,200 pupils, you will find that the quota of 330 has not been nearly fulfilled, and that there are 166 lay registered teachers deficient, if I may say so, in the Roman Catholic group of schoole —that is practically to say that they are 50 percent. below what the proper quota j should be in order to get the full advantage of the Birrell Grant. On the other hand, the second group of schools—the Protestant schools—had 237 certificated teachers in 1914 and 295 in 1916, while their pupils had risen from 5,500 to 5,900, so that they have 100 percent. more than the necessary quota to get the Grant. There is, therefore, a serious difference in the schools under Protestant and Catholic management referred to by the hon. Member for South Monaghan and the hon. and gallant Member for Galway. In the opinion of most educationists it is essential for the success of Catholic education in Ireland that there should be fully qualified and able lay teachers, as well as those devoted men who give their lives gratuitously to the service of education, in the schools, and the great object of the Birrell Grant was to benefit those men and to see that they had something like a career before them. So far as that has not been fulfilled the position is unsatisfactory.
When we came to deal with the new Rules that are proposed to be made in regard to the Grant of £50,000 we have tried, as far as possible, effectively to raise the position of lay teachers in these Catholic schools, as well as the position of the teachers in the Protestant schools. We do what we can. If I am not wearying the House, as there is a great deal of interest taken in this matter in Ireland and a great many representations have been sent in to me, as I am sure they have been sent to other hon. Members representing Irish constituencies, by teachers and others, perhaps I may be allowed to refer briefly to the character of these Rules. In the first instance, I can assure the hon. Member for Kerry that these Rules are not to be taken as stereotyped at present. It is true the Rules for the distribution of the present Grant will have to come into operation by the 31st March, but I may say that I have spoken to the Chief Secretary in regard to the Rules generally, and he would be prepared to consider representations of such a character 1779 as have been made by hon. Members who have spoken in the Debate to-day. The Rules are elastic, and the Chief Secretary is quite willing to consider suggestions with regard to their final framing. There is a great deal of difference between the Rules under the Birrell Grant and the Rules dealing with this £50,000. The Rules under the Birrell Grant are Statutory Rules which have to be laid on the Table of the House of Commons, and they have the effect of an Act of Parliament after a period of forty days has elapsed. If you look at the conditions on which the Equivalent Grant is given, you will find that it is to be applied in accordance with Rules made by the Lord Lieutenant with the approval of the Treasury. Thus the Rules will be made by the Executive, and we shall be only too glad to get suggestions of value and of a practical character, and helpful criticisms such as we have had in the course of this Debate. The one object is to try to do the best that can be done for the improvement of the Irish schools so far as this £50,000 will extend.
Let us look at the Rules and see what happens under them. The Intermediate Education Board is enabled out of this £50,000 in the first instance to give a Grant each year, not exceeding £2,000, for the purpose of establishing courses of instruction for teachers in the various subjects of the Board's curriculum, to defray all the incidental expenses in connection therewith, and to provide travelling instructors in certain subjects. That is a practical benefit which may be granted to teachers for the purpose not only of summer courses, which were suggested not to be quite satisfactory, but for courses of instruction for teachers and defraying their incidental expenses and providing also what is very valuable, travelling instructors in places where schools are scattered, so that persons of highly accomplished attainments may be able to travel certain distances and give instruction in one place here and another place there. The next thing is that there may be loans. The Board may, at their discretion, apply in any year a sum not exceeding £5,000 for the purpose of making advances to the managers of schools to be expended on the provision of new buildings, the extension and alteration of existing ones, the equipment of the school, the establishment and equipment of school libraries, and similar purposes. Hon. Members so well acquainted with Irish education will admit 1780 at once that every one of those subjects is most excellent, and that, loans for these purposes have been very much required in the past. These loans will be made at interest—I do not know what the exact rate of interest will be—and on approved security, which I suppose may be real or personal security. Then there is this provision—Should the Board think fit they may devote a portion of the said sum of £5,000 to aid in the establishment and upkeep of schools in localities where the circumstances are such as, in the opinion of the Board, render this desirable.That is a very desirable provision. Another provision is that all advances when repaid to the Board should fall back into the Grant and go to swell the money which is available for education purposes.
