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Joint Meeting of Sections.


Editorial Note.-By special arrangement, a joint meeting of Sections was held on Friday, July 13th, for the purpose of discussing the University question in South Africa. Mr. Sidney J. Jennings

. presided, and there was a representative, although not a very large, attendance. By a special resolution of the Council, the discussion which followed the paper presented by Dr. Lyster Jameson is appended.

The Chairman, in opening the proceedings, explained how the meeting originated. There had been a proposal for an Inter-Colonial Conference of delegates, to be appointed by the various Governments, to consider the question of University Education, these delegates to be called together by the High Commissioner. Six weeks ago the Johannesburg branch of the Association received word from the Colonial Secretary that it would be impossible to call that InterColonial Conference into being in time to have the meeting in connection with the present Meeting. On that account the Johannesburg branch of the Council felt that it would be to the advantage of the cause of higher education in South Africa if a discussion were initiated under their auspices at this meeting, where several prominent educationalists would be gathered together. Accordingly the Johannesburg branch of the Council requested Dr. Lyster Jameson, who was the secretary of the former Conference between the Orange River Colony, Natal, and the Transvaal, to initiate a discussion on the subject of University education in South Africa. He would therefore call upon Professor Lyster Jameson to open the discussion.

Dr. Lyster Jameson opened the discussion by reading a paper entitled :


When the Council of this Association did me the honour to ask me to open this discussion, my first impulse was to beg them to approach some member who had a stronger claim to speak on grounds of local experiences.

On second thoughts it occurred to me that it might not be altogether a disadvantage if the discussion were opened by a member of the Transvaal University College, till lately the Transvaal Technical Institute, the youngest complete University College in South Africa.

The Transvaal University College, by nature of its geographical position and other factors, is less likely to be seriously and permanently affected by any scheme of affiliation, federation or separation, than perhaps any other South African School. Its policy with regard to these questions is not yet decided upon, and its position is consequently more independent than that of institutions whose futures so largely hang on the line of action ultimately adopted.

I therefore decided to accept the Council's invitation, and to open this discussion with a brief (and, I fear, very superficial) survey of the past history and present position of University Education in South Africa, followed by a summary of the more obvious remedies for the present acknowledgedly unsatisfactory state of affairs, leaving the discussion of the relative merits of the several schemes, or the proposal of other measures, to those who have more claim to speak authoritatively.

This is eminently a discussion, and not an address, and I will make my opening remarks as brief as possible. One of the disadvantages of the great distances between the centres of University work in this country is that we get so few opportunities of discussing questions of this kind together, and as I believe the question of an inter-colonial conference on University matters is now on the tapis, some discussion of the subject on a more informal basis will perhaps pave the way to a more definite policy. Moreover, in an open discussion of this kind we shall have the benefit, I hope, of the views of members not directly connected with University work.

The present position of University Education in South Africa is, briefly, this. There is a single University, the University of the Cape of Good Hope, which was incorporated in 1873, and received a Royal Charter in 1879. The University did not evolve out of any teaching corporation, but out of a “Board of Public Examiners, established in 1858. The Board had already for many years conducted examinations and awarded certificates in academic, professional, and technical subjects, so that the incorporation of the University chiefly resulted in the transfer of these examinations to the University and the substitution of Degrees for Certificates.

The University has remained an examining body, pure and simple, like the old London University and the Royal University of Ireland, the University of Manitoba (until recently), and, in a restricted sense, the University of New Zealand.

The growth of Higher Education in South Africa can be judged from the fact that, in each decade since the founding of the Cape University, the average number of students, graduating annually in Arts has more than doubled, so that the average for the years 18961905 is nearly 4} times that of the twelve years 1874-1885. A similar steady rise is noticeable if we take averages over periods of five years, as will be seen from the following table :In the period 1874-75 the average was 9 per year. 1876-80



18.2 1891-95 1896-00

34.4 1901-05




In addition to the University, several institutions, calling themselves colleges, have arisen ; beginning as a rule as boys' or girls' schools, later adding work above matriculation to their programmes, and finally evolving a special “ College Department," which has in some cases developed into a University College of the highest efficiency. When the separation is complete, the school, which was in a sense the parent of the College, generally becomes known as the College School."

This evolution of a University College out of a Secondary School, which undoubtedly has certain attendant disadvantages and dangers, is the natural result of a growing demand for University work, in a country where the population is sparse and distances are great. It has, none the less, been the history of every college in South Africa, except the Transvaal University College, which was founded as a full faculty of Mining and Engineering, adding its Arts department at a later date.

In South Africa the present tendency, without a doubt, is for institutions to assume the title “ University College " before they are anything more than good High Schools.

This tendency has unquestionably been fostered by our system of Degree by Examination."

Nobody will deny that this tendency will, if unchecked, bring its own retribution in a needless multiplication of weak colleges, in a general discrediting of “University Colleges as a class, and in a decided fall in the prestige of these institutions that have really earned that name.

To come to the individual institutions doing University work. The South African College opened in 1829 with about a hundred “students " and three “ professors.” The “School” was founded in 1874 as the “ junior department of the College," and thus occupied buildings in the College grounds, from which it was removed in 1895. As the Matriculation classes were not transferred from the College to the School till the year 1900, the institution's life as a University College in the strict sense can be dated from that year.

