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SHOULD SCHOOLS BE SECULARIZED…

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SHOULD SCHOOLS BE SECULARIZED ? RECTOR OF PRENDERGAST'S VIEWS. The Tector of Prendergast, the Rev. D. Akrill Jones, has been interviewed as to what would be the result of a policy of secularising the ele- mentary schools in Pembrokeshire. The sub- ject was discussed, it will be remembered, at a rtecent meeting of the. Pembroke County Association of Teachers :— You ask me" said the rev. gentleman, what in my opinion would be the out- come of the secularising policy in our elementary schools, in its influence) upon the life of this parish? In order to answer that question, the position of things here must be clearly defined. We have no church school, but only a council school. Since its erection, aftecr the passing of the Act of 1870, there has been given a very excellent un- denominational teaching, according fto the "Cowper Temple" clause, and in accordance with a syllabus which, as far as it goes, is eminently satisfactory. The result has been that our children, in the hands of earnest religious teachers, have been given a sound Biblical knowledge. The effect of this teach- ing has been very manifest upon the children in their Sunday school work, and has been most useful in building up a more definite religious belief on a Sunday. There can be no question, either as to its influence upon the lives of children of careless and irreligious parents, as it has been the means, later in life, of leading them to seek more definite instruction, and to find a place in the active life of the religious bodies. As rector of the parish, I have every reason to be grateful for the fact that this state of things has existed for so many years under our local education authority. Now with regard to the question as to the state of things which would result, should this be removed from the school, and a secularis- ing policy adopted, or should the teaching of religious knowledge be relegated to a time out- side school hours. In my opinion the children of irreligious parents, who go to no place of worship, and who attend no Sunday school, would be in the one case absent and so re- ceive no religious guidance of any kind, as would, of course, be the case under a pureJy secularising policy. The resultant would be in my parish, in which there is a large poor population, the creation of a solid body of children with no religious principles of any kind; they would form a corrupting influence in the life of the remaining portion, and would become the means of perpetuating and ex- tending the evil as the men and women of the next generation. It may be said why don't the churches get hold of these people, and is it not the duty of the church rather than of the state schools to deal with all religious questions? Mv re- ply is that both the church and other religious bodies have done their utmost to reach these children and have failed. My parish is not sufficiently populous to contain within it any large number of people who are not constantly being brought within the influence either of the church or one of the other religious bodies; and should parents definitely refuse to give their children the advantages of a religious education it is surely the duty of the state, which recognises the value in the life of the nation of a religious influence, to see that these children are not deprived of it iu con- sequence of the carelessness of their parents. If the nation rccognies its obligation to the children of the country to see that they re- ceive a sound secular education, whether the parents desire it or not, surely that same na- tion, recognising the paramount power of re- ligion, should also see that these children re- ceive, in some form or other, that which is considered to be of such vital importance to the welfare of the people. I was very interested to find that at the meeting of the County Association of Teachers at Haverfordwest, a few days ago, Mr. T. C. Rees, one of the most'experie need of our head- masters in our council schools, gave it as his opinion that his experience for good over the children in the school during the remaining portion of the day, found its inspiration in the half-hour of religious instruction with which every day commenced. That is a testimonial which is of the very highest value. Then too, should the schools be secularized a solid body of irreligious children will grow up within the school itself, and will constitute a contaminating influence upon the children of religious parents within that school; for there is no influence which is more powerful for good or far evil upon a child than that of his companions and associates."

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Wants Ratepayers to Pay!

County Council Politics.

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---------AT EIN DARLLENWYR.

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Liberals Awake. !