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quality of teachers. The only difficulty is—and it is one of the most serious of all—where are these teachers to come from? In time we have little doubt that they will be forthcoming. The position, and perhaps the average stipend, will be raised; the supply will correspond to the demand. But at the first start there will be very great difficulty. The Education Department has apparently provided for this by the enactment to which we have already alluded ;* probably, if necessity is shown, it may see its way to relax a little more the stringency of its regulations, provided that real efficiency be secured. In fact, its requirement of certificates is an inconsistency, though, we think, a wise and noble inconsistency, with the bare principle of payment by results, which the introducers of the Revised Code so loudly professed ; and, under these circumstances, it ought to feel free to construe it somewhat liberally. In any case, as we have said, there will be trouble enough in starting. Probably in three years the number of certificated teachers in England must be nearly trebled ; and even afterwards the supply needed will be greatly in excess of what has been hitherto required. How is it to be furnished ?
All who are acquainted with the subject will be aware that any competent teacher has long been able to gain a certificate by examination, without going to a training college, and now (as we have already seen) is allowed to receive one on proof of experience, without examination. These provisions will, we hope, do much towards the needful supply. If only the position and prospects of the school teachers can be improved, many will enter or come back to this special form of educational work; and we would suggest that perhaps more use might be made (as is done in America) of female teachers, even in boys' schools, so that here some of the 600,000 overplus of females, of which the last Census informs us, may be taken up and utilized. But the real backbone of the teaching body will be found in the trained teachers. We cannot too strongly urge upon all who care for education, what we have already urged in the interests of religion, that the great want is likely to be the want of more training colleges. The Boards have under the Act no power to found them; there will be great difficulty, especially in the present attitude of the Government towards religion, in creating them through the Education Department. It will be far better for the future of Christian Education, if the Church and other religious bodies will devote their special energies to this important work. One training college, as we have said, will be worth very inany elementary schools; the present colleges may be enlarged, even if no new ones are built; possibly some colleges of a higher class might be induced to form departments for this special work. This matter is really one of the most important, and perhaps perplexing, of all. For want of success here all other exertions may be baffled, and the largest and most costly organization half paralysed.
* New Code59. During the three years ending 3186 December, 1873, certificates of the third class may be granted, without examination, upon the report of an Inspector, to acting teachers who satisfy the following conditions :
(1.) They must, at the date of the Inspector's report,
(a.) Be above 35 years of age ;
(c) Present certificates of good character from the managers of their schools.
(a.) That they are efficient teachers;
during the preceding six months, were individually examloed (Article 2s); and
But there is still one other condition which must be fulfilled, if the educational progress we hope for is to be realized. All competent teachers cry with one voice, .Give us the children in regular attendance for a sufficient time, and we will teach them anything which in reason you can demand.' It has been in this, far more than in any other difficulty, that the weakness of our educational system has hitherto been manifest.
There are crowds of children who do not come to school at all; there are still larger numbers whose attendance is so short and irregular that anything beyond the merest smattering is a thing impossible. Take again the statistics of this very division of Westminster, in which we
are writing. There are schools which at the authorized allowance of 8 square feet per child * could take in 28,292 children. Now only 23,680 are on the rolls. There is room, therefore, for some 5000 more, out of the 20,000, or thereabouts, who still fail to come. But this is not all; at the time of enumeration there were but 16,657 in actual attendance-that is, unless the day was especially unfortunate, there are no less than 7000 children in irregular attendance, coming one day or one week and absent the next. And this is a far more serious defect even than the other, for this irregularity really mars the teaching of the school, and produces a mere illusory shadow of education in the children. Here is, after all, the crying evil. There are thousands of children in London who have, actually or virtually, no parents ; who scramble on as they can by their own earnings or beggings or stealings, hanging loose on the outskirts of society. These never enter our schools at all; their school of low and precocious cunning is found in the streets, and their teachers are misery and crime. Then there are thousands of parents too poor, or too idle, or too dissolute, to do without the little earnings of their children, or, perhaps, too ignorant and too careless to know the value of education for them.
By the way, is it necessary to insist rigidly on this area in all schools, and that without any regard to the height of the building and the consequent variation in the number of cubic feet corresponding to a given area on the floor?
Their little ones are the absentees or the irregular comers. Something must be done to remedy these crying evils. What is it to be ?
