« السابقةمتابعة »
of school terms, (d) training, standard of qualification, and appointment of teachers; (e) religious instruction, (f) physical training, (9) inspection, (h) infant school arrangements, and (i) injurious employinent of children ; involving an unjustifiable amount of illiteracy, incompetent teaching in too many cases, religious friction, and a very general absence of that thoroughness, without which veneer is apt to take the place of substance-causes which, as it seems to me, must, if unamended, not only retard the progress, but sap the core of any nation.
There must, however, be much to learn, even if there be not everything to imitate, for apart from the large questions which may, with especial advantage, be studied in connection with the States, and in addition to much that may be commended, to arrive at a clear perception of error, must be a distinct gain. Moreover, the immense mass of data on educational subjects not only relating to the States, but to all parts of the world, annually collected and gratuitously distributed by the Bureau of Edu. cation is indeed a most valuable contribution and aid to educational progress, and deserves to be extensively and gratefully availed of.
VII.—THE SCHOOLS OF FRANCE.
Until recently France has had no system of schools that admitted of a comparison with those of the United States. Since the year 1871, or since the beginning of the new republic, however, France has made great progress in public oducation. Indeed its efforts in behalf of com. mon school education have been so enormous, and their results so astonishing, that a comparison with the efforts in our own country seems quite proper.
The population of France in 1886 was 38,218,903. As will be seen from Diagram III, the primary elementary school there extends its course over only six instead of over eight years as in Prussia and here; but this course is followed by a two or three years' course in superior elementary schools, which may be said to be still in their infancy. The elementary schools are preceded by the maternal or infant schools, institutions similar to but not identical with the kindergarten in Germany and the United States, only with this vital difference, that they are organically connected with the primary school. Hence, definite statistics concerning their number of pupils are not lacking as in Germany and America. These infant schools in France had in 1886–87 741,224 pupils, which number represents nearly 2 per cent. of the population.
The primary elementary schools, institutions similar to the German people's schools, contain 5,487,589 pupils in 1886, or 14.45 per cent. of the population. Now, 14.45 per cent. is about 6 per cent. less than in the United States and 2.77 per cent. less than in Prussia. If the fact is considered that the course in the elementary schools is two years (respectively, one year) shorter than in Prussia, the apparent discrepancy between these two countries vanishes, and it would seem that compulsory attendance works out a corresponding result. Again, if we were to deduct all the pupils over twelve years in this country, the percentage would fall lower than it was stated (20.38 per cent.).
The addition of the extremely small number of pupils in France who avail themselves of the advantages offered in the superior elementary
schools (not quite 40,000), and the number of pupils in the various public secondary schools (not quite 100,000), raise the average per cent. of the population but little, namely:
Per cent. Primary elementary schools
...... 14.45 Superior elementary schools ...,
.... 0.1 Secondary public schools......
14.81 Since we have for the United States and for Prussia excluded in our calculations the kindergarten and university, we must do likewise for France.
The French elementary schools, primary and superior, are attracting the attention of other nations in no small degree. They are not only endowed lavishly and provided with costly apparatus, such as is found neither in the American common schools nor in German people's schools, but an experiment is at present being made in connection with them, the progress and results of which are watched closely on both sides of the Atlantic, to wit: The Government has decreed that manual training be introduced as an integral part of the curriculum. In 1887 100 of 174 boys' elementary schools in Paris had commodious workshops for work in joining, turning, wood carving, and forging.
VIII-CRITICISM OF THE FRENCH SCHOOLS.
Dr. Laishley, whose views have been quoted on German and Ameri. can schools, expresses himself quite fully in regard to the French school system. He says
The present state system, as revised by the laws of the 16th of June, 1881, and 28th of March, 1882, should be a peculiarly interesting study, as being the most absolute one existing of gratuitous, secular, and compulsory education. And the enactments just mentioned, which entirely changed the main features of primary education in France, were passed by reason of the views prevailing there, that “in France the preliminary condition of all progress was the secularization of education;" and that the laws in question “wonld enable France to resume the march onward which was began by the revolution of 1789."
The great education question, which has been agitated in France for some years, has been whether the priesthood, or the bulk of the people, shall have the dominating influence over popular education. The people have prevailed ; and accordingly education in all the national educational establishments is exclusively secular. And by the law pagsed in 1886 “in public schools of every description all instruction is to be given exclusively by laymen." Whether this will eventually be profitable has yet to be proved; inasmuch as the legislation is too recent to enable the system to be deemed vet other than as an experiment in France. But meantime the friction is obviously great: and hostile influences bitter and powerful.
