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JOURNAL OF EDUCATION.
STATE OF EDUCATION AND INTELLECTUAL CONDITION
SWIT WITZERLAND is the only republican country now existing in Europe, having maintained its independence for more than five centuries. But the freedom enjoyed by the Swiss is not the same in every state composing the confederation. Some cantons are pure democracies, with general comitia of all the male population; others have representative governments, in which the chief towns have a preponderance of members; and some have till lately been governed by an aristocracy, consisting of the more ancient families of the principal city. Again much difference exists in their social and economical condition. The democratic cantons are mountainous, chiefly pastoral; the people know little of the arts, and have their minds but scantily informed. The cantons which contain more level land, are either agricultural, such as Bern, Fribourg, Luzern, and Vaud; or manufacturing, such as Zurich, Basle, Geneva, Aargau, and St. Gall. Out of the two and twenty cantons which constitute the Swiss federation, nine are catholic: viz. Luzern, Fribourg, Soleure, Schwytz, Uri, Unterwalden, Valais, Zug, and Ticino; eight protestant namely, Zurich, Bern, Vaud, Geneva, Neuchatel, Basle, Schaffhausen, and Thurgau; whilst the remaining five are divided between the two communions, and these are Aargau, Appenzell, Glarus, the Grisons, and St. Gall. The whole population of Switzerland amounts to nearly two millions of inhabitants, of which two fifths are Catholics, and three fifths Protestants. All and each of the above circumstances influence the state of education over the country. The cantons which have considerable towns, more fertile territory, and greater wealth and industry, and they are mostly Protestant, have done most for the mental improvement of the people, while the mountainous democratic cantons, which are the poorest, and are chiefly Catholic, have done the least. It is clear from the premises, that we do not
attribute the whole difference to the influence of religion, as many travellers have done.
The schools for the elementary, or popular instruction in the former cantons, are frequented by from one sixth to one tenth of the population, and are in most places under the direction of a council of education appointed by the government. The boys remain till ten or twelve years of age; they are taught reading, writing, grammar, arithmetic, and the catechism. Considerable ameliorations have taken place during the last ten years. Bern, Geneva, Basle, and Aargau, have shown the greatest zeal. New buildings have been appropriated to the purpose of schools, funds have been provided by the government, or raised by subscription for the same object, but yet the teachers are still poorly remunerated. In the canton of Zurich, out of a population of nearly 200,000, there are 400 schoolmasters, who receive in general from 60 Swiss livres (37. 12s.) to 120 per annum, while others have as much as 200 or 240 livres. This diversity proceeds from the more or less affluent condition of the respective communes. The pupils who can afford it pay a small fee; there is also a general fund from which the worst paid teachers receive assistance. In the canton of Aargau, the schoolmasters receive 200 livres each: in that of Vaud, their salary varies from 120 to 200.
In the Catholic cantons, the popular education is chiefly in the hands of the clergy; in some places there are legacies and livings left for the purpose, the incumbent being bound to instruct the children of his commune; in others, the parish priest, or curate, endeavours to supply the want of a master; but he can hardly be expected to do it effectually, if we consider his other duties, which are very numerous among the Catholic clergy, such as the daily mass, and other church service, the reading of the breviary, confessing, attending the sick often at a great distance, carrying the sacrament, extreme unction, &c. There the old routine of instruction prevails: viz. Latin grammar and books; the pupils learn little or nothing of their own German tongue, and continue through life to speak the rude dialect of their native valley, without being able to understand a book*.
*The material difference in the results of the Latin system between those countries where Roman languages prevail, such as Italy, Spain, and Portugal, and those where the Teutonic, Celtic, &c. form the basis of the modern language, deserves to be taken into consideration. In the former, a boy studying, composing, or praying in Latin, if he have but common ingenuity, may improve himself at the same time in his own spoken idiom, and vice versa the analogy between the two languages facilitates to him the study of the Latin; most people even of the lower orders understand the meaning of the Latin prayers and psalms; but
The method of mutual instruction, which, in a country where the population is numerous and poor, might furnish to all the means of elementary education, and by means of which two or three hundred boys can be instructed with greater ease than fifty by one master, has been objected to in Switzerland through mistaken religious motives; and it is curious to observe, that whilst in the Catholic cantons it was represented that the Lancasterian_method might endanger the faith of the people, in some Protestant ones it was insinuated that it might prove the means of making proselytes to Catholicism. It has been calculated that, besides the saving of time, there would be a saving of between four and five livres a year for each boy, in pens, paper, books, &c., a saving, which on 250,000 boys and girls in all Switzerland, would amount to more than a million of livres annually.
In the cantons of Geneva and Vaud, the Lancasterian method, though not universally adopted, has been partially introduced. In the cantons of Ticino and Valais, both Catholic, it has been adopted without opposition by either clergy or laity. At Fribourg, a philanthropic priest, Father Girard, had established schools on this method, and the system was spreading over the canton, where the peasantry is among the most uninformed in all Switzerland. Father Girard was at first patronized by the municipality, and by the Bishop also; but after the Jesuits being expelled from France, made a settlement at Fribourg, the public schools were entrusted to them, and Father Girard's establishment was suppressed.
