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“ Is any inspection made by the Government after the grant has been made ? -None has been exercised hitherto."
“ Has the National Society a system of inspection at this moment ? -Not generally.”
These extracts, and many more of a similar nature which we might make, are instructive reading. They show us how the public money has been wasted, and the public call for education trifled with, both by Government and by these Societies. The whole of the grant of £100,000 may have been, and for any thing we know to the contrary has been, expended in erecting school-buildings, in not one of which has a single day's instruction been given to a single child. And yet, with this evidence before them, the Committee affirm that they can recommend no better system! Could they recommend a worse?
Again, there is ample evidence in the Report before us, and in the documents on which it relies, to prove that the great want of large towns, and of the country generally, is not so much more schools as better schools;* not so much an increase of funds, as a wiser application of existing funds ;—and Dr. Kay has given some curious and valuable calculations, which show that a larger sum is now expended in educating one-sixteenth of the people ill, than would suffice to educate one-eighth of the people well. The length to which our remarks have already extended, prevent us quoting these. We can only refer our readers to the Report itself.
But the following observations, in the Manchester Report, deserve attention :
“ The number of children returned, as attending different schools, affords a very imperfect criterion of the real state of education in any town or district where such returns are made. Of the children who attend the Dame and common Day Schools, amounting to nearly 12,000, the greater part receive an extremely poor education, scarcely deserving of the name.”
“În conclusion, the Committee wish to remark, that, although a very small proportion of the youthful population of Bury are destitute of the means of instruction, the instruction conveyed, in the various schools, is yet highly defective and inefficient."'S
Much anxiety was evinced, by the Members of the Parliamentary Committee, to ascertain whether the working classes would be able and willing to pay 3d. or 4d. a-week for the education of their children, if that education were of a really valuable and efficient nature; and much needless scepticism ap* See Table at p. 336. Evidence, p. 135. + Evidence, p. 24, 34, 35, 76. Manchester Report, p. 15, 16.
§ Bury Report, p. 12.
peared upon the point. For not to mention the fact which was all the time staring them in the face, that the poor do actually pay weekly sums, varying from 2d. to 1s., for education, which is not worth a farthing ;* and that the number of worthless schools, which are crowded even to suffocation, sufficiently attest the anxiety of parents to procure some instruction for their children,-all the witnesses examined, with one exception, are unanimous in their testimony upon this point. That one ex- . ception, however, is remarkable. Mr. Wood is asked, “Do you think the poorer classes generally would gladly pay a penny à-day for good instruction to their children, if a national system of education were organized ?” He replies : 1
“I am quite satisfied they would gladly pay a penny a-week ; but it is not the penny a-week that is the question with them in sending their children to school ; it is the expense of keeping them, when they can find profitable employment for them at six or seven years of age ; it is the expense of providing them with such decent clothing as they ought to have when they go to school. It appears to me, in fact, that the only way in which general education can obtain, must be by an advance in the wages of the adult population.”
Mr. Wood's excellence seems to lie rather in observation than in reasoning, or he would scarcely have hazarded the concluding remark. For he could hardly be ignorant, First, that the wages of the adult population in the large towns, with which he is chiefly conversant, are in most cases enormously high; Secondly, that it is by no means those parents whose earnings are the greatest who lay out most money in educating their children, or in clothing them, or in providing against future wants; and Thirdly, that many families in a higher station do contrive to preserve a most respectable appearance, and to give an excellent education to their children, upon incomes less than half those of many of the operative classes in several districts we could name in the North of England. We have at this moment lying before us returns from a manufacturing establishment not far from Manchester, in which forty-three families are employed. Of these twenty-two are in receipt of a net annual income of upwards of £100; and eight of them of various sums ranging from £130 to £200 a-year. Nor is this instance by any means a singular, or even an unusual one. We could mention many by which it is exceeded. Now, when we consider how many Ministers of the Gospel, how many Clergymen of the Church
* Dr. Kay's Evidence. Reports of the Manchester and London Stat. Societies, passim. + Evidence, questions 59, 247, 378, 1478.
I Evidence, p. 107.
of England, how many clerks, how many professional men, contrive to educate numerous families with respectability and credit upon £70, £80, and £100 a-year, we may well feel surprised that Mr. Wood should have considered an advance of wages as an indispensable preliminary to the spread of education in large towns. Moreover, his acquaintance with the poor should have made him cognizant of the fact, that the families whose earnings are the greatest are rarely those whose earnings are the most wisely or reputably expended; and that the most highly paid workmen are too often those whose savings are the smallest, whose children are the most neglected, and whose dwellings are the least respectable. We could cite cases on the other hand where the most moderate wages have been made to supply all real wants. We could mention as a specimen one man, whose weekly earnings never exceeded 138., and yet who out of this small sum contrived to support a numerous family in decency and even comfort, to educate them all conformably to their station, and to lay by a sufficient sum to apprentice them all to reputable trades. The truth is that the education of our operative classes has been so bad, that neither men nor women possess the rudiments of domestic economy;* and as long as this want continues no income would place them in easy circumstances. We are disposed to believe that there are not many families of the working classes in our great towns which might not, under a proper system of household management, lay by half their earnings, and yet live on the remainder in greater comfort and respectability than at present.