Special features.-The special features connected with this system appear to be(1) The eager pational intention to render it as perfect as possible; (2) In pursuanco of that intention, the munificent, indeed, the lavish, expenditure upon education; (3) The absence of any religious feature, but the system purports to be absolutely Deutral in, and not hostile to, religion ; (4) The special attention paid to the promotion of industrial training by means of gratuitous schools, classes, and lectures, and
especially the grafting of such training upon ordinary primary school education ; (5) The organization of, and provision for, teaching and inspection in infant schools and classes; and (6) The remarkable porcentage of attendances at the primary schools. The state, far more absolutely tban elsewhere, controls the complete education of the people. * *
Gratuitous and compulsory phases.-Instruction in all primary, including infant schools, is now gratuitous. School necessaries also are provided without charge; and in Paris pendy dinners are provided by the municipality, which dinners, in the case of really poor children, are gratuitous. There are no separate free schools for paupers, as in England.
Compulsory attendance now applies to all children from the age of six (complete) to that of thirteen (complete).' If, however, they are receiving instruction at home, or at a private school, or obtain a “ certificat d'études" (which is possible to obtain at eleven), they are exempt. In respect of this certificate, Matthew Arnold says: “The boy who gets a 'certificat d'études' has, I think, been better trained and has more to show for his schooling than the boy who has gone through the standards;" whilst the royal commissioners for technical instruction state that the examination "will probably not be considered more difficult than that of the children in our Eng. lish schools who pass the fifth standard and have taken up one or more of the special subjects.
The only other excuses allowed are: (a) One applicable to half-time scholars, viz, that a school board may, subject to the consent of the departmental council, exempt children employed in trades or agriculture from one of the two daily attendances-80 " that children can only be employed as half-timers in trades or agriculture, under the age of thirteen, by the joint consent of the communes and of the department, unless at or above the age of eleven they have obtained the certificat d'études;'" (b) illness of the child; (c) death of a member of the family; or (d) hindrances resulting from accidental difficulty of access to the school. And all other excuses will have to be judged by the scholastio commission, a body constituted for the purpose of enforcing regular school attendance.
Owing probably, however, not only to the public desire for education in France, but to the strict supervision exercised by the authorities, and the punishments im. posable in case of irregularity in attendance, the school attendance is excellent, especially in cities; and it is computed "that 10 per cent. is the maximum absence for any school in Paris, while in a very large number of schools the total average of attend. ance exceeds 95 per cent.
Children are protected by law against premature employment, but the law does not seem to be, in some of the departments, officially carried out. Proper books record. ing the attendance at both public and private schools have to be kept, and absences reported, and even private head-masters neglecting to do this are liable to be repri. manded or suspended.
School age. There is no definition of school age, or any law respecting it, except that relating to compulsory attendance. The “ écoles maternelles” admit children from two years of age, and from M. Ferry's report on the organization of superior primary schools, coupled with the facilities provided by the state for the promotion of adult education, it is evident that it is against the policy of France to impose any limit of age.
Infant schools. The infant class, or the maternal school, is the initial, although not, as applying to any under school age (six), a compulsory stage. Of infant schools or classes, the following points seem worth consideration: (a) The object of and method adopted in them, including the adoption in great part of the method of Kroebel: (b) the addition of an infant class to a primary school when a separate school is impracticable; (c) the limitation of numbers for each teacher; and (d) the fact that infant schools are not only taught exclusively by females (who must be,
This is an error; twelve is the maximum in the primary school.-[Ed.
however, of a certain age, and qualified), but also inspected by "departmental lady inspectors,” and “general lady inspectors,” nominated by the minister. It should, however, be added that the appointmonts of departmental lady inspectors are not yet regularly and generally established, by reason of the expense; although it is hoped that it will be possible to perfect the organization in a few years. Private infant schools are subject to supervision similarly to other private schools.
Elementary primary schools. The next grade is the primary school proper, where instruction is always understood to be, whatever may be the number of pupils and classes, divided into three courses of two years each-(a) Elementary, from six to eight years of age; (b) Intermediate, from eight to ten, and superior, from ten to twelve. An additional course of one, two, or three years is provided under certain circumstances; but this course, although annexed to the elementary schools, is ranked in the category of superior primary education,
In all the above-mentioned courses industrial work, or, at all events, what may be deemed to be practical preparation for it, is in the programmos both for boys and girls; and, indeed, in many primary schools, including a considerablo number of those in Paris, instruction is given in handicrafts.
The ordinary number of pupils in an elementary primary school, at least in Paris, is from 300 to 400; and the average size of the classes ranges from 40 to 50 pupils, and Innst not exceed 50.
In every primary srhool there is a hall, where there are lavatories and movable tables wbereon the children can take at noon their dinner meal, and near to there are culinary arrangements for preparing or warming up the children's food. Where there is not a special hall for the teaching of gymnastics, the children can march or perform gymnastic exercises in the dining hall, or bave recreation there in rainy weather; and in such a case a part of it will be devoted for the deposit of the children's clothing. The playgrounds are, as a rule, small; although they are considered indispensable for a primary school.