The early impression of sound moral principles forms an essential part of education. Examples, however, are more useful than precepts in this task, which ought to be more particularly that of parents. But when parents themselves are deficient in moral conduct, what can be expected from the children? The commission of instruction of Luzern complained some years since of this deficiency in an address to parents and guardians: In the last year, 1825, we have received many complaints of the negligence, insubordination, and bad manners of a great part of the youths who frequent the schools of this town. This originates in the neglect of their domestic education, and in the want of discipline and propriety which their paternal homes exhibit.' Several private institutions in Switzerland are endeavouring to remedy
the case is very different with a German, English, or even a French youth. To these the disadvantage of the old system is obvious. We must bear in mind that the seat of Catholicism is Italy, where this inconvenience was comparatively but little felt. The Greek Churches, both Latin and Schismatic, pray in their own language.
this evil, especially that of Fellenberg, of which we shall have occasion to speak hereafter.
With regard to the physical education without which we cannot have the mens sana in corpore sano,' although it is not better attended to in the Swiss schools than in those of most other countries, yet the habits of the people, and the climate and localities of the country, supply in a great measure the omission. Travelling on foot is general all over Switzerland, with people of every condition. The frequent vicissitudes of the weather and the nature of the ground inure the inhabitants to fatigue. Hunting, leaping, wrestling, skating, dancing, and military exercise, are commonly practised, more especially in the mountainous cantons. Regular courses of gymnastics have also been introduced in some schools, at Bern, St. Gall, Glarus, &c. In a country like Switzerland, full of lakes and rapid streams, and subject to sudden inundations, the practice of swimming ought to form an early part of youthful exercise, yet, says Franscini in his statistics of Switzerland, it is unheeded in our colleges and schools.'
Primary schools alone are found to be insufficient for the instruction of the poorer and laborious part of the population, as parents being in want of assistance in their daily labours, withdraw their children from the day schools at the age of eight or ten, and the latter soon forget in the midst of their drudgery the little they had learnt. Even those who attend instruction till twelve years of age, are often, for want of practice, illiterate at twenty. To this class of persons, the Sabbath furnishes a most valuable opportunity of keeping up and improving the instruction received in their infant years. Again, the generation that has grown up in ignorance before the establishment of elementary schools, ought to have an opportunity of improving their minds. Sunday-schools have been established of late years in some cantons of Switzerland, especially at Geneva and Basle, where mechanics and labourers are taught orthography, arithmetic, geography, linear drawing, &c. At Basle several hundred workmen frequent an institution founded expressly for them in 1825, by the society called that of public utility. The charge is three batzen, or 4 d. per month, which serve to supply paper, slate, &c.
It is of little use to establish schools, if the masters be deficient in their calling. Schools of method, for the better qualification of teachers, have been formed in several cantons, at which candidates for the office of schoolmasters attend, before they are pronounced competent for their task. A seminary for the education of teachers has been established
for some years in the town of Aarau, and it has already furnished able instructors to the schools of the canton. Schaffhausen has a similar institution, and so has Luzern, which stands prominent among the Catholic cantons for the zeal it has displayed of late years for the education of the people. At Soleure, the curate, Dänzler, holds meetings in his parish attended by about thirty teachers, whom he instructs in the method and practice of their vocation. We have noticed in our last number how institutions for a like purpose are being formed in the North American Union, and it is pleasant to see a similar spirit in progress, though 'passubus haud æquis,' in another federation of republican states in the centre of old Europe.
We come now to a further stage of education, that may be called middle or gymnasial, by which a young man obtains that general literary and scientific information which is indispensable in any station of life above that of a mechanic. Colleges for the purpose exist in most of the Swiss towns. In some cantons also an essential distinction has been drawn between those pupils who have the means and leisure to devote themselves to literature and sciences, with the view of qualifying themselves for the higher or learned professions, and those whose education ought to be turned to more immediate practical objects, such as commerce, manufactures, and other useful arts. To the latter the learned languages, rhetoric, poetry, metaphysics are not essentials, whilst modern languages, mathematics, chemistry, geography, statistics are of the greatest utility. At Zurich there is a college called that of the humanities, which enjoys considerable reputation, and a school of arts for those youths who are not intended for a professional career. At Bern they have a gymnasium, where religion, history, Latin, and French, geography, mathematics, and drawing are taught by able professors. In 1826, several citizens of Bern established a school for the artisans,' in which the latter are taught, gratuitously, orthography and epistolary composition in the German language, arithmetic, geography, drawing applied to the mechanical arts, chemistry, and other branches of physics subservient to the same purpose. The lectures are delivered in the evening from half-past seven to half-past nine, after the daily labour of the journeyman is over. number of pupils increases yearly, and among them are several masters, as well as their workmen. We have also in the same canton of Bern the celebrated schools of Hofwyl and Maykirch, instituted by Mr. Fellenberg. They consist of a high school for boarders of the wealthier classes, both native