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compulsory age in primary schools; but the proportion of secondary school children from primary schools is very small indeed, except in Berlin ; and in Berlin the explanation of the larger numbers lies in the fact that there are no preparatory schools attached to the secondary schools. This is a concession to democratic feeling, and the municipality suffers loss by this, since, in Berlin, the primary schools are free, whereas the secondary preparatory pupil pays. The scholars who subsequently attend the secondary school in Berlin will have received their early education either in the primary public schools, or in private schools. They enter the secondary school at ten, eleven, or twelve years of age, and usually pay 80 marks per annum. There are free places in the secondary school, probably about 10 per cent. of the total number. Application must be made and comparative poverty established. There is no competitive examination, and more than one teacher laid stress on the importance of having “good connections” if success were to be attained. The practical difficulty of selection by the method adopted seemed to me very great. There seems no adequate provision for the poor clever boy to pass from one school to another of a higher kind. There are also free places in Frankfort to middle schools, not to higher schools, and it is open to parents or guardians to make application for them. But I have gathered from teachers that the application must usually present special features as to poverty, and moreover, seems to depend for its success on the report of the head teacher as to the pupil's work. Injustice here is inevitable, since a diversity of standard must exist among head teachers. I explained the system of scholarships by examination prevalent among us, and especially the attempt to gather clever children from surrounding schools into higher grade schools by competitive examination. I was informed that German teachers would not like that system, and, on inquiry, was told “the teachers would oppose anything which took away their best scholars.”
A further defect in our system was pointed out. “The children being chosen from so many schools will not, when collected into one building, be a school in any true sense of the word,” said my German interlocutor. When, however, I explained that the school as a whole remained undisturbed, and endeavoured to absorb scholars from other schools into its vacant places, his objection ceased to apply. It is interesting to notice that the Lehrplan (Common Syllabus of Instruction) is not a sufficient guarantee of uniformity of standard in different schools.
In Frankfort there has been for some time a party in favour of common schools for all, supported by teachers who hope thereby, their opponents say, to raise their own social status. But, for the present, the arguments against such a course are more generally accepted, namely:
1. To markedly contrast wealth and poverty, side by side, is inadvisable.
2. Superior home opportunities give wealthy children undue predominance.
3. The language difficulty, which exists with the poorer classes, and does not with the upper classes, would make classification difficult.
4. Private schools, which, though inspected, are not as efficient as the secondary preparatory schools, would unduly multiply.
I have called those schools, which, while belonging to the elementary system, are yet attended by pupils who pay a high fee and are situated in good neighbourhoods, higher primary or higher elementary.
Such schools existed in some numbers in Frankfort and Leipsic, and were strikingly different from our higher elementary schools. For the curriculum was practically identical with that of other elementary schools except for the addition of a foreign language. This, however, really implies a considerable addition to the curriculum, for four or five hours must be given to the subject weekly.
There is no attempt in Germany, as in our country, to turn the higher elementary schools into elementary science schools.
School children in the elementary schools of Leipsic pay 36 marks a year in Bürgerschulen (Burgherschools), 18 marks a year in Bezirkschulen (Districtschools), and 4 marks 50 in Volkschulen (Folk-schools). A reduction is made when several pupils attend from the same family, and some, who can show poverty, are excused.
In one higher elementary or middle school that I saw there were three sections of the first class. In one section the children entered at Easter from several neighbouring elementary schools where they paid half as much (18 marks as against 36 marks). It was, the teacher said, a very difficult class, since the children were very variously prepared, and they would not have cared to come if they had been put in other than the first class. This was another indication that the Lehrplan is not effective in producing a uniform standard for the same class in different schools.
In the first class of a suburban secondary modern school near Hamburg, five pupils, men about twenty, came from the primary schools (Volkschulen). Only one of these had a free place, and this school was fairly typical. The fees amounted to 144 marks (£7, 4s.) a year, and seemed considerable for boys who had previously attended the primary schools.
The great difficulty in the secondary schools is that arising from the passage into these from other schools of pupils at very diverse stages of competency. The syllabuses of the primary schools are practically identical; but, as there is no external standard of proficiency, the actual work varies very much from school to school; nor does there seem any method by which pupils, unsuitable for secondary education, are excluded.
SCHOOL HOURS AND HOLIDAYS
THE school hours differ somewhat from town to town. But there is always a long morning session, and, in some cases, there are two-hour sessions in the afternoon. In one town the schools were open from 7 A.M. to 12 noon every morning, including Saturday, and from 3 P.M. to 5 P.M. on Tuesday and Friday.
It should be understood, however, that only the boys in the highest classes come at 7 in the morning, other classes coming at 8 o'clock, and still younger classes at 9. Our own system, which requires the same school hours from all children in senior departments, strikes the German as most unreasonable, and as allowing nothing for the greater capacity for sustained intellectual work which the older pupils possess. Equally unreasonable, and for the same reason, are the rigid “hour - long” lessons which the German gives throughout, or nearly throughout, all his classes, irrespective of age. Probably we ought each to change; we, to make school hours of attendance proportionate to age and capacity; the Germans, to make their length of lesson proportionate likewise.
In Frankfort a larger proportion of the total school time is given in afternoon sessions; and, so far as I was able to make out, the tendency was rather towards,