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ART. L-EDUCATIONAL ENDOWMENTS AND
DERHAPS few better illustrations can be given of Burke's definition of law, viz., 'beneficence working by rule,' than a comparison of primary and secondary education, in respect of their history and present condition. The latter has been in existence since the introduction of Christianity into Britain. Long before the Reformation, it had endowments which were misappropriated much as they are now. Acts were passed in its support, but there is no satisfactory evidence that their provisions were strictly, if at all, enforced. It was nurtured by ecclesiastics as being required to provide candidates for holy orders. Though this was the original purpose of Burgh Schools, we find that so early as in the end of the fifteenth century, laymen took part in them, both as teachers and pupils. Burgesses and freeholders were ordered to send their eldest sons to school at the age of eight or nine, and to keep them there till they were competently founded and had perfect Latin.' Care was taken that the teachers were properly qualified, and the curriculum of study, especially in Latin, was sufficiently broad. Under the fostering care of the Church they continued to do very good work, but as Latin became gradually a less important instrument in the education of the clergy, the supervision became less strict, and the encouragement less hearty. For a century past there has been no effective system or complete organisation, and it may be said
that they have been practically left to take care of themselves. The result has been the usual one when the question is not one of physical want, viz., quasi-stagnation from indifference, and thriftlessness from want of system. Primary Education, on the other hand, in the shape in which it is represented by existing schools, does not go farther back than the Reformation. There were dames' schools before then, but they were purely private enterprises, and without supervision of any kind.
Early in the seventeenth century an Act of the Privy Council was ratified by Parliament. This act provided that a school should be established in every parish, and a fit person appointed to teach the same. With some vicissitudes, depending on the establishment and ultimate abolition of Episcopacy, this continued in force till 1696, when the injunctions laid upon the heritors were more stringently enforced, and, thanks to the zealous exertions of the Church, parish schools were soon erected in every parish in Scotland. No important change was made for upwards of a century, but in 1803 the altered value of money made a reconsideration of the question. necessary. The emoluments were increased, and made liable to revision every twenty-five years. Revision was made in 1828 and 1853. The Parochial Schools Act of 1803 was amended by the Parochial and Burgh Schools Act of 1861, which remained in force till Lord Young's Education (Scotland) Act of 1872. The cause of education had, however, in 1846 received a great impulse from annual grants by the Committee of Council. What is important to observe is, that from the establishment of parish schools, Primary Education, with a greater or less admixture of higher work, has grown steadily, not always quickly, but generally in the right direction, till it stands before us to-day a well-developed, healthy, and productive plant, ready to cover every inch of ground available or requisite. How different has been the fate of the older and higher branch. Cared for by the Church as long as Latin bulked largely in clerical education, it continued to struggle on, sometimes well, sometimes poorly, but generally in an unsystematic way. Early in the sixteenth century Acts of Parliament were passed confirming the power of the Church as to the appointment of
teachers, the right to examine, etc., and in later times it has got now and then a sort of step-child's recognition in the legislation dealing with Parochial Schools. It is doubtful if it would have received even this recognition, but for the fact that in a number of cases the schools were partly parochial, partly burghal in constitution. It has been, at any rate, practically free from government control. Since the middle of the sixteenth century the burgh schools were visited with more or less regularity, and examined with more or less strictness in the presence of Magistrates and Town Councils. In some instances the aid of independent examiners was called in, but we have no very definite information as to whether such examinations meant more or less than the Presbyterial examinations of twelve years ago. It is not unreasonable to suppose that they were generally as perfunctory, and as innocent of stimulus towards solid attainment. They were certainly not organised in such a way as to produce a general raising of the standard. They did not issue from such a source of authority, nor were they stimulated by such substantial rewards and punishments as to give them real and progressive force. We accordingly find that, with a few exceptions, they showed little of the spring which indicates consciousness of vitality, or of the improvement which ought to be the fruit of increased experience. It has been too much. the fashion of late to decry the work of the old parochial schools, and disparage the part played by the Church in their management. It ought not to be forgotten that, for two centuries, it was almost exclusively to the Church that Scotland owed a system of education that cost so little and earned so much for its people. And even in later times, when its care became less necessary, and its influence less weighty, it should be remembered that, if the Church did little, every other class. did less. Indeed, as a rule, no other class did anything. It is no doubt to the credit of the heritors that, when the maximum and minimum salaries of teachers were considerably increased by the act of 1861, in a great many instances the maximum was willingly given. Beyond this, however, active interest and encouragement were almost entirely confined to the Church. As to the work done in the old parochial schools
it may fairly be described as a disorganised attempt to do what is now aimed at in the better class of primary schools, viz., to combine elementary and advanced education. In this they succeeded to a degree that has not been approached by any other nation, and which, if it were not a fact, would be thought to be an impossibility. As might be expected, the elementary was often sadly neglected, but to the attention given to higher education is to be ascribed the character which Scotland has maintained as in the front rank of educated nations.