Both Mr. Matthew Arnold and a prominent member of the London school board consider that the French elementary schools are in advance of the English ; and the commissioners state that the ordinary schools of Francu (primary and secondary) excel the English ones as a preparation for the technical school.
Superior primary schools. The next step is the superior primary school, an insti. tation entirely distinct from the elementary primary school; and here the course comprises at least two years of studies, and here also manual instruction is pursued; although there are also schools established mainly for apprenticeship instruction purposes, superior primary schools include also higher elementary technical schools. The object of the establishment' of superior primary schools is found stated in the report of October 29, 1881 ; and their organization in a letter from M. Ferry to the prefect, dated November 6, 1881. There are no optional subjects. Special masters attend to teach music, gymnastics, and sometimes drawing, which is said to be more advanced than in English schools,: The ordinary school hours are from 8 a. m. to 4 p. m., one hour and and a half interval at noon, and one hour 4 to 5 p. m. for gymnastics. The income available for expenditure on primary schools is derived mainly from the state and the communes. The state supremely controls, in the case of all primary schools, through the minister of public instruction.
Secondary and higher schools.--(1) Substantial public money aid is given by grants and in scholarships, which latter are provided for colleges, lyceums, and faculties, as well as for superior primary schools, and the aid is contributed respectively by the state, the departments, and the communes, and is very munificent (2) Instruction in secondary schools is not gratuitous, but the fees payable by scholars are very much less than in similar establishments in England, owing not only to the grants, but to the low salaries paid to professors and teachers of all grades in France. (3) The admission of young children into the lower divisions of both the communal colleges and lyceams for special elementary preparation is worthy of note, and also (4) the fact that modern languages and science have been largely substituted in the secondary schools for Latin and Greek.
Technical instruction.- No pains are spared, especially to develop the manual genius of the artisan classes. This is done not only by the blending of industrial theory and practice into the primary school course of study, and by evening schools, Sunday, apprentice, and continuation schools and classes, but by science and art schools for adults and others, and by lectures of all kinds; all which instruction is gratuitous, except in some cases a nominal fee for admission to lestures. The evening instruction is considered the most striking feature of the present condition of educational effort in France.
Physical training.-Physical training occupies a prominent position in the school programmes. It is provided that oven the infant schools and classes shall be exercised in gymnastics, graduated to favor the pbysical development of the child, whilst in reciting in the regulations of primary schools the triple object of education, physical education is placed before either of the two other objects, and it is provided that in addition to evolutions and exercises which can accompany the movements of the class, gymnastic exercises are to be had every day, or at least every two days, in the courgo of the afternoon. In the communal colleges and lyceums the exercises occupy fonir lessons per week of half an hour's duration each.
Prirate schools.-Private schools are not under general state control, yet they are subject to state supervision in respect to (a) morality, (b) sanitary arrangements, (c) the keeping a register of and reporting absences, and (d) so that the books used be not such as are contrary to the actual constitution or principles of the government.
Teachers. The “ brevet de capacité" requirement of the law of June 16, 1881, and the further provisions of the law passed in 1886, render the proper qualification of teachers indispensable. The subject of normal schools therefore has become, not only to the state but to the teacher, an especially important one; and in all the de. partments there are excellent state normal schools for the training of masters and in many for mistresses. Examinations are held for admission. Pupils enter at eighteen. The course of study is for three years. A primary school, in which pupils are exercised, is annexed to each normal school, and near outside is a maternal school. The institutions are boarding schools, although a certain number of half boarders and day scholars are received; but instruction and board are given gratuitously. There is no religious teaching.
There are also two superior normal schools, one at Fontenay-aux-Roses for girls, and one at St. Cloud for boys, for the purpose of training teachers to superintend teaching in normal schools. Applicants for admission must be at least twenty years of age, possess the superior certificate granted to teachers, and succeed in an admission examination which comprehends written and oral proofs of capacity, including the practice of teaching. Both classes of establishments are national institutions, nonecclesiastical and mainly residential in character.
Teachers for primary schools must be exclusively laymen, and are nominated on the proposition of the inspector by the prefect of the department (province). The inspector, however, “always acts in concert with and takes the opinion of the rural municipality before naming the teacher."
The pupil-teacher system is virtually defunct in France, the former system of monitors which somewhat corresponded to the English pupil-teacher arrangements having become substantially a thing of the past. Women are much more fully employed as teachers than in Germany and Switzerland.
Professors and teachers of all grades are very poorly paid; and if Victor Hugo's definition be correct, that the schoolmaster in France is the highest functionary of the state, they certainly do not pay their highest state functionaries adequately. Every teacher has a right to a pension after twenty-five years' servico. It is calcu. lated at the rate of one-half of the highest salary earned during the last six years