It may perhaps be advisable to notice here another fallacious idea which seems to be entertained by many, viz., that if a general system of education were established, the children would have no time to profit by it. This notion is completely refuted by the evidence of Mr. Ashworth and Dr. Kay.T The fact is that in country districts, and in all towns which are not manufacturing, children can rarely find any regular occupation before the age of fourteen or fifteen years; the difficulty is, not to keep them at home, but to find any profitable employment for them abroad. In the great manufacturing districts of the North, on the other hand, there is a very great demand for juvenile labour, especiallyin the Cotton, Woollen, and Silk Factories; but here the Legislature has stepped in (though clumsily enought) to remedy the evil; and, with the avowed purpose of allowing ample opportunity for education, has enacted that children under nine shall not be employed at all, and that children under thirteen shall not be employed more than eight hours a-day. So that ten years, sufficient one would imagine under almost any system, for a thorough education, are still left for the labours of the schoolmaster. We trust, therefore, we shall no more hear either the poverty of the Parents, or the occupation of the children, urged as a plea against the establishment of a sound system of National Instruction.
* Questions 173-177.
+ Evidence, questions 108–110.
But we have not done with Lord Sandon's fourth Resolution yet. The strongest condemnation of it remains behind. When his Lordship moved the Committee to affirm that they could devise no better employment of the Government grant than to expend it in erecting buildings at the recommendation of the two rival Societies, had he forgotten, or had he perchance never heard, the unanimous testimony of all the witnesses as to the paramount, surpassing, necessity for the establishment of NorMAL SCHOOLS? Was he not aware that every fresh examination into the subject has resulted in the more prominent exposure of the truth, that to the incapacity of the schoolmaster, more than to any other cause, the vile quality of popular education in this country is to be attributed ? Does he not know that among all men there is but one opinion on this matter, that to have efficient schools you must have qualified Teachers, and that Teachers cannot be qualified without careful previous training? Above all, did he not remember that £10,000 was voted by Parliament for the establishment of Normal Schools, not one shilling of which has yet been appropriated ? It is wrapped up in a napkin, and remains buried in the Treasury.
We will lay before our Readers a few specimens of the evidence which is extant to prove the general ignorance and incapacity of the Teachers of daily schools, the necessity which exists for the establishment of Normal Schools, and the extent to which the few institutions of the kind which at present exist are crippled and baffled in their operations by the want of pecuniary aid. Dr. Kay is asked,
“Do the Teachers appear to you ill calculated to give the grounds of useful knowledge to the poor children who are placed under their instruction ?- In the first place, they are very imperfectly instructed ; and, secondly, if their personal knowledge were much more extensive than it is, they have no acquaintance whatever with any correct methods of conveying religious or secular instruction ;—they have no idea whatsoever of the proper mode of conducting the moral and industrial training of children.”—Question 15.*
* See also passim, the evidence of Mr. Wood.
“ Few of the Teachers are in any way qualified for their occupation. In all other professions, even in trades for succeeding in which nothing is required beyond manual dexterity, individuals are obliged, by serving an apprenticeship, to initiate themselves into the mysteries of their craft; but in the profession of teaching, where a thorough knowledge of the human heart and mind, a perfect command of temper, observation, penetration, patience, and all the better qualities of mind, are requisite, besides an intimate acquaintance with the subjects professed to be taught, it is found that a majority of Teachers enter on their task without previous preparation of any kind, and even without any sufficient knowledge as to what subjects they ought to teach. One pretends to teach spelling, who says that she does not like to be criticksized'; and another to teach grammar, who might truly say of the attempt, that it was a moral impossible. They almost all come unprepared by education, by habits, and by disposition, to undertake one of the most responsible duties that can be conceived."-Westminster Report, p. 34.
“ The greater part of these schools (dame schools) are kept by females, but some by old men, whose only qualification for the task seems to be their unfitness for every other. Of the children who attend the common day schools, the greater part receive an extremely poor education, scarcely meriting the name. This is owing chiefly to the ignorance and incapacity of the Masters who conduct them; and no effectual means can be taken to render these schools efficient, until proper seminaries are established for the instruction of the Teachers themselves, and till the idea is exploded that the task of education is the only one for which no previous knowledge or qualification is required.” -Manchester Report, p. 5, 16.
“ The Teachers, with few exceptions, are of the lowest class, and have received no preparation for their task by previous education; their competency has been submitted to no tests and they are in fact totally unqualified for their situation, both from want of knowledge, and want of moral influence over the children. The office of Schoolmaster is almost universally undertaken by persons who can find no readier means of subsistence.”—Liverpool Report, p. 38.
“The Teachers of these schools are for the most part women, who, with no particular talent or vocation for the office, have taken it up as an easier mode of ekeing out a scanty income than any other occupation in which character and capacity would be required. Four of them receive parochial relief; and most certainly England is the only country in which Parish Paupers are considered competent to conduct the education of any portion of the rising generation.”—York Report, p. 8.
Now, as to the desirability of Normal Schools:
“Supposing (Dr. Kay is asked) any general plan for the education of the children in the working classes were to be carried out, do you think there are any teachers qualified for the task at present, and what number?-A very great difficulty would be experienced in procuring Teachers properly instructed, and acquainted with proper methods of training