The College gives Certificates in Engineering subjects, and has an Associateship. It also prepares students for the Arts Course, the Survey examinations, and the Law Examinations of the Cape University, and does the first and second years of the Mining Course ; and also the first year's Medical work of the Home Universities.

During the year 1905 there were 275 students and 26 lecturers.

The Victoria College, Stellenbosch, was founded as the Stellenbosch Gymnasium in 1865. In 1874, owing to the incorporation of the University, an Arts department was established, which was incorporated as a College in 1881. The name Victoria College dates back from 1887. There is a complete separation between the school and college, and the college confines its attention to University work above matriculation. It covers preparation for the Arts, Survey and First Mining Examinations, and the first year's medical course. During 1905 there were 196 students and 16 lecturers. During 1905 the number of students was half as great again as in 1904.

The Rhodes University College, Graham's Town, is the youngest University College in Cape Colony. In 1855 St. Andrew's College was founded, and in 1878 the College and School departments were separated.

The Rhodes University College was incorporated in 1904, and took over the staff of lecturers from St. Andrew's, which was subsequently increased. The work is being carried on in temporary premises, pending the erection of buildings to cost £40,000. Three other schools in Graham's Town have occasionally put students through the Cape University examinations above matriculation, but since the Rhodes College has been established they all hand over their matriculated students to it. In 1905 there were eleven lecturers and 58 students.

The Diocesan College, Rondebosch, was founded in 1848 as a College School, and in 1886 St. Saviour's Grammar School was affiliated to it under the name of the Diocesan College School. The Matriculation Classes are still retained in the College, but otherwise the separation of College from School is practically complete. In 1905 there were five lecturers, fourteen matriculated Arts Students, seventeen Law Students, fifteen in the Survey Department, and one “ miscellaneous,” making a total of 47. This year there are over 50 undergraduates.

The Huguenot College, Wellington (ladies) was founded as a Seminary in 1874, and in 1898 the growth of the Collegiate Department necessitated the evolution of a College as a separate entity. The College is only open to Matriculated students. During 1904 there were 27 students, and in 1905 25 students and six lecturers. The separation between College and School is complete. Only the Arts Course is taken here.

Other Institutions in Cape Colony. By referring to the yearly pass lists of the Cape University since 1905, I find that no less than 20 schools in Cape Colony have regularly or occasionally passed students through the Intermediate Arts Examination, not including the five colleges mentioned above. Four have succeeded in putting students through the B.A., viz., Gill College, Somerset East (12), Burghersdorp Seminary (2), Kingswood College, Graham's Town (1), and Queenstown Grammar School (1). The total number of successful candidates from these schools is B.A. 16, Intermediate Arts 65. Several of these schools still retain the right of preparing students for Intermediate Arts.

Passing from the Cape Colony, we find that the only school in the Orange River Colony doing University work is Grey College, Bloemfontein. It was opened in 1858, and was the property of the Dutch Reformed Church till 1882, when it was transferred to the Government. Since 1899 it has put 19 candidates through Intermediate Arts and two through B.A., both the latter in 1905.

It possesses a College Department, with a staff of six lecturers. The separation between school and college is complete. The classes are open to matriculated girls from the High School, as well as to the

College Students. There were in 1905 seven matriculated students, and this year there are twelve in the Intermediate Class and six in the B.A. classes. There are no other students this year, though the college offers classes for the Survey, First Mining, and Law examination. A University College, to cost £60,000, is to be built. No other school in the Orange River Colony attempts University work.

In the Transvaal the only institution seriously doing University work is the Transvaal University College, till lately known as the Technical Institute.

Within the last ten years five schools have, between them, put six candidates through the Intermediate Arts, and the Normal College, Pretoria, has obtained the B.A.

The Technical Institute began its life in March, 1904, as a faculty of Mining and Engineering, the Law Course being first started in 1905, and the Department of Arts and Science at the beginning of 1906. At present there are 91 day students, of whom 57 are in the Engineering and Mining Departments, 14 in the Arts and Science Department, and 20 in the Law Department. The staff consists of 14 lecturers, two assistant lecturers, and two demonstrators. The College grants Certificates and Diplomas in Engineering, Mining, and allied subjects, also a general certificate in Arts and Science, and an Associateship. Students are also being prepared for the Cape University Examinations in Arts, Mining, and Law.

In Natal matters are complicated by the fact that the schools occasionally or regularly prepare students for Intermediate Arts, and two or three, the Durban High School and the Ladies' College, Durban, have each on one occasion put a student through the B.A. One school, Maritzburg College, has also five successes in the survey, and two in the first Mining Examination. One or two other schools occasionally attempt the Survey Examination.

A Commission on Technical Education last year recommended the establishment of separate classes, to form the nucleus of a University College, and to draw the senior pupils from the various High Schools, where they are being coached in one's and two's for University Examinations.

The present condition of Natal's finances makes it very improbable that any steps will be taken, for the present, other than continuing the work now going on at secondary schools.

Now let us try to form some estimate of the relative importance of the several units which I have enumerated, as factors in South African University Education.

Taking first, as a basis, the Arts degree, I have plotted the numbers of successful candidates during the last eleven years along lines corresponding to the colleges from which they are derived.

In this respect the South African College and Victoria College are approximately equal, and all the other colleges and schools, plus all private students, taken together about equal in importance each of these two places.

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