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duty shared in common by men of science and men of letters—I know no nobler work for the literary man than to aid the diffusion of international goodwill by helping to spread a sympathetic knowledge of the literatures of the world. Has not a new mine of sympathy with the East been opened up since Sanskrit became a study of Western scholars? Is not the study of Russian masterpieces by Englishmen, of English masterpieces by Russians, certain to aid the humane progress of both nations and of the race? Through the humanity of this Chinese play, then, I appeal to the humanity of the British nation. In an hour of provocation let us not be tempted to forget that this ancient Chinese people are no barbarians.' Let us not forget that they too have had their provocation, and let us resolutely refuse to add to the wrongs of the Opium Trade and to the intrigues of political and religious Tartuffes some high-handed injustice which when it is too late we may repent.
HUTCHESON MACAULAY POSNETT.
THE HIGHER GRADE BOARD SCHOOLS
THE recent decision of two Judges of the High Court in the case of the Queen v. Cockerton is a very significant fact in the history of popular education in England. Whether that decision is sustained or overruled on appeal to a higher tribunal, further legislation will become necessary in order to determine how far and under what conditions the work now performed by the higher grade Board schools in London and in the great industrial towns shall be continued in the future. Meanwhile it seems expedient that the public should consider on its own merits, and apart from the technicalities of Codes, Judicial decisions, and Acts of Parliament, the questions, What is meant by a Higher Elementary School ? and what, if any, is its claim to public aid and recognition?
Perhaps the former question may be best answered by a brief reference to the higher elementary schools in France. In a memorandum which I was instructed to prepare in 1890, and which was presented to both Houses of Parliament in the following year, the following passage occurs:
Besides the primary school proper, which is not designed to carry education beyond the fourteenth year, the French system comprises a class of schools (écoles primaires supérieures), to which the nearest analogue is to be found in one or two of our own great towns under the name of higher grade Board schools. In some respects, also, they resemble the Real-Schulen of Germany. They receive scholars from the age of thirteen to sixteen, and give advanced education suited to that age. No scholars are admissible to them who have not passed successfully through the ordinary primary school course, and obtained the leaving certificate. They are officially described as 'designed for those scholars for whom elementary education, properly so called, is not sufficient, and for whose needs secondary instruction would be inappropriate.' They are not, in fact, secondary schools, but they form an integral part of organised primary instruction. No Latin or Greek is taught in them, they stand in no relation to the lycées or the colleges, and they form no part of a scheme providing a 'ladder' from the kindergarten to the university. Their aim is not to lift the pupil out of the ranks of the industrial class, but to enable him to occupy a higher and more honourable place within that class. They seek to provide education specially fitted for the skilled artizan or merchant's clerk, and their chief attention is given to drawing, to account-keeping,
to science, especially to physics, chemistry, and mathematics, to the acquisition of one modern language, and to advanced exercises in French composition. In several of these schools special attention is given to manual training, to the use of tools and instruments, and to the learning of trades.
The total number of these higher primary schools in France is 239, and the number of pupils in them is 22,696. In places not large enough to sustain a separate school of this kind, a cours complémentaire or higher department is attached to the ordinary elementary school, in which the pupils are retained for one or two years after reaching the age of thirteen. The returns enumerate 320 such departments, with an aggregate number of 11,384 scholars.
From the fuller and more recent account of the French system of higher primary schools, contributed by Mr. R. L. Morant to the volume of Special Reports on Educational Subjects in 1897, I take the following extract descriptive of the scope and purpose of schools of this exceptional class:
The function of the true higher primary school has become limited to providing an education suitable for the still considerable proportion of ex-elementary scholars who do not require specific trade teaching, but rather a general education on practical lines, to develop their faculties, to sharpen their dexterities, and to render them ready, quick, and apt in whatever direction employment may open out to them. In fact, its object is to provide a good general primary education bearing directly on the more practical branches of knowledge, and of such a character as to be readily assimilated by ex-elementary scholars, and to be completed within the very limited time that its students are likely to remain at school.
The demand for continued instruction of this type on the part of English parents who avail themselves of the public elementary schools is comparatively recent, and is a direct product of the excellence of those schools, and of the desire for advanced instruction which has been fostered in them. In Board and voluntary schools alike, it is found that there are many scholars who, at the age of fourteen, having successfully passed through the 'standards,' and completed the ordinary course of elementary instruction, are willing to stay to pursue their studies for a year or two longer. That at a very critical age, just when the work of a good elementary school is beginning to tell on the character and intellectual tastes, yearly increasing numbers of the parents are ready to forgo the earnings of their children in order to give them a better start in life, is one of the happiest and most promising signs of our time. Another year of serious application after 'reaching' the seventh standard means far more in the right development and equipment of the future citizen, than the routine lessons of any two previous years. And it is of the highest national importance that the number of such scholars should be multiplied, and that the sacrifice so honourably made by their parents should be encouraged.
