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Friday, July 13, 1877.

HIGHER EDUCATION IN WALES.

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HIGHER EDUCATION IN WALES. THE process of bringing together the several colleges of Wales to work unitedly in the cause of higher education is necessarily slow and diffi- cult. Every step of the way will be attended by discussion which at times may become too fierce to be either just or courteous. As far as possible, however, it will be well to avoid hard names and criminations, which as a rule have no other re- sult than to bring about recriminations, and still harder names, with lasting injury to the subject under discussion. On the occasion of the jubilee at Lampeter, the Bishop of ST. DAVID'S very appositely pointed out that it is due to every community of Christians that they should be allowed to call themselves by what name they please. Not only so, but they should always be addressed by the name they have chosen; and, we may add, the principle is not restricted to religious communities or to bodies of men, but is equally applicable to institutions and individuals In the speeches delivered at the jubilee of St. David's, no claims were made for the Lampeter College, which may not be granted without cavil, except perhaps, the peculiar fitness of St. David's as a nucleus for a Welsh University. And yet, granting the desirability of establishing a Welsh University at all, the claims of Lam- peter to form the nucleus could not possibly be ignored if it were willing to surrender its sectarian character. Under any circumstances, even the most favourable, the day is probably far distant when a Welsh University will be formed, and in the meantime it might not be out of place to dis- cuss, as far as may be without dogmatism, the 0 possibility and nature of united action among the Welsh Colleges, chieffy with a view to assign the C, College at Aberystwyth a permanent position, in accord with Its principles, in Higher Education in Wales. No scheme, it may be said at the outset, can be entertained, that tends to make the University College sectarian that causes St. David's to be less useful to the Church of Eng- land that interferes with the course of theo- logical training at Bala, Llangollen, or elsewhere 0 11 or that is in any degree calculated to lessen the liberty that now exists in the management of these several institutions. Further, it is clear, that any scheme that is entertained must provide for the present disconnected state of the colleges, and also for a state of things tha.t it is to be hoped ¡ would gradually arise as the University College took its position among them, and settled down to its work. The great object of the University College of Wales is to afford at a moderate ex- pense, the means of instruction in such branches of learning and science, excepting theology, as are, or may be for the time being, usually studied at the British Universities." This ob. ject is simple enough, and is expressed in language about which there can be no mistake. The Bishop of ST. DAVID'S in his speech already referred to said the truth is that St. David's College, Lampeter, is a place of general education, al- though no doubt it is intended nrimarilv and is used u mainly for the preparation of candidates ) for the Church of England." The colleges at Bala, Llangollen, and elsewhere, it is necessary to point out, differ in constitution from Lampeter in that they are not places of general education j in the sense expressed by the BISHOP, but are f used exclusively for the preparation of ministers i of religion for the sects with which they are con- < nected. Notwithstanding the fact that St. David's < is a place of general education, it is worthy of note that the work of training candidates for the ( Church of England is more than it can do and, therefore, if without loss of dignity or prestige this general work could be surrendered and a a scheme provided by which the whole educational i force of the institution could be brought to bear j on the training of candidates for the Church of 1 England, it is reasonable to suppose that such a ( scheme would find acceptance with the friends of J St. David's. As regards the other colleges, al- though they are not "places of general education" in the sense that students not intended for the ministry can be educated in them, yet they are ( places of general education in the narrower sense that students intended for the ministry receive in ] them in addition to theological training a general education.. Of necessity that general education is partial and incomplete, and the result is one t that thoughtful men in all parts of the Principality deplore, and above all things desire to remedy. If again, without loss of dignity or prestige, these colleges could surrender the work of general education, there is nothing in the nature of the case to prevent their doing so or to hinder the University College of Wales from taking it up. It is clear that the Lampeter, Bala, Llangollen, and other colleges are doing work which they might with advantage give up if a scheme could be devised which would find acceptance with them. The essential features of such a. scheme are that it shall not interfere with the liberty of the colleges, that it shall ensure the work is better done than at present, and that under it each college shall be better able than now to grapple with the special labour in which it is engaged. The University College of Wales, it has been pointed out, affords instruction in such branches of learning and science, excepting theology, as are r, ZIY studied at the British Universities. If St. David's, Bala, and the other colleges would arrange, as might easily be done, to take students bearing proper credentials from the Aberystwyth College, and allow them to devote their time wholly to theology, they might pass into the ministry in two or three years instead of in four or fire as at present. The whole period given to education would be as long then as now, but part of it would be spent at Aberystwyth, and part at Lampeter or elsewhere. It will be observed that the colleges are left to take students on the old plan, and that no attempt is made by this first suggestion to do anything more than to obtain recognition for the education given at Aberystwyth in the case of students from that college who, after passing through its course, should desire to enter the ministry of the Church of England or Dissent. A further step to meet existing circumstances might without danger bo taken. If Lampeter and the Dissenting colleges agreed to surrender the work of general education it would be necessary under the new system to provide for the general culture of the students now in the colleges, with a view to making it more efficient, by placing a larger staff of professors at the service of each college. No violent or sudden changes could be made in the arrangements of the colleges. Any alterations would have to be gradual, and obviously for the good of all. Now the University College of Wales has a large staff of professors already, and that staff might be further increased. There is no reason why additions should not be made, so that all the colleges should have a joint Professoriate for the teaching of science and general education at the different Colleges. The Cambridge extension scheme would supply details of organization and arrangement. Each College now has its Professors engaged in imparting arts education. Under the new system two or three Prpfessors would go round to the different Col- leges. Suppose, for instance, that one of the Professors from St. David's, instead of receiving his present salary, was paid two hundred a year more, and that he lectured at St. David's, Carmarthen, Aberystwyth, and Bala. Gradually, this plan would be superseded, as the College at Aberystwyth grew in favour as a feeder for all the other Colleges. In the course of time Lampeter would become the centre of Church Colleges. However close the connection might ultimately become between Lampeter and Aberystwyth, the distance that separates them would form no obstacle worth mentioning. As regards the Dis- senting Colleges, the difficulties of position are greater, but from time to time Divinity Halls would be built at Aberystwyth or elsewhere in the neighbourhood. If some joint action of the kind here rudely shadowed forth could be brought about as a beginning, a University body might ultimately be formed. But in the beginning there is danger that in seeking theoretical perfection nothing will be done. What is most needed just at present is for the promoters of higher education in Wales to remember that the University College of Wales seeks no monopoly, and desires no usurpation. Founded to promote the education of Welshmen, she is read", to assist all alike, and whether they are Churchmen, Dissenters, or Catholics is no concern of hers.

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