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BARRY EDUCATION COMMITTEE:…

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BARRY EDUCATION COM- MITTEE: APPOINTMENT OF TEACHERS. MR. J. A. HUGHES' REPLY TO MR. MEGGITT. To the Editor of the "BARRY DOCK NEWS." Sir,—I have read with much interest the letter of my friend Mr Meggitt, which appeared on this subject in your last issue, and I take the first opportunity of putting my view of the question before your readers. Under the Education Act, 1902, St. Helen's Roman Catholic School passed under the control of a body of Managers one third of whom are appointed by the Education Committee. The Act gives the Managers certain powers, some of which require confirmation by the Town Education Committee, and some of which do not. The Act gives the Managers of the School the power of appointing and dismissing all teachers, subject to the power of the Education Committee to veto any appointment on education grounds. Mr Meggitt and those who think with him practically say to the Managers of St. Helen's School that if they will give up the power of appointing Teachers, the Education Committee will place St. Helen's Roman Catholic School on the same basis as the Board Schools in the Town. My view of the matter is that it is not right for the Education Committee to endeavour to impose upon the Managers conditions which are at variance with the spirit of the Act of Parliament. The question of the appointment of Teachers in Voluntary Schools was fully discussed in the House of Commons last year, and by a large majority it was decided that the appointment of teachers (subject to the veto referred to above) was to be left in the hands of the Managers, and not to be given to the Education Committee. I think that the Barry Education Committee is an administrative and not a legislative authority, and that it is their duty to loyally carry out the Act. If every local authority is to assume the right of carrying out, or not carrying out, the law this country will soon be reduced to chaos. The neighbouring country of Ireland is an example of the misfortunes which follow on the Local Authorities attempting to assume powers and duties which properly belong to Parliament. Personally I am of opinion that it would be much better if all the Voluntary Schools in the Kingdom (which are practically almost entirely maintained out of public monies) had been put under public control, but this is a matter which must be settled by Parliament and not by local authorities. In a democratic country like ours there is no occasion to resort to open or veiled opposition to any law to get it altered. We make our own laws, and we can alter them without anything approaching to lawlessness. The Daily Chronicle," a paper which has done more for real democracy than any other British paper, in a leading article dealing with this subject, says that it is a device for evading the spirit of the Act, while the observance of the letter is maintained, and that there remains the future danger that the enemies of progress will learn how to turn the weapon against the Liberal Party in order to bring this administration of future Acts to a standstill." In Wales we Liberals and Nonconformists are in the majority, but in England the reverse is the case, and if we determine to administer this Act in accordance with our own personal views and wishes, then the Conservatives and Churchmen in England m,y do the same in the opposite direction. If the policy adopted by Mr Meggitt is approved by a majority of the Education Committee, the following will be the result in Barry :-First, The teachers in St. Helen's Roman Catholic Schools will continue to be paid at a much lower rate than similar teachers under the Board Schools. This practically means that the [teachers will be penalised because they are teachers in a Roman Catholic School. As a Liberal and Nonconformist I have always been taught to believe in the removal of all religious disabilities, and I do not believe that Teachers doing the same work should be paid at a much lower rate because they are teachers in a Roman Catholic School. Dr Macnamara and Mr.Tackroan have prepared a statement of the financial results of the Act in each locality. They estimate that Barry will receive from the Imperial funds a sum of dSl,874 per annum in excess of what the Town formerly received, and they estimate that of this £299 will be required to level up St. Helen's School to the same standard as the Board Schools, leaving a sum of £1,612 per annum which will go in relief of the rates. If Mr Meggitt's view is adopted by the Education Committee, no portion of this sum of £ 1,874 will go to St. Helen's School, although a certain portion of it is paid by the Government in connection with St. Helen's School. The second result will be that the best teachers at St. Helen's School will probably get appoint- ments elsewhere. Some towns in England have already decided to place Voluntary Schools on the same basis as Board Schools, and there is little doubt that, generally speaking, this will be the course adopted in England. We cannot expect teachers to remain here if they can get better salaries elsewhere, nor can we expect to get good teachers at poor salaries if other authorities are paying better salaries. The consequence will be that St. Helen's School will deteriorate as a school, and the Roman Catholic children of Barry will not have as good an education as the other children in the town. On looking round the civilized world I find that the three most educated countries — America. Germany, and England-are Protestant, whilst the two worst educated-Spain and Italy-ttre Roman Catholic. Again, in the United Kingdom, Scotland is the most educated portion, and also the most Proteefcaij t, whilst Ireland is the least educated portion, and the most Roman Catholic. It seems to me that education is on the side of Protestantism and progress, and I cannot understand what possible advantage there can be in depriving Roman Catholic children of the best facilities we can give them for education. The Education Bill contains some clauses which I strongly disapprove of, but I hoped, when it passed into law, that it would remove the great question of Education from the sectarian fights which have done so much to injure education in the Country. In the past the Education Authority was elected chiefly on sectarian lines, and I believe all educationalists agree in saying that our educational policy in the past in this country has been decided more on questions of sectarian feel- ing than on true lines of educational policy. America and Germany, our great rivals in the trade of the world, are already far ahead of us from an educational standpoint, and if we are to hold our own in the future it is absolutely necessary that everthing should be done to improve ,our education system, and this can never be done if the education authorities decide their policy on sectarian rather than educational lines. Some of the statements in Mr Meggitt's letter are inaccurate, and he introduces some personal matters which I venture to think are not worthy of the discussion of this great principle or of him- self, but I do not wish to refer to them, as it seems to me that such arguments only introduce prejudice and heat into the discussion without in any way assisting at the arrival of a right decision.—Yours truly, J. A. HUGHES. Barry, 9th June, 1903.

BARRY DISTRICT COUNCIL.

' DINAS POWIS.

! SULLY.

LLANCARFAN.

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