But for this class of learners, it is manifest that transference to a grammar school, or other of a purely secondary type, is neither appropriate nor practically useful. The true secondary school has
its own aims and its own curriculum fashioned from the first on the hypothesis that the learners will remain at school till sixteen or later, and that some of them will proceed to Universities or other places of advanced education. To derive the full advantage from such a school, the pupil should enter not later than the twelfth year, and should receive all his elementary instruction in full view of the wider and more comprehensive course of which that instruction is to form a part. To introduce into such a school at the age of fourteen a boy who has completed the ordinary elementary course, in the expectation that a year or two's 'finishing' would serve his purpose, would be a grave mistake. It would be to break the continuity of his studies and to give him a mere fragment of a larger scheme for which his previous training furnished no adequate preparation. The terminus a quo relatively to the secondary school is not identical with the terminus ad quem of the primary school course. On the other hand, the higher grade primary school, which takes the pupil who has successfully passed through all the classes to the age of fourteen, and gives him what is called in Belgium instruction à programme développé, and on the same general lines as before, is exactly suited to meet his needs. For it does not aspire to lead directly up to a University, although it may not unfrequently lead to a science college or a technical school. And it ought to be regarded mainly as an institution for continuing the work of the elementary school up to fifteen or sixteen, and not strictly either as a primary or a secondary school.
Some confusion exists in what is called the public mind as to the strict meaning of primary and secondary instruction, and as to the line of demarcation which separates them. But if any such line is to be drawn, it cannot be determined by considering the nature and extent of the 'subjects' of such instruction. The true distinction, pointed out thirty years ago by the Schools Inquiry Commission, depends mainly on the age to which the education is or is intended to be prolonged. A course designed to be completed at the end of the fourteenth year is an elementary course; a course contemplating the stay of the scholar till sixteen or seventeen is a secondary or intermediate course. A school fitted to receive boys or girls beyond that age and intended to be in close relation to the Universities is educationally an academic institution of the First Grade. But the subjects' which can best fulfil these primary conditions cannot be positively prescribed. They must be determined by many local and personal conditions, by the needs and probable destination of the scholars, and in part the special aptitudes of the teachers. This view has been long adopted by the Education Department, which has offered for the discretionary use of teachers in the higher classes of elementary schools a varied and abundant list of 'specific subjects,' from which a selection may be made. In the official instructions to
Her Majesty's Inspectors the following significant passage has during many years been included:
In large schools, and where the circumstances are favourable, the scholars of Standard V. and upwards may be encouraged to attempt one or more specific subjects appropriate to the industrial and other needs of the district.
It is not the intention of my Lords to encourage a pretentious or unreal pursuit of higher studies, or to encroach in any way on the province of secondary education. The course suited to an elementary school is practically determined by the limit of fourteen years of age, and may properly include whatever subjects can be effectively taught within that limit. It may be hoped that year by year a larger proportion of the children will remain in the elementary schools until the age of fourteen; and a scholar who has attended regularly and possesses fair ability may reasonably be expected to acquire in that time, not only a serviceable knowledge of reading, writing, and arithmetic, of the words he uses, and the world in which he lives, but also enough of the rudiments of two higher subjects to furnish a solid foundation for future improvement.
It is in full conformity with the conception thus formed of the true character of elementary education that during the last ten or twelve years managers, both of Board and of voluntary schools, have made special efforts to extend their curricula beyond the strict limit of the elementary subjects, and by means of evening continuation schools, ex-seventh standard classes, organised science schools, and higher elementary schools, have succeeded in retaining many of their most industrious and persevering scholars, and prolonging their period of study. In all such efforts they have received generous sympathy and substantial aid from the heads of the Education Department. And whatever may be the future official relations between such managers and the newly constituted Board of Education, it is manifest that under some name or other these facilities for advanced education should continue to exist. The higher primary school supplies a real need, and a permanent place must be found for it as an integral part of our national system.
The problem, however, is rendered somewhat intricate and difficult by reason of two or three facts which do not affect its abstract merits, but are the result of the tentative and somewhat incoherent fashion in which English legislation has dealt with the subject of popular education. The Act of 1870 defines an elementary school as a school or department of a school at which elementary education is the principal part of the education there given.' Such a school is further defined as one 'conducted in accordance with the conditions required to be fulfilled by an elementary school in order to obtain a Parliamentary grant.' Now the Code, as modified from year to year, prescribes as one of these conditions that no attendance is as a rule recognised,' that is to say no grant is paid, for any scholar who has been under instruction for more than one year in the three elementary subjects in Standard VII., and is upwards of fourteen years of age.' Thus the ordinary grant from