From Our Educational Correspondent The address of the President of the Board of Education to the Congress of the Universities of the British Empire is deeply interesting to Catholics in as much as he gave a survey of the field of education in England from pre-Reformation days to the present time.
In his introductory remarks he suggested that overseas visitors might be surprised to learn that the President of the Board of Education possesses no jurisdiction over two of the richest and most historic provinces of our educational system—the Universities and Public Schools. He maintained that there had always been a close connection between Universities and Secondary Schools. There could be traced three movements which contributed to the secondary education of to-day.
Before the Reformation
Before the Reformation, most cathedrals and collegiate churches had their Chantry or Song School, or other educational provision of the grammar school type.
The second movement resulted from the Reformation. Since many old foundations were dissolved, schools were founded by monarchs, city companies and patrons. The industrial revolution caused the third movement. The existing grammar schools were insufficient to accommodate the children of a new and comparatively wealthy middle class which had arisen. Some of the old grammar schools became boarding schools and additional boarding schools were established. A demand for popular education by the lower classes increased and resulted in the Education Act of 1870. The outcome of this was a desire for further education, and in 1902, an Act was passed which gave local educational authorities power to supply or aid the supply of secondary and technical schools.
Throughout the long history of education continued Mr. Stanley, there had always been a close connection between secondary schools and universities.
These developments had not been without effect on the character and tradition of the universities. It was estimated that nearly half of the full time students at the universities were in receipt of financial assistance. Some might consider that this spread of financial aid had gone too far but a democratic country must set before itself the ideal that no child should be deprived of education through lack of means and financial assistance should be rendered.
Mr. Stanley emphasized the danger of universities becoming places of vocational education in the narrow sense. The questions of the future would be—are schools and universities to grow in size and num bers? Might there not be as great a danger in over-supply as in under-supply? He hoped that, whatever conclusions were reached, neither universities nor schools would forget that they were inheritors of a great national tradition that had flourished in England for 500 years and had its roots in the remote Middle Ages.
THE EDUCATION BILL
Lord Rank eillour's Speech
To readers of the Catholic Herald, the trend of the debate in the House of Commons on the amendments to the present Education Bill would occasion no surprise as the nature of its reception. There was indicated in the last article as also was outlined the subsequent action taken by the House of Lords. At the end of an allnight sitting the House of Commons considered the amendments suggested by the Upper House and assented to all save that moved by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the purpose of which was to give financial assistance for the alteration of junior \as well as senior schools.
The amendment was defeated because the expenditure covered by the Bill was bounded by the financial resolution which contained the words " for the education of senior children!' When the Bill again came before the House of Lords, Earl De La Warr, Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education moved that the Lords should accept the reason given by the House of Commons for rejecting the amendment.
The Archbishop of Canterbury whilst agreeing not to press for the amendment, maintained that it was still reasonable that it was not intended to obtain building grants for all junior schools, but only for those for which alteration was necessary for the purpose of housing children displaced from senior schools due to the operating of the Act.
Lord Rankeillour, a leading Catholic forensic educationist, whom many will remember on account of his work as deputyspeaker in the House of Commons, expressed regretful agreement with the Primate. He said that the technical reasons against the amendment were overwhelming and that the Commons could not entertain this amendment without there being a new financial resolution. Therefore there was nothing to do but to acquiesce in the dis4agreement of the Commons and not insist on the amendment.
Lord Rankeillour and Catholic Position
Continuing, he gave a clear and concise exposition of the attitude of the Catholic body towards the Bill, which is so valuable that no apology is necessary for repeating it verbatim:
" May I now, as we are parting from this Bill say just a short word. Those with whom I am associated recognise to the full the good will of the President of the Board of Education and of his representative in this House. They have worked hard, and undoubtedly a great good will be done by the provisions of the Bill. I am sure—at least I certainly hope—every one will com
bine to make it a success. But of course it cannot be regarded as a settlement, and to do justice to the President of the Board of Education he never put it forward as a settlement. There cannot be a settlement so long as one particular form of religious teaching is privileged and endowed and other forms to a greater or lesser extent are penalised.
"We have the most anomalous position in England. For example, the Catechism I learned in my youth would be illegal in a council school. The Church of England would be illegal in a council school. The Shorter Catechism of the Presbyterians would be illegal in a council school. The chism is not illegal because it covers more than one denomination, and although those who believe in that Catechism have not attempted to get it taught yet in fact, they
(Continued at foot of next column) do get the particular kind of teaching that they want in council schools entirely at the public expense. They do these things better in Scotland, and I cannot help thinking that it is on the Scottish lines that a settlement will ultimately be sought and, I hope, found."