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Particulars from current reports.—The following details from the latest official reports of the several States are of special interest.
NEW SOUTII WALES.
School attendance.--In addition to the enrollment in public elementary schools, 243,667 scholars, there were 1,622 pupils in attendance in 1902 at other schools aided by the State, classified as follows:
The Sydney Grammar School---
Scientific and technical education. A comparative statement of the total enrollment of students of the colleges and branch schools for the years 18W; and 1897 is giren below:
The year under review has been marked by the publication of the “interim report of a commission of two persons appointed April 11, 1902. to proceed to Europe and America for the purpose of inquiring into existing methods of instruction in connection with primary, secondary, technical, and other branches of education and of recommending for adoption whatever improvements " might in the judgment of the commissioners be advantageously introdlneel in New South Wales.
The report thus far submitted, which deals wholly with primary education. comprises special reports by each of the two commissioners, setting forth with great fullness the characteristie features of primary education in the several countries visited. These reports are preceded by an analytical study of the conditions in New South Wales interspersed with critical comparisons with those of the countries visited and accompanied by recommendations as to the changes which are necessary to bring education in New South Wales to the level desired.
The following citations from the report relate (1) to special conditions affecting elucation in New South Wales; (2) to the chief defect in the system emphasized in the report; and (3) summarized conclusions as to the reforms needel.
(1) Under the caption " State of education in New South Wales" attention is called to the fact that the task of educating a large and rery sparsely populated community is far greater than might at first sight appear, and the administration of public education has had a gigantie problem to deal with. There has obviously been much zeal and devotion in its work, and there is mechanical precision in its scheme. The greatness of the work undertaken should command public-respect for it. How far it meets public needs will be discussed later. It has already been indicated that reform is needed. Some idea of the magnitude of the work of the department may be had from the following statement:
Total number of schools under the department of public instruction of New
South Wales open in 1902.
464 406 26
The State is divided into thirty-five inspectorial districts, five of these being in the metropolitan area.
For these districts there are 31 inspectors' headquarters, Sydney being the headquarters of five inspectors.
Approximately 114,000 miles are covered annually by the inspectors of the department. This traveling extends over an area of about 281,000 square miles.
(2) The pupil-teacher system.-The most serious defect in the educational system of New South Wales is the employment as teachers of young people of immature education, of immature physical and moral development, utterly without experience in teaching, and therefore without professional knowledge of its scope and significance. Until recently they could be taken at 14 years of age, a limit which, it was suggested at the departmental conference of January, 1902, should be merely changed to 15.
It is quite impossible in a country employing untrained and poorly educated persons as teachers to make popular education comparable to that of the comtries where teachers are required to be previously well educated and trained, and if the State should decide to adhere to the practice of employing pupilteachers it should be with the full knowledge that in so doing it is electing to maintain a system of education decidedly inferior to the systems of Europe and America, and one that can not possibly produce satisfactory results.
The removal of aspirants to a teaching staff from systematic education at so early an age as 14 or 15 (or even 16) and the endeavor to make good their educational limitations by private reading, by instruction to be had from a more or less exhausted primary teacher, by the year spent in the training school, etc., can not be viewed with complacency if it be desired to make our education comparable to that of other countries. Let it be borne in mind also that, inadequate as it is, the training-school experience is that of only a relatively small number. Thus the whole case is even less favorable than above implied.
In regard to the outlook of a teaching staif, a matter of no small importance, it may be said that under the best of circumstances teachers, as a consequence of their daily association with children—that is, with those who can not meet them on a level of equal intelligence and information and can not subject their opinions to criticism, as would an adult-need a corrective, viz, one which will tend to broaden the view and give a more normal outlook upon the totality of things. There can be no doubt whatever that the professional employment of children as members of the teaching staff places that staff under such limitations as must, in their influence upon the spirit of the community, be regarded as detrimental; for under any régime that tended to leave teachers generally restricted in outlook their power of educating-i. e., of developing children's characters and minds—must be correspondingly defective.
The training system of New South Wales-that is, the teaching of pupilteachers by primary school teachers, coupled with a year spent at the training college by some (not all) of the teachers-can not be considered as an altervative to the European method-i. e., as an alternative in any way comparable therewith.
Summarized conclusions.—The system of education in New South Wales indicates, by its scheme of training its teachers, by its absence of scientific and literary equipment in its training schools, by its curriculum, by its treatment of the subjects in its curriculum, by its lack of proper educational equipment in its schools, by its inattention to proper hygiene, that it needs to be qadically reformed; and one of the most important elements of the reform will be the better education and training of its teachers.
These conclusions and the recommendations to which they lead are discussed by the commissioners at great length. Space permits here only a single
quotation from this section of the report, which indicates the admirable spirit in which the commissioners approach the most delicate part of their task.
