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the subject of his political state, and his position as a member of the social system.
There is no greater novelty in education than this; hitherto there has been an utter blank here. The elder pupils should be perfectly familiar with their social rights and duties, the principles and simpler practice of the constitution and government, the functions of representatives and of electors, the nature and powers of judicial establishments, the trial by jury, and the functions of magistrates, justices of the peace, and officers of the law, of all ranks and degrees. There is nothing in all this that a boy of twelve years of age may not comprehend and store up as knowledge, as easily as he would translate Cæsar. The knowledge should be given him in a series of lessons, and his progress ascertained by repeated examinations ; and when he shall come to exercise his rights as a citizen, his early elementary training will be of great value to him.
“ Lessons on political economy, the nature and principles of trade, commerce, manufactures, and money, will follow elementary views of political condition. Liberal relations may then be inculcated, and all the self-defeating prejudice and selfishness of dealing among nations and individuals anticipated and prevented. National antipathies ought to be especially reprobated. There are a few plain principles of political economy of which no individual ought to be ignorant, such as the balance of demand and supply, the doctrine of wages, of employer and workman, the economy of labour, the division of labour, the effect of competition, of overtrading, of machinery, of poor-laws, and pauperism, with all its degradation when not induced by unavoidable misfortune, &c."
The sixth chapter is devoted to the consideration of Civil History as a study for youth. The following extract will give the reader some idea of Mr Simpson's opinions :
“ Before history can be properly taught, it must be properly written. It must be written under the direction of an enlightened philosophy of mind and human nature, and the sound ethics of the supremacy of the moral sentiments and intellect. It ought to be viewed as a record of the manifestations of the faculties of man, and the distinction of the animal from the moral faculties, the truth that creation is arranged on the principle of favouring virtue, being kept in view—its events should he classed according to their relation to the higher or lower feelings of humanity ; exalting the former as worthy of approbation and imitation ; and reprobating the latter according to their place in the scale of vice or crime, to which, in abuse, they essentially belong. The historian thus guided would not worship the false splendour of the Greeks and Romans, -a worship too unequivocally indicative of a sympathy in ourselves with the lower feelings, out of which that false splendour arose ;-but tracing through all their ramifications and tortuosities, to their ultimate inevitable retribution, acts fundamentally immoral or criminal, would sternly refuse to them the slightest shelter from universal execration, in the most dazzling feats of heroism, the most munificent dispensation of plunder, the finest taste, or most gorgeous magnificence. The same guiding principles would impart to history a philosophical character, which would give it the highest practical value, and instead of an unedifying monotony of vice and crime, would render it a continued illustration of principle, and an instructive guide to national practice.”
The details of a national plan of popular education are suggested in chapter seventh, which is one of great interest. The author contends for the institution of free schools by the nation ; because experience proves that even the most trifling fees have the effect of preventing attendance,--that private benevolence is of little avail in establishing and upholding schools, and that popular ignorance is a great national evil, peopling our prisons and our hospitals, desolating the land with pauperism, taxing us for the costly machinery of political establishments and criminal judicature, and, at the same time, deducting from the happiness of every feeling man, by making him witness and live surrounded by the numberless sufferings which it entails upon an immense body of the community. “ Pay for it who may,” says Mr Simpson, “the education of the working classes never has been, nor ever will, for it cannot, be paid by themselves. Besides inability, there is another obstacle to any thing like effort by that class to obtain education for their children, and that is, their utter indifference to it, arising from ignorance of its advantages. The very ignorance which we deplore is a mountainous barrier in the way of its own removal. The road must be levelled and smoothed, and almost strewed with flowers, to tempt the prevailing apathy to move in it. It is proverbial, but erroneous, that a thing must be paid for before it is valued, and many will tell us that the working class will not care to send their children to our gratis schools. Now that has not yet been tried ; but it has, on trial, been found to be most certainly true that the maxim reversed holds good, namely, that a thing must be valued before it is paid for ; and hence the empty halls of the pence-exacting schools
. It seems an experiment well worth the while of the Government, who must have ultimately to deal with the great question, to guarantee, for a year or two, the loss to two or three infant schools, that shall arrange to open their door gratis. From many indications, and from inquiries made by them among the poorer classes, Mr Dun and Mr Milne, the teachers of the Edinburgh Lancasterian and Model Infant schools, have informed the author that they entertain no doubt
that their schools would be quite full in a few days on that footing.* This might be expected by attention to the most obvious human motives. The parent must be depraved indeed, or insane, who should prefer being annoyed with wretchedly cared for children at home, or seeing them playing in the kennels of the streets, in filth and wickedness, to placing them in the safety, comfort, and, to them, luxury, of an infant school. If they could be tempted only to bring them there, the children themselves would most certainly come back again ; if so, would the parents—could they, hinder them ? Let us once get hold of the children, and we are sure of them; they will make no demand on their parents on Monday morning for the non-existing two-pence, which has gone for whisky on Saturday night or Sunday; the poor child is probably sent or driven out of doors at any rate; he will infallibly find his way to the infant school ; and when once there, he may in most cases be counted upon, not only for the whole period of that first school, but for transference to the more advanced school, of our fifth chapter, also opened to him gratis ; and there also he will make out the total term.”