§ 6.0 p.m.
§ Mr. SAMUELS
No. The hon. Member knows that these are what are called secondary schools, as distinct from technical schools. The Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction has considerable funds which are devoted to technical education. But the schools we are dealing with are not what are known as technical schools. The next question is as to how this Grant is to be paid? Reference has been made to the appeals which we have all had from the teachers' associations asking that the whole of this money should go to the teachers. Under the Rules, that is not the case. It does not all go to them. We hope to assist the teachers in another way:All of the Grant not expended under Rules 1 and 2 —and the total amount of that would be only £7,000—shall be paid to managers of schools complying with the conditions set out below in respect of all pupils between the ages of twelve and nineteen who shall have made 100 attendances while between those ages during the educational year.And there is a provision that with regard to pupils between sixteen and nineteen the amount shall be doubled. To enable the school, however, to get that Grant we carry out as far as possible the conditions which the Intermediate Board ask and we do it in this way, that the school shall be recognised by the Board—that is, the Board is able to inspect and see that it is an efficient school— 1781The Board shall satisfy themselves that the buildings and equipment of the school, and the teaching given therein, are satisfactory—I think that is a very necessary and proper provision.(c) Except as provided below—and this is where we have tried to assist the teachers—for each complete forty pupils upon whom the capitation Grant is payable and for each twenty or more such pupils in excess of a multiple of forty, there shall be employed in the school at least one teacher recognised by the Board, such teacher to be in receipt of a salary of at least £20 per annum more than the minimum stated for a ' duly qualified teacher ' in the Rules governing the Teachers' Salaries Grant (1915), and to have the security of tenure required for a duly qualified teacher in those Rules.
§ Mr. SAMUELS
I could not tell the hon. and learned Gentleman that. It is a matter which will remain to be proved. A teacher to come in under these Rules should be a. teacher recognised by the Board, but it does not say a lay teacher. He may be a gentleman in Orders.
§ Mr. SAMUELS
Perhaps the hon. and learned Gentleman will kindly allow me to explain this. It is a little difficult to follow. In the first instance, a teacher will get at least £160 a year if he is a non-resident man, and he will have security of tenure as provided by the Birrell Rules—that is, he cannot be dismissed under three months' notice. For each forty pupils there must be a teacher receiving £20 more than the minimum laid down in the Birrell Grant Rules, and another for each twenty in excess of a multiple of forty. The way it would work out would be this: Supposing there are only forty pupils in a school there should be one such teacher, who will get this additional sum of £20 per annum more than he was getting. If it is a school of sixty there should be two such teachers, each getting £160. If it is 100 there would be three, for 140 there would be four, for 180 five, for 220 six, and so on. But certain schools may not have the exact numbers to fit these multiples, and we go on to provide—Where a school has certain teachers satisfying the above conditions, but not a sufficient number, the capitation Grant shall be reduced so as to be in proportion to the number of such teachers, and similarly where the number of such teachers is in excess of the number re- 1782 quired by the conditions the Grant shall be increased so as to be in proportion to the number of such teachers.Thus if four teachers were the proper quota to get the full amount of the Grant and there were only three, the school would get three-quarters, and if only two it would get a half. That is the way it is intended to apply the Grant, and the great object is that, directly or indirectly, in certain instances the teacher shall get a substantial benefit, at any rate, out of this £50,000 a year, as well as the schools. If there is a gentleman in Holy Orders who is getting £140 a year, he will be entitled to get the £20 a year and the school will get the benefit of the Grant. The Intermediate Board pointed out that there were certain exceptional cases which must be dealt with where, owing to the scattered character of the population, they do not come up to the forty pupils. What we propose is—In the case of schools with less than forty pupils in localities where, in the opinion of the Board, a really useful purpose is served by such schools, the Board may, if they think fit, pay the capitation Grant, even if condition (a) is not satisfied, provided that the Board shall be satisfied on presentation of the accounts of the school that a satisfactory proportion of the income of the school is paid to those actually engaged in the teaching of the pupils.There we see that the teachers, in the case of these small schools, get the benefit, if, in the opinion