The following recommendations are based upon the several assumptions hereunder mentioned, viz:
(a) That the educational system of New South Wales should aim at becoming at least the equal of the best systems in other parts of the world.
(0) That to attain to equality with either European or American education the whole spirit and method of the existing system of primary education must be transformed in respect of (1) the professional education and training of teachers, and (2) the development of the curriculum.
(c) That merely mechanical changes in the machinery of the department or more changes in the curricula, or additions of new features thereto, in themselves will not suffice.
(d) That the chief activity of the inspectors and other officers of the department, especially in the immediate future, will have to be mainly educative, with a view to bringing the existing teaching staff into touch with the spirit of modern education.
(e) That in departing from the present régime the change should operate steadily and continuously until a new system is fully developed.
It may be added that change in the teaching method and in the whole scheme of inspectorial activity, while important, is but mechanism, and the supreme need is a deeper understanding, not so much of educational mechanism, as of the spirit and the philosophy of the European and American systems.
The attempt to provide a higher education and sounder professional training for future teachers will have to be supplemented by an attempt also to give a new direction to the activity of those at present on the teaching staff of the department. These things, together with better curricula, and equipment, are necessary to real reform.
Tork of the itinerant teacher:--The services of the itinerant teacher were continued during the year. Visits were paid to 95 families with 291 children over 5 years of age and 98 under 5 years, and in 67 of these families 210 children over 5 years of age are receiving instruction from relatives or tutors. In 45 of the homes the children were found to have reached or exceeded a fair standard of proficiency in the very elementary instruction that had been imparted to them, in 13 of the homes the proficiency was only moderate, and in 9 of them did not reach even a moderate standard.
The State also maintained 1,825 children in orphanages at an expense of $119,235.
Secondary education. In addition to the public elementary schools, there are 10 grammar schools in Queensland-6 for boys and 4 for girls. Each grammar school is governed by a board of seven trustees appointed by the government, and of these four are nominated by the governor in council and the others by a majority of the subscribers to the funds. The trustees hold oilice for three years and are eligible for reelection. They are empowered to make regulations for the filling of all vacancies that may occur in their number for the unexpired portion of the term of office, for the determination of fees to be paid by the scholars, for the salaries to be paid the teachers, and generally for the management, good government, and discipline of the school. All such regulations are subject to the approval of the governor in council.
Endowment at the rate of £1,000 per annum is paid by the State to each grammar school, making a total endowment of £10,000 ammually to the grammar schools. On December 31, 1902, the aid granted by the State from the first institution of grammar schools reached a total of £281,937 ls. 3d. Of that amount £18,901 11s. 4d. represents special loans and is being repaid by quarterly installments of principal with interest.
Technical education.-Technical instruction is given in institutions mostly connected with schools of art, where special training can be obtained at small cost and generally outside the usual working hours. There were 22 institutions of this kind maintained in 1902, with 5,084 students. For this work Parliament
ED 1904 M-2
voted the sum of £10,630 ($33,250) for the year 1902-3, subject to the condition that the aid extended in any case should not exceed 15s. for every £1 raised locally.
Expenditures.-As shown by tabulated statistics the public expenditure for primary education for the year 1901–2 was £282,612 ($1,413,061). The total expenditure for all educational purposes was £316,3:34 ($1,581,670).
In addition to the expenditure for primary education, the government grants funds for scholarships, which enable the holders to carry on their studies in higher schools and universities. The amount thus appropriated in 190:2 was $7,362. For the advanced school for girls under the charge of the minister of education the government appropriated $6,132. The total enrollment in the schools was 115, of which number to students held scliolarships entitling them to free tuition.
In addition to the school of agriculture, which has been recently consolidated with the school of mines, classes in agriculture have been opened in several centers.
During the past year great progress has been made both in the preparation of teachers to give instruction in one form or another of manual training and in introducing the subject into the schools.
The paper-work training classes for teachers carried on throughout the State are well attended both by men and women students, who freely give up their Saturdays to the work, and not infrequently travel from 5 to 20 miles at their own expense to do so. These classes are conducted by ex-students of the training college, who obtained the necessary qualification during 1.901, and they are visited periodically by the organizing inspector, Mr. Byatt. Although & considerable number of teachers are qualified to teach cardboard work, the lack of the necessary material has, up to the present, prevented its introduction to the classes for which it is intended. The teachers who in 1901 were selected to undergo a course of training in woodwork (Sloyd), attained the necessary standard of proficiency and were appointed to centers which are at present in active operation throughout the State.
The expenditure for this work for the year ending Jume 30, 1902, amounted to $27,870.
