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that educational interests have not hitherto excited very great attention in the elections to school boards.
There is a general preference for indirect election, but for some reasons it would be very important that the council of the county or borough should be largely represented, or that it should even be in a majority on the committee through which it must act.
The committee will have to incur certain financial liabilities, and it should, in the opinion of many, possess financial control. If its budget is to be revised and amended by the council, its independence of action will be gone. If it is to have a free hand, not only as regards the money placed at its disposal by Parliament, but also as to the exercise of rating powers for educational purposes, there arises the necessity that the committee should have behind it the force which comes from a popular element in its composition. In other words, a majority of its members must be the elected members of the council. Direct election may not create or maintain a good educational authority, but the authority must be in some measure representative if it is to retain the confidence of its public.
We may now consider the financial resources of the committee, first for elementary and then for secondary education. For elementary education there is first the Government grant; and it may be hoped that the forms which this has assumed, the block grant, fee grant, aid grant, will now be simplified. There are the rates on which the maintenance of the voluntary schools will henceforth make a large additional demand, and there are endowments to which no allusion is made in the Bill, but which will need to be dealt with. Out of these funds the local authority will be required to maintain all the elementary schools and to provide, from time to time alter and improve, and keep in good repair, all but the voluntary schools.
For secondary education there is the residue under the Local Taxation Act 1890 amounting in 1901 to more than a million. County Councils have power to raise money by rate up to twopence in the pound, the Local Government Board may fix a higher rate by Provisional Order, on the application of the council of a county or county borough, while the autonomous boroughs and urban districts may raise another penny. Fees may be charged for education other than elementary, and the local authority, though it has no power to deal with endowments, will probably be able, by offer of subsidies, to come to terms with the smaller grammar schools, and to utilise the endowments within its area.
These resources are not large, and inasmuch as the same authority will, as regards counties and county boroughs, be responsible for both kinds of education, it may be feared that the additional charge which voluntary schools will make on the rates may deter the councils from the free exercise of their rating powers for the higher education.
The disinclination of the ratepayer to meet the growing needs of education may have an effect other than the mere diminution of educational resources. Already we hear a demand, becoming constantly more urgent, that Parliament should come to his assistance, and that a larger sum should be given to elementary education from the Imperial Exchequer. This may set free money for education other than elementary, but it must also react on the constitution of the new education authority. The larger the sum contributed by the general taxpayer, the smaller the reasons for demanding local representation and popular control, the greater the probability that persons nominated by the Board of Education may occupy a considerable space on the committee of the local authority.
The smallness of the resources which the Bill provides becomes more apparent when we consider that the new authority will not only be expected to make provision for higher education, but to take some steps toward the more complete and efficient system for the training of teachers.
In elementary education the need of such training has been long recognised. Few indeed, if any, are likely to possess an innate capacity for the maintenance of discipline in large classes, the power of arresting and keeping the attention of children, and of putting knowledge in such a form as would reach young and uninformed minds. In secondary schools it has been thought until very recently that anyone could teach who knew a little more than the learner.
The need of larger appliances for the training of teachers in elementary schools is apparent in the report of the Board of Education for 1900-1901. It appears from that report that 139,818 teachers are engaged in the teaching of more than four and a half million children. Of this number of teachers not more than 62,085 are certificated, and of these again not more than 80,020 have passed through training colleges.
Many of those who have not passed through colleges
have nevertheless obtained valuable practical experience as pupil teachers or assistants under trained and capable teachers; but the fact remains that more than half of the certificated teachers in elementary schools have picked up their training as best they could, and have prepared themselves for their examinations in the scanty leisure which their work in the school allowed.
His Majesty's Inspector of Training Colleges attributes this result to several causes. One is a continuance of the belief that teaching is a natural gift, that the power to teach is not to be learned by any scientific process of education. Another is the paucity of training colleges and the denominational character of the greater number. A third is the expense which attends a course of training, expense which to the students is not represented merely by outlay, but by postponement of the time for the profitable exercise of their profession.
