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EDUCATIONAL PROGRESS. A voluminous Blue Book just issued by the Education Department has many facts and figures that cannot fail to interest all engaged in the work of stimulating education. The reports of my lords were, a few years ago, exceedingly unattractive, and not easy of digestion. They contained either dry tables of statistics or wearisome details of every elementary school in the kingdom. In more recent times, the heads of the Education Office have made them a medium for communicating to the outer world what is only known to the members of the Privy Council. The statistical information has been accompanied by a careful review of the position and prospects of ele- mentary education, and a slight indication of the intentions and policy of Her Majesty's advisers. The report for 1875, though some- what cheering, is not of an entirely gratifying character. It directs particular attention to the condition of affairs in 1869, and the sub- sequent progress made. Of course, the chii object of the Education Department has been to secure ample accommodation for the children who ought to be under tuition, for it would be useless to enforce attendance in districts where the schools were already over-crowded, or where the buildings were unsuited for the purposes of education. There has been no stinting in this direction. In 1869, school accommodation existed for 1,765,944 children, or 8'34 per cent of the whole population, whilst last year there were buildings for 3,146,424 children, or 1313 of the estimated population. The increase during the five years has, there- fore, been 1,380,480; the school boards pro- vided for 386,400 children, and voluntary effort for 994,080 children. This increase in school accommodation has, of course, been effected by a large outlay of public money, which would have been increased by something like £1,190,401 if the purely secular and school board system had been made universal. Voluntary contributions to that extent have been made, and whilst the completion of 1,011 denominational schools, which afford accommo- dation for 255,037, only cost the country £286,597, given as building grants by the Education Department, the school boards availed themselves of the powers of borrowing from the Public Loan Commissioners to the extent of £5,825,639, to erect schools for 491,854 scholars. Ihese statistics are con- clusive evidence of the expensive machinery which school boards have called to our aid. We have, however, something to show for our money and the result of our educational zeal, in the way of imposing buildings, but we must not mistake the grandeur of the schools for the progress of popular enlighten- ment. The number of children under tuition is still very luw, and the results by no means satisfactory. The average attendance of chil- dren at schools increased by 600,000 during the five years, and there were on the school-rolls last year 2,774,300 names of day scholars, of whom 983,295 were under the age of seven. In average attendance there were 1,885,562, whilst only 1,141,892 qualified by attendance for the examination of the Government In- spector. There is still further disappointment in the numbers. 973,583 appeared before the examiners, but of these only 572,781 passed in the three It's "—the most rudimentary ex- amination. Though last year our elementary schools were capable of accomodating 3,146,424, the instruction and discipline of the teachers failed to secure the success of more than 572,781 scholars at the examinations. There is, therefore, not much cause for rejoicing over the progress made. The average attainments of the children attending our elementary schools is low, notwithstanding the efforts made to raise the standard. Educationally, the scholars are in arrear of their age, for the report tells us that out of 973,583 scholars inspected as many as 291,276 over ten years' of age were presented in "standards suited for children of seven, eight, and nine years of age in fact, not more than 38 per cent of those above ten were presented for examination in classes to which their age properly assigned them. In extenuation, it is necessary to bear in mind that the disproportionate number of older scholars who were presented in low standards, is to some degree accounted for in the fact that compulsory attendance has driven into aided schoels many hitherto un- cared-for children. The general results are, as we have said, far from satisfactory. They show that there is a vast amount of work to be done before many thousands of the juvenile population now under no instruction whatever are placed under the educational care of recognised public teachers. Lord Sandon's Act will undoubtedly do much to accomplish this desirable object by creating in every parish a local authority to enforce attendance, and to see that those who are sent to the elementary schools attend with some. thing like regularity. "No education—no employment," will, a few years hence, be the watchword, and if this fact is now strongly impressed upon the minds of thoughtless parents, it will prove a strong incentive to the educating of their offspring. The Education Department anticipates a large increase in the attendance, and is devoting attemtion to the supply of qualified teachers. Practically, the Department can regulate the supply as it, in its wisdom, sees fit. By striking out conditions of admission to the scholastic profession, it opens the doors to many who would not undergo the usual examinations and delay for teaching certificates. By such means a very consider- able increase has been made in the teaching power since 1869. In that year there were 12,842 pupil teachers, 1,236 assistant teachers, and 12,027 certificated teachers at work in schools under inspection. These numbers, by the 31st December, 1875, had increased to 29,138 pupil teachers, 2,421 assistants, and 21,952 certificated teachers. The pupil teachers —the future certificated teachers-in the first of the five years of their service increased from 3,392 in 1869 to 6,278 in 1875. The colleges are computed to turn out annually about 1,500 qualified teachers, and this supply is said to be sufficient to fi l up the waste in a staff of 25,000 teachers. The Committee of Council, however, are un-willing to risk the chances of colleges meeting the demand. It < is assumed that very shortly there will be some- thing like 27,000 separate departments for which certificated teachers must be obtained. Anticipating such circumstances, it was deemed advisable to grant certificates upon examina- tion for actual services, and without college training. Since the 1st of May, 1871, certifi- cates of this nature have been granted to 829 male and 1,027 female teachers of thirty-five years' of age and upwards, on whose schools the inspector reported favourably. Provisional certificates-which hold good till the teacher completes his or her twenty-fifth year—have been granted to 259 male and 1,303 female ex- pupil teachers, qualifying them to take charge of small schools with less than sixty children in average attendance throughout the year. The large number of pupil teachers who yearly complete their engagement satisfactorily, and cannot be admitted to training colleges for want of room, furnish a valuable* supply of teachers for these small schools, and the Department show that many of them have given proof of their efficiency, for out of the 1,562 who have received professional certifi- cates, 572 have since obtained ordinary certifi- cates after examination. Looking at the large number of qualified candidates for certificates, who yearly enter the profession through other channels recognised by the Code, "my lords see no reason to doubt that the supply of teachers will, before long, be found fully sum- cient to meet the requirements of the country. This is, of course,! very encouraging, for it would place the country in an awkward posi- tion if, after all the legislation for the educa- tion of the masses, we found there was an in- adequacy or inefficiency in the most important department of the school—the teaching power.


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