The Education Act suggests compulsion, and arms the Boards with compulsory powers. These powers were but permissive, but one Board after another has accepted the responsibility, and affirmed the absolute necessity of exercising them; and the districts which have no School Boards are crying out for some compulsory machinery which shall extend to them. Public opinion has on the whole supported these views and these resolutions. Even our national dislike of compulsion in any sbape, and our jealous anxiety for individual liberty of parent or child, have given way. We are beginning to find, in this as in other matters, that we must have some government, some coercion of licence and selfishness, when they clothe themselves in the sacred garb of Liberty. Another great experiment is to be made: we rejoice that it is to be attempted, and wish it all success. But the task will certainly be one of extreme delicacy and difficulty. It must be so carried out as to retain the support of public opinion, especially in the classes chiefly concerned ; and this it will not do, unless it carefully avoids undue precipitation, and uses discrimination and even tenderness to avoid infliction of real hardship
The experience of the compulsory system in America (although authorities vary respecting it) is on the whole somewhat discouraging. Laws stringent in theory, and a dead letter in practice, are worse than useless ; they simply demoralize a people. And what can we say of the working of such compulsory Acts as we have in England ? Look at the results of the Vaccination Act. In the face of the most decisive medical statistics known, under the terror of what we fondly deemed an almost extinct species of epidemic in London, still the law is defied, and the authorities, it seems, dare not enforce it. Yet smallpox is more easily recognised as an evil than ignorance, and the sending a child to school is a greater sacrifice than allowing it to be vaccinated. Evidently we are on dangerous ground. We must not on that account stop or hesitate ; but we must look to our feet.
The worst difficulty will not be with the vagabond classes, the children who are neither at school nor at work, but who are haunting the streets, living on waifs and strays, and forming the nursery of our criminal classes. It will be expensive, and in some points difficult, to lay hold of these children, and to settle how they shall be fed and clothed while they are being taught. But the object is so desirable, so free from all drawback, so manifestly expedient in the long run, that there will be no hesitation about it on the part of the public; and when this is the case, the work is half done. The Industrial Schools Act must be worked and perhaps extended; the · Ragged School’ system must be taken up by authority. Something perhaps may be done (as the experiment of the Chichester'shows) to solve by this means the problem of a nursery for our Army and Navy. It is not expense or difficulty of detail which will bafile or even naturally impede such a work as this.
The true perplexity lies in dealing with the children who are at work, and whose earnings are, or are supposed to be, necessary for the subsistence of themselves and their parents. No doubt, in the long run, it will be good even for their families to carry them off. Their labour will become more valuable when they are educated, and their withdrawal from the labour market must eventually give more employment to their elders. But in the meanwhile there may be wide-spread hardship, and, unless great prudence be shown, the process will break down, because magistrates will hesitate to convict and imprison defaulters, and public opinion will be apt to rise up against them if they prove to be made of sterner stuff. Much will have to be done by nightschools and variations of the half-time system to meet the needs of other employments, agricultural or commercial, than those in which its present form works so well. Of course, in cases of real poverty, fees must be remitted or paid ; and (reverting to a subject already noticed) we would warn the Boards to confine their compulsion within as narrow limits as may be, and leave the widest liberty of choice as to the particular school or kind of school. But whatever may be done, we feel convinced that direct compulsion must be supplemented by indirect. If the Factory and Workshops Acts be made thoroughly effective, and modified with a view to extend as widely as possible the principle of making the employer responsible for seeing that children earning wages from him are either sufficiently instructed already or are attending school, the compulsory powers of the Boards will be in great degree relieved of strain at the only point at which they are in danger of breaking down. And they will be also greatly helped if a little of the task of compulsion be taken off them by forcing the Guardians to carry out those excellent provisions of Evelyn Denison's Act, which make the sending the children of outdoor paupers to school a part of parochial relief
. At present this Act, now simply permissive, is disgracefully
neglected. neglected. It appeared by a recent return, that out of 38,577 children of outdoor paupers in London, only 3125 were paid for at school by the Guardians. At St. Pancras there are 2136 such children, and not a single one is paid for: in the Strand Union the Guardians actually have the face to answer, 'Nothing known about such an Act.' Evidently such a state of things ought not to be allowed: the Guardians have had a fair trial under a permissive system, and now we hope that the screw will be put on at once. All this belongs to the Home Office; we wish that our experience of its energies were more satisfactory. But Mr. Bruce would find an easier field here, and might actually wipe out the remembrance of his cab legislation and his Licensing Bill.
These and other similar precautions must be taken, and the fervour of new-born converts to compulsion must be tempered by the remembrance that it is our last resource- —that, like the rod, it may often be most effective by being kept simply in terrorem—that its failure would leave us in a far worse plight than at present, while it is still untried. But it must be attempted; on its success more depends than even on the other points on which we have already dwelt. If we are really discriminating and make allowance for the difficulties which society imposes on the individual, then we may be just and fear not.' The work will succeed, and it will be one which our children and our childrens' children will bless.
In these ways we hope that a real improvement may take place in the work of our Elementary Schools; and we look forward, lastly, to another influence acting in the same direction, to stimulate and to test such improvement. The Government inspection must. be in some way extended, so as to reach at least all Elementary Schools. Probably almost all the large schools will come into the present system, simply making themselves Public Elementary Schools' in the meaning of the Act. But a beginning has been made, which will hardly be allowed to remain fruitless, towards a larger and more varied system. All the existing schools not already under regular inspection are to be now called upon to submit to be inspected by the Education Department, in order to test their efficiency in teaching, under pain of being ignored in estimating the educational resources of the various localities. We understand that the inspection (as indeed is necessary) is to be conducted by rather freer and less technical methods than usual, looking to tolerable efficiency of any kind, rather than to efficiency after a particular type and pattern. We cannot but hope that the experiment will not be altogether dropped, when it has done its immediate duty.