The difference in the effect of study at a training college and preparation for examination while engaged in the hard and practical work of teaching, is made very clear in the same report. The acting teacher is at a serious disadvantage as compared with the student at a residential college, when brought to the test of examination.
"Their success in our examinations is far from brilliant. One comparison will bring out clearly how they stand in relation to students from training colleges. Last year 3,510 acting teachers took papers for the second part of the second year examination. Of these 439 failed outright, 262 passed in the first division, 777 in the second, and 2,032 in the third. In the same year (1899) out of 1,868 students in residential colleges who took the same part of a similar examination none failed, 1,195 passed in the first division, 572 in the second, and 91 in the third. As the third division does not qualify to take charge of pupil teachers, the difference means a great deal.' *
Such being the value of training, and such the advantage which the trained student has over the untrained, it is unsatisfactory to learn that, comparing the number of children in the schools and of certificated teachers who have gone through a course of training, there is but one trained teacher for every 128 children. The statistics of the training colleges, day and residential, show that their yearly supply will not overtake the demand for many years
• Report of the Board of Education 1900-1901, vol. ii. p. 186. Pt. I. Division ii. Mr. Rankine's Report on Training Colleges. VOL. OXOVI. NO. OOOOI. 8
to come, even if that demand is pat as low as one trained teacher for every 100 children, and if we assume no increase in the number attending school.
But the dearth of trained teachers does not arise only from the causes which deter the student from undertaking a course of instruction at a training college. The residential colleges themselves are deficient in number, in means, and in freedom of character. In other words, they are too few, they are too poor, and, with two exceptions, they are denominational.
At present the Government assists residential training colleges to the extent of three-fourths of the certified expenditure, the remaining fourth comes from contributions of individuals and societies, and from fees paid by the students. Building and supervision must come from private sources. Then, too, the denominational character of so many of these colleges is a serious drawback to their general usefulness. The two difficulties are summed up in a paragraph of the report.
'The number of our training colleges is insufficient. Many teachers would gladly avail themselves of the advantages of college life, but there is no room for them. Nonconformists especially are at a disadvantage, as there are many cases of King's scholars high in the first class who cannot get a place.'
A King's scholarship, it may be mentioned, is nothing more than a right to a place in a training college, if a place can be obtained.
The training of teachers for secondary schools is not a matter of local interest, nor one to be dealt with by a local authority. But the training of the elementary teacher in elementary schools seems to grow naturally out of the elementary education of the area, and to be a matter for which some provision should be made. How far such provision is possible out of the moderate resources which will be at the disposal of the local authority may well be regarded as uncertain. But if these resources should be sufficient, the Bill, in clause 18, extends the power of supplying education other than elementary so as to enable the local authority 'to make provision for the purpose outside their area 'where they consider it expedient to do so in the interests of 'their area.' This is important for the purpose of training colleges. It may often be convenient to assist the teachers of one locality to enter a training college at another; or to combine the resources of two educational areas. And it is always desirable that the course of training should give as large a variety of experience as possible. A narrow range of vision and monotony of ideas are common failings of the teachers, and they react upon the pupils.
The Bill will not affect the higher secondary schools, nor can it be expected to do anything for the higher secondary education. The local authority has no jurisdiction over any schools other than elementary, except where it creates schools of its own. It may obtain an influence by subsidies of money, or a definite voice in the management by requiring representation on the governing body in return for an annual grant; it may, by judicious provision of scholarships, enable clever boys to make their way from the higher grade schools to the universities. The many problems which our higher education presents are left untouched, nor can they be dealt with easily by legislation.
But the Education Bill of 1902, in spite of its many options, its apologetic and half-hearted character, docs offer a possible solution of the religious difficulty, while at the same time it brings under one authority our system of elementary education, and those various studies by which youth is prepared for the practical work of life, which may be conveniently, if somewhat vaguely, described as 'education 'other than elementary.' Through the agency of this authority we may hope that our system of elementary education will be simplified, consolidated, and strengthened, while the higher education will be more readily adapted to the various purposes which it has to serve, and more readily available to the classes which require it.