of the Intermediate Board, they are decently paid, as far as the revenues of the school will permit, before the school gets any benefit from the Grant. Further,In cases where, in the opinion of the Board, the buildings, equipment or teaching, or any of them, are not satisfactory, the Board shall have power to reduce the capitation Grant or to withhold it altogether.And it will be the duty of the Board, through its inspectors, to see that the schools keep up their equipment and the character of the teaching if they are to continue to get the Grant. There is a provision in the Rule, which occurred in the Intermediate Education Act, providing for the religious beliefs of the pupils, who cannot be taught against the wish of their parents. With regard to the application of this Grant in the present financial year, it will be necessary that these Rules should come into effect before 31st March, at any rate provisionally, so any recommendations or criticisms—and I am sure some may be very valuable—upon them should come in before 31st March to be dealt with satisfactorily. The hon. Member (Mr. Boland) put down a question 1783 asking what were recognised schools? The question was not reached to-day. But the Rules say what recognised schools are.So far as respects the application of the Grant in the financial year 1917–18, the fore going Rules shall have effect with the following modifications.We cannot carry out all these things in a moment. We want to see that the school and the teachers shall, as far as possible, get the money in the coming financial year.That is the £140 provided by the Birrell Grant—plus £20 additional,
- "(a) All the schools which receive Grants from the ordinary funds of the Board in respect of the educational year 1916–17 shall be provisionally taken as being recognised by the Board.
- (b) On or before a date to be fixed by the Board, the manager of each school desiring to participate in the new Grant shall make a return, in such form as may be prescribed by the Board, of the number and names of the teachers to whom he intends and promises to pay during the year ending 31st July, 1918, a salary equal to that specified in Rule 4 (c)—"and to whom he shall have given security of tenure as specified in that Rule.That is, he must get £20 a year more than under the Birrell Rule so far as he has been entitled to get £140 a year, and he also shall have security of tenure and cannot be dismissed under three months' notice.The Grant shall then be distributed in the manner specified in the foregoing Rules on the supposition that these are the numbers of the recognised teachers in the schools. The number of pupils upon whom capitation Grant shall be paid shall be the number between the ages of twelve and nineteen years, who made 100 attendances while between those ages during the educational year 1916–17.(c) On or before the 1st day of October, 1918, the manager of each school participating in the Grant shall furnish to the Board, in such form as the Board may prescribe, evidence that the promises made in respect of the salary and security of tenure of the teachers have been carried into effect.I am sure these Rules will be loyally observed by the managers of the schools, and I hope they will carry out our intention that these teachers, so often underpaid, struggling with great difficulties, devoting their lives to the higher education of our people, shall get all the benefit they can possibly be given them under the circumstances in this Grant—Should the manager of a school refuse to furnish the Board with such evidence, or fail to do so, the Board may, should they think fit, refuse to recognise the school for the purpose of the Grant at the next distribution, or reduce the amount of the Grant payable by such percentage as they may think fit.1784 These Rules are of very great importance to education in Ireland. I know there is a great deal of anxiety prevailing in regard to them, and we shall be most anxious to receive every helpful criticism and consider it as best we can.
One thing that has been pressed on us by several hon. Members is the question of a Committee to consider this matter. I communicated with the Chief Secretary and have had a reply from him. A Committee might be considered in two aspects, a Committee to consider the question of teacher's pay in primary and in secondary schools. It is proposed to set up a Committee to consider the question of remuneration in primary schools, but I think it would be better, if a Committee is required, and I gather that it is, to inquire into the position of the Grants and pay in the secondary schools to keep it separate from the case of the primary schools. I gathered from the hon. and learned Member for Dublin University that it would be better to have the inquiry ad hoc. I do not know whether that would meet the views of the hon. Member for Kerry.
§ Mr. BOLAND
Would the right hon. Gentleman give an opportunity to myself and my colleagues in the course of the next few days to consider whether there should be one Committee dealing with primary and secondary education or two separate Committees? We should be very glad to communicate to him our decision in a few days.