As a commencement to the great measure of national education, the author suggests that its merits should be discussed fully and freely in both Houses of Parliament, and resolutions voted in its favour.f Petitions, he thinks, will not be wanting, when the subject is “ agitated” by the legislature and the press, both combining to enlighten the public, and render it popular. “ When the legislature,” he proceeds, “ have recognised by resolutions, the principles, first, That the education of the people, from two years of age to fourteen, ought to be furnished at the national expense ; and, secondly, That the national system should be directed by the Government, the way will be paved for the first act of Parliament which will empower his Majesty to name Commissioners, under the superintendence of his Secretary of State for the Home Department to constitute a Board
* “ Both these teachers declare that their school-fees are irregularly paid. In the Lancasterian scarcely one-half are paid when due, and a great proportion is never recovered. In the Infant school it is better, though there likewise irregular. Mr Dun knows when a pupil will cease to come back; it is after running some weeks in arrear. He has often made the experiment of seeing the parents, whom he generally found drunk, and on wiping off the score the pupil was sure to come back again. Mr Dun and Mr Milne state, that the opinion in favour of gratis teaching is from experience general among the teachers themselves. The boys in the Lancasterian School are about 300,- they used to be 500. If the doors were opened gratis, a larger number than 500 would attend with alacrity. There are about 300 girls.”
† A Parliamentary Committee on education has been appointed since the publication of Mr Simpson's book.
" Prussia and France have each a Minister of Public Instruction, and the magnitude of the national object would warrant a similar appointment in this country. In this proposition I am anticipated by the Edinburgh Review,
of Public Education, whose duty, under the responsibility of a minute report to Parliament, it shall be, First, after the most extensive inquiries into existing improvements, not merely in this country, where there is yet but little to boast of, but in countries wnich have made and are making popular education a grand national object, such as Prussia and France, and guided by sound philosophical principle, to prepare a system of primary education—a Code or directory for the teacher's guidance, adapted to all classes of the community, and with a special eye to the education of the manual labour class, physical, moral, and intellectual. The vital importance of such a book needs no illustration. On the table of every school in the country, it would be the teacher's rule, guide, warrant, and limit, and secure to the pupil education on an enlightened plan, and that uniform from one end of the empire to the other. This is of immense moment. There is a vague talk on the subject of po
a pular education, even among its zealous friends, which appears never to get beyond the machinery, the multiplication of schools, and the methods of teaching ; but few seem to think it at all necessary to settle the point, WHAT is to be taught.. In this, we of this country have the course clear for us to shoot a-head immeasurably of both Prussia and France. It would occupy too much space to detail here the what of education in those countries on their new popular system. Those who have read their reports must have been struck with the preponderating, the almost exclusive importance allotted to the machinery,
to the minister of public instruction, the boards, the normal schools, the primary schools, the control and visitation, the uniformity, borrowed from the very war-office and the barracks. This is all very right, so far as it goes; but the education conveyed by all these appliances appears to rise very little above the old routine; and this evidently because it is not suspected in Prussia and France that there exists any thing better. We miss, in the very front of the system, a provision for infant education, for the chief object of all education, to which every thing else ought to be subservient, early practical moral training. We find no provision made for imparting to the pupil a knowledge of himself, and of creation as related to him. Languages, geography, mathematics, history, music, drawing, penmanship, are all excellent branches, but they are too apt to be thought the whole of school objects. The desiderated British Code of the substance No. 117, p. 30,- In England, where almost every thing is to do, and a great deal to be undone, we doubt whether any thing can be effected of permanent utility, without a Minister of Public Instruction. The duties of the Home Office are already too heavy. The only way to secure unity, promptitude, energy, and, we may add, impartiality, in any organized system of national education, is to lodge the undivided responsibility in the hands of a public officer, and to limit his duties to that great object.'
of education may be made to exceed any thing yet known; and, borrowed, as it would be, by the very countries from which we have copied the machinery, will overpay the boon.”
Mr Simpson offers some judicious and valuable suggestions as to the other duties of the proposed Board; but for these we must refer the reader to his pages. The great importance of training teachers in what are termed normal schools is justly and strongly insisted on; and the necessity that schools should be under proper superintendence is also pointed out. « The Board," says Mr Simpson,“ will exercise the most rigid surveillance over the schools for teachers, aud subsequent parish schools. The teacher ought to be liberally paid, quite as liberally as the parish minister, while his attainments will secure to him an elevation in society, far beyond what the schoolmaster' has yet enjoyed. But to keep up zeal, and prevent the sedative effect of endowment, all the national school teachers should be appointed triennially ; when reappointment will depend upon previous conduct. The Board ought to have the sole appointment of the teachers, and the power of dismissal for sufficient
Returns at stated periods should be made to the Board, by the teachers, of the condition and progress of their schools ; and these should be countersigned by the Justices of the Peace and Clergy in the parish, who should have power, and be enjoined, to visit the school at all times, and examine it once or twice a-year. Occasional inspections by members of the Board, or by qualified persons appointed by them, going in circuit, so that the whole schools may be inspected in the course of a certain number of years, and their state published, would furnish a motive to teachers, justices, and ministers, alike to do their duty.”
In the eighth and concluding chapter, Mr Simpson adverts to the difficulties and obstacles to be overcome in educating the people, and the encouragements which the friends of education have before them. We have room to notice only one of the "obstacles,"—sectarian zeal. This, says Mr Simpson, "has
' hitherto been, and will yet be, the most formidable obstacle with which a NATIONAL system of popular education will have to contend. There exist between seventy and eighty șects of Christians. The zealots of every sect most conscientiously entertain the opinion that the only chance for the youth of the country obtaining what it calls a religious education, is to place the sole direction of education, secular and religious, in its peculiar hands. Most sects, so empowered, would then proceed to instil into the young, nay, even the infant mind, theology almost exclusively. This is the only idea the sects, if zealous, attach to education on a religious basis. It must begin with the creed and catechism of the sect, and never for a moment be permitted to lose sight of either. The consequence is, that both