While this tribute is justly due to the Church and the old parochial schools, it cannot be denied that the time had come when they must give place to something more systematic and comprehensive. Hence the act of 1872, severing all connection between the Church, as such, and education. Since then, by enlisting local interest in the election of School Boards, the advance has been marvellous. We do not say that something has not been lost by the change. Thirty years ago a poor but clever lad in a country school, under-what was not rare-an able teacher, had a better chance of getting advanced education to fit him for rising in the social scale, than he has now. But this was often gained at the expense of the mass of the pupils. The present occupants of some of our University Chairs owe their success in life to this feature of the old parochial schools, and are doubtless inclined to praise the past; but they cannot refuse their admiration to a great part of the present state of matters, and probably content themselves with wishing that the old and the new could be combined, so as to secure for all the essentials of education, and for those of greater brain power such a training as would enable them to rise to the level for which nature intended them. Such a wish need not be classed among devout imaginations never to be realised. The reorganisation of educational endowments at present under consideration, offers a fitting opportunity for the discussion of the subject. What is attempted in the following pages is to show that, as a nation, we suffer serious loss from neglecting to utilise the best brain of the country from whatever class, and to indicate in what way this waste may be
prevented. The subiect has been treated by Mr. Matthew Arnold with his usual force and eloquence. With his views we, in common with the majority of educationists, heartily
The preamble of the Educational Endowments Act of 1882 states that the object contemplated is the providing, by means of an adequate portion of endowments, higher education for boys and girls of promise, so as to aid their advancement in life. Is it possible generally under existing educational arrangements, to supply either in town. or country schools of the ordinary type such an education as will enable a lad to enter the University with profit or success? We feel warranted in answering this in the negative. The pressure-inevitable even where the teacher has the highest idea of his profession-exerted by the Government code in payment for results, withdraws the attention of both pupil and teacher from those subjects by which University distinction is reached. They are doubly handicapped, first, by demanding too much time, and secondly, by earning too little money to make it worth the teacher's while to give them the necessary attention. In large town schools of several departments under the kindly control of a liberal Board, the appointment of a teacher in excess of the Government requirements makes the teaching of elementary Classics and Mathematics possible. In some such schools the work is carried on far enough to bring the school and University into healthy contact. Such cases, however, are the exception, not the rule. All that the majority of ordinary schools can do is to make a beginning in Latin and Mathematics, and continue them for two years in a half-hearted, unsatisfactory way, seldom going beyond the translation from and into Latin of short sentences, the first book of Euclid, and simple equations. The same remarks apply with perhaps greater force to the science subjects, Chemistry, Magnetism, and Physiology. Under a skilful teacher a useful beginning may be made, and the subjects carried far enough to afford some indication of the pupil's leanings and capacity. If then, we have stated the case fairly, it would seem that the function of the typical Board