§ Mr. SAMUELS
Certainly; I should be very glad to receive such a communication. I may just mention that I have been in communication with my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary in regard to this matter, and he writes:My aim has always been to maintain or bring about conditions under which the lay teachers would get the full benefit designed for them. I do not think they do at present. I expect to be able to achieve it by administrative means in connection with the new Grant or by amendment of the Statutory Rules, or both. In regard to the question of a Committee, I am not quite sure whether it would be advisable to include the intermediate education question in the inquiry with regard to the elementary system. I am willing to include it if I find that it is considered by competent judges to be the best course. I should be rather disposed to make an ad hoc inquiry, which could be conducted without great delay.We shall be only too glad to receive suggestions from any side of the House dealing with this matter. I know how earnestly it is the desire of the Chief 1785 Secretary, and in fact we are all of us desirous of doing what he can, to lift up the position of Irish education and make it more worthy of the intellectual capacity of the country about which we have heard so much to-day.
§ Mr. FIELD
I am very glad that the Solicitor-General for Ireland has spoken in a sympathetic way in regard to the scheme put forward in connection with the salaries of teachers. He recognises that education is the foundation of citizenship, and now that we are extending the franchise it is more than ever necessary to have a proper system of education for all classes of society. The right hon. Gentleman has admitted that the whole foundation of the education system in Ireland is more or less on a rotten basis. Those are his own words. It is also admitted that although the primary teachers are badly off, the secondary teachers are even worse. He has also stated that the Equivalent Grants are really no basis upon which to give permanent increases, but are rather a temporary expedient. That being so, and in view of the fact that the teachers are not satisfied, it is not unreasonable to ask that the Grant of £50,000 should be increased, because he himself has stated that it would be looked upon as a kind of instalment. I do not wish to reiterate the arguments which have been advanced before, but there are one or two paragraphs in a circular issued by the Incorporated Association of Assistant Teachers which might be usefully quoted. They say:The Grant is the one asked for as an equivalent to the Fisher Grant in England, and we feel that, in the main, it should be used for their benefit. The Rules proposed for its allocation have excited universal opposition from the intermediate teachers.If you want to have good teaching you must have teachers who are satisfied, and this circular says that the teachers are universally opposed to these Rules. The circular continues:Whatever the intention of those who drew them up, the result must be that the benefit accruing to the assistants will be practically negligible. Experience has shown in the case of the Birrell Grant, which was admittedly intended for the lay assistant teacher, that a large portion of that Grant has been misapplied, despite the existence of a penal Clause, far more stringent than that contained in the proposed Rules for the new Grant. This offers little hope that the conditions attached to this new Grant will be complied with or enforced. Further, it has always been contended that the principle of a minimum salary is a bad one unless a scheme of salary increments is 1786 attached. The result is that a minimum virtually becomes a maximum, and this contention is fully borne out in the present case.Then fallow a number of figures which I will not read, because they have already been dealt with. In conclusion, the circular says:We especially ask you to endeavour to obtain from the Chief Secretary a definite and public statement that the money is meant to be used for the teachers, a pledge to amend the Rules governing the distribution of the Birrell Grant, and a promise to appoint a Committee, as has been done in England and Scotland, to inquire into the question of the position of the secondary teachers in the educational machinery of the country.The right hon. Gentleman has mentioned various sums of money which have been granted, but, notwithstanding all these Grants, the money is not sufficient; it does not satisfy the demands, and it leaves us in Ireland in a much worse position than they are in England or Scotland. If you want a teacher to fulfil his position you must give him an adequate salary. If you want efficiency, no matter in what position in life, you must pay an adequate salary. It is not good enough to state here in Debate that you have no more money. You must find the money for education, unless you want the State to be based on a rotten foundation. In regard to the number of certificated teachers and the smaller number of pupils attending school, I do not intend to take up the time of the House, because it will require more inquiry and analysis than can be given to it in a Debate of this kind. I am thoroughly in agreement with what has been said by the right hon. Gentleman and my colleague (Mr. Boland), that we ought to have a Committee to go into this matter. If an arrangement can be made whereby those members of the Irish party who are here can meet and decide whether the