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DEFICIENT EDUCATION. The peculiar feature of this age is progress In every department of thought there is an onward movement. Few persons are satisfied with the present state of things. So rest and be tha' kful is opposed to the spirit of the age and nation in which w" live. Finality is the dream of only a few medieval spirits born out of due time. Among other questions that of reform now stands pro. minently forward. It is in fact the topic of the day. And some change in our representative system seems inevitable. After the declaration of Lord Russell that his government will stand or fall by his reform measure, the extension of the suffrage may be regarded as a virtual fact. I hope the bill will be a comprehensive one and satisfy for a time the popular demands. There is another question which occupies public atten- tion. Education is one of the great topics of the day, and ought to take precedence of all others. The need of education is beyond dispute. All parties agree in the necessity of promoting it in some degree. For upon the education of the young depends the future destinies of this coun- try. Education to he complete should have regard to the whole being, the physical, moral, and in- tellectual. My present remarks wili be confined to the last mentioned. Now, it seems to me that school training as at present conducted is essen- tially deficient. The fundamental conditions of education, as well as the structure of the human mind, do not appear to be clearlv understood by the majority of those under whose tuition children are placed. The notion that the child's mind is like a blank sheet of paper, if ex- ploded as a theory is still received as the basis of practice. The common impression is that in pro- portion to the number of facts and processes crammed into the youth's mind, he is educated while these facts and processes may be only so much mental lumber of which the owner is in- capable of making any practical use. The teacher is more anxious to impart his own store of know- ledge to the pupil than to put him in the way of obtaining knowledge for himself. Teaching is far too mechanical the pupil is too much a re cipient. The first and chief aim in education should be to cultivate sound, universal principles and upon these build a fair superstructure Edu- cation is the development of the pupil's mind by a gradual process, the drawing out of his facul- ties to enable him to reason, inquire, compare, discriminate, and to form a judgment upon any subject placed before him. The teacher's object should be to make the mind vigorous, rohust, and healthy. Not what is done for a pupil, but what he is enabled to do, is the measure of his educa- cation. Were the youthful mind made self reliant and inventive we should soon cease to wonder that so few continue in after life the mental cul- ture commenced in the school-loom the spread of knowledge, the cultivation of learning and the development of intelligence would become more general, and Britain become more truly than now, a great Britain, an industrious, intelligent, and enlightened nation. Another defect in our present system of edu- cation is a want of adaptation to the special cir cumstaneea of the children They are not pre- pared for the particular duties of after life. In preparing for the professions special courses of instruction are given and why not for the dif- ferent kinds of manual labour ? There can be little doubt ot what will be the employment of the greater part of the boys in this district. Suppose a class of boys who will probably have to earn the bread of life under ground, would it not be an advantage were they taught, in addition to the usual school course, something of the nature of the deadly gases found there, and the surest means of avoiding the fatal result too com- monly arising therefrom. Such teaching would, in my opinion, prevent the greater part of those melancholy catastrophies, an example of which lately occurred at the Gethin pit. Another it. lustration of faulty education is the deplorable ignorance of the majority of females. Few have a large acquaintance with the subjects usnafly taught in school; fewer still of the subjects special to female duties. How rare is the do- mestic servant who can fill her sphere of life with pleasure b herself and satisfaction to her employ- er. Ladies especially know how difficult it is to tolerate a"necessary evil" under the family roof- necessary not only as "helps" but as furnishing material for gossip. It may be, as some suggest, that there are as many unworthy mistresses as inefficient servants, and that the one contribute to the other. Still, the fact remains—a good servant is difficult to find. How can it be other- wise when not one of a thousand has any special preparation ? The obvious inference is that philanthropy has stopped short at an important point. Notwith- standing the excellent schools and course of in- struction provided by public benevolence, much remains undone. Until some plan for more specific education is adopted, the mass of people must remain, as now, the unfortunate victims of their ignorance. Of course I do not mean that anything should be taught which requires an apprenticeship to learn. Yet, in many cast's, useful provisions might be made also in this res- pect. It must be confessed that the difficulties in the way of any such movement are great, but they are not insurmountable. And any labourer who saw, as the reward of his exertions, the majority of girls that, under present circumstan- ces, would have to take their place on the black tips, transferred to domestic sf'rvice would have a noble reward. In fact here lies the foundation of the regeneration ot society. In due course would follow clean, industrious, and economical wives and intelligent mothers, a consummation devoutly to be wished for. G.





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