Domestic economy. -Eleven centers hare been equipped for teaching domestic economy to girls and were maintained for the year 1901–2 at a total expense of $14,022.
Technical education.—The number of technical schools (including those termed "schools of mines") receiving aid from the State on June 30, 1902, was the same as in previous years, yiz, 18. Five of these afford instruction in science, art, and trade subjects; 5 in art and science; 2 in art and trade; while 5 schools confine their teaching to art and i to science subjects only. Five schools, viz, the Working Men's ('ollege, Melbourne, and the schools of mines at Ballarat, Bendigo, Bairnsdale, and Stawell, are classed as certified science schools, and are eligible to receive State school exhibitioners (holders of government scholarships).
In these schools full courses in mining, engineering, geologs, etc., extending over three or four years have now been established.
The total expenditure in connection with teelmical schools for 1901-2 was £22,978 3s. 10. ($114,790).
During the coming year the question of relating the work done in these schools more closely to the industrial life of the district will be carefully considered. It is intended to withdraw subsidy from those schools which are not able to attract a suflicient number of students, and which do not in their teaching supply a real need in local industrial requirements.
Erpenditure.-The total public expenditure for education for the year ending June 30, 1902, was $1,001,014.
One of the great difficulties in this sparsely peopled State is, naturally, to provide education for the settlers in the country districts and on the gold fields. The farms are large, and it is not easy to place schools within reach of all the children. The country provisional schools are the most expensive to provide, as buildings have to be erected, and the teacher paid an adequate salary, though there may be only a dozen or so scholars to teach. It is doubtful what method will have ultimately to be pursued. In America and Canada an attempt has been made, apparently with success, to centralize the instruction in larger schools and to convey the children of scattered settlers from a distance daily or weekly or even to establish boarding houses for them.
The cost per head in the provisional schools is £7 1s. 11d. (about $36) on the average attendance and tj 1:3s. 5. ($28) on the enrollment. The cost per head in special schools in the northwest is as much as £8 6s. 64. ($11) on the average attendance. The cost per head for the children of the whole State in government schools is £t 10s. 9d. ($22) on the average attendance, or £3 14s. 1d. ($18) on the enrollment. The government, howerer, recognizes that, in spite of the expense, education must be provided for these isolated settlers, who are doing such valuable work in developing the resources of the country.
Teachers' training and salaries.—The great event of the year has been the opening of the training college for teachers. The college has been established at Claremont, about halfway between Perth and Fremantle, and is open both for day and resident students of both sexes, It is clearly advantageous, for many reasons, to the students that they should be in residence, but the position of the college enables those whose parents reside in the metropolitan district to reach it easily. The college can accommodate sixty students, and, as the course of training is for three years, should send about twenty trained teachers per annum. There is no fear that this number of teachers would ever be too many for the vacancies in the schools. Apart from the present influx of children, which is abnormal, the ordinary growth of population and the ordinary retirement of teachers through marriage, age, or other causes will always be in excess of that number.
It has been pointed out in the reports of previous years that the average salary of the teachers has been very low, and that it was essential, if a good start was to be secured, that they should receive a wage above, rather than below, that ruling in other professions in the State. Since the new scale of salaries has been in operation there has been a satisfactory increase in the average salary, which is now £151 10s. K. ($757) for heads and adult assistants. . This, however, is not a sufficiently large sum when it is borne in mind that it is not as much as most mechanics receive, and the remuneration of the lower branches of the service is still very small. During the year a fresh adjustment of salaries has been made by the abolition of bonuses for successful teaching. This system has been found unsatisfactory. It is practically impossible to award bonuses on any other basis than that of school reports, and the school report may be good owing to the efforts of one or two individuals of the staff, whose work has benefited others on the staff who have not deserved such bonus; or, on the other hand, the weak teachers may have deprived the deserving ones of the bonus to which their real efforts should entitle them. The Government, in making arrangements for the abolition of this system, was enabled to set by a somewhat larger sum of money for increasing the regular salaries of such of the staff as had previously received these sums.
Promotion.—The old system of examination of individual children by the inspectors has now been entirely abolished, and in all the schools the teachers are given the responsibility of judging the suitability of children for promotion from one standard to another. The promotion of briglit children has been more rapid under the new system. There is a slight increase in the number of children reaching the upper standards, and the inspectors note that the system not only encourages the bright children by giving them an opportunity of passing on more quickly to higher work, but at once equalizes the classes, makes the task of the teachers less diflicult, and gives them also more scope for originality. There is said to be a marked improvement in the tone of the school work and the intelligence of methods. The schools can now be judged by the inspectors on these points, and they are not obliged to spend their whole time in testing the “passing" capacity of individual scholars. Much more assistance can be