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THE WORKING MEN ON THE EDUCATION…

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THE WORKING MEN ON THE EDUCATION BILL. A deputation of working men, representing the trade societies of the metropolis, waited upon Mr. J°' £ ter> last Saturday, to express tr.eir opinions upon the Edu- cation liill. The deputation was to have been intro- duced by Mr. Spurges, but he was at the last moment prevented from being present. The speaker found fault with the Government bill because it allowed a further extension of the denomi- national system, did not restrict education to strictly secular subjects, and did not make compulsion general. As an illustration of the danger of permittm what was called Bible teaching, Mr. Cremer stated that a schoolmaster at the East-end of London read as a I a-sage from the Bible, Fear God and honour the rriestl" It was of such liberal construction of Holy Writ as that that working men were afraid. Mr. Cr-iioer al-o said it was the opinion of many working men that the Government had been prevented from making the bill what they would have wished by some compact with the Irish pariy, who desired to retain the denominational system of education, Mr. Forster, in his reply, said this was a complete misapprehenf-ion. If, he said, I have not forfeited in yourminds all claim to credit and belief, take it from me that your supposition is an utter delusion and altogether erroneous. The fact of the matter is this that this bill, as brought forward by me originally, and especially in its present form, is less denominational than the present system in Ireland, and therefore the supposition that by carrying this bill we should be im- proving the status of the denominational party in Ire- land is an entire delusion and not founded on fact." With regard to the school boards, Mr. Forster said that the Government bad not pledged themselves to any particuly mode of election. Their desire was to get the best hoards possible, and to get them by the expression of the wish of the parent?. The members of the-, boards might be, and no doubt often woutd be, work- it g men who had gained the confidence of their neigh- bours. and there was nothing even to prevent their being women, if they had a knowledge of the question. Mr. Forster said that the conscience clause made it impossible) that there tliould be any compulsion of any kind on a parent to send his child to any religiou* teaching, denominational or otherwise, Bible reading or sectarian, whic i he dislikes. All that a parent has to do is to keep his child away, or to tell the schoolmaster that he is to be kept away. The punishment to the schoolmaster and the school if they do not obey the in- junction is the loss of all the money to be received from the Government. Working men need not fear their children receiving any religious teaching of which the parent* did not approve. Anything contrary to that w:-vs a false interpretation of the bill.

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