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The Great Question of the…

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How to solve the question of education is a question which is perplexing many. There are many suggestions made, and poor Mr Birrell is much harassed by advisers. I will mention briefly four views as to the lines on which a settlement should be made. (1) A prominent Churchman advocates:- (a) That all schools be placed under the control of the State. (b) The abolition of all religious tests for teachers in State Schools. (c) That no one shall be asked to instruct children in any creed in which he or she is not a believer. (d) That the child of every parent, who so desires, shall have instruction, within the school building, in the parent's faith by teachers of that faith, within ordinary school hours, say 9 a.m. to 9-40 a.m. (e) That the State should instruct the children of parents who express no desire for denominational instruction, in a set of com- mon Christian principles. (2) The Labour Party stand pledged by the resolutions of its Congresses to endeavor to confine our national school system to the teaching of secular education only, but a system of secular education which does not involve the expulsion of the Bible from the schools. (3) Another view is State education on the following lines :— (a) A thorough appreciation of democratic control. The State's own interests in educa- tion must take precedence of those of all the churches—no clerical control and direct public representation. (b) Theological tests must be excluded. (c) The exclusion of all the denomina- tions from State Sohool hours and the State School System. (d) The responsibility of definite religious teaching to be placed on the- churches and parents. (e) The use of the Bible for purely ethical, historical, and literary purposes, and never for dogmatic or denominational. • (4) The Roman Catholics' view is that re- ligious instruction should be placed in the forefront of education. That they must be permitted to teach the dogmas of their own faith in their own schools, but, at the same time, they do not resent public control, but the public control must be, as is quite possible, such control as shall not trample upon the conscientious views of Catholics, on the sub- ject of religious education and instruction. The above embrace the chief views held by the leaders of the different parties in the controversy. To pass a measure that will please all is impossible. There is a danger in compromising too much. but let us hope it will be a thorough measure and fair to all.

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