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THE LIBERATION SOCIETY AND THE EDUCATION BILL. At its meeting last week the Executive Committee of the Liberation Society adopted the following minute:— The Committee, having considered the provisions of the Voluntary Schools Bill, brought in by Her Majesty's Government, are of opinion that it is not only wholly in- adequate as an educational measure, but is grossly unjust, and will, if passed in its pre- sent form, have an injurious effect upon our educational system. I. The Bill provides for a large additional grant of public money to only one class of public Elementary Schools, and withholds similar assistance from all the Board Schools of the country. II. It will have the effect of relieving the subscribers to Voluntary Schools from the I necessity of continuing their present con- tributions. At the same time no relief will be afforded to ratepayers, who have provi- ded schools at a heavy expenditure to them- selves, and will now be further taxed for the benefit of so-called Voluntary Schools. III. Whereas the necessities of rural schools are greater than those of urban schools, the latter are to be aided to a greater extent than the former; with the obvious intention of preventing the exten- sion of the School Board system. IV. Hostility to that system is further shown by the proposal to exempt Voluntary Schools from parochial rates; while Board Schools will continue to be rated. V. Notwithstanding that in most cases the Voluntary Schools will be wholly main- tained with public money, there is no pro- vision for the exercise of local public control. Parents, as well as the inhabitants generally, will still be denied any voice in the manage- ment of institutions which they help to support, and in which they have a deep in- terest. VI. While the Bill enacts that the aid grant shall be distributed with a view to in- creasing the efficiency of schools, it contains no provisions for effecting that object, as regards the appointment and status of tea- chers and other essential particulars. VII. The proposed associations of schools, to advise the Education Department in dis- tributing the aid grant will, it is believed, cause strife and injustice, and may also lead to fraudulent administration. If, however, such bodies are created by the Bill it should define the mode of their appointment, their functions, and their areas. VIII. The measure will afford no relief to Nonconformists in the thousands of the pa- rishes in which they are compelled by law tolsend their children to Church of England schools. And the exclusion of Nonconfor- mists as teachers, or pupil-teachers, will be perpetuated. On these and other grounds, the commit- tee regard the Bill, not as a measure for promoting the progress of national educa- tion, but as intended to assist the Church of England in maintaining a sectarian system at the public expense and in resisting the extension of the School Board system. They therefore urge the friends of religious equa- lity to strenuously resist the Bill, and to in- sist on the production of a measure having as its chief aim the advance of education in the interest of the nation, and not of any ecclesiastical body or political party.'






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