inquiry or the Committee should deal with the two subjects separately, or whether they should deal with primary and secondary education together, it would be well. The right hon. Gentleman has said that the Rules are elastic. I desire to congratulate him on the fact that the Irish Office are prepared to confer with Irish Members on Irish matters, and if that is the case they will obtain a greater degree of knowledge than has been the case hitherto. In regard to the loans of £5,000, that is a very necessary thing. In my tramps through Ireland with Lord Mayor Tallon, some years ago, I visited schools in the South and West 1787 of Ireland where the school buildings and the sanitary accommodation were defective, and in some districts they were such miserable places they were calculated to give disease to the children. I believe that the conditions are better since then, but there can be no doubt that loans are absolutely necessary in some parts of Ireland in order that proper schools may be provided. You cannot expect the number of children who are confined in these schools to be properly taught unless the place is well ventilated and there is proper sanitation. I also agree with the right hon. Gentleman with regard to capitation and security of tenure. All these things would be considered by a Committee, and I hope that some amicable arrangement will be arrived at whereby a more satisfactory system can be brought about with regard to Irish education. As I stated at a protest meeting the other day, an Irish scavenger gets more wages than some Irish national teachers. It is a scandal. That system goes right through the whole of the Irish educational business, and the result is that notwithstanding that we are a clever people, with a thirst for information, owing to the peculiar condition of Irish education and the want of proper pay for teachers, you have a seething mass of discontent amongst the teachers which, to a certain extent, has been and will be communicated to the children. This has been experienced to a very great extent. I think these facts ought to appeal to the authorities, and that the Irish teachers ought not to be driven into an untenable position. They ought to get at least a living wage. I hope some arrangement will be come to and that the Committee will meet and that an amicable arrangement will be come to. We want to help and not to hinder. We want more money, but we want to help the right hon. Gentleman if we possibly can in order that the Irish secondary education may be placed upon a more satisfactory basis than at the present time.
§ Mr. HUGH LAW
I heard with great pleasure the announcement that the Government are willing to appoint a Committee to consider either separately or in connection with primary education the question of the position of secondary teachers in Ireland. That being so, I am the more free to pass by the technicalities of the Debate. I am extremely glad that 1788 the Government are going to take this particular step, because even with the additional money which will be provided by the Equivalent Grant I do not think anybody would say that the position of the secondary teachers in Ireland is left in anything like a satisfactory position. I do not know and I do not think the Government can tell us what number of secondary teachers are going to get the maximum of £160 for men and £110 for women, but even assuming—which is very far from being the case—that they are all going to get it, I do not think that anybody who knows what demands the teaching profession at its best makes upon men and women will say that that is a sum which would enable the education authorities in any country or in any part of these Islands to obtain the services of first-class men and women.
During the fifteen years I have been in this House I have had more correspondence upon one class or another of Irish teachers than from any other body of my fellow countrymen — chiefly primary teachers, but also secondary teachers, who are less clamant but not less deserving. At one time or another I have attended teachers' meetings and demonstrations, and the fact has been borne in on me again and again that the resolutions passed by teachers in Ireland at their congresses and demonstrations, and the questions to which their minds were addressed, concerned really not matters of education at all, but always the eternal question of salaries, bonuses, and pensions. The explanation is that until we deliver men from mortal anxiety about their means of livelihood we do not set them free to give their minds wholly to what is their true profession and work. I do beg that the scope of the Committee which is about to be set up shall be wide, and that instead of approaching the question, as happens too often, from the point of view of how little can we get people to teach for, and at what price can we get rid of the complaints, the Government should approach the problem from the other end—what are the needs of education in Ireland and what provision is necessary by way of money or otherwise in order that secondary education in Ireland should be at least levelled up to secondary education in this country? I am sorry that I cannot agree with my hon. Friend who suggested that we were far in front. I am afraid that that is sadly far from being the case, and our 1789 object should be to put secondary education in Ireland on a sound educational basis, and, until that is done, we shall be far indeed from having solved the question.
§ Question put, and agreed to.